"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Something To Think About

As you may have noticed, we have a LOT of fall birthdays in this house.  Aside from making our fall very busy, this also presented us with a quandary every time a child's fifth birthday was approaching. The "official" cut-off date for starting kindergarten in Minnesota is Sept. 1, but since we homeschool we could start them whenever we wanted.

"Do we start schooling them early because their birthday is a few days/weeks late, or do we wait until they are almost six before starting 'official' school?"

Well, Child #1 was reading at four years old, so although his birthday wasn't until the end of October, we decided to go ahead and start him with school.

Child #2's birthday is Sept. 2,  just one day after the "official" cut-of.  Might as well go ahead and start her a wee bit early as well.

By Child #3 the pattern had been set, so we followed suit with her, #4, and #5.

All seemed to be going along fine for awhile, but as time wore on several of my children were lagging behind their stated grade level.  Their school work fell somewhere between the grade they said they were in and the grade they "should" have been in.  After several years like this, we made an executive decision to change their stated grade level to the "should be" level.  Essentially, it looked like holding them back a year, but really is was adjusting it to what would have been, had they been sent to the public school.  The reality of it was that they just kept doing their same old school work.  Nothing changed - except a grade number.

It has worked out much better this way.  They are performing at grade level or above.  It's all good.

My point in all of this is: if you are thinking of starting your child early in kindergarten, I would, under most circumstances,  advise against it.  As I've said many, MANY times,  I know a lot of people who wish they hadn't started their child early, but I have NEVER run across a parent who regrets holding their child back.

I have a September birthday myself.  My parents considered starting me early in kindergarten, but decided against it.  I am so glad they made that decision!  Although I was almost a year older than my classmates, I feel like I benefited greatly from their decision.  I think it helped me academically and socially.  Speaking of the social aspect, because we started the kids early they are a whole year younger than most of their friends.  Overall, this hasn't been a bad thing, but it does cause our kids to "expect" certain privileges at a younger age because their friends have those privileges. 

Just some things to think about....

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