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Red shirting an advanced Kindergartener?


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I was talking to DDs preschool teacher who I am also friends with (not close, more of smilar social circles) outside of school. Her son is a June kid and due to start K in the fall of this year. When we were discussing Kindergarten for DD, she mentioned that her son passed the advanced kindergarten entrance exam. Our district offers advanced K for kids who are verbally and academically more advanced. The next time we met she said that she was thinking she's redshirt him and let him due preschool again next year instead of advanced K. I was completely at a loss for words. Is there benefit to retaining an advanced/gifted kid who's academically ready? As far as I can tell he's a neurotypical kid and somewhat more emotionally mature than his peers. We've been camping and in other close environments together.

 

This is not to criticize my friends decision. She knows her son best and she views K as having too high of expectations so I think she'd rather him be older before facing such areas.

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Sports are usually the reason if its not emotional/academic sometimes just because that is what everyone else is doing.

 

I can see that being a big reason. It is definitely not a sports issue for her son. But, I think it is more common for kids to be redshirted here for a better opportunity of getting into the advanced kindergarten program and then the gifted and talented program. Other parents I have spoken to also mention the "emotional readiness", I know K is a lot more like first grade now, but is it really that stressful? My DD is incredibly sensitive, but we still plan to enroll her when she is eligible with the cutoff.

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I guess it would depend on what "advanced KG" was like.  If it was mainly designed for the older KG kids who are also bright, I could see being reluctant to put a younger kid in there.  But I'd probably do it anyway and just plan on providing extra support.

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I guess it would depend on what "advanced KG" was like. If it was mainly designed for the older KG kids who are also bright, I could see being reluctant to put a younger kid in there. But I'd probably do it anyway and just plan on providing extra support.

The advanced Kindergarten is described as following: Advanced Kindergarten classrooms are designed for students who are academically advanced for their age with exceptional curiosity, attention span, interests, and verbal or mathematical ability. It was developed so the students who already know much of the kindergarten curriculum do not have to repeat it.

 

So it's for kids who know most of the academic material in a standard kindergarten curriculum. It's not by age. It goes by the regular cutoff of having to be 5 by October 1st.

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It really depends. My younger daughter might be considered advanced (she'd barely make the K cutoff with her upcoming August birthday). Her reading and spelling are maybe a second-grade level, although her math might be only mid K now.... in 7 months she'll probably know most or all of the material they teach in K and first.

 

I still considered redshirting her, even though in principle I don't like redshirting because it seems to perpetuate problems related to academic expectations and socioeconomic status.

 

The reasons I even considered it had nothing to do with her academic readiness, and everything to do with the social and behavioral expectations. Just an example: If a child misbehaves in our local K, they lose minutes from their recess. My older daughter can handle this. She doesn't misbehave at school. Ever. (With me, it's a different situation.) I fear my younger daughter will be sitting there without recess because she is staring at the ceiling (a real offense apparently that cost one girl 3 minutes off recess earlier this year). It's just so sad to me, although I do understand for teachers trying to control the class, losing recess is one of the few things that really sinks in with kids.

 

The other aspect of it is that so many children are redshirted now, especially the boys. My younger daughter is tiny (she finally made it tot he 25th percentile!!! last year, but may drop again.) There will be kids in her class almost twice her size, and up to a year and a half older. That  might not be awesome for a girl, but it seems like it might be even more trying for a boy. Yes, some of it is physical size, but a lot is maturity now and down the road. What will it be like to be 12 with a class of late 13 and 14 year olds?

 

It sounds like with the advanced K, my reasons might be magnified for your friend. If the class is dominated by kids who were redshirted, her son will be up to 18 months younger than a LOT of the class (not just a few up to 18 months older, like my daughter). That can be a huge gap with kids so young.

 

Edit: P.S. I didn't redshirt her so she'll start K this coming fall. I decided for her to go "on time" even though I really agonized about it. Every situation is different.

Edited by tm919
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I still considered redshirting her, even though in principle I don't like redshirting because it seems to perpetuate problems related to academic expectations and socioeconomic status.

 

 

 

Just curious...  Why do you think waiting a year before starting a child in kindergarten perpetuates problems related to socioeconomic status?

 

As far academic expectations, do you mean teachers expect more from the older kids in the class?

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. Is there benefit to retaining an advanced/gifted kid who's academically ready?

 

Yes. The mother may think that it would not be beneficial for her 5 y/o to spend 7-8 hours in a structured classroom.

Just because a child is gifted and academically ready does not mean this is developmentally appropriate, especially for a boy.

 

ETA: The other question would be whether the "advanced" K students would have an opportunity to continue in an "advanced" 1st grade classroom, or whether they would have to attend regular 1st grade. In the latter case, doing advanced K seems completely pointless.

Edited by regentrude
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Yep.  Neurotypical boy often means not keeping up in 4th-8th grade, when seatwork becomes heavier and playtime goes down.  I'd keep mine out of the rat race as long as possible rather than having teacher after teacher telling me he's ADHD and should 'get him tested' (drugged) so he can sit for 8 hours without playtime, p.e. or sports.  Because that's how middle school can be, they're lost in the middle without the p.e. requirements of elementary or high, and at least in the case of one jr high we've lived near, p.e. was a 6 week elective and sports non-existent.

 

There's also the question of what advanced K means.  I have two children I see weekly.  One can puzzle through anything, one can memorize anything.  The memorizing child appears to know more until you dig in and find out that it's surface knowledge.  There's no ability to connect the dots yet.  That child would do well in a typical K and be on the advanced end, but peter out by 2nd or 3rd when the application of knowledge will bring heartache.  That child should have more time to learn how to puzzle and connect before going to school.  The other child, the puzzler, appears to know less and be behind, but zooms through once the brain has had a chance to apply the information in all settings.  Basic things like calendars have proven to be difficult, because of the emphasis on memorizing the order of days/months.  However, once mastered, the same child can tell time easily with a glance, figures out weeks until something, and has found the natural rhythm that connects seasons, months, and holidays...right up to knowing how and why the earth changes over the year and the position of the stars. 

