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Advice: enrolling child in public school K or first


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I am writing here while being very emotional. Our life circumstances have changed and since the start of the school year I knew my child would need to go to public school. I did not enroll him at the start of the year (even though I got all the paper work together) because we were going to have to move as well. I did not want to enroll him and then change schools half way through the year as we would not be able to stay within the school limits. We are moving this week.

 

I used a homeschool-friendly charter where he had enrichment classes and I worked with him independently 3 days a week. I explained to the ES my child was going to be going to public school in  January and I wanted to get him as ready as I could. I was assured that he was fine. He has a summer birthday, he is 6 and technically in first grade. Will be 7 during the summer break.

 

Now that we know where we will be moving I did some digging and based on what I have been told, I believe my child will be labeled as behind in writing. It is the one area I did not stress last year. We increased the writing this past semester, did spelling... however, during the enrichment classes the teachers would write for him at times and I have a lot of pages not finished. I do not believe he will have the stamina to write as much as first graders need to write. He is otherwise on par as he reads well (Frog and Toad/Cat in the Hat) and his math is fine (I have never timed him for his work and this could be an issue too).

 

And now here is my dilemma: I think he would be better off finishing the year in K: to get used to the school routine, to build his stamina with the writing and to get used to being graded and so on. Like I said - he would still be 6 at the end of the school year. But because he was in a charter in first grade, I am not sure it is legal or even possible to place him in K. Any advice will be appreciated. I am nervous about having him go to school (I have to, like I said above) and the last thing he needs after a move and a change in schooling pace, is to feel extra overwhelmed with a skill that will surely label him as needing extra help. He is a good natured kid, and smart enough. I am confident he can develop the writing skills fine by the end of the year if placed in K where I am pretty sure he can otherwise  do the work.

 

Any help?

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Thank you for your response. He is only a week too old for the optional TK. So older - yes. But not by a lot.

 

You are not the only person telling me to put him in first and let him catch up. I'm just a worrier and while I think it is fine to struggle (how can you overcome if you don't struggle?) - I wonder about the value to adding stress to an already stressful situation.

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you will need to check with the school that he will attend. Since he is enrolled in a public charter school as a first grader and doing "fine" you may not have the option to place him back in kinder. I would put him in 1st grade, and the school will let you know if he is behind enough to need to be retained. If he is only "behind" in writing, you may cause bigger problems by putting him in kinder where he may be too far ahead of the other students in all other areas.

Edited by City Mouse
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I am writing here while being very emotional. Our life circumstances have changed and since the start of the school year I knew my child would need to go to public school. I did not enroll him at the start of the year (even though I got all the paper work together) because we were going to have to move as well. I did not want to enroll him and then change schools half way through the year as we would not be able to stay within the school limits. We are moving this week.

 

I used a homeschool-friendly charter where he had enrichment classes and I worked with him independently 3 days a week. I explained to the ES my child was going to be going to public school in  January and I wanted to get him as ready as I could. I was assured that he was fine. He has a summer birthday, he is 6 and technically in first grade. Will be 7 during the summer break.

 

Now that we know where we will be moving I did some digging and based on what I have been told, I believe my child will be labeled as behind in writing. It is the one area I did not stress last year. We increased the writing this past semester, did spelling... however, during the enrichment classes the teachers would write for him at times and I have a lot of pages not finished. I do not believe he will have the stamina to write as much as first graders need to write. He is otherwise on par as he reads well (Frog and Toad/Cat in the Hat) and his math is fine (I have never timed him for his work and this could be an issue too).

 

And now here is my dilemma: I think he would be better off finishing the year in K: to get used to the school routine, to build his stamina with the writing and to get used to being graded and so on. Like I said - he would still be 6 at the end of the school year. But because he was in a charter in first grade, I am not sure it is legal or even possible to place him in K. Any advice will be appreciated. I am nervous about having him go to school (I have to, like I said above) and the last thing he needs after a move and a change in schooling pace, is to feel extra overwhelmed with a skill that will surely label him as needing extra help. He is a good natured kid, and smart enough. I am confident he can develop the writing skills fine by the end of the year if placed in K where I am pretty sure he can otherwise  do the work.

 

Any help?

 

I could not possibly advise someone to enroll a 7yo child in kindergarten or first grade. For that matter, I could not advise someone to enroll a 6yo child in kindergarten.

 

Being "behind" in writing will not be a tragedy. All things being equal, he should be able to catch up quickly.

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I enrolled two children this year, after the start of the year. Writing was a large concern because we also had not pursued it as much as the school has. My 6yo entered 1st and she is already catching up fairly quickly and she was/is behind in couple areas. The writing is a lot and I worried about stamina but it hasn't been an issue. And I've since learned that she really loves writing sentences and stories. :)

 

I would go with first grade.

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So he turned 6 over the summer and will be 6 for the rest of this school year?  And technically he is only a week behind the cut off to be a kindergartner instead of a 1st grader?  And you are considering putting him in school as a kindergartner if the school would allow it for the remainder of THIS year, (you are not thinking of enrolling him in kindergarten as a 7 year old next year)?  But he was registered with an on-line charter as a 1st grader for the first half of this year?  Just trying to clarify...

