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JennyC

To Start School Or Not To Start School

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My son will turn five next year on August 4th. I always assumed that I would start him in school right after he turned five, as that is what was done with me (my b-day is August 1st). I am starting to have doubts about it--all ready. I think that he will be ok academically. At four he knows most of his ABC's, can count to 15, knows his shapes and colors, and can identify many numbers and letters. He also has a great imagination and gets along really well with other kids. My issue is with his social behavior and his size. He often takes the follower role with other children. When we go to the park he latches onto a kid and follows them around until one of them has to go home. He never initiates his own games with other children. He is an only child, but I have had him in group daycare full time since he was two so I know he gets lots of time with other children his own age. At daycare all the children adore him, and I wonder if it is partly because he follows them around. :unsure: I also cannot picture him raising his hand to answer a question in class, and when he is uncomfortable and put on the spot he will refuse to talk. Right now, being gluten free for 6 months, my son is in the 10th percentile. I just don't want him to be the tiny, shy kid with the weird diet. :unsure: (I do realize that the following year he might be the bigger, shy kid with the weird diet. ;) ) I'm also unsure that he will be mature enough to manage his diet in a year. I guess what I'm trying to get at is do you think it's wrong to wait until he's six to put him in school? Hopefully by then he'll be more mature and have some leadership skills. I just don't want school to be harder than it has to be for him. Does anyone have any tips about how to get him to take a more lead role around other children?

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Jenny, the little guy is barely four. He is still little and can change an awful lot in a year. But what is wrong with being a follower? If all the people in the world would be leaders, we would only have bosses, and no people to work under them. What a crazy world that would be!

The other kids like him, that is a good sign. He is a happy little guy and is content in 'being' with the other kids, without wanting to boss them around. Sounds good to me.

He will make his own ideas and wishes known soon enough, I can guarantee it. I think he would be fine in school next year. If he is ahead academically, he might end up very bored in school the following year if you hold him back. A bored kid is often inattentive, disruptive and stops participating, which results in dropping marks (I've been there).

But if next year you really don't think he is ready, there is no law that says you have to send him to school.

Or you can homeschool him for Kindergarten and just send him to grade one (which is when school starts in Germany, there is no Kindergarten that is officially part of school........ even though Kindergarten is a German word, it means 'nursery school' or plain 'daycare' in German).

Being able to handle his diet in Kindergarten is a valid concern. Talk to the school in advance about that, to see what kind of system they have in place for kids with allergies and intolerances. In fact, if you are concerned about it, now is as good a time as any to start talking to them about it.

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I held my son. He has a May birthday and is small for his age. However, I held him based on the advice of the pre-school that he went to. Academically, he was OK but emotionally, he wasn't ready. He didn't get the purple scissors, he would cry. He didn't get the chair he wanted, he would cry . . . the list goes on . . .

I actually put him in a private kindergarten, in case he matured quite a bit that year. Then he could go into the public school first grade. Alas, he did not, and based on the private kindergarten's recommendation. He started the public school as a kindergartener.

You might also want to consider what is the norm for your school district. Do a lot of parents hold their kids (usually boys) back one year? It's done here quite a bit (unfortunately, for sports-related reasons). And not that you have to do what other parents are doing, but if the boys in the class are going to be (as a group) 6 months to a year older, you may want to wait, just to keep him on equal grounds with his classmates. My neighbor did that . . . I think her child was ready but she wanted him to have a little more maturity when its time for high school and he's getting presure to do something he knows isn't right. Now that's thinking pretty far ahead and who's to say if that will pan out.

As far as being the kid with the weird diet . . . I think at this age, kids are so much more understanding and less judgemental. Also, in the school system, there are so many kids with allergies that required special attention, that I don't think one kid will stand out more than the rest. Both of my kids take their lunch - lots of kids do just because they are picky eaters and won't eat the hot lunch. I would say most of the kids in my son's class have no idea. Whereas everyone in my daughter's class knows because she is all about telling them and educating the masses on Celiac disease ( :D You go, girl!)

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If in doubt, hold him out. I have a son with a June birthday and he is the oldest in his class, but definitely where he should be. I have a daughter with a September birthday and she seemed SO ready to start kindergarten the year she turned 5. She could read and knew everything she needed. But her birthday was past the cut-off and they wouldn't let her in. I was mad, but now I look at her and am so happy she's where she is. She's one of the oldest and is pretty mature, but fits in great. She's not a leader, but she's careful who she follows. I'm happy that I have another year with her before sending her off to college too!

