Sunday, June 25, 2006
Ready for School?
I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day about her son starting school. He will be five on September 1st, which is the cut-off day for kindergarten in Utah. I happen to know a little background about this boy. His parents are divorced, his dad is non-functioning most of the time, he is small for his age and he is very emotionally vulnerable much of the time. I recommended that she not start him in kindergarten this year. I told her the key was her attitude and to just tell him he will begin next year. Don't even mention that he could start now. That is the key to failure. I know some critics would pitch a fit at my advice. I speak from experience. Not only did I teach kindergarten for 15 years, but I have two sons with late birthdays. One started school young and one (with an Aug. 28th birthday)waited and started school the next year. A few friends criticized my decision to let him wait. They told me he would be devastated. Not so. He didn't even know he could have started a year earlier until one day in 5th grade. He came home from school and said, "Do you know I am old enough to be in 6th grade? Why am I in 5th?" I responded, "Well, I wanted you to be the oldest and smartest in your classes. See, it worked!" He went away with a smile. In fact, when he graduated from high school, he thanked me for letting him have that maturity. His older brother struggled continually through school as the youngest. I wish I could give my older son another chance and let him have more maturity and preparation prior to school.