If a parent thinks redshirting is best, I'm not going to stand in their way.  Not when kindy is really 1st and work is piled on little ones.

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Just curious...  Why do you think waiting a year before starting a child in kindergarten perpetuates problems related to socioeconomic status?

 

As far academic expectations, do you mean teachers expect more from the older kids in the class?

I notice that redshirting is more common among people who have higher socioeconomic status, especially where the cost of living is high. If they don't send the child to K "on time," it is a real financial hardship (usually childcare, or having a parent out of the labor force longer). It is tough because some can't afford not to send their child to full-time K. Before the year when their child is eligible for K, flexible spending accounts will help these families afford preschool or daycare. Once that is gone, they can really struggle if they chose to keep their child home that year, even if they think it's best. I live in an area where childcare is 15-20K per child. The irony is that the people who can redshirt are the same people who can pay for the most enrichment resources for their children, e.g., the reading and math programs offered from places like Kumon and local universities.

 

Worst case scenario: The 6 year olds from relatively privileged backgrounds (financially and educationally) make it look like the academic standards in K are reasonable or even "too low," even though young 5 year olds from less privileged backgrounds (many of whom start hardly know their letter sounds and numbers) struggle. That is a blatant oversimplification of course, and there are a ton of exceptions, but I think widespread redshirting creates outcomes that make it look like the academic standards of K "work" when they really don't, while penalizing children from families that can't afford to choose (or sometimes even seriously consider) this option.

 

Caveat: Of course I considered redshirting too, because when push comes to shove, I think we've got to chose what's best for our individual children -- even if we suspect it's contributing to a negative trend overall.

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... Is there benefit to retaining an advanced/gifted kid who's academically ready? As far as I can tell he's a neurotypical kid and somewhat more emotionally mature than his peers. We've been camping and in other close environments together.

 

In my experience when you have an academically advanced child, the struggle is that much more about emotional maturity, social savvy, personal restraint, self-control and reading other people. In a way you have to be able to "play off of" people in order to not make waves.

 

Pal could read and do math well above the level required to succeed in Kindergarten, but he was not capable of coping with 7 hour school days, being separated from his brother for hours at a time, focusing on the task (which was boring/redundant) in lock  step with the class. He was not capable of enduring boredom productively or even quietly.

 

He was not capable of controlling/regulating his stress so that he remained a pleasant classroom citizen.

He was not capable of not showing off, trying to impress his teacher when instead he was probably agitating her even more.

He didn't have the emotional maturity to know that he should just "skate by". Academically, he was the clearly best in the class (by a large margin) and he wanted recognition of his abilities. Like most little kids Pal was a "look at me, teacher, look what I can do!" type of kid. He wanted positive attention, especially from his teacher. But It came out as him being a little know-it-all prick who liked to show off. He tried hard to impress his teacher, but everything he did backfired. He didn't have the emotional control to keep his head down/not make waves.

 

To date, putting that kid in kindergarten was the worst mistake I've made with him. I should have fought the school for a grade skip and demanded he and be placed in 1st grade classroom with his brother. Which probably would have also been a disaster, but hey, at least they'd have been together.

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It really depends. My younger daughter might be considered advanced (she'd barely make the K cutoff with her upcoming August birthday). Her reading and spelling are maybe a second-grade level, although her math might be only mid K now.... in 7 months she'll probably know most or all of the material they teach in K and first.

 

I still considered redshirting her, even though in principle I don't like redshirting because it seems to perpetuate problems related to academic expectations and socioeconomic status.

 

The reasons I even considered it had nothing to do with her academic readiness, and everything to do with the social and behavioral expectations. Just an example: If a child misbehaves in our local K, they lose minutes from their recess. My older daughter can handle this. She doesn't misbehave at school. Ever. (With me, it's a different situation.) I fear my younger daughter will be sitting there without recess because she is staring at the ceiling (a real offense apparently that cost one girl 3 minutes off recess earlier this year). It's just so sad to me, although I do understand for teachers trying to control the class, losing recess is one of the few things that really sinks in with kids.

 

The other aspect of it is that so many children are redshirted now, especially the boys. My younger daughter is tiny (she finally made it tot he 25th percentile!!! last year, but may drop again.) There will be kids in her class almost twice her size, and up to a year and a half older. That might not be awesome for a girl, but it seems like it might be even more trying for a boy. Yes, some of it is physical size, but a lot is maturity now and down the road. What will it be like to be 12 with a class of late 13 and 14 year olds?

 

It sounds like with the advanced K, my reasons might be magnified for your friend. If the class is dominated by kids who were redshirted, her son will be up to 18 months younger than a LOT of the class (not just a few up to 18 months older, like my daughter). That can be a huge gap with kids so young.

 

Edit: P.S. I didn't redshirt her so she'll start K this coming fall. I decided for her to go "on time" even though I really agonized about it. Every situation is different.

That's interesting. And I get the decision to red shirt over behavioral expectations. Fortunately we have school choice and you can choice into schools that fit your family's needs or desires. We have schools that will reprimand and take away points from Kers for forgetting their belt or their homework. To me these are things that the parent is still responsible for since the children are so young. We will not even consider these schools.

 

I do not think red shirting is incredibly common here. It is an option that all parents have, but I think my friend is doing it mainly because she's a teacher and knows about it.

 

Our public schools are abysmal. The "excellent" school in our area had tested and shown that only 46% of 3rd graders were reading at or above grade level. That's the good school in our area of the city. I think many parents who really care about academics pursue charter or private school. Of course we have schools with good academics, but overall the schools are not meeting needs.

