Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Let me start off by saying, this post has nothing to do with moving. I wanted to make that clear right from the beginning. All though we did have an open house on Sunday and we had 3 families come through and there has been a lot of interest lately, we are still waiting on God for a contract.

So what else would you wait one more year for??? School. I wanted to encourage anyone out there who is toying with the idea of waiting an extra year before starting their child in kindergarten. Homeschool or public or private school, just a like. I am a huge advocate for waiting that extra year.

I am a mom who had to make that choice for her own child. In fact, Tally's birthday is on the cut off for entering kindergarten. She did, in fact attend kindergarten in a private school. When she started, we had been encouraged to push her ahead and start her in first grade. Let me back up and share that we had started her in kindergarten when we were in California and she attended for about 2 months before we moved (end of the school year). I had already taught her to read and she was a strong reader. That alone was the schools reason that she should be put in first grade at age 5.

It was a hard decision and after much thought and prayer, we decided to pull her out of that first grade class and put her in the kindergarten class. It was one of the best decisions we have ever made. I knew I would have second guessed that decision to keep her ahead every year if we had chosen otherwise. I started thinking that she would start her senior year at 16 (that is so young). I realised that children need a chance to mature and at the beginning is one of the best times to do that.

One of the best examples I heard was a train. Imagine your child is that "young" student and really struggling to keep up with the class. She is trying to run to catch that last caboose on the train. Just wait. Another train will come along and she will be riding on the engine and leading the rest of the "cars".

I am not sure I have ever heard a parent say they wished that had pushed their child ahead. Although, I have heard many say they wished they had waited that extra year. On a note of encouragement, the younger grades are easier to make this kind of a change. The older they get, the harder it may be to make that change. One more quick note, waiting that extra year isn't only for boys. Though it may be more common. Most "young" boys would really benefit that extra year to mature. But we are living proof that it can benefit girls too. Tally is still a strong reader. She quickly grasps most things I teach her. Like I said before, it really was the right decision for us.

Better late than early.


Lee and Bev said...

Great Post, Cris! Why are we always in a hurry for everything? Lord teach us to wait for your leading and instruction and not run ahead with our own adjenda.

Karen said...

I agree... I too was faced with this decision with my oldest. her birthday is Oct.15 and the cut off for NC was the 16th.. Emily was very bright and ready for Kindergarten... we homeschooled her for K that year.. she was 4 turning 5. All was well until middle school.. that I believe is where a struggle begins as well.. she is a young 8th grader... still very bright but struggles with her peers because socially she is not where they are... even the ones homeschooled because they are talking about boys and starting to wear makeup.. etc... and most are already 14 an whole year older!

With all my rambling I now agree but didn't when we started... some of us are just more hard headed in the beginning and then realize the truth later ! Great post... maybe it will help someone who needs to make a decision for next year.


mommy g said...

I, too, am an advocate for waiting one more year. Raymond and Dorothy Moore have written excellent books on this subject that discuss the maturation of the brain and why it is important not to push. Why are we so interested in getting our kids ahead anyway? Let them be kids.

Stacia said...

Hi Friend, Surprisingly, I disagree with your post today (at least for our family). Emma is 4 3/4 (as she would proudly tell you... being certain to add the 3/4). She'll turn 5 in January. If she were in any type of traditional school setting, she wouldn't be eligible for Kindergarten until NEXT year. However, we began homeschooling this year and after careful review of K4 and Kindergarten curriculum, we easily chose the K for her. She was well beyond the skills in the K4 book. Even with that, in math we've done 4 lessons a day for about 6 weeks just to get her to a point of something new. In phonics we also did 4 lessons a day for a while to get her to a point that she was learning something new. She is LOVING IT. She's thriving and sometimes being challenged. It is my favorite thing about homeschooling.... being able to tailor Emma's education to specifically meet her needs... taking into consideration her strengths and weak areas. Both Andy and I agree that if we'd gone the tradtional school route and had her in another year of pre-school and then Kindergarten next year, that she would be completely bored and w/ her personality, that would lead to less than stellar behavior. I am sharing my story to say that while your experience proved to be good for Tally (keeping her back one more year), our experience (at least so far)is proving to be good for Emma (moving her ahead). Guess that's the point... every child and family is different and as parents we get the awesome ability and responsibility of figuring out what's best for our children. Still praying w/ ya'll for a house sale. Especially for you as you run the household alone for all these months... that must be tough. Love you!

crispy said...

Well, what prompted this post was not my Tally but all the tutoring I have done for kids that are struggling. I do think in many ways, Tally would have done very well if we had gone ahead and started her in the higher grade. But there is more to maturity than accedemics.

I have seen time and time again given that little extra time to mature is a benefit and I wish that more families would take advantage of it. Learning to follow instructs, listening, getting along with others, paying attention, obeying ~ not to mention gross and fine motor skills that also mature...these are all things that tend to mature when that time is given (and encouraged by the parent).

One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can tailor make your child's education for them. To make sure that they have enough to challenge them and also make sure that enough time is given to absorb the information.

But not everyone HS and for those that are trying to make that decision about pushing ahead or waiting another year, I think we need to give people the freedom to wait.

The book that Mommy G mentioned is great and I would encourage others to check it out. Better Late Than Early, by the Moores.

DebiH. said...

You are in EXACTLY the same spot we are in and we did the same thing. Hannah was born 1 day after Tally. She started Kindergarten as a 4 year old. In 2nd grade, we recognized that it was not the best place for her and a few weeks into that year, we re-registered her as a first grader. We have never regreted it. She is very tall for her age, she is academically able to work at a higher level than her current grade (in some subjects). But, she is no longer "trying to keep up" emotionally and academically.

Sherry said...

Each child is so very different. One grade does not fit all! We started our middle child in k when she was 5 1/2. She was very little and young emotionally. That year we also were dealing with a vision problem that led to a delay in being able to read. But, my academic personality pushed ahead..until second grade I am sorry to say. Then, we made the decision to hold her back because she still wasn't reading at "grade level". Well, everyone who knows her now finds it very hard to believe that she had any problems at all learning to read. She is a prolific reader and scores at well beyond her grade level. I wish we had the wisdom to repeat K rather than second grade. Holding them back later rather than earlier does present some problems. She wanted to stay with her friends in Sunday school...so we let her. I guess we will need to just let her be in "high school" for five rather than four years. Anyway, all that to say, I agree that waiting for your child to mature is a good thing. They are ready when they are ready!

Susan said...

I think you can rarely make the WRONG choice in holding kids back. I agree that it isn't just the accademic smarts or reading ability...but the social, physical, and other kinds of maturity. We had our youngest do 1st grade 2X, he just did it once in the US and once in Japan, so he didn't feel held back. His b-day is righ after Tally's, in Sept. He is smart and ahead all along accademically, but with his detailed personality gets bogged down getting stuff done quickly...I am SOOOO glad he is the oldest now in his class (now 4th grade) instead of the youngest. Looking back, I wish someone had challenged me on my oldest (now 9th grade); even though his b-day is May. I think we could have gotten by holding him back and it would have given him that little extra edge, socially and physically...just 6-9 months or so of "maturity" feels like years and years when it comes to jr. high and high school.

Christine said...

Thanks--- it was good reading this post.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely!!

Annie said...

I agree, too! Both my bio kids, Aidan (now 26) and Lydia (now 21) did not start kindergarten until they were six. I never regretted it for an instant, and they never seemed older or out of place. In Russia the children don't start school until they are 7. But in their second and third years of school their work far surpasses our kids who started younger. I also love the Moore's book, especially "Better Late Than Early"

Randi Sue said...

I agree.