DS will be 5 in June and starting school in the fall... I think. — The Bump
School-Aged Children

DS will be 5 in June and starting school in the fall... I think.

DS turns 5 in June. We plan on him starting K in September. I see no reason whatsoever to hold him back an extra year. My MIL (who I get along with) feels differently. It's to the point where just bringing up someone in school around her makes me tense up. Her concern isn't that he's not ready from a knowledge stand point, she's worried about socialization issues. I don't get it because frankly... that's part of what school is for! I've been a SAHM DS's whole life. We can NOT afford pre-k or I would be sending him. When he is with other kids, he plays well, and creatively. He listens to other adults MUCH better than he EVER listens to me. He can sit still for long periods of time and does change activities when told he has to. So I guess what else do I need to be aware of? I don't doubt that school is going to be an adjustment. It's a full day program and he'll be taking a bus to get there. BUT I don't see any benefits to keeping him back. He's already on par w/ most of 1st grade knowledge... I'm already concerned he's going to be bored... both DH and BIL had Oct-Nov b-days so were almost 6 when they started K.... I'm an Oct. b-day but went to a private school and started K when I was still 4. I can't recall my parents ever thinking I wasn't ready... DS will already be 5 by a few months... I just don't see the point in waiting but I also don't have a problem if we were to take him out if he's just not ready...

Re: DS will be 5 in June and starting school in the fall... I think.

  • We have a similar situation. Although it's not my MIL or Mom who are voicing concerns about my son starting K.

    My son will turn 5 at the very beginning of June and school starts at the very end of August. I think he'll be fine. He's been home with me but also goes to preschool 3 mornings per week. I'm curious to see what his teachers are going to recommend for starting K or not.

    Regardless, we're registering and he's going in the fall. If he has an extremely hard time after a few months, we'll pull him out and put him in preK. I think it will be an adjustment, but he'll do fine. Younger kids learn a lot from older kids. And my pedi gave me an article from the New York Times that said something about losing any advantage from redshirting them by 3rd grade and they are much more likely to get into trouble in highschool, etc.

    It's pretty popular around here to hold boys with summer birthdays until they are 6 to go to K, but I'm just not comfortable with that. My 4.5 yr old is reading and is extremely intelligent. He'll be fine!

    It's your choice, so tell MIL to back off. You're his mother!

    There are developmental assessments that can be done to assess K readiness and developmental age. If you feel uncertain in anyway, maybe you could ask MIL to pay for one? I know around here, the Gessell assessment is around $100 and they administer at a local school.

    Good luck! I bet he'll do great! I think a lot of kids take a few months to settle in, but are usually doing great by Thanksgiving.

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  • imageMrsLee04:
    The bottom line is it's none of MIL's business.  She should never be part of the discussion.  If she brings it up again, change the subject.  My MIL has definitely tried to meddle with our kids starting K this year (and it doesn't help that she is a retired teacher from the school mine go to) but we've just had to be firm that she is not the parent and none of the school decisions will be discussed or made with her.
    This.

    Also, our cutoffs are soooo different to yours. If you showed up to school with a 6 year old, unless there were documented psychoeducational issues, you'd be placed in grade one. They have to be five by February 28 to start kindergarten, and all kids have to be in school (meaning gr 1) by 6.



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  • Honestly I think he will be at a disadvantage without going to preschool especially being young. But to keep a five year old home another year instead of in preschool another year I think could be detrimental. I think she needs to respect your decision as long as your DH agrees with you but she has legitimate concerns, sitting in class and participating and following class rules especially being youngish is very different than listening to adults.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • Being socially ready is huge.  The academics are less of a being ready or not thing as a good school will have the programs to get all the kids the education they need (my DD's kindy class spends the 1st 6 weeks to review and testing the kids to see where they are at academically and then they have different groups for the main subjects so the kids are being taught at their level.  My DD is really behind in reading and needs extra help with learning the sounds of letters, she has a speech delay and is in therapy for that so this is all related.  She is pulled out of class 2x a week for speech and is a reading group with some of her peers that works on a lot of the basics vs learning to read although she is working on sight words).

    My DD is a June birthday as well and we did hold her back but I have a number of friends whose kids also have summer birthdays (with Sept cut offs) who started their kids on time.  I will be honest and tell you that one of those friends has had to have their son repeat kindy due to the social things, he is doing OK academically.  

    There is not a right or wrong, I know people that have held back and those that started on time.  I know some that didn't hold back that regret it.  Everyone I know that held back is thrilled that they did.