 

My thought with red shirting is that unless your kid is incredibly behind academically, socially, emotionally, or behavorally then they should start when they're old enough. I haven't studied it much, but I feel like red shirting an advanced K student somewhat upsets the balance for others. Not that the curve should be the main deciding factor. And I'm not sure how advanced he is. He's not noticably gifted, but I don't know him well enough.

 

And I understand the size issue. For this boy, he's average sized. But my daughter is like yours. She's incredibly small. She's in the 7th percentile for height! We went to a 4 year old class at a church and the kids were huge compared to her. We toured one school that suggested we could start K next year instead of waiting a full other year. We decided not to because of her size and her emotional readiness. She'll still be much smaller than most other students even starting on time and as one of the oldest in her grade.

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I have a dd6 who is Kindy (homeschooled) this year. She just turned 6, with a December bday. Kindy was a very hard choice to make for her. She is radically advanced in a very global way. The Montessori preschool she attended part time attempted to piece together a potential make-shift K program where she would have been shuffled back and forth between 3 different programs...And yet socially, emotionally she lagged behind her grade-peers, even though with a Dec bday she was older.

There was NO way she could have handled full days, and would have been a serious disruption for the entire classroom. There are so many reasons, but I can see how the desire to try to give them the extra year of maturity might prevail.

Unfortunately, I typically think this fails. Kids that are advanced can learn to skate by. Mine did not a lot besides draw:(

And she learned that people would rave and praise when she put in minimal effort at everything else so that she could get back to whatever she wanted to do. THIS was what I couldn't get past. My challenge-loving kid went to saying 'why should I bother?' Bringing her home was the best thing I could do. Immediately I got my kid back! I could live with one more year of her not really learning a ton at school...I couldn't live with the paradigm shift and unwillingness to even bother herself:(

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I notice that redshirting is more common among people who have higher socioeconomic status, especially where the cost of living is high. If they don't send the child to K "on time," it is a real financial hardship (usually childcare, or having a parent out of the labor force longer). It is tough because some can't afford not to send their child to full-time K. Before the year when their child is eligible for K, flexible spending accounts will help these families afford preschool or daycare. Once that is gone, they can really struggle if they chose to keep their child home that year, even if they think it's best. I live in an area where childcare is 15-20K per child. The irony is that the people who can redshirt are the same people who can pay for the most enrichment resources for their children, e.g., the reading and math programs offered from places like Kumon and local universities.

 

Worst case scenario: The 6 year olds from relatively privileged backgrounds (financially and educationally) make it look like the academic standards in K are reasonable or even "too low," even though young 5 year olds from less privileged backgrounds (many of whom start hardly know their letter sounds and numbers) struggle. That is a blatant oversimplification of course, and there are a ton of exceptions, but I think widespread redshirting creates outcomes that make it look like the academic standards of K "work" when they really don't, while penalizing children from families that can't afford to choose (or sometimes even seriously consider) this option.

 

Caveat: Of course I considered redshirting too, because when push comes to shove, I think we've got to chose what's best for our individual children -- even if we suspect it's contributing to a negative trend overall.

 

Thanks for taking the time to explain that.  I can certainly see your points.

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I notice that redshirting is more common among people who have higher socioeconomic status, especially where the cost of living is high. If they don't send the child to K "on time," it is a real financial hardship (usually childcare, or having a parent out of the labor force longer). It is tough because some can't afford not to send their child to full-time K. Before the year when their child is eligible for K, flexible spending accounts will help these families afford preschool or daycare. Once that is gone, they can really struggle if they chose to keep their child home that year, even if they think it's best. I live in an area where childcare is 15-20K per child. The irony is that the people who can redshirt are the same people who can pay for the most enrichment resources for their children, e.g., the reading and math programs offered from places like Kumon and local universities.

 

Worst case scenario: The 6 year olds from relatively privileged backgrounds (financially and educationally) make it look like the academic standards in K are reasonable or even "too low," even though young 5 year olds from less privileged backgrounds (many of whom start hardly know their letter sounds and numbers) struggle. That is a blatant oversimplification of course, and there are a ton of exceptions, but I think widespread redshirting creates outcomes that make it look like the academic standards of K "work" when they really don't, while penalizing children from families that can't afford to choose (or sometimes even seriously consider) this option.

 

Caveat: Of course I considered redshirting too, because when push comes to shove, I think we've got to chose what's best for our individual children -- even if we suspect it's contributing to a negative trend overall.

This is my thought as well. Most of the schools in our area are high free and reduced lunch schools. The parents who push for advanced K and take time to look at and choice into advanced k, are more stable financially and in other ways.

 

My thought is that: 1. The child would be bored since they're already qualified for advanced K. 2. The other students are held to a different standard because the already ready and older kid is doing excellent.

 

I do think it's the half day verse full day that is a big issue here. It is extremely difficult to find half day K. You can pull your child out half day, but then they feel disconnected and miss some of class. There are half day K in charter schools, but they're few and far away distance wise. Full day K is a huge change for kids in half day preschool. I will say that 90% of our PreK4 classes are full day. DDs class will be half day but it's brand new and 1/3 schools in the area offering half day prek

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I was more inclined to put my Nov birthday Dec 1st cut-off kid in play-based preschool than in K this year, because doing worksheets all day long about stuff he already knows would not have been a good situation. But he was just getting too different from the other preschool kids, even though some of them were his age. If I had to put him in school, I would've fought hard to put him in 1st grade, yes, at almost 5yo at the start of the school year, rather than K. Either give the kid plenty of play time, or appropriate academics, but not all-day-long boredom with worksheets he can do in his sleep. That said, we don't have an 'advanced K' program here, and I obviously chose to homeschool him (he mostly plays). I know some people say boys are often not mature enough by the time they reach middle school, but 5yo is too early to worry about that... worry about putting the kid in an appropriate setting at 5yo, and then worry about it again whenever the setting isn't appropriate anymore... which may or may not happen.

