School started this week for the children of casa de phillips.
Not a moment too soon, in this mother’s opinion. The three of us were spending just a bit too much time together this summer and we all needed a bit of a break.
This year the children started at a new school. I spent months researching potential programs. I went so far as creating a spreadsheet with pros and cons of at least fifteen different preschool programs in the area. When my eyes began to cross and I started to think that perhaps just watching an hours worth of Sesame Street a day would be enough of an education, I finally made my decision.
The smiles on the kids’ faces when I arrived to pick them up this afternoon was proof that we found a fun place for them to learn this school year.
The exciting aspect of school for the children is that they are finally together. Yes, the “twins” who were born 21 months apart have been reunited at school. For the time being, they are rotating through the school in the same group (children rotate through rooms and areas: reading, science, creative arts, gym, math, geography, computer lab, etc.). Despite the fact that these two see each other every waking minute of the day, the thought of hanging out with each other at school is beyond thrilling to them.
The question with this school year has been, “Is Isaac going to Kindergarten?” Since he was born, we knew that most likely we would “red shirt” him the year he could officially begin kindergarten. The cut-off date for our state is September 1st, meaning a child must be five years of age by September 1st if he/she is going to attend public school. Isaac’s birthday is at the beginning of August. We knew that if we sent him this year he would most likely be the youngest in his class. Although being the youngest is not a terrible thing in itself, we knew it would mean that Isaac could potentially be smaller than the other kids (more of an issue for boys rather than girls) and not as emotionally mature as other children.
Remember the kid who cried all the time in first grade?
Well, I bet you he had a summer birthday.
Over the past five years, we have talked to many different people about our choice to redshirt kindergarten. I have talked to parents, children in the same predicament, educators and friends about this decision. In all my conversations, only one person encouraged me to send Isaac on to school this year (who happened to be a director of a Montessori program. If you are familar with Montessori, you know that grades are not even recognized. Therefore I felt her opinion was a bit skewed.). There is a lot of talk and research about redshirting, both for and againstit. Some people worry that if a child is held back a year from school he/she is missing out on a chance to learn. This is not an issue for us because Isaac has attended formal preschool programs since he turned two. Other people worry that if too many children are redshirting, it skews the age range in a classroom. I see some validity with this point, but then look at such schools of thought as the Montessori method who deliberately put an array of ages in a program to enhance learning and do so successfully.
Those who support redshirting particularly do so when the child being held back is a male. Boys with late birthdays (June – September) seem to do better when given an extra year to grow both physically and emotionally. Research has found that boys who were redshirted in Kindergarten seemed to be advantaged academically down the road, especially reading.
The question that remains is “What about the fact that a child with a summer birthday might be ready academically? Will he/she be bored when he finally starts school?”
My answer is quite profound and goes along the lines of “Uhh…we don’t know. Ask me next year.”
Currently Isaac has strong reading skills, math skills and writing skills. We attribute these things to a quality preschool, an intrinsic love for learning on his part, and my tendency to purchase every workbook I come across. When he does enter the Kindergarten classroom is he going to be bored to tears when phonics are discussed? Possibly. Will he entertain himself to hold off the boredom by getting in trouble? Likely. He is a boy.
Now that I have been able to tuck away all my preschool spreadsheets, I am about to start creating school spreadsheets. Although we are quite comfortable with our decision to hold Isaac back and give him another year to develop, we also recognize that we need to find an educational program that will be fun and challenging to him.
And not cost the equivalent to what I paid for college.
So, yes, we are redshirting kinder this year.
Yes, we are not quite sure exactly what direction we will take with the children’s formal schooling.
Yes, I love spreadsheets a little too much.
Now the requisite “First Day of School” pictures: