Kindergarten with late birthday -- or not??

blsdgalNovember 16, 2006

My boys (twins) have a June birthday, but were not due till July.

They are in pre-school now two days a week and I am trying to make the decision on kindergarten next year or waiting until 08. If they go next year they will surely be among the youngest in the class. My sis (a 5th grade teacher and mother of boys) thinks I should wait until 08.

My boys are big for their age (not fat, just big) so size is not the issue. One is somewhat advanced (academically) compared to his brother who is also quite shy, and attached to me.

I have to make the decision soon, since it is a small Catholic school and if I am doing k-garten next year I have to get moving on it or there will be no room for them. This is also where they are at pre-school right now.

I don't want to set them up for failure because of starting them too soon, but due to their size--I don't want them to look like they are two years older than all of their classmates.

Has anyone here had to make this decision or do any of you have any advice or words of wisdom? Any issues that I need to consider in your experience?

My youngest dd has a Sept birthday and is among the oldest in her class and it has probably been an advantage for her.

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I have two boys. My oldest son has a June bithday and started kindergarten when he was 5 and was one of the youngest boys in his class. My youngest son has a September birthday and turned 6 the week that he started kindergarten and is one of the oldest boys in his class. Both of my boys are big---always over the 95th percentile. My oldest son is now a junior in high school and my youngest son is now in 7th grade. When I compare how my two boys have done, I wish that we had held my oldest son back as everything was much easier for my youngest son. Even though both of my boys have always been A students, I think that there is a huge advantage with boys to being among the oldest in their class as opposed to being among the youngest--maturity, ability to learn, etc. And both of my boys were always the tallest kids in their classes, but size didn't make any difference that I can see. And your boys may be big now, but they will hit puberty later than their peers if you start them in 07 which means that if they are interested in sports that they will lag behind their peers for a while because their peers will have start developing muscles and gaining strength like young men while your sons are still boys.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 2:11PM
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I think it's probably not necessary, that's not such a late birthday. They'll probably do fine, and if you don't think so, after a month or so, you can always pull them out and start it over the next year.

I held all three of my children back because they were born in November and December. At that time, the Maryland schools said you could go to kindergarten if you turned 5 by December 31 of the school year (now they have to be five by the time school starts). My kids would have been the youngest, by far. It was a good decision, and when we moved to South Carolina (very briefly) and my kids were 2 years ahead of the schools in the town, my middle daughter skipped 6th grade entirely, and was still close enough in age when we returned to Maryland to do well in school.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 2:15PM
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What is the cut-off date in your area? Where I am, it is December 1 for public school, and September 1 for many of the private schools. I am unclear whether you are debating whether your boys will be four/five when they start kindergarten, or five/six. Since you are anticipating keeping them in the same place, what is the advice of the school and their current teacher? They would have the best handle on the curricular/social/behavioural demands of the school, and how your boys stack up.

My daughter had her 13th birthday this week, and started off in a private school. She has always been among the oldest in her class. When she started school, she was among the smallest. Since she reached puberty fairly early, she is now among the taller girls. With her, I think we could have gone either way, and she has always had friends a year ahead in school.

It is difficult to predict the speed of the trajectory of development in a particular child or children. Studies have said it does no good or makes no difference to hold a child back. I don't know that I necessarily agree with that because the brain has to reach a certain stage of development before the eyes can focus properly on a line of print, or later, engage in the abstract thinking necessary for algebra. FWIW, if your boys will be five in June, I would think they would be ready for kindergarten by fall unless they are behind in a number of areas relative to their peers, such as following directions, participating in circle time, taking turns, knowing their alphabet and counting, etc.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 2:48PM
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The cutoff here is Sep 1 and my older son was born Sep 20 so he started kindergarten about a month shy of his 6th birthday. My younger son was born in June and started a few months after turning 5.

Both of them did fine, and I can well imagine that if my older son had started a year earlier he would have done just as well.

The pre-K that I had my younger son in urged me to delay him a year and keep him in the preK one more year. I was a single mom at the time and was drowning in the cost of the preK and couldn't wait to get him into public school. I figured after a year of Kindergarten, it would be clear if he couldn't cut it and I could hold him back at that point. Well, he fit in fine and did great and has done since (he's 16 now) so keeping him in preK one more year would have been a huge waste.

Unless your kids are showing definite signs of immaturity for their age or not grasping concepts that they should be at their age, I'd go for it. It's really not a big deal to repeat K or 1st grade, so if things don't work out it can be remedied. If you hold them back, you'll never get that year back.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 3:34PM
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But if you send them on, you'll never get that year back.