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I totally red shirted my DS#2... AFTER I tried starting him in K the year he was "supposed" to go and it being a HORRIBLE experience for everyone involved. (We homeschool through a public umbrella charter that requires kids attend classes 1 day each week.)  

 

His birthday is at the very end of Sep, the cut off here is Oct 1st, and school starts middle of Aug... so he was still 4yo when school started, but he was doing mostly 1st grade work.  So academically, he was plenty ready, but socially and emotionally, he was waaay not.  I knew that then, but I hoped that by being around older kids (not DS#1) it might force him to grow emotionally.

 

Well, his teacher called me or I got a note or an incident report every. single. week.  Really, it was awful.  He had trouble staying in his seat, blurted out answers, and wandered and roamed when he was supposed to be at a station or participating in an activity.  He got in trouble for refusing to do activities he deemed "baby work."  He had on-the-floor-crying meltdowns and sometimes hit or pushed other kids when he got frustrated. 

 

By winter break he was saying that he was stupid and that no one liked him and hitting himself in the face when he got in trouble at school AND at home.  So I pulled him out, and really, I think I should have done it much earlier.  Sending him to K when he was *supposed* to go was one of my bigger parenting mistakes.  It took months and months for him to recover.  We still have some issues because of it.

 

This year he's doing K again and is the oldest in his class.  He's still a little immature compared to them, but he's much closer to fitting in and has had fewer behavior problems. 

 

Most parents know when their kid is ready for traditional school.  I wish there was free pre-school everywhere so that under-advantaged families with immature little kids could choose to put off K for a year too. 

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Well, his teacher called me or I got a note or an incident report every. single. week.  Really, it was awful.  He had trouble staying in his seat, blurted out answers, and wandered and roamed when he was supposed to be at a station or participating in an activity.  He got in trouble for refusing to do activities he deemed "baby work."  He had on-the-floor-crying meltdowns and sometimes hit or pushed other kids when he got frustrated.

 

What a lousy teacher. Really, my 8.5yo still did some/most of those things in 2nd grade (and actually, still does them in some group classes this year, in 3rd grade). He's got an educational autism diagnosis (on an IEP), so that maybe helped the school in not punishing him for things as much, but I think for the most part he also had good teachers who were more reasonable toward all the kids, at least as far as doing more rewarding of good behavior than punishing of bad behavior.

 

I don't know how your son would've fared with a different teacher, maybe redshirting him was best regardless, but I suspect that with a better teacher he might have been fine instead of punished for being a little kid and acting like a little kid.

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My DS was academically ready for second grade but we retained him in first anyway because academics is not the only factor we considered when deciding where to place the child. I would assume that mom knows her child best and that you needn't worry about him being retained unnecessarily.

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My DS was academically ready for second grade but we retained him in first anyway because academics is not the only factor we considered when deciding where to place the child. I would assume that mom knows her child best and that you needn't worry about him being retained unnecessarily.

I wasn't saying that she isn't doing it necessarily. I was more wondering why you'd retain an academically ready child who seemed on par socially with his peers.

 

To me, redshirting doesn't seem necessary in most typical children's cases. Obviously it's up to the parents and they know their children best, but to me, if a child is academically and emotionally/socially ready.

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So, for those districts with advanced K, what do they do at 1st grade? Our ps, for years, put the older kids in the afternoon K (they were still half-day at that point) so that class zoomed ahead. But, then, it stopped. They certainly wouldn't want to differentiate education, so they kids that were already reading long chapter books were back stuck filling out those inane worksheets with putting the middle short vowel into the blanks. Seems like the further the kid goes out of the lockstep the less able he is to go back into the system. 

 

They typically go to a regular first grade class. It is the entire school district (city) wide that offers advanced K. We do have a few gifted schools. These kids tend to have to score higher on the advanced K assessment and then they have to test as gifted in 1st grade. But, advanced K is not for "gifted" kids. From my understanding, Advanced K is for kids who have met the skill requirements for K. If the child tests as gifted, they have services available through the gifted and talented program. Each school has an in-house gifted and talented coordinator or one who is available on certain days. But typically, they go to a regular 1st grade class. We don't plant to pursue the advanced K since we are doing charter or homeschooling.

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My November dd who has been in PS all her life was a November baby in CA -- she went in at 4 1/2.  We considered having her repeat K to catch up to her peers (we were moving then to VA) but we decided to keep going since she was so advanced.  She would have benefited from an extra year due to executive functioning issues (which I didn't know was a thing while she was growing up and realize I wouldn't have been able to help her anyway since apparently I suffer from the same issues!). Her emotional maturity has always lagged a little.  However she constantly tells us how glad she was we didn't hold her back, as most of the time she's been so bored since it has all been too easy -- that she's only being challenged now in 11th grade.  Holding her back would have exacerbated the problems. I feel like for us, as with so many similar situations, you never really know what's going to be best at the time, you just cross your fingers and hope for the best! 

 

*Edited to fix spelling! 

Edited by SanDiegoMom in VA
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I think there are just a lot of different considerations about when a child is ready to start being in school all day.  In this case, it might have something to do with the mum's philosophy of education - maybe she just doesn't think full days are appropriate for kids that age, even if they are academically capable.

 

I actually don't consider red-shirting a thing, in my brain, unless it is specifically for reasons like qualifying for sports teams at a relativly more mature age. 

 

As far as decising when to send a child to school, it seems like a no-brainer to me that since kids at 5 are at different levels of development, it should be the parent's call whether to send them that year.  I mean - that is why there is allowed to be discretion.  It's completely idiotic to say a child who will struggle for being a little more slow developing should still be sent just because that is his birthday.