 

If my assumptions above are correct, I agree with up thread, you may not legally be allowed to move him back to Kindergarten without some sort of testing from the school that indicates he is far enough behind that he needs to be in kindergarten.  I do understand your concerns and I did have one of my children actually repeat a grade.  Her birthday IS right at the cut-off for our area.  I do not regret the decision in the least.  It helped.  She needed the extra time to mature emotionally and neurologically.  However, in this instance, I am not sure you actually can and I don't know that it is needed if his only area of concern is writing.

 

I would call the school, first and foremost, and try to determine just how much actual writing will be required of a 1st grader.  Some schools are insane in their expectations for even kindergartners now with regards to writing.  If it sounds like an overwhelming amount would there be any way at all to somehow homeschool him for the rest of this school year and over the summer to give him time to develop his fine motor skills/muscle memory/writing stamina without the pressure of a classroom setting?

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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I could not possibly advise someone to enroll a 7yo child in kindergarten or first grade. For that matter, I could not advise someone to enroll a 6yo child in kindergarten.

 

Being "behind" in writing will not be a tragedy. All things being equal, he should be able to catch up quickly.

I agree for the most part that a neurotypical child can usually catch up if they only have a couple of areas they are slightly behind and in this case in particular it doesn't sound like he is terribly behind.  He may just need some extra practice in handwriting.

 

Your post does puzzle me a bit, though.  There are a lot of kids that turn 6 right after the start of school in kinder and a lot of kids that turn 7 right after the start of school in 1st.  Kinder is usually 5/6 year olds and 1st grade is usually 6/7 year olds.  I am wondering why it seems so horrifically awful to enroll a 6 year old in kindergarten if they are not yet ready for 1st grade level material, especially if they have a summer birthday and will be 6 for the entirety of their school year?  The age difference isn't really an age difference.  They may be older by only a few weeks from some of their classmates and everyone will be turning the same age that year.

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I agree for the most part that a neurotypical child can usually catch up if they only have a couple of areas they are slightly behind and in this case in particular it doesn't sound like he is terribly behind.  He may just need some extra practice in handwriting.

 

Your post does puzzle me a bit, though.  There are a lot of kids that turn 6 right after the start of school in kinder and a lot of kids that turn 7 right after the start of school in 1st.  Kinder is usually 5/6 year olds and 1st grade is usually 6/7 year olds.  I am wondering why it seems so horrifically awful to enroll a 6 year old in kindergarten if they are not yet ready for 1st grade level material, especially if they have a summer birthday and will be 6 for the entirety of their school year?  The age difference isn't really an age difference.  They may be older by only a few weeks from some of their classmates and everyone will be turning the same age that year.

 

I go completely by the cut-off date of the state where the children live. If the cut-off date is September 1, a child who is five before September 1 would enter kindergarten. A child who is six before September 1 would enter first grade. That's it. Some children will be older than most others in their classes; some will be younger. That's how it is. It is an imperfect system, but that's how it is.

 

I have a summer birthday. I am so thankful that no one thought that I shouldn't enter first grade when I was six (no kindergarten). Mr. Ellie grew up in a state where the cut-off was December 2. His birthday is in September, so yes, he was one of the younger children. He's glad he wasn't held back, too.

 

The OP is thinking that her child, who will be *seven*, might enter kindergarten. No. He could be as much as *two years* older than some of the children in his class. And as I said, I don't think he should enter first grade, either. She *thinks* he might be a little behind in writing. That alone is not enough reason to hold a child back, IMHO, such that he would be *at least* a whole year older than most of the children in his class, just because he *might* be behind in writing. He will be seven in the summer. He should go into second grade. I would not condemn him to graduate from high school a whole year behind his age peers because when he was seven, he might have been a little behind *in writing.*

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I go completely by the cut-off date of the state where the children live. If the cut-off date is September 1, a child who is five before September 1 would enter kindergarten. A child who is six before September 1 would enter first grade. That's it. Some children will be older than most others in their classes; some will be younger. That's how it is. It is an imperfect system, but that's how it is.

 

I have a summer birthday. I am so thankful that no one thought that I shouldn't enter first grade when I was six (no kindergarten). Mr. Ellie grew up in a state where the cut-off was December 2. His birthday is in September, so yes, he was one of the younger children. He's glad he wasn't held back, too.

 

The OP is thinking that her child, who will be *seven*, might enter kindergarten. No. He could be as much as *two years* older than some of the children in his class. And as I said, I don't think he should enter first grade, either. She *thinks* he might be a little behind in writing. That alone is not enough reason to hold a child back, IMHO, such that he would be *at least* a whole year older than most of the children in his class, just because he *might* be behind in writing. He will be seven in the summer. He should go into second grade. I would not condemn him to graduate from high school a whole year behind his age peers because when he was seven, he might have been a little behind *in writing.*

 

Your thinking on this subject always seems so rigid to me, surprising for a homeschooler. Tailoring education, including grade level, to the needs of the child makes much more sense than "must be lock-step in accordance with arbitrary local cut offs". Though if memory serves you also graduated your children early/enrolled them in college early so it would seem that your "must stick with grade by age" goes only one way; you're fine with acceleration when that is appropriate, but not fine with deceleration when that best fits a child? Saying that you are happy you were young for your grade is meaningless; that's one data point for one person. Do you assume that every child is a carbon copy of yourself or your husband?