I'm also a PE teacher and I can tell pretty accurately which kids in K and 1st have summer birthdays. They are almost always less mature and more squirrely. I read a study done years ago that said that children with summer birthdays often have higher IQ's, but don't do as well in school if they start young. Many times the kids will do fine in K-2, but then their immaturity starts showing and it's too late to hold them back. My daughter has friends that are almost a year younger than her and it's been obvious for the past few years that they are immature and don't seem to fit in well with the high school kids now, even though they were fine when they were little.

There's nothing wrong with being the oldest!

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My DD has a birthday like your son. She had just turned 5 before starting Kindergarten. She was very ready, both socially and academically so it was a no-brainer for me.

My son (who is not Celiac), if he had a summer birthday, I might wait the extra year. He is a February kid, though, so he'll be 5 1/2 before Kindergarten starts (he's 3 1/2 now). He's very bright but some of that self control just isn't there like it was with my daughter.

Best advice is to do what feels right. You're not doing a bad thing by waiting a year for Kindergarten and nobody in their right mind should judge you for waiting at all. Might give him a chance to catch up physically, too. Who knows.

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Jenny,

We went through all of this last year, however it was our DD. Her bday is in September, and in our district we can have kids with later bdays tested in for kindergarten. She actually tested into the 2nd grade level. She was the youngest kid in the school, but she kept up really well-exceeded our expectations for sure! You could always request to have him tested to see if he meets the standards all around (for your district). You can also (ususally) go to your district's website and print off the kindergarten entrance expectations. (I have them if you want me to send you the link) There are a lot of fun games and stuff to do with him for the next year to further prep him, it might actually help you decide what to do. Our son's bday is Aug 1 and if he's not ready, I won't hesitate to hold him out. The other dilemma that I hear from people who started late (or early) is the problems they had when they were in high school. My aunt wishes they had not started her early-she was the last one to drive, get a later curfew, etc... however, she did graduate high school at 17, not 18. The flip-side is graduating at 19 instead of 18. From what people have told me-that's a lot worse than graduating at 17.

Above all else, the choice is up to you. A lot can happen in the next year, he might surprise you! :)

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My kids were born Oct. 29 and Nov. 1. I put them both in kindergarten when they were not yet 5, but they turned 5 approximately 6 weeks after school started. I considered both my boys "watchers" not "joiners". That is to say they had to lurk around the edges to see what was going on before they considered joining in. My younger son is shyer, but thrived at kindergarten. He's in grade three and doesn't have a "best friend", but has lots of friends, and they don't say much about his diet at all. The odd time, one might say, "Ty sure is allergic to a lot of stuff," or "We're having xyz at my birthday, can Ty have that?"

Here in Calgary (Alberta, Canada) the cut off for public school is Feb. 28. If a child were to start attending school in Sept. 2007 he'd have to be five by Feb. 28, 2008. What bothered me the most about my older son's kindergarten experience was that he turned 5 on Oct. 29. A couple of weeks later another boy turned six. Then in February (12 and 28) 2 girls turned 5. Now you've got 4.5 year olds in class with 6 years olds. That didn't seem right to me. Don't hold him back because he's small. Somebody has to be the smallest kid in class, and he might still be the smallest next year. I was always the shortest kid in class (less than 5' tall in grade 8) and then very slowly by grade 12 I was one of the tallest (5'8"). My brother was the same way...maybe 5'3" in grade 8 and now he's 6'4".

If he is socially and emotionally ready...I'd send him. He will be old enough to know he is only to eat what Mom sends for lunch and not to trade snacks, etc.

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You need to do what you feel is right for your kid. You know him best. He still ahs a yr to mature and they grow alot in that 4-5 yr!

My DD is a Nov bday and she was so ready to go at 4! So ready it was scary! In our town we had no choice to hold her back until the next yr because of her bday. Our son who bday is 7/25 will be one of the youngestin school his prek on the last day of school suggested holding him back. We ignored them because they stressed acadmeicly he was ready. So he started 2 weeks ago and is doing wonderful and he loves it!