 

It might be possible to accomodate it better in a different school model, say with very small classes, shorter days in early years, and mixed grade classes.  But even then, I don't see the point of making what is really an arbitrary date so important.  The point is for kids to learn, not be "finished" at some predetermined moment.

Edited by Bluegoat
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I have a gifted October baby, past our September first cutoff. I dread this decision!

 

What decision? Your dc will be one of the oldest in his class, all the way through school. :-)

 

Or are you thinking of seeing if you can enroll him a year early? 

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I have a gifted October baby, past our September first cutoff. I dread this decision!

 

So would you be considering starting a year early? DD will be one of the older ones in her class. She has a mid-December birthday and we have an October first cutoff. One school suggested we could test into K next year instead of waiting until 2017-18. We decided not to test for a few reasons: 1. DD is incredibly small for her age and is only 31lbs and 37in at 4yo. 2. She is emotionally her age and socially not advanced. 3. I'd rather her be the top of her class with kids her age than struggling to keep up or barely keeping up with kids a year older. 4. I want her to have another year of play. 5. She is not assertive and let's other kids push her around or cut her off.

 

DD could do K work. We actually do it at home sometimes in games and our intentional play. I wouldn't call DD "gifted", but she is starting to read and is writing fairly neatly, but I think she'd enjoy K with her peers.

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We red-shirted DS because he was generally immature.  His manner of play and interaction with others was a more on a Kindergarten level than that of a first-grader, and I was concerned that this would adversely affect his social interactions in later years, and he would be socially behind at a time when it was more important to him that he be on par with his peers.  I was also concerned with the heavy workload and extensive seatwork in an elementary aged boy who was already the last child to accomplish what his teacher expected of the kids that year (not because he is developmentally delayed, but because he was the absolute youngest in class).  I know a few moms who red-shirted because they felt that the expectations of the next grade were inappropriate to children generally and they didn't want their kids in that inappropriate soup.

 

I am a huge fan of redshirting and think kids should start academics later rather than earlier if parents are in doubt about their child's readiness.  I regret not redshirting my DD (who is doing very well in 8th grade and did great in the lower grades, but whom I think could have benefitted from an extra year of unstructured play and maturity).  I might not think this way if the push for constant seatwork, test performance at young ages, and academics were not the toxic stew it is these days.

I wasn't saying that she isn't doing it necessarily. I was more wondering why you'd retain an academically ready child who seemed on par socially with his peers.

 

To me, redshirting doesn't seem necessary in most typical children's cases. Obviously it's up to the parents and they know their children best, but to me, if a child is academically and emotionally/socially ready.

 

Edited by reefgazer
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I wish I could triple-like this entire post.  It gets to the heart of my thoughts and what I was thinking when I redshirted DS.  Who cares what age a kid is when he starts school?  The child should go to school when he is ready, and not when his parents are pushed because of some arbitrary date or other external force. 

I think there are just a lot of different considerations about when a child is ready to start being in school all dayIn this case, it might have something to do with the mum's philosophy of education - maybe she just doesn't think full days are appropriate for kids that age, even if they are academically capable.

 

I actually don't consider red-shirting a thing, in my brain, unless it is specifically for reasons like qualifying for sports teams at a relativly more mature age. 

 

As far as decising when to send a child to school, it seems like a no-brainer to me that since kids at 5 are at different levels of development, it should be the parent's call whether to send them that year.  I mean - that is why there is allowed to be discretion.  It's completely idiotic to say a child who will struggle for being a little more slow developing should still be sent just because that is his birthday.

 

It might be possible to accomodate it better in a different school model, say with very small classes, shorter days in early years, and mixed grade classes.  But even then, I don't see the point of making what is really an arbitrary date so important.  The point is for kids to learn, not be "finished" at some predetermined moment.

 

Edited by reefgazer
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I still think the schools should be required to accommodate all children who are born within the normal dates for KG entry.

 

I realize none of us has control over that and we have to do what works for our kids.  But I do think some people red-shirt for the wrong reasons.  I've heard parents say they did it because they wanted school to be easy for their kids.  Personally I think that's a disservice to the kids.

 

I have a lot of thoughts about starting KG young, but my experience is mainly with girls, so it might not be useful here.

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My mom fought, and won, my opportunity to skip the first grade back in the 70's.  I was academically gifted.   She thought it was silly for me to go to school to learn my ABC's when I'd already taught myself to read encyclopedias at home.  I can see her point.

 

As an adult with children of my own, one gifted neurotypical and one gifted/autistic, I would never put my children ahead of their peer group in school. 

 

We redshirted our autistic son in preschool as he was not ready to advance as far as his social skills and classroom attention were concerned.  Now that he is 11 and sometimes bullied in public school due to his speech issues and general niceness/passivity, I'm glad that he's physically bigger than most of his peers.   He's been hit several times at school.  We are considering homeschooling next year for him and our 9 yo daughter as we are tired of the public school nonsense on several fronts.

 

I had an April birthday, which would have made me one of the youngest in my intended class, plus I skipped a grade.  That put me 1 1/2 to 2 years younger than my private school peers. 

 

I was bullied and beaten.  I had few friends.  I was always out of sync with the rest of them.  I got my driver's license much later.  I dated much later, etc.

 

I also had quite a bit of sexual harassment from the boys.  It's not fun being pinched and groped as a 12 and 13 year old by the 14 and 15 year old much bigger boys in your class.

 

My daughter is highly gifted, but I would never skip a grade in order to facilitate more academic challenge.  We are looking at homeschooling instead.

 

Just a thought from someone who lived the path you're considering for your daughter.

 

GeorgiaMom

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There are academic awards and cutoffs that go by grade level with either no age cutoff or generous age cutoff. For example AMC10 allows any 10th grader and below who is 17.5 years old and below.

