Something Beautiful or Humorous: Apples that Eli painted

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kindergarten Next Year: To Be or Not To Be?

So there is an ongoing fight right now between Chris and me about whether Eli should go to Kindergarten in the public school next fall.

Chris' view (as best as my biased mind can express it): Eli will turn 5 August 4th, which is a month before the Fairfax County School district's deadline. He knows his letters & numbers and doesn't seem to be behind the rest. He's going to preschool now and doing well, and next year Mia will be going to preschool and why not send Eli somewhere for free instead of paying for 2 kids to go to school?

Natalie's view: The school Eli will go to is an ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN. I think Eli's ready to go to school 5 days, but the full day adjustment will be huge for him. I don't think he is going to be that far behind his peers, but from my family's experience, being one of the oldest students in your class is different that being one of the youngest students. I was born in Dec. & was usually at the top of my class in gradeschool. My 3 other siblings had birthdays in Aug. & Sept. & they have always felt uncomfortable in school. I was the only one who went to college. I think Eli would benefit from being a year older emotionally, socially AND intellectually. Especially since girls always mature so much faster & do better in school at that young age.

There are all these interesting stats I've been reading in the ENSIGN (of all places) that by the time Eli graduates from college he will be vastly outnumbered in the workforce and in higher education by women!! And so he needs all the help he can get to be able to be competitive & be able to support his little family one day.

Believe me, I'd like to just send him out the door every day and not have him come back until 3:30 pm just so I can get a break! But it seems like such a big step & I feel like we have such a big responsibility to make the right choice for him. Once they start going to grade school, they don't come back (unless you home school).

I want so much for him to have a wonderful grade school experience like I had. Is it possible? I went to school in a great neighborhood (Cottonwood in SLC-- I went to Oakwood Elementary). And did I mention the boundaries of the school Eli would go to include a large (in my opinion) ghetto? And I can tell from the school bus line in front of our house that there will be a high ESL ratio. Diversity is wonderful, but I'm afraid it's distracting when the class is just filled with non-English speakers & they can't move as fast with the curriculum.

Am I overreacting?


Anonymous said...

I was an August birthday and excelled in school. Loved it and never knew that I was the youngest.

With that said, you are the mom and know your son the best. What was right for me may not be right for Eli. If you feel that he needs another year, then wait. But if you're waiting on things that you cannot change (diversity levels, A lot of ESL kids, ghetto-hood) then you would be wasting your time.

Have you looked into other Kindergarten options that would involve a half day? Private school maybe? Laura Kaloi kept her son back another year and felt that it was the best decision-she may be a great person to talk to!

Rob and Jewls said...

Natalie, one good argument for holding him back is sports! If he igets into sports you wnat him to be the oldest not the youngest...bigger, stronger, more mature, more of a leader, perhaps a little further in puberty when the others are at their awkward phase. I live down here too and agree that it isn't the best school-bus line. I have the same reservations. Being a teacher at PG county in the isn't easy to be in a very diverse classroom especially in the younger grades where they are very impressionable and learning the basics for the rest of his school career. On the other hand, fairfax county schools are really great...some of the best in the country. I am sure you will know what to do for your your maternal instincts. By the your blog! i am going to try and start one some day.

Julie Morgan