Everybody said our third child was ready to start kindergarten when he was (just-turned) five. But ready for kindergarten does not mean ready for every subsequent year. We learned that with child number two. For him, Kindergarten was a blast. But first grade? Not so much. Sitting in a desk all day concentrating on which way to face your b’s, d’s, 6’s, and 3’s was for the birds. Or maybe the girls.

Our kindergartner is on the far left!

So, with child number three, we waited an extra year and sent him to school when he was six. He had never been to preschool, and I had invested far more time in training him to obey and share and tell the truth than in teaching him letters or numbers or colors. So off he trotted, the tallest in his class, not knowing how to recognize a single word or even write his name legibly.
But you know what? He loved it! He had never heard all of this stuff before! His teacher, Mr. Neff, was the coolest thing since prepackaged PBJ’s in the freezer. And by the end of the year, Mr. Neff told us that he had never seen a child make as much progress in reading as our son had.
Now we’re rounding the last corner of first grade. Our son is still the tallest in his class. But his teacher tells us that he’s also in her top reading group, and one of her best writers.
I’m not sure what all the research says about the advantages of starting kids (especially boys) to school early. I can tell you that keeping my little boy home and letting him play and play and play for an extra year hasn’t seemed to hold him back. Maybe it even gave him a boost!

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