 

My oldest qualify for an award for his act scores and the coordinator wanted proof from school in the form of report card that he is in 6th grade. He just turn 11 (just met Dec 2nd cutoff) so I replied that we are homeschooling and he is already young for grade level. I guess the coordinator finally checked his birthdate and realized how old he is because she stop asking for proof of grade level.

 

In my district retaining is easy while getting a grade skip approved is hard. Besides little to no homework in K-5. I don't know any neighbors who redshirt.

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Since this has become a subtopic, I'll just say my daughters are having a blast socially at school despite being young for grade.  It can happen.  While one of mine might have been a bit immature going into KG / 1st, she isn't socially immature now.  I doubt maturity will be an issue going forward either.

 

I was accelerated too.  I was very introverted.  I had friends, but was far from popular.  But I don't think I would have been popular if I was in the grade below, either.  I think I would have stood out more as the class nerd.  I wasn't interested in girl-faced male rock stars in any year of my life, it wasn't just because I was young for my grade.  :P  The year I combined 11th and 12th grade (when I was 15-16) was the best year of my childhood, because I related better to the 12th graders.  So, personally, I would not worry about a girl flailing as she gets older in school.  I can't speak for boys.

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I still think the schools should be required to accommodate all children who are born within the normal dates for KG entry.

 

I realize none of us has control over that and we have to do what works for our kids.  But I do think some people red-shirt for the wrong reasons.  I've heard parents say they did it because they wanted school to be easy for their kids.  Personally I think that's a disservice to the kids.

 

I have a lot of thoughts about starting KG young, but my experience is mainly with girls, so it might not be useful here.

 

I'm not sure that is actually possible in the kind of set up we have in schools now, where each grade is expected to complete, at least roughly, the same level of work each school year.

 

For example, this year my son was eligable for K, and actually he would have been older than most as his birthday is only a few days after the cut-off.

 

But he is so not interested in doing any kind of academic sit-down work.  He's not super active, and he can concentrate if he is interested, but at the moment that is really not his world - he doesn't care aout symbols and such.  He really likes to play and build things and hear stories.  I am just now seeing a little more interest in this, and I think he will be in a good place to start next September.

 

Now, this is easy for me as we homeschool and I can arrange things the way I want, or start in December if that seems right, or keep classes very short.

 

If he went to K, and his disinterest accommodated, how would they manage when they wanted to go on to the next years curriculum?  The answer I think is that for lower elementary they would need to let go of many of the set learning outcomes, and expect wide diversity in the kids grouped by age in a single classroom.  Or they could scrap that and have multi-age rooms and not expect a necessarily linear progress.

 

It would mean letting go of most testing, giving teachers far more autonomy, and smaller classes.

 

To me that is a basic rethinking of the whole Prussian model.  Which is what should happen IMO but I don't see the systems in either the US or Canada getting there any time soon.

 

ETA - or - they could push back the starting age to a point when they can expect kids to be more uniform in their abilities - that is, around 7.

Edited by Bluegoat
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There are academic awards and cutoffs that go by grade level with either no age cutoff or generous age cutoff. For example AMC10 allows any 10th grader and below who is 17.5 years old and below.

 

My oldest qualify for an award for his act scores and the coordinator wanted proof from school in the form of report card that he is in 6th grade. He just turn 11 (just met Dec 2nd cutoff) so I replied that we are homeschooling and he is already young for grade level. I guess the coordinator finally checked his birthdate and realized how old he is because she stop asking for proof of grade level.

 

In my district retaining is easy while getting a grade skip approved is hard. Besides little to no homework in K-5. I don't know any neighbors who redshirt.

It is easier to retain than accelerate here as well. I had one school tell me that even if DD passed the K entrance exam a year early, that they wouldn't let her start early. We've decided not to pursue it, but I was surprised how easy it is to retain and hard to push ahead.

We are considering homeschooling and although DD might do first grade work in K, I'd still call her K for activities such as church. And dance goes by age, not grade so it's not an issue.

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I'm not sure that is actually possible in the kind of set up we have in schools now, where each grade is expected to complete, at least roughly, the same level of work each school year.

 

For example, this year my son was eligable for K, and actually he would have been older than most as his birthday is only a few days after the cut-off.

 

But he is so not interested in doing any kind of academic sit-down work. He's not super active, and he can concentrate if he is interested, but at the moment that is really not his world - he doesn't care aout symbols and such. He really likes to play and build things and hear stories. I am just now seeing a little more interest in this, and I think he will be in a good place to start next September.

 

Now, this is easy for me as we homeschool and I can arrange things the way I want, or start in December if that seems right, or keep classes very short.

 

If he went to K, and his disinterest accommodated, how would they manage when they wanted to go on to the next years curriculum? The answer I think is that for lower elementary they would need to let go of many of the set learning outcomes, and expect wide diversity in the kids grouped by age in a single classroom. Or they could scrap that and have multi-age rooms and not expect a necessarily linear progress.

 

It would mean letting go of most testing, giving teachers far more autonomy, and smaller classes.

 

To me that is a basic rethinking of the whole Prussian model. Which is what should happen IMO but I don't see the systems in either the US or Canada getting there any time soon.

 

ETA - or - they could push back the starting age to a point when they can expect kids to be more uniform in their abilities - that is, around 7.

This is what my husband and I were thinking through last night. We disagree with how uniform kids have to be. Most kids do not develop and learn in a synchronized manner. Yet our schools expect them to all be the same developmentally and academically.

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What decision? Your dc will be one of the oldest in his class, all the way through school. :-)

 

Or are you thinking of seeing if you can enroll him a year early?