First 2 kids were Sept and Oct. birthdays. "Held" both back and no regrets. The academics weren't the issue as much as the social aspect, in retrospect.

Especially if your kids are big, keep in mind that more is expected of bigger kids. The perception is bigger=older=more mature behavior, and that's not fair to the kids, but that's life.

I have a niece who is very young for her grade because she is over the charts in height, and always was. Her parents did not want her hold her back and have her be the biggest, oldest kid in the class. Instead, she is the biggest, youngest kid in the class and she is miserable.

My vote is to let them be kids as long as they can. I don't know of any harm there could be from holding them back.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 3:44PM
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Really enjoyed reading the above posts and will appreciate any further words of wisdom. I guess I didn't make it very clear, but my boys will turn 5 next June.

So, it is a matter of do I start them when they just turned 5 or just turned 6.

The cut off here is September 1st as well.

Someone said that if I had any doubts as to the readiness of my boys to move onto 1st grade after completing kindergarten that I could just have them repeat kindergarten.

Dumb question--but is that my call? If one of my boys does well in kindergarten and the other one does not, will they let me keep both back in kindergarten or will they make me seperate them and move the more ready child to first grade.

I would hate for the less ready one (Drew) to have that happen to him, when clearly his brother is so far ahead of him.

If they weren't twins, the decision might be easier.

Thanks for taking the time to post--anyone else have words of wisdom? This really helps.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 4:35PM
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Yes, you should be able to make the school hold a child back. They don't like to advertise this! I held my oldest back and the school tried to push me to send him to the next grade. When they realized I wasn't changing my mind they had no problem agreeing to it. I was more than ready to bring in an advocate or a lawyer.

Holding him back was the right thing to do. He really needed that extra year to mature. He is also a big kid, but that is a ridiculous reason not to hold back a child. Based on family history, I think his growth will slow and he will end up being an average size teen.

I think your problem is that you have twins who are developing at a different rate. This will be a hard decision, with no correct answer.

The thing to remember is that they may be twins, but they are two distinct people and decisions should be made accordingly. That said, if you feel you have to keep them together, I would hold them both back. It is a lot easier to give additional work/projects to the advanced twin than it would be to have the delayed twin struggle to just keep up.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 7:28PM
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I would not send them with keeping them back next year in mind. While it might not be a big deal to some kids, more sensitive kids are affected by being held back IMO. I know several children held back in K and 1st grade with varying levels of success. I would just keep them out this year and start next year, hopefully giving your more laid back guy a little time to catch up. Is there a five-day preschool program you can sign up for?

If, after a year, there are still big discrepancies in their abilities, I would make sure they are in different classes. A good friend of mine has twins in middle school. One is academically advanced and the other has academic issues, as yet undiagnosed. The one who is struggling is even more so due to the constant comparisons she and others make to her sister. It's quite tough on her and I think she would do better if in a different section of school, or even a different school entirely. JMO!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 7:57AM
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I have a twin daughter and son who also have a June birthday. In Maryland the cutoff is Sept 1 for them, and they will by five in two years. I never even considered holding them back. Right now they are in pre-k three full days a week, and there are no issues either socially or academically. My son is more immature than my daughter, but both are normal size and exactly on target. If, after a year of kindergarten, I see that one or both should be held back, I will tell the school that they need to do this. Our area has a lot of multiples, so I think the schools are more sensitive to their sometimes unique needs.

Oh, I also have a 7 year old with an August birthday, but the cutoff was still Dec 1 when he began, so he's not the youngest in the class. He's a little immature, but not having any problems socially or academically. My 5 year old daughter has a May birthday and is in 1/2 day kindergarten, doing just peachy.

My recommendation is, if you feel they are ready for kindergarten, give it a try. I have known several twins who were in different grades, and they never seemed to have a problem with it. My oldest son has remarked once or twice about a kid that had to repeat first grade, but after the initial comment he never mentioned it again. Kids forget at that age most of the time. It shouldn't be a stigma.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 10:07AM
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My son's b-day is Nov. 29th, and he made the December cut off in our town when he started school. We moved the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade, and the cut off in the new town was September. Because he had already finished 2nd grade, he was able to register for 3rd grade.

Then I met quite a few people in town with older children who were entering 2nd grade! We decided he would be out of sync socially because he was so much younger. Academics was not an issue because he was a very good student, but I was concerned about the social aspect of being the youngest boy in middle school and high school.