I am a early September bday and was the youngest and did just fine. Hubby went to school when he was 4 his bday is 12/30 and he did just fine. Ok he was a boy nad spent many days with the principal but I truely believe that had nothing to do with how old he was when he started school! LOL

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My son will turn five next year on August 4th. I always assumed that I would start him in school right after he turned five, as that is what was done with me (my b-day is August 1st). I am starting to have doubts about it--all ready. I think that he will be ok academically. At four he knows most of his ABC's, can count to 15, knows his shapes and colors, and can identify many numbers and letters. He also has a great imagination and gets along really well with other kids. My issue is with his social behavior and his size. He often takes the follower role with other children. When we go to the park he latches onto a kid and follows them around until one of them has to go home. He never initiates his own games with other children. He is an only child, but I have had him in group daycare full time since he was two so I know he gets lots of time with other children his own age. At daycare all the children adore him, and I wonder if it is partly because he follows them around. :unsure: I also cannot picture him raising his hand to answer a question in class, and when he is uncomfortable and put on the spot he will refuse to talk. Right now, being gluten free for 6 months, my son is in the 10th percentile. I just don't want him to be the tiny, shy kid with the weird diet. :unsure: (I do realize that the following year he might be the bigger, shy kid with the weird diet. ;) ) I'm also unsure that he will be mature enough to manage his diet in a year. I guess what I'm trying to get at is do you think it's wrong to wait until he's six to put him in school? Hopefully by then he'll be more mature and have some leadership skills. I just don't want school to be harder than it has to be for him. Does anyone have any tips about how to get him to take a more lead role around other children?

Hi,

I would not worry too much about it.. because the kids will grow up with him and get used to the idea that he needs a special diet. My daughter had a harder time since she was already in middle school.. In the beginning she kept breaking her diet. Then she finally told her friends, and they all watch out and make sure she doesn't eat anything that she shouldn't. One actually took someithing away. They even told me about something she ate on the school trip- they were up in Boston, we are in ny.. dont worry about the %. my daughter was below the 5th when she started the diet, and in 9 months has gained like 20 lbs and 4 inches. she is now above the 25%. they are not worried about her % going up.. I am a small person. now she is just short. not bony anymore.. the short is ok w/her specialists because of my family size in the women. we are all on the short side. It is ok for him to be a follower. MY daughter was the same way for a very long time. now it is changing. As for the stubborn talking? I would not worry he is only4.. if you want wait. or go to the school and talk to somebody in pupil services.. he could just be on the shy side. All it will take is for somebody to look to him for something and it will kick in.

vvvvvvvglgl

lynn

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We did not hold our son (July birthday) back. We sent him to a private, all-day kindergarten, thinking that he could repeat kindergarten in the public school if we thought he wasn't ready, but he was very ready--academically.

He definitely had major social issues (Asperger's syndrome), but he was also already the tallest kid in the class. We figured if we held him back, he would tower over the other kids and STILL have the same social issues. We could hold him back 5 years and he'd have social issues.

As Ursa Major said, you don't want a bored kid.

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Your son sounds perfectly "normal" for his age, and no amount of holding him out will change his basic personality type. By the time his stature is an issue (for boys, that's middle school) there's no telling where he will fall in his peer group, and being small is not a defect :) ( My oldest in his class son was the smallest until this past summer, when he grew 4.5 inches and now is "normal" height)

Every group of kids needs the smoother, the peace-maker, the glue person who holds the high-energy dominant people in check. That's a worthy role to fill, too. He'll learn to hold up his hand. He'll learn to ask questions. It's scary to send them off to school, but he sounds wonderful. Ask his preschool teachers, they will know.

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Thanks everyone. I tend to like to do things ahead of schedule, and I guess my worrying about him starting school is no different. :rolleyes: I will wait and see how it goes, but something does not feel right to me about sending him next year. I don't know if I'm just being overprotective, but it's likely.

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Thanks everyone. I tend to like to do things ahead of schedule, and I guess my worrying about him starting school is no different. :rolleyes: I will wait and see how it goes, but something does not feel right to me about sending him next year. I don't know if I'm just being overprotective, but it's likely.

Well Jenny,

It sounds like you have a good handle on yourself here. You are lucky that your son got diagnosed so early.. Imagine, having a teenager get diagnosed. Can you imagine what kind of upheaval our lives had? I am sure you can imagine. It gave me white streaks in my hair. I am not kidding..

Now, tho I have help at school- her friends are over protective and check things. You know kids, wanting to trade stuff at lunch. Well, they wont let her trade with somebody unless they know it is something that it something that she can eat!.. One day, she decided to cheat, (what do you expect at 13??) and her friends took it away when she bought the snack at school!! Could a girl have better friends??

vvvvvvvvvglgl LYnn

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