 

And you are misreading OP's post; the child would be entering the second half of kindergarten in January, at age six (when there will be many six year olds in the class) and would turn seven over the summer before entering first grade.

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I found where my child is the difference between the children at the end of K was massive in ability in all skills - math, reading, writing, spelling, and even just plain maturity. I do not think it will matter whether you put him in K or first. Much of the early years is spent getting used to the routine, finding things, knowing where they put their jacket and keeping their shoes on - really. I think the teachers I watched spent a lot of time evaluating the children (mine started in the second term and even as late as the fourth term their were new children arriving and having to be evaluated). Try to keep communication open with the teacher. Personally I would keep him with his correct age group.

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My child has a June birthday.  We enrolled her in kindergarten at age 5.  She was the youngest kid in her class and the majority of her classmates were 6 to 11 months older than her.  What I learned in our area is that most kids don't start kindergarten at age 5 if they have a summer birthday or even if they have a late spring birthday.  Looking back, I wish I had waited and put her in a 4 day a week kindergarten or even another year of preschool before starting the full kindergarten.  She did okay, but I am seeing the difference now that the kids are older.  My concerns are now the academic competition that will happen in high school.  This is a very controversial subject for many since they feel that the age of kindergarten is being changed to 6 since everyone is redshirting for various reasons.  Here it is for sports but other places it is for academics. My advice would be to find out what are the ages of the kids in the new school system.  You may find that almost all of them are 6 in K and will be 7 in 1st.  If so, it would be the right thing to do for your child to put him in K.  If you feel that your child is advanced for his age, then he would probably thrive starting in 1st even being a little younger than the rest of the kids.  You know your child best.  I feel that the elementary years are the foundation for everything that comes later so giving a child the best start is important in my opinion.  We homeschool now so I have the ability to hold her back a year if I feel she isn't ready to start high school, but if your child stays in a traditional school, you may not have that option without worrying about the social stigma of repeating a grade.  One last thing I want to mention, when my child was in K, I had to spend about two hours each night working with her to complete her homework as well as help her understand things she didn't get in class because they did move fast.  It was the same in first grade.  I felt like she had to be in school from 7:45am to 3pm and then another two hours with me.  She wasn't a fast writer so she didn't get recess at school often because the teacher had them finish what wasn't done during recess.  The reason I am telling this is because I felt like she didn't have any time for play after all the school work.  I wish age 5 and 6 had not been so heavy with school.  Every school is different.  As others have said, talk with the new school, they should be able to help with your decision a lot.

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Your thinking on this subject always seems so rigid to me, surprising for a homeschooler. Tailoring education, including grade level, to the needs of the child makes much more sense than "must be lock-step in accordance with arbitrary local cut offs". Though if memory serves you also graduated your children early/enrolled them in college early so it would seem that your "must stick with grade by age" goes only one way; you're fine with acceleration when that is appropriate, but not fine with deceleration when that best fits a child? Saying that you are happy you were young for your grade is meaningless; that's one data point for one person. Do you assume that every child is a carbon copy of yourself or your husband?

 

And you are misreading OP's post; the child would be entering the second half of kindergarten in January, at age six (when there will be many six year olds in the class) and would turn seven over the summer before entering first grade.

Ellie, I have to agree with Maize...On all of it.

 

Especially the last, though, for this particular thread. Ellie, you misread the OP's post and misread my clarification of the OP's post. This child is 6. He will be 6 through this entire school year. The OP is putting him in school in January when he would STILL be 6. Not 7. And he turned 6 only one week before the cutoff so he absolutely would be very close in age to others in a kindergarten class if she put him kinder this year.

 

In this instance I do believe the child will probably be just fine in the long run going into 1st grade even though he will be one of the youngest (but I am not there with him so I could be wrong). I do hope she does a bit of research regarding expectations and average ages of other in the new school, though, in case there is a lot of redshirting and developmentally inappropriate expectations.

 

I do not believe that ALL children are best served by ALWAYS being forced to follow whatever arbitrary cut off date a particular school system has picked. Kids aren't tires being manufactured. They are human beings. Individuals. And a parent has every right to recognize that and question and try to find the best path for their individual child.

 

Sometimes a parent finds that a different path may need to be forged for their particular child. Rigidly, blindly following a set of rules that may be a terrible fit for a particular child's needs seems a pretty poor course of action to me. Doing some research and seeking answers and paying attention to your own particular child and circumstance, whatever path you end up taking, seems a far healthier view, IMHO.

 

And in fact, isn't that why many choose to homeschool? Or after homeschooling at some point they put their child in or they return their child to brick and mortar? They are trying to meet the needs of their individual children and family for that moment in their lives.