We decided to have him repeat the 2nd grade. He had special reading and math assignments because he was advanced academically, but he was in the PERFECT place socially.

I think it was the best thing we ever did for him. He was a little more mature, self assured, and socially aware than he would have been being the youngest. He was the captain of 3 teams in HS, not because he was the best athlete, but because he was a leader. He went to a great college and now has a great job. I think all the credit goes to that age advantage.

What are you rushing to? Be really sure they are ready. I teach elementary school, and I see that twins tend to be a little less mature, especially if they were born prematurely.

In addition, I personnally skipped twice in elementary school. It was fine, but what was the rush? I left for college right after my 16th birthday. I was engaged at 18, married at 19, graduated college at 20. I've been married a LONG time!

What's the rush?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 7:20PM
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I was the shortest, youngest HS grad in a class of 1000, a result of skipping. I hated it. So when Nov. birthday discussion for my child came, up I said "hold back". But others said that would be stupid -- kid is ready for something beyond pre-K.

But when we moved, the new school was clear: to put a new child in as shortest and youngest is not ok and the repeated year turned out for my socially not-quite-with-it child just fine as the oldest (but still shortest). Now grandchild with a Nov. birthday is generating the exact same discussion. Family is leaving it up to school to decide. (This answer is a cop out but my point is to confirm with another story that there is no one right way.)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 8:54PM
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I have several friends who are teachers and almost without exception they held their boys back. Our cut off date was October 1 and I had a son with an August birthday. Since we were new in town and this was my first child I had no idea how common it was to hold kids back. When he started Kindergarten he was the youngest in his class. His best friend was almost 18 months older.

Socially and academically he was fine. However he was late to mature physically and was unable to compete on sports teams in middle school and junior high with his friends who were physically more advanced. I know how much this upset him.

Our school system is highly competitive and I have met many parents who openly admit they held their boys back to give them an advantage.

One comment I have heard from teachers is that boys with late birthdays frequently do well in the lower elementary grades, but many of them fail to perform as well in middle school.

Could you ask the guidance counselor at your school what the ages are of the students (especially the boys) they expect to have in that class? Perhaps that will help you decide. Personally I wish I had held my son back.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 10:30PM
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As a preschool teacher myself I would suggest you ask the advice of their teacher. She/he will know them best and give you sound advice.

That said, I kept both my older 2 children back (they were both within 8 weeks of our cut offs here). I don't regret it at all. They have confidence and academic ability. I was always the 'baby' in my grade and I hated it.
The twin issue is tricky, my bestfriend has twins and it is tricky balancing their abilities and self esteem when there are two of them.

From a teaching perspective, I find you can't MAKE them grow up and some children are just not ready to be receptive to school concepts such as letters/ numbers etc when they are younger. Certainly, some children are- however as a general observation of those who find concepts difficult the majority are also younger. I find many of the younger children find school routines challenging- following direction, responsibility for belongings, sitting still when required, concentration to complete tasks, basic knowledge base gained from living life and dealing with emotions in socially acceptable ways (eg anger, frustration, peer conflicts).

mcmann has heard correctly, it if often about year 9 that younger boys suddenly find their age is holding them back.

It might be worth approaching the school and asking about what would happen hypothetically if they repeated kindy- how would it be handled?


    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 1:43AM
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Well, here it is Tuesday and I am just now getting back to this thread. I will post again when I have a little more time in a few days, but I did want to post now to let you all know that I have been reading and have not been ignoring all of your great advice and words of wisdom.

Such a diverse, wise group of people we have here!

Thank you for taking the time to post..

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 11:47AM
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We switched boards before our second daughter started first grade. She has a December birthday and the previous board had a September cut off, the new one a January 1 cut-off. This meant that she was a year behind her age mates. She was also the tallest one in the class by a lot. She endured a whole lot of teasing about being a "big dummy." It made her really miserable. She didn't really like school until she hit college.

We had her assessed and made a joint decision with the school to advance her to grade level after the primary grades, because of her learning needs. (She could read efore starting school and was great at arithmetic, but needed a lot of help colouring within lines and printing.) She did grade 4 & 5 in one year. By then, she was a head taller than her male grade 5 teacher.

I would be very cautious about keeping big kids back if they can academically and socially handle it. Have you consulted with the school, specifically with their pre-school teacher and the kindergarten teacher?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 8:53AM
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My youngest daughter's bday is late August and school cut-off is Sept. 1. When it was time for her to start school then it was a tough decision as I felt she was somewhat immature for her age but knew she was very advanced academically. I talked with her Montessori teacher about the issue. She is the one who convinced me that my daughter was ready for kindergarten so I made the plunge. It has worked out fine and she is now in 3rd grade and still doing well academically and socially.