Sending her when she is eligible and nearly six will feel like redshirting! We will have the option to test her and send her a year early, when K will probably already be boring, but then she loses eligibility for the gifted program... I have to accept that with an accelerated kid we can't win. I'm leaning towards keeping her in her play preschool if she is still happy instead of accelerating. We shall see.

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I also had quite a bit of sexual harassment from the boys. It's not fun being pinched and groped as a 12 and 13 year old by the 14 and 15 year old much bigger boys in your class.

 

 

GeorgiaMom

This was also a consideration with us. I graduated at 15 and had all manner of similar experiences--as well as feeling pressured at a very young age (by girls) to deal with issues I clearly wasn't ready for.

 

Two of my friends are elementary school teachers. They say that it is a very real problem. Boys tend to be redshirted much for often than girls, and girls tend to apply to start early Kindy. It is evident even in the K classrooms where the boys are just bigger, rougher, louder. The girls tend to get pushed around, and lose confidence physically and academically. They told me that it continues and becomes even more problematic when the kids hit puberty:(

When we investigated the school options for Alex (Kindy), I actually had one principal ask me if I was prepared to have her in a class with boys 2-3 years older than her in school...and that was before the discussion of sending her to upper level classes for various subjects.

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I'm not sure that is actually possible in the kind of set up we have in schools now, where each grade is expected to complete, at least roughly, the same level of work each school year.

 

For example, this year my son was eligable for K, and actually he would have been older than most as his birthday is only a few days after the cut-off.

 

But he is so not interested in doing any kind of academic sit-down work.  He's not super active, and he can concentrate if he is interested, but at the moment that is really not his world - he doesn't care aout symbols and such.  He really likes to play and build things and hear stories.  I am just now seeing a little more interest in this, and I think he will be in a good place to start next September.

 

Now, this is easy for me as we homeschool and I can arrange things the way I want, or start in December if that seems right, or keep classes very short.

 

If he went to K, and his disinterest accommodated, how would they manage when they wanted to go on to the next years curriculum?  The answer I think is that for lower elementary they would need to let go of many of the set learning outcomes, and expect wide diversity in the kids grouped by age in a single classroom.  Or they could scrap that and have multi-age rooms and not expect a necessarily linear progress.

 

It would mean letting go of most testing, giving teachers far more autonomy, and smaller classes.

 

To me that is a basic rethinking of the whole Prussian model.  Which is what should happen IMO but I don't see the systems in either the US or Canada getting there any time soon.

 

ETA - or - they could push back the starting age to a point when they can expect kids to be more uniform in their abilities - that is, around 7.

 

One, I think sometimes parents underestimate their kids' ability to adjust to the realities of KG.

 

Two, I completely disagree that kids at age 7 are more uniform in their abilities.  If anything, the diversity in ability levels increases with age.  If you mean most kids are able to do rudimentary academics at age 7, then yes, but that ignores the fact that some kids are doing algebra and reading the classics at age 7.

Edited by SKL
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Hmm, my 4th grade girl is barely 4' tall, and she absolutely holds her own with the girls and the boys.  ;)  There were a couple incidents in 1st grade when she felt the need to defend herself physically, which she did.  I do have my girls in martial arts, so that might be a factor.  My younger kid, who is more average in height, has never been bothered physically.

 

I get that there will be some boys in middle/high school who will be jerks.  But will they really be more likely to pick on the younger, less developed girls?  Won't girls be subject to these jerks regardless of whether they are older or younger?  Won't the boys be taller in high school regardless of what age the girls are?

 

I think it's good to be aware of these possible issues, but I don't think they are a given.  I never had this problem as an accelerated student in a public high school.

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Hmm, my 4th grade girl is barely 4' tall, and she absolutely holds her own with the girls and the boys. ;) There were a couple incidents in 1st grade when she felt the need to defend herself physically, which she did. I do have my girls in martial arts, so that might be a factor. My younger kid, who is more average in height, has never been bothered physically.

 

I get that there will be some boys in middle/high school who will be jerks. But will they really be more likely to pick on the younger, less developed girls? Won't girls be subject to these jerks regardless of whether they are older or younger? Won't the boys be taller in high school regardless of what age the girls are?

 

I think it's good to be aware of these possible issues, but I don't think they are a given. I never had this problem as an accelerated student in a public high school.

I don't think that the younger girls are more likely to get picked on...but maybe that they will be less ready to deal with it?

Again, I think there will always be cases where it was or wasn't a problem for individuals. But their point was that so many boys were being red-shirted and not girls that the majority of boys in the class were much older than their female classmates, which developed a certain culture and expectations. I can see this happening,

I still believe that every parent has to do what is best for THEIR child. I just hate that this has so many consequences for the bigger picture:(

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I don't think that the younger girls are more likely to get picked on...but maybe that they will be less ready to deal with it?

Again, I think there will always be cases where it was or wasn't a problem for individuals. But their point was that so many boys were being red-shirted and not girls that the majority of boys in the class were much older than their female classmates, which developed a certain culture and expectations. I can see this happening,

I still believe that every parent has to do what is best for THEIR child. I just hate that this has so many consequences for the bigger picture:(

 

But aren't boys generally about 2 years behind girls by adolescence?  So wouldn't it merely even the social playing field to have boys be older?

 

The size doesn't concern me.  I have to admit not understanding that whole line of thinking.  My brother was wearing size 3 when he went to KG.  He was a shrimp all through school, but he was pretty popular, because he could run his mouth.  He punched a 6th grade bully when he was in KG and that was his last bullying incident.  He fared a lot better socially (and physically) than his much taller, older for grade, but spacy-er brother.

 

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DD has a growth problem and DH had the same growth problem that was not diagnosed.  There is a facebook group for people with kids with this problem.   Several of them were discussing red-shirting their kids merely on the basis of height.   We both think that is nuts.  Particularly since the kids are being treated and will be within short-normal fairly shortly.   DH was the very short kid in school and it was never a problem for him.  

