Friday, September 18, 2009

School age kids

Have you guys noticed a trend to holding your kids back in school? I'm seeing a lot of it lately where parents of kids are holding them back rather than putting them into school. So if your kid turned 5 in June, rather than putting her in kindergarten where the cutoff is usually October 1, holding her back another year so she starts at age 6 instead. The theory is that kids will be more ready at that age and thus have a leg up intellectually, athletically and socially than kids a year older.

I am fortunate to have two kids born in January so I don't really have to make a decision. If I held Andy back a year, he'd be 6 1/2 starting kindergarten and likely 18 months older than some of his peers. That seems pretty funky. I could see if you had a kid on the edge, like a late August birthday. I could see if you talked to his or her teachers and agreed it made sense. So that kid would just be at most a year older than the youngest kids and just a few months older than many.

Socially there can be real difficulties with this. A 14-year-old seventh grader is in a totally different social ballpark than a 12-year-old in terms of dating, physical maturity. Sure, she might be a better lacrosse player, but she's starting to scout out boys when her friends are still watching Miley Cyrus. And intellectually, if I put my kid in a lower grade, what's to say he won't be bored with the lower grade work and lose interest in school altogether rather than being challenged to move forward?

Also, if everyone starts to doing it, then folks of these borderline kids might need to wait another year. Then you end up with kids being 20 when they graduate high school.

I don't know. I want my kids to have the most advantages they can, but I'm not sure this is a good idea.

What do you think?


  1. I am lucky that all 3 kids have had birthdays which made it necessary to have them be some of the oldest. I like this.

    The boys have some kids in their classes that are actually older than they are - and to date, the maturity issues haven't been a problem. Especially with the boys. While there are some physical issues (the older boys are bigger), there's no intellectual/challenge issues because they have all been moving along at the same level. In other words, they don't miss 8th grade work in 7th grade because they've only just finished 6th grade work. And actually, their performance may be slightly enhanced by the fact that they are a little more mature.

    Interestingly the thing about age appropriate is that it's only been in the last years where kindergarten became an academic year. Used to be that that year was used to adapt kids' behaviors to school and get them used to the social aspects. But, now that most kids go to pre-school that has changed the focus. There is still a whole lot of research that says that the more rigorous academics in K may not be the best thing (nor necessary). Just food for thought.

  2. There are a BUNCH of six year olds in the school w/ George. Maybe 5% (I know of four and I bet there are more out of 120 kids). The oldest are twins who have Dec birthdays. They will be SEVEN in Dec and in kinder. I know the mom but have just met her and don't know the story.

    In G's preschool last year, 14 kids. 3 boys held back, and one girl went to private kinder and her mom will make judgement on whether to send to first next year or kinder again (I know mom here pretty well and her daughter is great and fine and I would bet lots of money on first). No graduation for the preschool as some who were in the fours room weren't officially graduating.

    This is a hard one where I am glad I don't have to deal w/ it (Oct and Feb). My sister has two kids w/ both August. Both started when they were supposed to but Kate was (and is) the youngest by far in her class (aug 28). Kathy sort of regretted it for the first year (kinder) but now Kate is in fourth grade and doing great, smart, etc. Same size too, she isn't smaller or bigger or ?

    I wish that it was sort of rule that all folks had to stay in the age range (sept 1st here in TX) but then there is one boy in particular from last years pre-K class that was NOT ready, AT ALL. So what to do? HARD one.

  3. I remember some 5th grade boys who were 6 feet tall and also some senior boys who were ineligible for sports because they were already 19.