Another thing to consider is how old your children will be when they GRADUATE from HS. When I think about it, it scares me that she will still be 17 when she starts college especially as her father skipped a grade in school and didn't turn 18 until halfway through his freshman year which was not a good experience due to his immaturity.

It is a tough decision, but you know your own children best. Listen to your own instincts and you will not go wrong.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 7:00PM
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Reading through all the posts I was thinking the same as jules8429, in that I want my DS to be more mature when graduating HS moreso than worrying about if he can enter KG with less problems. However, that is considered also. My DS will be 4 in April 07, and would be able to start PRE-K here. The cutoff date here is Sept 1. I am holding him back to start pre-k at 5 because I think its too young for him, also.

Now, my sis, on the other hand, has 3 kids, the last one (a girl) started when she just turned 5. She is very intelligent and bored being the last kid at home. She is very immature though. She was in the principal's office a lot in the beginning of the year. I think it has slacked off now, but BOY! My sis had a hard descision deciding what to do and now feels she made the right choice sending her. My niece would have been bored to tears in school if my sis would have held her back, because she is way ahead of everyone as far as her school work goes.

So many things to think about! I am relieved I will have my DS around for another year.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 8:38PM
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blsdgl, I completely overlooked the fact that your sons were born in June, "due in July".

Sweetniece1 was born almost 7 weeks early. Terribly tiny but fine- went home within a week. Our pediatrician told her parents to use her actual due date when considering 'milestones'- babbling, crawling, etc., and for school cut-offs until she was 10. She had a New Year's birthday and I don't believe it was ever an issue.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 11:54PM
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I normally don't post on the conversations side, but this topic drew me because we struggled with similar decisions over the years. At some point, I came to realize that there are some decisions as a parent that you will struggle with and never know if you made the "right" decision. The decision may not work out the way you thought it would but you won't know if the other decision would have been better or just produced different problems. The decision on when to start school is one of the hardest of these because it isn't just about where your children are at the age of 5. Kids often advance in their own odd leaps and crawls and unevenly across skill areas.

You just have to decide and then if it doesn't work out as well as you had hoped provide whatever support you can to improve things.

Our children are grown now. For a while around here it seemed that schools would react to any problem by suggesting the child just needed another year - a terrible attitude. It was suggested for one of my kids once and we sought an outside opinion instead. That agreed with what we thought - an extra year with no remediation would do nothing - there was a learning problem that had to be dealt with. We decide to work on resolving the problem keeping him in grade instead. In this case, I'm sure we made the right decision. An extra year wouldn't have fixed it, a couple of months of fairly intense help did.

This was a child born slightly after the cutoff so he was already old for his grade and in high school he would be 18 for most of his senior year. Even in his junior year, he was really chaffing at being treated like a child by school. Fortunately our school district had an independent study school and he did his senior year that way taking courses fast enough to graduate about half way through the year.

For some people, being too old in high school isn't a good fit either.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 11:50AM
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What a tough decision. Three friends of mine faced this issue with their daughters (now 21, 15 and 10). All friends decided to hold their daughters back before starting Kindergarten. All daughters ended up being 6 when they started Kindergarten. All three are very happy with their decision and feel their daughters gained an advantage by being a little more mature when they started school and throughout their schooling.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 3:51PM
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Our oldest son is a September birthday, cutoff was Sept 30, his birthday was the 22nd. Wish we would have held him back, his social skills were definitely behind the other children, even though academically he excelled. 2nd son has an April birthday. I had him tested before he entered kinder as required at the private school I was sending him to. They thought he was a bit immature, and might have problems, I think in that instance they were wrong, I should have sent him on ahead, I think he resented being the oldest, the tallest etc. He had the advantage and excelled in school but the age thing really did bother him (he's now 23). My third son had numerous vision problems and had 8 eye surgeries before his 5th birthday so we kept him back a year, he's a June birthday. We don't regret that at all, he was developmentally delayed due to his eye problems,and we didn't want him to be at a disadvantage. He excelled at school once he recovered from all his surgeries and went on to finish his undergrad in three years and at 21 is working on his PhD. You have to make the decision that's right for your individual child. We think we made a mistake in not holding one back, a mistake in holding one back and finally got it right with the third one.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 9:30PM
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Can I chime in as a parent of a fall birthday boy (cutoff is Dec. 2 in CA) and as an educator who did her thesis on this? (I chose this topic because of my personal interest in it)

First - in public districts it is up to the discretion of the district to decide if this (academic redshirting) is allowed. Some districts allow it, some don't. If you are in a district that doesn't allow it, and decide to hold your child back and show up a year later to register your child for kindergarten, the district will place your child according to age and put him in first grade, completely missing kinder. So before you decide anything, FIND OUT if you have the freedom to make that decision at all.

