Delaying Starting School

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mandy, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    I was advised yesterday to think hard abt. sending difficult child to kindergarten this year or next. I wanted to find out from all of you with older children if you delayed starting school with your difficult child and how it affected them. I definitly have to have an evaluation through the school first so he can get an IEP and (ed) label for services. This was recommended by his psychologist. She said he was definitly ready intellectually but did not believe he was socially or emotionally ready. My fear is that I will get him in school and he will get kicked out immeadiatly due to his agressive & ODD behavior. He had been kicked out of 3-4 daycares from the ages of 2-3 1/2. My fear in the other direction is that he will get bored if I delay and due to his size (97% for height, 91% for weight) that he will be a good canidate for trying to bully and dominate the other children when he goes. Any help with this will be greatly appreciated!!
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Does the school offer a preschool for kids with problems? Our schools offer preschool starting at age 3 or 4. It is an amazing program, truly awesome. Kids even get IEP's that young if needed. It is targeted to children with problems or the potential to have problems and it is FREE.

    The school may also have a year between kdg and 1st grade. I know a few of my youngest son's friends were in this "between" class simply because they were not ready for 1st grade. And it is also a great program (partly because we have an excellent Education Dept at the local University and they help out and partly because we just have amazing teachers). Go to the school and ASK how they can accomodate your son.

    When we moved here my difficult child was older but was homeschooled. we homeschooled because the teachers at the local school were emotionally abusing my difficult child. And we couldn't afford private school - and most wouldn't take him anyway. I went to the school in April and explained what we were dealing with, that we wanted to enroll him but needed to know what supports they could offer. It truly was one of the best years of his life at school.

    Anyway, it can't hurt to ASK the local school what they have to offer.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is a tough one. So much comes into play. For many children it is good to wait, lets them develop more socially/emotionally. My son is a June birthday and we decided not to wait. We knew he had a lot going on (didn't know exactly what at that point) but we didn't think a year would help matters. Most of the time, I think we made the right decision, a year for my difficult child wouldn't have helped. Once in awhile I wish he was still in elementary school but my son struggles academically and is very small, height wise, for his age. Still I don't think the year would have helped.

    Having an iep in place would definitely be helpful!
  4. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Oh, your comments made me remember to mention...

    He is an April Birthday! So he will be 5 in a few months. His psychologist said if he were a summer b-day then we would most definitly wait.

    susie~ I will have to find out abt. the early preschool programs. Some of the school districts here in the state definitly have better programs than others. We are in a really good school system, but i am not sure abt. their sped programs??
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    He's closer to summer than winter, which would have me advise you to wait. If he had turned 5 already (like in the past five months), then I think I would say to send him.

    I have a difficult child who is an early September birthday and we waited. I am VERY glad we did. He had significant behavioral issues in preschool and actually started medications the summer before kindergarten. He lost nothing by waiting that extra year and gained so much more. And he is STILL immature for his current grade level.

    If it turns out that he is too advanced emotionally, academically and socially in kindergarten, they will see it and he can always be moved up. It is much, much harder on them to have to be held back a year, although it can be and is done.
  6. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    My first born's problem was not behavoral, it was reading. He was not ready for first grade, so we keep him back one year. I am glad we did because we spent that year working with an academic therapist and when he finaly went he was much better prepared. I think it made a positive differents.

    That said, he is now in 9th grade and fustrated that his younger brouther 2 yrs below in age is only one year below in grade. All the kids do the math and have figured out he was held back. Thus he gets teased, and he tends to say, "I failed kindergarten". I tell him he never failed anything, his parent chose to hold him back. But he never buys it.

    If I had to do it again, I would make the same choice. It would have been to difficult on him. However, it did have its price, and he will focuse on it all the way to 12 grade.
  7. We didn't hold our difficult child back since he had a Nov birthday; and the SD required age 5 by April 1 in the state we were living in. Had he not had a late B-day, I would have held him back.

    difficult child had all the same things you are facing; he'd been in a couple of summer programs for "challenging programs" and kicked-out of several day cares and babysitters.

    If/when you do put him in, I suggest a meeting with the Principal at the elementary school and give them the run down. We did this for difficult child and were able to get a Kindergarten teacher that had training in Special Education; I did the same thing when we moved out of state the following year. It really helped even though we didn't have IEPs at that time.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I sent both older boys (who were gifted) to school a year later. They were on the young side and another year of pre-school didn't kill them. I'm glad I did and neither ever thought much about it. In fact, they enjoyed being one of the older kids in their classes. I think it's a good idea, especially for difficult child's, who are usually immature anyway. Truly, I don't believe it is that big a deal. My daughter is one of the youngest kids in her class and she hates it. A few months can mean a lot to a kid. She has Learning Disability (LD)'s and may not have struggled quite as much if I'd held her back. Her birthday is in June. My two sons who I held back had birthdays in late August and November (back in the day, the deadline for kindergarden was Dec. of that year, and I just thought son would do better if he went to kindergarden when he was a year older). I gave my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son an extra year of preschool too. His birthday is Aug. 23rd and the deadline for kindergarden was five on Sept. 1st. I've never been sorry about THAT either. He needed the extra year--he was already socially delayed.
  9. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Thanks so much for all of your responses!! I was a fall Birthday so I went to Birthday at 5 but then quickly turned 6. My mom thinks that extra time did wonders for me so I am going to seriously consider waiting if I don't think he is ready. husband thinks he should start this Fall even but I still have fears of expulsion or suspension:anxious: I think it's my automatic fear since I have gotten the call to "Please come get him" many times before. Since I am going to be home with him I am going to see how he does with following a strict schedule this summer. We are going to have a timed schedule everyday with wake times etc. Partially so the kids don't get bored out of their minds. LOL It is BAD if difficult child get's bored!! I have a lot to think about in the upcoming months and I will definitly keep you updated on our decision process:D I am truly thankful for this group!!!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    With PCs, I get really upsewt with schools that put a high premium on what they call "maturity" when in fact they merely mean chronological age.