 

(But yes, in this instance I think the OPs son will do ok in 1st with some scaffolding. I applaud her for looking into different options though, since she had some concerns, instead of blindly following along.)

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Hugs. I understand feeling emotional about this. It must be hard not just to have to place your child in school when it's not really what you want to do, but also to do it in a new place where you don't have the reassurance that a community can provide.

 

At this age, I wouldn't fret too much (no: honestly, I WOULD fret but I would counsel myself NOT to fret with the following logic). The teacher's job is to get everyone on the same level. If your son is behind, he'll get more focused attention. If he's ahead, he'll get less. Teachers are VERY used to kids with vastly different abilities and maturity levels in both K and 1, especially those coming from different areas and school systems. Given that your life is probably pretty complicated right now with a move and the stress that brings, I would just do what is easiest for you and try to be as positive about it with your child as possible.

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Your thinking on this subject always seems so rigid to me, surprising for a homeschooler. Tailoring education, including grade level, to the needs of the child makes much more sense than "must be lock-step in accordance with arbitrary local cut offs". Though if memory serves you also graduated your children early/enrolled them in college early so it would seem that your "must stick with grade by age" goes only one way; you're fine with acceleration when that is appropriate, but not fine with deceleration when that best fits a child? Saying that you are happy you were young for your grade is meaningless; that's one data point for one person. Do you assume that every child is a carbon copy of yourself or your husband?

 

And you are misreading OP's post; the child would be entering the second half of kindergarten in January, at age six (when there will be many six year olds in the class) and would turn seven over the summer before entering first grade.

 

Grade level is grade level. It is an artificial thing. The primary purpose is to group children of approximate age and therefore approximate abilities and whatnot.

 

People who want to tailor their children's education homeschool them.  The ability to do so in campus-based education is limited. Holding children back a whole year based on their ability to do (or not do) something is not tailoring a child's education.

 

"Grade level" for homeschooled children is meaningless. It is why I "promoted" my children in the fall along with all the children who were attending campus-based school; it had nothing to do with their achievement or abilities or maturity, reasons that many homeschoolers label their children by grade level. I graduated my children when they were 16, because by that time they were almost full time at the community college.

 

The OP's child would be entering first grade *a year older* than he should have been. A child who turns seven during the summer will enter second grade. He would be at least a year older than most children in his kindergarten class.

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The OP's child would be entering first grade *a year older* than he should have been. A child who turns seven during the summer will enter second grade. He would be at least a year older than most children in his kindergarten class.

Nope.  Do the math, Ellie.  Child is 6 this year, all school year, and turned 6 just a week before the cut off.  If he were to be put in kindergarten in January, for the remainder of this school year his classmates would nearly all be turning 6 this school year, too, and many almost certainly already have.  He would be essentially the same age as some, very close in age to some, sort of close in age to others and several months to a year older than still others, just like if he were to be put in 1st grade, only in first he would be one of the youngest, which is not always the best thing, just like it isn't always the best thing to be much older than other brick and mortar classmates.

 

Next year he will turn 7 right before the cut off.  If he did kindergarten this January and went into 1st grade in the fall of next year, he would still be close in age to a lot of his classmates. The majority of his classmates will be turning 7 throughout the school year, including some turning 7 right after the cut-off.  Again, he will be nearly exactly the same age as some, close to the same age as others, not very close at all to still others, etc. 

 

But if he goes into 1st grade in January most of his classmates will have turned 7 long before he does and in 2nd grade nearly all of his classmates will be turning 8 before he does.  He would be nearly a year younger than some.  For some kids that is absolutely not a problem.  In fact, it can be a good thing.  For some it absolutely is a problem.  When a parent puts a child in a brick and mortar school they are not completely relinquishing their right to make decisions for their child.  And they shouldn't.  

 

In this case, I think the child will probably be just fine going into 1st grade.  But I also think that it is a good idea, if a parent has concerns, to research those concerns.  Sometimes, especially if a child has a very close birthday, it DOES make sense to have them start later.  Many times many parents have posted about how helpful that decision was for their particular child (including some posts in this thread).  Are you saying these parents were delusional and it was actually a terrible thing?  That they have no idea what they are talking about?

 

I realize this will fall on deaf ears, Ellie. You are just as firm in your views on this as I am in mine.  I am not here to argue and we each have a right to our opinion but I did want anyone else who is facing this situation to see the "too great an age difference" argument as pretty inaccurate in quite a few instances, depending on the birthday of the child and the cut-off date of the school.

 

Best wishes to all.

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Grade level is grade level. It is an artificial thing. The primary purpose is to group children of approximate age and therefore approximate abilities and whatnot.

 

People who want to tailor their children's education homeschool them. The ability to do so in campus-based education is limited. Holding children back a whole year based on their ability to do (or not do) something is not tailoring a child's education.