    My DD was in daycare and then preschool and a PreK program at the elementary so I knew where she was at academically and socially and all involved thought holding my DD back was the right thing for her.  She has a speech delay and ADHD and socially, was very behind her peers.  Her second year in PreK (when she would have been in Kindy) was a huge turn around year for her and she did so much better socially.  Academically she is still struggling in some areas but is excelling in others (great at math, reading not so much).

    What is your MIL basing her thoughts on holding back on?  Unless you have a valid reason to hold back, I would not do it.  It sounds like you stay at home with him and he has never been in a preschool setting (if I read that correctly) so you really don't know how he will do in a full day school setting.  Does he do any extra activities where you just drop him off?  Seeing how he handles situations without mom around is a big telltale sign but honestly, it is hard to say.

    Worst case is he repeats kindergarten - the kids will all start school at different academic levels but socially, kids need to know how to talk to their peers, how to go potty themselves, get dressed into outdoor clothes, wash their hands, listen and follow along in a group.  They need to be able to handle a lot of different situations.  

    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • Is your MIL a primary grade or preschool teacher?  Does she have any type of professional knowledge or background about this?

    If she does, I'd take her advice into consideration.  Otherwise, I'd assume she's just being a nervous grandma and I'd take her input with a grain of salt.  You're the boss mom here.  She had a chance to make all these decisions when your H was a little boy.

    However, I am a mom of a boy with a very late birthday (cutoff where I live = 8/31; DS born 8/25).  By the spring before he was supposed to start K, when he was 4 1/2, it was pretty clear to me and to his preschool teachers that he was not on track to be ready for preschool in any way OTHER than academically.  

    I knew he wasn't ready because he lacked what I call "with-it-ness."  He just didn't have the independence to manage himself in an elementary school environment all day at just-barely-five, despite being a smart and well-behaved little boy.  I knew he would have a hard time dealing with the bus, finding his way around the school, finishing his lunch on time in the cafeteria, knowing what to do if he had questions, making the transition to specials teachers, listening to important announcements over the loudspeaker, etc.  He also lacked confidence.  I knew that the way teachers would perceive him would be "doubtful and needy" and that his intelligence would be masked by that first impression. 

    But, again, when I made this decision, he'd been in preschool for nearly 2 years, and I had other kids who would be in his grade to compare him to.  Even compared to other kids with summer birthdays, my son was behind in some areas.  

    So, I think you need more information than just your MIL's opinion.  Maybe you need to talk to the school.  Ask to visit a K classroom and observe the kids.  Does your son do any type of preschool activities where he's on his own (even if you're in the room) like a preschool music class or swim lessons?  How does he handle these things?  Does he enjoy them and thrive in these structured situations? Does he participate or is he reluctant? 

    If he's never been in any activities, you want to get him signed up for something quick because this will give him experience and give you more info.  There are plenty of inexpensive activities.  If funds are tight, check your local library or dept. of recreation.  Observe your son in these situations and see how he does.  Then you'll either know your MIL is right, or you'll have real data to convince her that you're right.

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • Sorry, I got really long-winded in my earlier post.  But I just wanted to add one more thing.

    If your only evidence that he's "socially fine" is that he does fine in neighborhood playdates, that's not enough to go on.  You say he "listens to other adults way better than he listens" to you.  But if the only other adults in his life are neighborhood moms, an occasional babysitter, and his grandma, that's not really telling you much about kindergarten readiness.  You didn't elaborate on this in your post, so it's hard to tell.  Kindergarten now is not like it was when we were kids.  So just because you went at age 4 and you were fine doesn't mean anything.  The assumption is that nearly all kids entering K will have had some sort of preschool/daycare experience that does the job that 1/2 day K used to do.  K is basically 1st grade now.

    Also, think long and hard about the whole "we'll just pull him out" as a back-up plan.  The reality is that IF things don't go well in school next fall, it'll take months for you and the teachers to know whether things are rocky because he's adjusting or things are rocky because he's just not really ready.  By the time you make the decision, the year will be halfway over.  The consequences to his self-esteem and his feelings about school could be very serious. 

    I'm not saying I think your son isn't ready.  I know plenty of young 5s, even boys, who have done great in school.  Every kid is different.  It just seems like you need more information than you have right now. 

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • I'm in Canada and I know things are different, but this is what we do.  DS was born in November, our cut off for school is Dec 31st.  We have junior kindergarten which is similar to preschool and he goes M-F from 9-3:15.  He is also in a full french school, so while he's learning stuff, he's also learning in another language.  DS was 3 in september when he started, turned 4 in november.  Next year for senior kindergarten he will be 4 going on 5 and that is like regular kindergarten in the US.  Our schools go by age, a parent cannot just hold their child back if they want.  They are placed in the appropriate class according to their age and if they are not ready to advance, they repeat the grade.  If you were in Canada and held your son back a year, he would skip kindergarten and be put into grade one.

