Monday, May 16, 2011

Too young?

Sorry for the time between posts lately.  I've had a lot on my mind about this whole school situation and I just haven't been up to writing about it yet.

Update on Ryland.  He's doing great in school.  His reading is now up to par with his class.  The school has no reason to hold him back, academically speaking.  He has a pretty good grasp on things at school.  His overall classroom behavior has improved, but still leaves much to be desired.  There is now only 1 reason that I am hearing from his school.  1 reason we should consider holding him back. His youngness.  Their stance is that he is not immature for his age, he is just young.

I don't get this part.  Help me make some sense out of this.  We didn't decide on the age cut-off for Kindergarten...we have no control over that.  Is that a legit reason?  If its so legit, then why don't they change the cut-off age?

So, basically I am constantly back and forth between these 2 scenarios.

1. I have not gotten a good enough reason to hold him back.  I ask for it...all the time...but I haven't received anything that was concrete enough for me and made sense in my head.  So, I should send him on to 1st grade.

2. There is this completely selfish side of me that sees how if we hold him back, we get to have him in our home for a whole extra year before he moves out.  That's big.  We already missed his first four years and this would soften that blow a little bit.  But, it's selfish. 

What's best for Ryland?  What's best for him next year and for the rest of his life?  How will I explain that we held him back for no reason?  Is having a son who is 18 his ENTIRE senior year going to be a problem?  What to do...what to do?

Any advice?  Besides buying stock in Zantac to deal with my ulcers?


  1. I am a September birthday kiddo and my mom teaches kindergarten. They made the decision NOT to hold me back because, at age 5, I was reading, writing, socially mature etc. Looking back, my mom said it is one of her biggest regrets. As the years went on, the maturity gap widened. I started high school at 13, and had to play against people turning 19 on the tennis team. All of my friends got their licenses WAY before I did and that caused some tension as well. Since then, they have changed to cut off date in our town to July 1st. Hannah's birthday is in mid July. Since she will be going to private school, it won't matter, but I am holding her back anyway. An extra year of maturity won't hurt her, and might help even. But you have to do what's best for your kiddo and everyone is different. I will step off my soapbox now. Good luck with your decision...its a tough one! Erin

  2. You do have quite a lot to think about. Erin (above) does have some good points about the maturity gap widening as time goes on. I have to wonder if that is enough of a reason to hold him back. Is school going to be his only social outlet? Is he comfortable playing with older children now? Is it fair to hold him back if he is academically ready to move on? Will he be bored repeating kindergarden and lose interest in school altogether? As a teacher, I have seen both sides. The younger child with the older students. Some children handle it and some don't. I don't think there is a way to determine the end result. What data does the school have to determine that his "youngness" is or will impact him? I have never heard the term youngness before. Is that a Texas word? Parents will always have regrets once their children grow up. Did I do the right thing? Did I make the right choices? What if.....? There is no predicting the future. All you really have to go on is someone's concern about how young Ryland is and POSSIBLE outcomes. What does your heart tell you? Are you both in agreement as to what to do? I know that you both will make a good decision. I am anxious to hear what you decide.

  3. We are lucky in that both of our boys will be 5 almost 6 when they start school. I was born in August and I was one of the youngest, but I don't think it is as hard for girls. Boys it is harder because they just mature more slowely. I especaily worry about this with Isaac because he came to us as a 3.5 year old, but his emotionaly acts like an 18 month old. I will also say as a teacher, it seems to have less of a social impact on a child to be held back in the very young grades. Does your school have a junior 1st. I worked in one place where kids did not repeat kindergarden, but did an extra year between K and 1st.

  4. My son Henry who is also adopted from kaz but at 9 months old, has a January birthday so I feel lucky in that I will not be faced with making this difficult decision. He will start school at 5.5 yrs. and turn 6 in January but I will tell you this if he had been born anytime after June 1, I would of had him wait to start school regardless if I felt he was ready or not. I personally feel there is NO down side in being the oldest but many in being the youngest. I am a December birthday and my mom sent me ahead because she said at the time I seemed "ready" and I was tall for my age. I feel most children are ready for "K" but it is down the rode that is the problem, just like Erin said earlier.
    Good luck with your decision!

  5. Just to throw my opinion out there...I started school at 4, graduated at 17, and never minded one bit being younger than everyone else. I don't know how different it is for boys, but my son started school just after 5 (May birthday) and really would have been bored to have to repeat, even if he is young for his grade. That said, we home school and I'm sure his behavior in a class would leave much to be desired and he might need to repeat if we were in school.

  6. I teach middle school. This tends to be the stage where age differences seem the most visibly noticeable. However, I can rarely tell the difference until the end of 8th grade (boys have really started to change due to puberty by then). While most of the 7th-8th graders are 12-14, I can easily teach 11 year olds, and have even had a 16 year old 8th grader. I would consider the kids he is currently with, and if possible, check out the pre-k kids to see which group you feel he belongs with the most. Either way, I'm sure Ryland will understand that it was about his age, and not his intelligence.