    easy child started school at 4 and a half, we could have waited another year, possibly two. But she had already spent four years working her way through a comprehensive education prgoram in the child care centre and was already very bored. Academically, she was more than ready. When she started, her teacher (who was also the principal) monaed to me, "I have a classroom full of leaders and no followers!" easy child especially was a handful, she did best when given work to do. The next year she had worked through all the year 1 work and was being given Year 2 and 3 work, when I had to transfer her to the local school. There, she stagnated for three years. Then I transferred her back to a school with mostly the same students and same teachers as before (the original school had been merged with another). They took easy child 2/difficult child 2 as an accelerated student at the same time. Of easy child (who had been labelled "immature" by the local school), they said "She has made absolutely no progress since she left us."
    easy child caught up.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 was also four and a half on enrolment, although her enrolment was a bit later in the school year than easy child's (due to red tape problems).

    I strongly believe we did the right thing with both girls, in terms of enrolling them at the right time for them. easy child 2/difficult child 2 seemed amture enough at the time, it was later she seemed to fail to mature. "Little professor" syndrome - she talked and functioned so well when very young, that she seemed mature enough. But she was wilful, determined, had her own very strong ideas and wouldn't acknowledge authority.

    difficult child 1 seemed bright enough but wasn't coping, he started school at 5 and unlike the girls, was barely ready. But it was fairly clear, another your would make little difference.

    difficult child 3 - we'd been told he would never attenda "normal" school and would have to wait until at least 6 before being placed in a Special Education placement. But academically, he was doing maths problems and reading, well before starting school. Pre-school couldn't meet his needs. And again, it wasclear tat waiting wouldn't help enough to justify the problems it would have caused.

    We have had the luxury of repeating later should it be deemed necessary. of course, there is the problem of a kid who refuses to be repeated. We didn't force the issue because we knew just how stubborn the kid would be. But another option we have in Australia, we have availed ourselves of with the boys - part-time. They do half the subject load each year and in that way can concentrate better on the work. It also reduces the anxiety and social problems made worse by stress.

    I would seriously consider - will another year make enough difference in maturity? I would also be concerned about his size; we have a boy, I'll call him K, at the local school (just graduated to high school) who has always been big for his age and who has a reputation as a local bully. Now, in my experience K is not a bully, he is a gentle, loving kid who has always been very kind to difficult child 3 (even though this boy is younger). But I keep hearing people say to me, "Is K one of the boys attacking difficult child 3? Because he really is a bully, you have to watch him," when they have absolutely no basis for saying this. I watched K in the playground, I watch him around the village, I talk to his mother and sisters, I've seen him at play dates. And while occasionally there can be some push and shove, in which K can stand up for himself if he has to, I have never seen him do anything mean or to start anything. I HAVE seen him chase a bully and thump him, for attacking a smaller kid. But rarely. Most of the time, other kids are friendly with K and everything is smooth around him.

    However, K is a fairly socially astute kid, he just happens to have always been big for his age. he's not the brightest at lessons, but he's streetwise. He can look after himself. His size keeps him fairly safe, but he does have a social advantage also.

    My worry with a big kid who is also older - they get treated as "the class dummy" and they can really suffer. Sometimes a larger kid is treated as if he's older, people act as if he is "supposed to know better". This happened to K also, with people treating him as if he were several years older and several grades ahead. Again, it takes a socially astute kid to be able to recognise what is happening and to say, "Miss, I'm only in Grade 2."

    Will another year "on the bench" make enough difference? WIll any benefit be enough to outweigh any disadvantages incurred in making him wait?

    It's a very personal decision, but I've seen husband's niece, a very bright girl who was made to repeat a year, even though she had just got the top marks in an academic exam to get into a very academically exclusive school. "She's not mature enough," her parents were told. I didn't agree, I found the girl delightful to chat to, remarkably aware of current political events and able to discuss thme at a complex level. The trouble was, when tose teachers were talking about "maturity", they really meant "age". For a girl so bright, she was the youngest in her grade.

    So her parents made her repeat. I thought at the time it would be a mistake. I still beleive that the problems this girl is having now in her life, in her late 20s, can all be put down to being held back at a time when she needed to move ahead. She is now caught in feelings of not being valued, of being never good enough no matter how hard she tries, of having to settle for second-best. She is constantly eclipsed by her younger sister (who was never held back, she was born in the correct half of the year).

    husband feels that the problem started further back, with the older girl's parents always comparing her unfavourably to the younger sister. This may have led to teachers feeling that repeating could help boost her confidence. Again, influenced by her being youngest in the class. But added to everything else, I feel moving ahead would have validated her at a time when she really needed it, to be shown that yes, she was bright and it was acknowledged. To be thr youngest in te class and told that maybe being young explains your "immaturity" is one thing, but to be the oldest in the class and told "you're still not good enough" - a kid can stop trying.

    It's chicken or the egg, with husband's niece.

    It's not an easy choice to make. Ultimately, every kid is an individual and you have to make careful choices according to so many factors in the child's makeup.

    I beleive that jsut as children have growth spurts, so they also have "learning spurts". And if a kid is ready to move on academically, because they happen to be in a learning spurt, then let them. But there should be equally as much freedom (and no stigma) to deciding that maybe they are in a period of slower development and could benefit from a slower year.