 

"Grade level" for homeschooled children is meaningless. It is why I "promoted" my children in the fall along with all the children who were attending campus-based school; it had nothing to do with their achievement or abilities or maturity, reasons that many homeschoolers label their children by grade level. I graduated my children when they were 16, because by that time they were almost full time at the community college.

 

The OP's child would be entering first grade *a year older* than he should have been. A child who turns seven during the summer will enter second grade. He would be at least a year older than most children in his kindergarten class.

He would be exactly the same age as my kindergarten son--born in June, six years old at the start of the school year, six years old at the end.

 

His mother wants to enroll him next month, in January, not wait until next fall. It is possible but not a given that he would be the oldest in his class as redshirting children with summer birthdays is quite common, but if so it would not be by more than a month or two at most.

 

Kindergarten has been a good fit for my son this year, first grade would not have been the right placement for him (though the school did let me choose, the principal told me that summer birthday boys usually did best when enrolled at age 6. Kindergarten is much, much more academic than it was when you were a child).

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Redshirting for academics does work....but dont expect it to put your child at the top of the class. There will be grade skippers there by middle school age if the school doesnt offer double acceleration, and unlike some sports, in academics they can compete fairly against those two to three years older in the same class.

 

Your best bet is to converse with the principal and the school psych and determine his placement. He may be better off in a first grade with others of similar age and ability. Or there may be a lot of redshirts in K and he will fit right in academically, socially, and emotionally. In my district, the fall bday split for nonpoverty is bright and sports go older, gifted go asap. For poverty, all go asap. Spring and summer nonpoverty bdays redshirt for academics and sports. We have dec 31 cut off. It usually works out that students redshirted for academics will not qualify to double accel, but will grad high school in three if they werent on varsity as juniors. No point in DE for senior year at age 19 or turning 19 when you can start college - Dual Enrollment here is 100 percent on the parents dime.

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Redshirting for academics does work....but dont expect it to put your child at the top of the class. There will be grade skippers there by middle school age if the school doesnt offer double acceleration, and unlike some sports, in academics they can compete fairly against those two to three years older in the same class.

 

Your best bet is to converse with the principal and the school psych and determine his placement. He may be better off in a first grade with others of similar age and ability. Or there may be a lot of redshirts in K and he will fit right in academically, socially, and emotionally. In my district, the fall bday split for nonpoverty is bright and sports go older, gifted go asap. For poverty, all go asap. Spring and summer nonpoverty bdays redshirt for academics and sports. We have dec 31 cut off. It usually works out that students redshirted for academics will not qualify to double accel, but will grad high school in three if they werent on varsity as juniors. No point in DE for senior year at age 19 or turning 19 when you can start college - Dual Enrollment here is 100 percent on the parents dime.

I don't get the impression that the OP is considering this so he will be at the top of his class.  She just doesn't want him overwhelmed and behind his peers.

 

I agree wholeheartedly that the best option in this instance would probably be to talk with the principal and the school counselor and determine where he actually WOULD fit in with their particular school/situation.  

 

And if it looks like 1st grade is the best fit, take some deep breaths, OP, get him enrolled and try not to fret, at least not outwardly.  He will probably be just fine.  Truly.  If  you are worrying he may pick up on your stress, though, and it might make the transition to brick and mortar harder.  Hang in there.  Hugs.

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I don't get the impression that the OP is considering this so he will be at the top of his class. She just doesn't want him overwhelmed and behind his peers.

 

.

 

If one is not behind, one is either with or ahead. At this point, he is behind some, with some, and ahead of others in handwriting. Dropping him an entire grade level wont change that, but will bore him academically and make the focus of his day on his area of struggle. Staying in first, or going to TK in the new district will give him appropriate academic challenge, and he will still develop his writing. TK may work out very well, as there is extra help and appropriate academics. The questions I have for the OP are - does he qualify for extra help at this point, or is this a fear that he wont continue to improve in the second half of the school year and over the summer? Is there a T1 available?

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This basically boils down to a question of choosing a box, the K box or the 1st box.  With a birthday so close to the cutoff, I'd ask myself which box is a better fit in the big picture.  The decision should rest on more than just one factor.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, some more extreme than others.  I would want to find out more about not only the 1st gr classroom but also the 2nd, as the 2nd grade teachers might have a different story to tell, with some kids having caught up by then.  Bear in mind longer-term ramifications for the decision no matter which grade is chosen; in some schools, later grade skips can be extremely hard to come by, just another angle to ask about.

 

FWIW I have had children who were significantly weaker in reading/writing, including a summer b-day, catch up over the course of 1st/2nd grade, albeit in the context of a montessori classroom.  When I look at what my kids have been asked to do in 1st grade compared to their actual work product, it was easy to feel like they were behind grade level.  But, once in a blue moon when I saw the work product of another student sent home in my child's folder by accident, I felt much better - there really is a wide variation in writing performance in these early grade levels and it doesn't signal much about writing performance in middle and high school grades IME.

 

ETA, if the issue is the act of handwriting as opposed to writing (putting the words together), handwriting issues alone would definitely not lead me to choose the lower grade.  It would, however, lead me to look at ways to work on it and also accommodation as appropriate.  (My 8th grade boys were, and are, seriously bad handwriters LOL; fortunately most assignments are typed at their age.  Math can be an issue with handwriting, but we have not let it stop them from significant acceleration in that subject.)