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My mom fought, and won, my opportunity to skip the first grade back in the 70's.  I was academically gifted.   She thought it was silly for me to go to school to learn my ABC's when I'd already taught myself to read encyclopedias at home.  I can see her point.

 

As an adult with children of my own, one gifted neurotypical and one gifted/autistic, I would never put my children ahead of their peer group in school. 

 

We redshirted our autistic son in preschool as he was not ready to advance as far as his social skills and classroom attention were concerned.  Now that he is 11 and sometimes bullied in public school due to his speech issues and general niceness/passivity, I'm glad that he's physically bigger than most of his peers.   He's been hit several times at school.  We are considering homeschooling next year for him and our 9 yo daughter as we are tired of the public school nonsense on several fronts.

 

I had an April birthday, which would have made me one of the youngest in my intended class, plus I skipped a grade.  That put me 1 1/2 to 2 years younger than my private school peers. 

 

I was bullied and beaten.  I had few friends.  I was always out of sync with the rest of them.  I got my driver's license much later.  I dated much later, etc.

 

I also had quite a bit of sexual harassment from the boys.  It's not fun being pinched and groped as a 12 and 13 year old by the 14 and 15 year old much bigger boys in your class.

 

My daughter is highly gifted, but I would never skip a grade in order to facilitate more academic challenge.  We are looking at homeschooling instead.

 

Just a thought from someone who lived the path you're considering for your daughter.

 

GeorgiaMom

 

 Just to play devils' advocate...

 

I have a borderline birthday, as does my older sister.  My mom decided to start my sister on the young side, but rethought her decision, so I was one of the oldest in my class.  Due to some kids transferring in with different school district birth date cutoffs, I had a friend in my grade who shared my birthday, but was a whole year younger.

 

Being the oldest in my class was miserable.  I hit puberty pretty early, and was in third grade when I needed a B cup.  By fourth grade, I was more well-endowed than my teachers.  I reached my full height by fifth grade, and was literally more than a head taller than anyone else in my class.

 

The school asked my mom to let me skip third grade, but she felt it was best for me to remain with my "same aged peers".  Again, I had the opportunity to skip seventh grade, but my mom said no.  By the time high school rolled around, I was just done with school - I graduated early and went to community college until my classmates graduated.  Then I was allowed to go to the college of my choice.  I begged to be homeschooled once I hit seventh grade, but my mom didn't see that as an option.  I don't blame her for not homeschooling me - she did the best she could.  But she did dismiss skipping a grade without really knowing just how miserable school was for me.  Skipping a grade wouldn't have solved everything, but I would have been challenged more, and would have been with students who were closer to my developmental level and maturity.

 

I felt that there was so much wasted time in public school.  I was in the talented and gifted program, but it wasn't a great program in our district.  By the time I was in high school, I had figured out how to do my first period's homework in second period, second period's homework in third period, etc. - and still got strait A's.  I also worked 25-30 hours a week throughout high school.

 

My daughter has a borderline birthday as well - she's two days past it.  I debated long and hard before deciding what to do.  It doesn't matter as far as curricula choices since I choose what level is right for each child where they are.  But for things like co-op, Sunday school, and community art class - it does make a difference.  I decided to put her in the higher grade, even though it wouldn't technically be redshirting her, since she does miss the deadline.  (But in several districts around us, she would have made the deadline by a couple of months).  However, I've been sure that she knows that the plan is five years of high school for her: three years at home, and two as dual enrolled, taking college classes.  Obviously, that can change depending on many factors, but for now, that's the plan.  If we did decide that public school would be best at some point, I think she would go into the grade the school system would put her in, simply because I notice some attention problems that would be magnified in a classroom setting.  However, since we can compensate for that at home, I do feel we made the right decision in putting her "a grade ahead".

 

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Sending her when she is eligible and nearly six will feel like redshirting! We will have the option to test her and send her a year early, when K will probably already be boring, but then she loses eligibility for the gifted program... I have to accept that with an accelerated kid we can't win. I'm leaning towards keeping her in her play preschool if she is still happy instead of accelerating. We shall see.

Dd will start school as one of the oldest. She'll turn 6 a few months in. She's academically ready for K now, but we will not start K early.

 

She is in a play based preschool. She'll stay there next year. It's 3hrs a day 4-5 days a week (every other Friday off). It's mostly play and free choice time. They do have one small group time per day with the teacher. She's learned mostly life and social skills. She hasn't learned much academically. We do reading at home and play math games.

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One, I think sometimes parents underestimate their kids' ability to adjust to the realities of KG.

 

Two, I completely disagree that kids at age 7 are more uniform in their abilities.  If anything, the diversity in ability levels increases with age.  If you mean most kids are able to do rudimentary academics at age 7, then yes, but that ignores the fact that some kids are doing algebra and reading the classics at age 7.

 

Some underestimate, but I think the opposite is true as well, many assume they won't have a problem.

 

Yes, I do only mean that by 7, you probably won't have kids who aren't ready at all to sit and do academic work. So there shouldn't be a need to try and combine an academic and an ECE type environment with kids doing totally different types of activities.

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But aren't boys generally about 2 years behind girls by adolescence? So wouldn't it merely even the social playing field to have boys be older?

 

The size doesn't concern me. I have to admit not understanding that whole line of thinking. My brother was wearing size 3 when he went to KG. He was a shrimp all through school, but he was pretty popular, because he could run his mouth. He punched a 6th grade bully when he was in KG and that was his last bullying incident. He fared a lot better socially (and physically) than his much taller, older for grade, but spacy-er brother.

 

Some districts actually take size into consideration when deciding if a grade skip is appropriate. The one school that said skipping a grade was difficult, also noted that they would probably deny it due to DDs size. At 4, she has 2 year olds who are her size.

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