    That being said, I would start him in the fall and not hold him back.  He'll adjust and if he's not ready to move on, they will hold him back.   

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  • imagemrsseguin:

    That being said, I would start him in the fall and not hold him back.  He'll adjust and if he's not ready to move on, they will hold him back.    

    Actually, in US schools, it is unlikely that they would hold him back.  There is a good deal of pressure on schools to show that kids are succeeding and advancing from grade to grade because of No Child Left Behind.  A school's performance is partly measured on the percentage of kids who pass the grade, and schools will promote kids when it's in the school's best interest, even if it's not necessarily right for the child.

    I'm not saying I agree with the way the US does things -- I'm pretty sure Canada has the right model on this.  But you gotta dance with the one who brung ya', as we say.  The OP is not in Canada and the way things are done in Canada doesn't apply to her son.

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • Has your son been in a type of school like setting?  Is it possible to send him (this spring/summer) even just one half day a week to a local preschool? You are dropping him in the deep end of the pool if he has not experienced any type of preschool.  He is going from being with you and friends to going to full day K and riding a bus.  That is a huge adjustment even for an academically advanced child. 
    Smiley: April '05 Rocky: May '06 Tex: July '09
  • *I did not read all of the replies.

    DS1's b-day is 9/15, so he'll be almost 6 when he starts K.  Even if he hadn't missed the cutoff last year, we still would've held him back because we knew he wasn't mature enough for school yet.  Personally, I think your MIL needs to butt out, if you and your DH feel that he's emotionally ready then that's what matters.  Maybe after he starts it'll be "too late" for your MIL to try to talk you out of it and get over it, or you could just find a tactful way to tell her to stay out of it.


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  • A lot of variables come into play when making this decision, for example (in no order & not limited to):

    1.  Your location.  What do people do in your general area?  You might have to do a little research in order to get a consensus.  In some places, it is very popular to redshirt (and all June boys would be); however in others, its unheard of.

    2.  The child's birth position in the family.   A first (and or only child) will have a harder time adjusting to school rather than subsequent children.

    3.  The child's previous teachers (PreK, daycare, nursery).  This is where your child may be at a disadvantage.  You have no secondary opinion.   Your child has no preexposure to a classroom setting.  Whereas most children do.   When I send my 8/22 DD (with a 9/1 cut off), I had the secondary opinion of her daycare & then her PreK4 teacher (for KG).  

    4.   Academic skills.  These will vary widely.  Do they know their shapes? Count to 10? Write their name? Hold a pencil properly? Use scissors?  Recognize common sight words? 

    5.  More importantly than academic skills are SOCIAL SKILLS?  Can he sit and listen to a story without interrupting?  Can he manage ALL bathroom needs?  Buttons pants?  Can he follow the norms of most 5 year old boys?  Does he share? Separate from parents easily?  etc..

    I don't agree with keeping your child home for another year.   If KG is your only option, I'd probably send my child.   If redshirting is popular in your area, I would bite the bullet and find a way for him to go to PreK.

    I did send my 8/22 DD (9/1 cut off).  We had no issues until 1st grade and then we had a burp.   In Texas, the bottom 25% (reading level) is RTIed (response to intervention--goes to a special reading class).  Guess whose child this included DESPITE HER READING AT GRADE LEVEL?  Mine.   It turned out to be a blessing but it was a huge surprise at the time I found out.   Here is a top school, my daughter IS the youngest in her class...there were several boys below level, she was the 5th to lowest child (out of 20).   Here I am working at an inner city school as an RTI teacher and my DD was in the group--RTI vastly differed between the two schools...I was pissed when I found out.  I really think it has more do with her age.  Generally, the older children would have an advantage.   This year she is no longer RTIed and is at a reading level K (at level).  The extra help did her a world of good and made her more confident.  


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  • I'm going to send DS to kindergarten in the fall, and his birthday is 8/19. He goes to preschool and they have assessments, but you can get the evaluation criteria from your kindergarten as well. I'm sure your school district can give you their criteria and some tips for determining kindergarten readiness. You can share them with your MIL (or just tell her to shove it). Good luck! I'm sure he will not be the only child in his class who didn't go to preschool.
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  • My daughter will be turning five in November.  The cut off date in our district is Dec., so she is eligible for Kindergarten, but her teachers don't think she is socially ready.  It was a hard pill to swallow, because I had expected her to start Kindergarten next year, but we made the decision to hold her back.  It is a costly one, but we figure we rather her have every advantage than put her in a situation she isn't ready for yet.
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