 

ETA again, I just saw your post below.  I guess you have a July cutoff?  That is pretty early, FWIW.  Sept 1 is much more common.

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I go completely by the cut-off date of the state where the children live. If the cut-off date is September 1, a child who is five before September 1 would enter kindergarten. A child who is six before September 1 would enter first grade. That's it. Some children will be older than most others in their classes; some will be younger. That's how it is. It is an imperfect system, but that's how it is.

 

I have a summer birthday. I am so thankful that no one thought that I shouldn't enter first grade when I was six (no kindergarten). Mr. Ellie grew up in a state where the cut-off was December 2. His birthday is in September, so yes, he was one of the younger children. He's glad he wasn't held back, too.

 

The OP is thinking that her child, who will be *seven*, might enter kindergarten. No. He could be as much as *two years* older than some of the children in his class. And as I said, I don't think he should enter first grade, either. She *thinks* he might be a little behind in writing. That alone is not enough reason to hold a child back, IMHO, such that he would be *at least* a whole year older than most of the children in his class, just because he *might* be behind in writing. He will be seven in the summer. He should go into second grade. I would not condemn him to graduate from high school a whole year behind his age peers because when he was seven, he might have been a little behind *in writing.*

 

My child will be 6 years old all school year. I was asking about placing a 6 year old starting January in Kinder. He will still be 6 years old at the end of THIS school year. He will turn 7 this next summer. 

 

In other words - if I enroll him in K or first he will be 6 through the end of the school year not 7. He will turn 7 at the END OF JUNE.

 

Next year he would do 1st grade (or second) - he will be 7 the whole school year.

 

 

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Your post does puzzle me a bit, though.  There are a lot of kids that turn 6 right after the start of school in kinder and a lot of kids that turn 7 right after the start of school in 1st.

 

Depends on where you are. Here in NYC, kids enter kindy the year they turn five - so any child with a birthday between Labor Day and December 31 will be turning 5 "right after the start of school". Those same children then turn six in first grade. This would be holding him back a year for one subject, a subject most kids his age haven't really mastered. I wouldn't want to do that.

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FWIW, when my DD was in K she had a classmate turn 7 in October. Many of her classmates were solidly 6 in K. I admit, if I'd realized that this was so common, I might not have chosen to place her in K as an older 4!

 

Maybe, but she is homeschooling now, right?  And she is on the advanced side, yes?  If she were attending school for elementary, consider the situation you would have been facing just a few years later in terms of the need for more advanced academics - the disparity in fit would have been that much bigger.

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I don't get the impression that the OP is considering this so he will be at the top of his class.  She just doesn't want him overwhelmed and behind his peers.

 

  

 

He is already overwhelmed and I am having other little non-academic issues due his anxiety that I do not want to outline here.

 

I do realize my child can read fine, and his math is usually fine too. However, yesterday we were walking and he saw the 2 mile marker and he's like so we have two more miles to marker 5? (Facepalm) And while I made no big deal out of it, and explained the math problem I immediately thought - yeah, you can use a bit more basic review... So - no he would not be at the "top" in either context. I want him to try his best and I will try to help him achieve the best he can in either grade.

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I don't think you'll be able to decide without getting in touch with the school.  I suggest going to the school this week, before winter break.  It sounds like it would be a big relief to get this decision finalized.  I would call first thing tomorrow to see if you can get an appointment with someone.

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Depends on where you are. Here in NYC, kids enter kindy the year they turn five - so any child with a birthday between Labor Day and December 31 will be turning 5 "right after the start of school". Those same children then turn six in first grade. This would be holding him back a year for one subject, a subject most kids his age haven't really mastered. I wouldn't want to do that.

 

I agree that it doesn't make much sense to hold a child back a grade for one subject, especially at this age where many kids are all over the map developmentally.

 

But the reaction from some that this child will be a huge amount older than all of his classmates if he were to attend kinder instead of 1st is not very accurate.  As the OP has tried to clear up and Maize and I and others have, too, this child's birthday is only one week before the cut off and the cut off is apparently at the end of the summer.  He will be 6 all school year long, as will many of his classmates.  He will not be turning 7 in a class full of 5 year olds.  He won't be turning 7 until the very beginning of school next year.  He turned 6 right before the cut-off so there will be others who will turn 6 right after the cut off.  There will be some turning 6 at the beginning of school.  The rest of his classmates will be turning 6 throughout the school year.  Kindergarten is usually made up of 5 year olds that are turning 6.  Some will be turning 6 right after school starts.  Kindergarten is not made up of only 5 year olds.  This is not a child that turned 6 at the beginning of last school year.  This is a child that just turned 6 right before school started.

 

Where the OP lives the cut off is apparently right at the beginning of school/end of summer.  Will there be some that are still 5 throughout the school year?  Yes.  And quite a few that will turn 6, some maybe within weeks or even days of OP's son's birthday.  He will not be a full year older than all of his classmates.  He MAY be a full year older than a few.  Many of his classmates will probably be pretty close to his age.  

