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!
I have to agree with you on this one! We started Joey at six as well and we saw a confidence in the classroom that we believe resulted from being a year older. He loved learning every letter, sound, and how to shape them all. He still has a confidence when it comes to learning that I am fairly sure would not have been there if we didn't keep him home an extra year playing and reading to him. BTW, when he moved up to all day first grade at seven years old, he still was tired in the afternoons and so I am thankful we waited. I am so glad to hear Cade is doing so well! Tell him we're proud of him!
Missy, I wish we had done this with #2. Too late now, and he's doing fine, but what's the rush? But the Lord knows, and since it was never even a question in my mind (whether to start #2 when he was 5), I have to trust that He was guiding us.
My sister did the same with my nephew, who as a 4th grader is nearly 5'9. Yes, he's bigger than the rest of them, but he would have been anyway. Her reasoning: “I would rather him be a leader due to his maturity and size, than a follower due to his immaturity and insecurity.” I had never thought of it from that angle before. So far it's working wonders, and he's a great student. I really fought with myself over my oldest, who is finishing up 1st grade. Had we not had a one room school with the teacher we have, I would have held him back too. A person can't beat a 1-5 teacher to student ratio, especially with the teacher he's had the privilege to learn with. It's a tough decision for sure, and I'm glad it worked out for your little guy!
Traci, so nice to hear from you! Wow– a 1-5 ratio is amazing! The environment does make such a difference to the learner. We're blessed with a wonderful school, but not quite so wonderful ratio. 🙂 I don't know when we'll feel like we're 'out of the woods' with our kids.. When they graduate? When they get married? When the turn 40??? But for now, things are going pretty well with our first grader. God is good.