My son was born October 22, and we decided to start him in kindergarten on time, and in CA that meant he started at 4 1/2. CA requires that the child be 5 before December 2nd. We feel that we made the right decision. Academically, he was ready. Socially, he was good and totally done with preschool by the end of pre-K, and ready, willing, and eager to move on. We decided that we would start him in K but that if he didn't succeed, retaining him for another year (repeating K) would be our plan B. He did very well and moved on to first grade with his peers. He's now in 6th grade and just turned 11. He's doing well and is in the accelerated classes. Over the years he has gotten into a bit of trouble goofing off in class, but honestly - would that really have made a difference whether he was in 4th grade or 5th grade? Waiting that extra year in preschool is not some magical year in which the child suddenly becomes this mature studywart. If a kid is a goofball at 4, chances are he's still going to be a goofball at 6, 8, 10, 12, etc.

If I had held him back, he would be 18 most of his senior year of high school - I'm not so sure that's a smart move.

Many kids in his classes were held back even when they didn't need to be. He was born October 95. There is a kid that's been in many of his classes that was born April 94! Personally, I think it is wrong for a teacher to alter her curriculum to accomodate kids that could possibly be a full 18+ months OLDER than the kids that fall into the legal age range for that grade.

There was a girl who was born in October in my daughter's kindergarten class last year. She came to the class at 4.5 (like my son), except she was already reading, writing, etc. Academically WAY ahead of the other kids. Socially about the same. But - her parents decided to hold her back to repeat another year of K "because she is young" - and now, at 6 and just started K again, she is complaining that her daughter is bringing home "this is the letter A" type of homework when she is already reading at around a 3rd grade level. What did she expect? If there was any kid that I think would have been the wrong candidate for academic redshirting, it was this girl. I think it is a total disservice to both the girl AND her teacher.

Something to keep in mind. Kindergarten is DESIGNED for the 5 year old child. Not the 6 year old.

Sure, a child "who is older" may have a better chance at success, but wouldn't any kid who is in a class that is too easy for him? I decided that I would have rather my son been around older kids and been challenged academically, rather than in a class where everything came totally easy for him. Behavior-wise, I would have again rather he been around older kids versus younger, where his behavior might regress. This is especially true if you are keeping a kindergarten-aged child in a preschool classroom, or a first-grade aged child in a kindergarten classroom. Kids tend to adapt to their environment.

Personally, I would like to see states such as CA move their cutoff date to Sept. 1 to coincide with most of the rest of the nation, and ideally, to have all 50 states have the same cutoff. Similarly, I would like to see redshirting banned, except with special district approval for unique situations such as a special-needs child being mainstreamed, a child who is behind due to a long-term illness, or a child entering school with little to no previous schooling.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 10:31PM
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I am going to chime in as someone who was pushed ahead. I entered kindegarten at 4! I am now in my 40's, and I absolutely loved, during my entire education, through college, being the youngest in the class. Having said that, I was a girl. I absolutely would not want that for a boy. There was a boy in my class who was pushed ahead like me. It was very difficult for him, because he naturally reached puberty a year later than the other boys in his class, and was picked on for that. Once you're picked on you're always picked on, so he was unpopular from 7th grade through high school graduation. But as a girl, it was the greatest. I know that had I instead been kept back, I would have been terribly bored at school, and I would have felt too mature to date boys in my class. Puberty would have come too early compared with the other girls, and that is such a sensitive time. So my advice for the OP would be to hold back her boys, but to anyone reading this thread who has girls, to push them ahead.

Aslo, it simply added another year to live the rest of my life post-school.

And, an unanticipated long-range benefit--at my 25th high school reunion, I looked so much more youthful than everyone else (LOL!). One year's less wrinkles and poundage!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 6:07PM
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My son has a September birthday, born in 1967. At that time very few people were holding their children back. After a lot of reading and thought, I held my son back. He was a big boy also. The first three years or so, I wondered if I had done the right thing. Then, about grade 4 his teacher said to me, "That was such a good idea to hold him back, if you hadn't, he would have been struggling". At that point I knew I had done the right thing. He was smart, it was the social part I worried about.