 

Again, this and many other factors are why many of us are encouraging the OP to actually see what is happening in this particular school and have the school help her assess just how "behind" her son really is before making a decision.  He will probably be perfectly fine in 1st grade.  I don't think she needs to worry about a child being a little behind in certain skill groups at this age and I think he will probably do well in 1st grade.  And as others have pointed out, it isn't just whether it is a good fit now, but for the long haul.  Once this step is taken it will be much harder to undo, in either direction.  

 

But the idea that she should not consider this option at all because her child will be really way older than all or most of his classmates is not accurate for his particular birthday and this particular cut-off date.

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He is already overwhelmed and I am having other little non-academic issues due his anxiety that I do not want to outline here.

 

I do realize my child can read fine, and his math is usually fine too. However, yesterday we were walking and he saw the 2 mile marker and he's like so we have two more miles to marker 5? (Facepalm) And while I made no big deal out of it, and explained the math problem I immediately thought - yeah, you can use a bit more basic review... So - no he would not be at the "top" in either context. I want him to try his best and I will try to help him achieve the best he can in either grade.

:grouphug:

 

I agree with Wapiti your best option right now is to contact the school BEFORE they go on break.  Call tomorrow.  Things get crazy this close to break so they may not have the time but try anyway.  Don't be rude but don't take no for an answer.  Talk to the school.  Write out the questions you want to ask ahead of time so you have something to refer to in the moment.  I think it will help you rest easier if you can talk to the school and get some solid answers.

 

Hugs and best wishes.

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I do realize my child can read fine, and his math is usually fine too. However, yesterday we were walking and he saw the 2 mile marker and he's like so we have two more miles to marker 5? (Facepalm) And while I made no big deal out of it, and explained the math problem I immediately thought - yeah, you can use a bit more basic review... So - no he would not be at the "top" in either context. I want him to try his best and I will try to help him achieve the best he can in either grade.

 

For this time of year in first he is doing well to pose and tackle that word problem. Ask him how he figured that out, and you can determine if he is trying to remember or visualize 'make a ten' facts or is using 'count up'. A game he might enjoy is Mille Bornes, with simplified rules.

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Where the OP lives the cut off is apparently right at the beginning of school/end of summer.  Will there be some that are still 5 throughout the school year?  Yes.  And quite a few that will turn 6, some maybe within weeks or even days of OP's son's birthday.  He will not be a full year older than all of his classmates.  He MAY be a full year older than a few.  Many of his classmates will probably be pretty close to his age.  

 

 

 The official cut-off is September 1.

 

Schools have some autonomy to decide if the admit kids to "TK" with summer birthdays. The local school and the charter I used had an optional TK cut-off (you could choose TK or K) with children born in July 1-Sept 1). My child missed the cutoff by a week. Other schools and I quote:

  • Kindergarten age appropriate students are allowed to choose TK if their 5th birthday is between the last day of the school year -September 1st."
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 The official cut-off is September 1.

 

Schools have some autonomy to decide if the admit kids to "TK" with summer birthdays. The local school and the charter I used had an optional TK cut-off (you could choose TK or K) with children born in July 1-Sept 1). My child missed the cutoff by a week. Other schools and I quote:

  • Kindergarten age appropriate students are allowed to choose TK if their 5th birthday is between the last day of the school year -September 1st."

 

As you have been saying all along...just not with such specific dates.   :)

 

So in other words, either option would be a possibility and NOT completely outside the norm for your area.  Talk to the school as soon as you can.  And good luck.

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You still won't know more without discussing your concerns with the school, though with a June b-day, a Sept 1 cutoff, and being outside the offered gray area of TK (not familiar with that option), I would anticipate that the school would lean toward his actual grade-for-age (1st).  Talk to them - perhaps your concerns will be alleviated or perhaps they will allow the lower grade level - no way to know until you start talking with them.  (It could be that the option of TK cutoffs was set up for the purpose of avoiding just this conundrum)

Edited by wapiti
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You might also check with the charter school to see if they could re-classify your child as K before making the transition.

 

I have four summer birthday kids (ranging from June to September) and have opted with all of them to go with the lower grade. I really think this decision needs to be on a child by child basis--some kids are best served by grade acceleration, some by deceleration, and some by being right on track.

 

For mine in particular anxiety issues have played a role in my decision to decelerate. Trying to keep up with a grade level that is a stretch does not work well for them, even when intellectually they can handle the academics.

Edited by maize
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You might also check with the charter school to see if they could re-classify your child as K before making the transition.

 

I have four summer birthday kids (ranging from June to September) and have opted with all of them to go with the lower grade. I really think this decision needs to be on a child by child basis--some kids are best served by grade acceleration, some by deceleration, and some by being right on track.

 

For mine in particular anxiety issues have played a role in my decision to decelerate. Trying to keep up with a grade level that is a stretch does not work well for them, even when intellectually they can handle the academics.