  7. Cortney, there is a big difference between a 5 year old that has lived in an institution versus a 5 year old who has lived in a nurturing family since birth. I wonder if his emotional state is more immature than his peers. I think their emotional state and sense of maturity are just as important to consider. I read in an adoption book that his chronological age will differ from his emotional age. It will not hurt to hold him back at all, better to do it now than to see him struggle later on in school or with relationships. You know him best though. We held Nicholas back and I feel no regrets whatsoever. I do however have regrets at sending Claire to Kindergarten at age 4 (CA cutoff date is different). She is mature for her age but she will still be a year younger than many friends.

    What is his reading level? Is he at a first grade reading level? You also have to take into account that he is an English learner and he might have struggles as he gets promoted as there will be more reading and comprehension in upper grades.

    I have no issue with holding Nicholas back for the following reasons: He is a boy (more immature), He had a difficult start in life, He is an English learner, He needed time for more social interaction and to learn rules and boundaries, We needed more time to get to know him plus more reasons. None of this has to do with academics. We were told by the school psych he is very bright and can do things a 7 year old will do.

  8. Courtney: Madina is a September birthday and I thought that she was totally ready at 4 (almost 5) to start K. Well....she is now in 2nd grade, and what appears to happen is that she struggles through the first 6 months of each grade, and then finally comes into her own, where the other kids have been for quite a while. It's tough watching her struggle...but as she gets older, it is also getting harder and harder to keep her back and away from her friends. She is on target, but can't help but thinking that she might be having an easier time of it if I had made a different decision 3 years ago. FWIW....Quaintance

  9. I think that no matter what you decide, Ry will be fine. But, I do agree that since he didn't have the benefit of spending his first years of life with a family, that he may need that extra year in K. Since Ava is in the same boat as Ry, I am trying to really work with her at home so that, perhaps she can be one of the high students in reading, writing, etc. rather than always being the one who is average or trying to keep up with the others. If you are worried about him being bored, I would talk to his teacher about giving him extra challenges or more advanced homework, etc. Good luck making this hard decision and try not to worry to much. He will land on his feet and you will all survive!

  10. I am throwing in my opinion, a little late but Well you know :). I have 2 daughters adopted from Kazakhstan. One was adopted at 10 months one was adopted at 3 1/2. The 4 almost 5 year old's birthday is August 14 (our cut off is August 1) she was be 6 when she starts kindergarten and 18 her whole senior year. With her we didn't have a choice on whether or not to send her but if I did I would have held her back anyways. Emotionally she is not ready and she has been home 4 years. She is not mature enough to do an all day school program. Our daughter that was adopted at 3 1/2 has been home 5 months now and we have already decided that we WILL hold her back also ( june birthday) . Not because I don't think in 1 year she will be ready but because she is not up to emotional level of a normal almost 4 year old. I am going to savor the extra year I have with her. We were told but in her IEP meeting that it takes the children 6 months for every year that they spoke another language to catch up to their peers. So you might take that into consideration. Only you know if he is emotionally ready. Use your mama instinct. :)

  11. The gift of a year can have a big impact on any child, especially a boy. You asked ( wisely so!) why do school districts or States create a cut off date if they don't intend to abide to it :) some of that is financial based, mandated by each state but moreover its experiental data/input supplied by teachers and support staff at schools. Common wisdom from those who know. The reason it exists but doesn't fit all students is simple: for every child that "fits" the "mold" so to speak, so many more do not.

    Your little guy spent so many years institutionalized and will be young for his age. Can he manage and make the grade intectually? It sounds like he could! But I'm returning to one thing right now ~ the reluctance of his current teacher/staff to give a whole hearted green light for sending him on to First Grade.

    Sometimes all a teacher has is a gut feeling. Toss out the scores, emperical data and all the the end of the day, though the decision is rightly your's to make, pay close attention to what Ry's teacher is really saying. Don't be afraid to ask again and again and ask for more clarification. She wants to help and wants him to succeed!!!

    He might sail through or he might struggle socially, academically and more. His love of school and learning must be safe guarded and that can be tenuous for a child that struggles just to maintain each day.

    He sounds so bright ~ maybe you should ask yourself this....if there was no cut off date, no folks you might have to explain your decision fears associated with the concept of "holding him back", what does your heart tell you? Your intuition? What does he need and where best will he fit when the rest doesn't matter?

    I wish you tons of luck! I am a teacher ( home for now) and its a HUGE leap from K to First ~ seatwork much of the day and reading for fluency AND more & personal responsibility too. Our daughter ( adopted from Kaz. ) was a Sept. so we had no choice but to wait. She could have started at 4 and been successful, but frankly I'm grateful the decision was out of our hands. Our little guy is a July birthday and we will probably hold him; he's so bright but why not give him that gift of a year........again, good luck on a hard decision!!!

    See you at KP!!! :)