I agree with Pecanpie, what harm could come from holding him back...

My son graduated from Stanford law school and has done very well.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 1:06AM
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This topic came up over Thanksgiving, as one SIL held her son 'back' with an August birthday and gave reports on his progress.

DivaD1 pointed out that several girls in her freshman class were barely 13 at the beginning of the year. They were in school with 18+ year old senior MEN. There is a huge age/maturity/everything difference there. These were the girls who could not handle relationships and ended up much more involved than they wanted to be.

Funny how some information comes out years later...

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:14AM
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I am a first grade teacher and the cut off here is dec 1. I often have 4 to 6 kids who come into first at the age of 5. It is often the youngest boys in the class who struggle the most. That is just an observation from my experience.

Is there any way you can see the kindergarten curriculum before making your decision? What are they expected to have mastery of before heading to first grade? In my district, entering first graders should be able to read emergent readers without teacher support. Many of the younger children in the class have great difficulty with letter/sound correspondence, which is a great predictor of reading success.
It really is a decision that requires a lot of thought. There are so many variables...but kids who are held out one year usually do not suffer any academic consequences, whereas kids who start school too early often struggle in the primary grades. That is a big generalization, but you need to assess each child individually.

However, I would not separate twins by grade level. They will always be twins (and everyone else will know that too), and if one is held back, self esteem issues could surface for the one held out down the road. Just my opinion. Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 6:22AM
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I'll chime in here - I am a December baby and was held back. My first grade teacher recommended putting me in second grade, but my mom (who was a November baby and the youngest in her class) refused. I was bored throughout school and only some great teachers who took extra time to challenge me kept me from being a delinquent.

I was ready to graduate after my junior year of high school, but my parents would not sign the necessary paperwork since I was then 17. The only reason I eventually came around to their point of view is because I got into a much better college after spending an extra year in HS than I would have otherwise.

The advice to evaluate your children's needs individually is excellent. I was held back because my mom was pushed too fast - neither of us really benefited from that. And about the rush? Some kids are ready to be adults from early on. Some need longer and should be allowed to take that time.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 2:13PM
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It is often hard for parents to know whether or not their children are ready for the rigors of school. We don't see our own kids as objectively as others might. I agree that it can be valuable to seek the preschool teacher's advice. In addition there have been many studies about what qualities to look for in a child who is ready for school.

I've attached a site to help you assess your children's readiness. I think it will help you to make an informed decision rather than an emotional one.

Click on the site and scroll to page 16. Go 1/2 way down to section "III Ready Children". This guideline was prepared by the state of Wisconsin (the one I'm most familiar with)but it is quite similar to the "National School Readiness Initiative". You can Google that one, too.

There are the 5 key indicators that are discussed:
1. Health and Physical Development
2. Social and Emotional Development
3. Approaches to Learning
4. Language Development and Communication
5. Cognition and General Knowledge

Hope this is helpful. As a parent, I think it is good to have some research to go along with the wide variety of advice we inevitably receive.

Here is a link that might be useful: School Readiness

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 9:30PM
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I have twins (boy/girl born April) and I have a November birthday, so I can speak on both sides of the issue.

My personal experience with being the younger class member is that it's fine in elementary school, but since I also skipped a grade I ended up in school with much older kids in my teen years. I graduated at 16, most in my class were nearly 18. My DH skipped two grades and graduated at 15. He had to bribe the school bus driver to drop him off at college, since he couldn't even get a learner's permit yet! So think ahead before you decide, because if you send them now and they are academically gifted they could end up skipping and being more than a year younger than their classmates.

Now, as the mom of twins who are now in 6th grade, I can tell you that for boys I would say it's better to send them a bit older rather than younger. Again, you won't necessarily notice in the lower grades, but towards middle school the maturity difference will become apparent. I'd rather have my son in 5th grade now than 6th, because his maturity level is at that level. My daughter could probably handle 7th grade with no problem. As a matter of fact, her main problem seems to be the 6th grade boys being less mature than the girls LOL There is a difference between boys and girls in maturity levels!

I know you didn't ask about this in particular, but I wanted to mention it anyway. I have had my kids in the same class as well as separate classes. I think they do better in separate classes because they each develop their own friendships independent of each other, and they don't have to spend 24 hours a day in the same space. I think it develops their personality more by being separate. Again, this became apparent in the later elementary years and wasn't an issue in the lower grades. So just a bit of a look ahead for you from me!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 12:01AM
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