 

I messaged you for more info :)

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I agree that you should contact the school to find out the norm.  I wanted to add that both of my July boys started K right after their sixth birthday in a school district that had a September 1 cut off (one went to brick and mortar for K, the other was at home with me). They were not the only ones that were 6 in K in our activities (church, outside classes, etc).  My dh started K as a not quite 5 year old, and he has always wished that his parents had waited to enroll him another year for social reasons.  

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FWIW, we moved in the middle of K, when my oldest was roughly 5.5yo (August birthday, in case you can't see my sig). His new K teacher did an assessment on him before he entered her class, and declared that he was behind in writing, as they were already writing sentences. In his previous K, they were only working on letters and 3 letter words, or something - it was much less academic. But, anyhow, the "writing sentences" thing was an exaggeration. And in 1st grade they did mostly the same as in K, since plenty of kids needed to keep working on those basics for another year.

 

I'll say that shortly after we moved, his teacher floated the idea of repeating K at the end of the year, but that closer to the end of the year, when I asked about it, she didn't remember mentioning it and that she was clear that he'd be best served by moving up to 1st grade. Even though he did get put into OT for handwriting and fine motor problems.

 

So, obviously talk to the school, but I wouldn't hold the kid back for writing issues alone, and I'd take anything the school says about the level kids are writing at with a big spoonful of salt. You might be able to see writing samples of the kids hanging on the walls in the hallways or classrooms at school. But keep in mind that some of that writing might be copied from a sample, and that sometimes a teacher or aide will scribe things for the kids that really struggle.

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Two of my kids went through K and 1st in public school.  While they did do more independent writing in first grade, it wasn’t excessive.  My third grader, who is habitually behind in writing, did fine in K and 1st (her only years in PS) despite her challenges in writing.  When you talk to the school, bring some samples of his work.  You may find that his work is within the range of other first graders.  Kid’s abilities vary so much at that age.  Whatever you decide, talking to the school will help ease your mind.

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I have a boy with an Aug birthday.  We will have to decide at some point whether we want to push him into the higher grade or the lower.  This has added some good food for thought: http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/academic-redshirting/

 

Mostly, YOU sound convinced that your son will be better off in K, so I say go with YOUR gut.

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I doubt that the school would push back on your putting him in K, given his age.

 

Personally I would be a little concerned that he will be ahead academically (reading / math) for K.  Though there are K kids who are reading at the level you described, it may be unusual for his new school, and if on balance he is quite advanced, the writing challenge may not be enough to keep him intellectually engaged and satisfied.  How advanced are the K expectations (other than writing) at the new school?

 

Before deciding, I would investigate how much writing the kids do in practice at the new school.  It's one thing to say they do xyz, but often the reality is different.  In my experience, 1st grade does not require a ton of writing.

 

For me, it would also depend how your son feels about it.  Does he know he's technically in 1st grade, and if so, will you be able to spin it as a positive that he's repeating a year?

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I have younger & older for grade kids, although all are homeschooled. I agree with contacted the school as soon as you can (considering you have lots on your plate with moving this week!), getting him evaluated. Meeting with the K & 1st grade teachers yourself with copies of his work would also be a good idea, IMO. 

 

In general, we choose to hold the boys back & accelerate the girls. All except one have summer, late summer, or early fall b-days. I think Mom-gut-feeling trumps everything else, but the school will end up with the final say.

 

(My oldest would be a grade younger than what I have her doing. Local school wouldn't blink and would put her with her age peers. Slightly farther away high school was willing to look over her test scores & work and place her appropriately if we would have enrolled her. School officials who are willing to consider your actual child are worth their weight in gold. Good luck!)

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Just because in future someone might search for this and wonder... It turns out that I did not have the choice to enroll my child in Kinder. He was enrolled in 1st. I communicated my concerns with the teacher. It remains to be seen how he does. He may surprise me in a good way. Got to give him the chance to see if he flourishes in a school setting. He may.

 

I feel like someone here mentioned something along the lines that parents relinquish autonomy over their kids education when they enroll in public school. It may sound harsh, but it is true. It is a weird feeling to not be in control of what my child is learning. I am worried, relieved, anxious... a lot of mixed emotions that don't really make sense.

 

I hope to get a job within the next year or two (I still have DD4) and if PS doesn't work out, I feel I can always homeschool again or I may be able to afford a private school that may offer options. I am blessed to be able to envision options in the future and hope for the best.

 

edit to add:

I will try my best to help him. I saw samples on the walls. They were frightening (and beautiful and good for those first graders that write paragraphs) - I doubt my child can produce that right now. This will not be a race to the top, it will be a race to catch up.

Edited by 908874
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edit to add:

I will try my best to help him. I saw samples on the walls. They were frightening (and beautiful and good for those first graders that write paragraphs) - I doubt my child can produce that right now. This will not be a race to the top, it will be a race to catch up.

 

I wonder if they only put good work on the wall, as it's practically a guarantee that there are first graders who won't have beautiful handwriting, no matter how much you work on it, especially something a paragraph long.

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