Weenut will be five in July. By April, we need to decide if we are sending him to public kindergarten or not. Originally the plan was no, absolutely not. We don’t want him to be one of the youngest, smallest kids in his class, in a city where a lot of people “red shirt” for the asinine reason of giving their non-summer birthday kid a leg up in sports when they get to high school (WTF?). Additionally, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from other parents of summer bdays and educators who say, that yes, maturity-wise/socially nobody has ever regretted holding a kid back and the kids that aren’t held back are still easily identifiable as the youngest of their class even into high school by their social immaturity. But as we get closer, the logistics of actually doing that seem totally impossible.
If I were a stay at home mom, it’d be an easy no brainer. We’d just stay home for another year baking cookies and going on playdates and then enroll in Kgar when he’s 6. He’d never know the difference and neither would his peers. Or if he’d just been born in October or November and we wouldn’t even have to worry about it.
Either of those would have been ideal. That would be ideal. But I’m not a stay at home mom, and I don’t have a time machine to go back and retime his conception, so those are out. Unfortunately/Fortunately, because we have him in a curriculum based daycare, he’s progressed along their standard age lines, and has spent the past year preparing for Kgar. They’ve been practicing writing letters and numbers all year and are now moving into reading and math. He writes pretty well for four. He continually startles me with his sight reading skills. He’s used to the whole classroom drill of expected behavior, transitioning through tasks with the group, etc. In short, he’s more than ready for Kgar. I went to an orientation meeting last week which confirmed that he’s already well past our district’s minimum expectations for Kgar entry. (One of them is just that they RECOGNIZE, not even be able to write, just 21 out of the 26 letters of the alphabet-thefuck?)
So what to do with him that intervening year that we feel so strongly about him needing from a social standpoint? He can’t stay in the daycare’s pre-K class. He can move on to their private full day Kgar, and then repeat public school half day Kgar when he is six. But I have concerns about this plan on a couple fronts. Socially, he will see most of his peers moving on to the exciting new public school, riding the bus, etc., while he’s left behind with a handful of other kids doing private kgar. Throughout his full day Kgar class, the morning and afternoon sessions of public Kgar will be mixed in. So there will be plenty of opportunity for the inevitable ostracism that can come from being left behind. I’m already seeing some manifestations of mean kid bullshit coming home and in mama bear mode at the thought of it being directed at my preshus snowflake. And how will that escalate the following year when even more of those peers move on even further to go 1st grade (most of the other full day Kgar kids will go into 1st grade) and he’s repeating Kgar again? And then of course, there’s the academic worry. If he’s more than ready for Kgar now, how bored is he going to be doing Kgar again?
We could just roll the dice and do full day Kgar next year, and leave the decision about repeating it the next year open-he will technically be ready to go on to 1st grade with his peers if we want him to, but then we’re back to him being the youngest/smallest throughout the rest of his school years.
The other option I’m thinking about is moving him to another full day pre-K program with a new group of peers. That removes the social stigma of “staying back” and if we do a more pre-K oriented program he’ll get kind of an academic break and not be so far ahead when we put him in public Kgar the following year.
I say “I’m thinking about” because I haven’t even broached this topic with Miguel although the clock is ticking. He is a very black and white thinker; for someone so into academia and critical thinking, surprisingly opposed to carefully thinking through everyday decisions, weighing pros and cons. He wants to make a gut level decision, and move on. And as someone who was an August birthday, and therefore one of the youngest and smallest in his class, his gut level decision on this is that he wants Weenut to be six. But he doesn’t want to put any thought into the everyday ramifications of getting from our current point A to point B. Meanwhile I feel sick to my stomach with stress as I’m writing this. I am completely conflicted and stuck in my head. So I want to be clear in my mind before I broach the topic with Miguel.
I made an appointment for next week to see the other daycare option. Hopefully that will help me gain some clarity on the right direction. Of course, I’d hoped that about the Kgar orientation and came out of there even more conflicted.