littlegreen... asks:

To hold back in kindergarten or not?

My son started kindergarten this past September. By November we pulled him out and I started to home school him at kindergarten level. The kindergarten teacher constantly complained about his behavior to me and said he was very immature. The school counselor set plans out for the teacher to use in the classroom to help him adjust, but she never implemented any of them. I and the school councelor were very frustrated with this teacher and the whole situation escalated to my decision to pull him out and home school the rest of the year. My son is a mid-July birthday (6 years old this July) and does have a very defiant personality. That said though, I see that he has gotten better at taking instructions, but not completely and seems to be right on target academically. The school counselor and principle have suggested testing him in June to see if he can go onto 1st grade and my husband wants him to go to 1st grade this coming school year also. I am so not sure of anything. There are days when he is very cooperative and I think, yes, he can handle 1st grade, but then there are days that I really think he should just try kindergarten again with a different teacher. My son wants to go to 1st grade as well. I just don't know what to do. He could go to first grade, struggle behavior-wise and feel like he has failed or he could go back to kindergarten, be bored and struggle and feel like he's failed too. I just don't know what to do. Help!
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness, School and Academics, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Mar 16, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

I hear your frustration and concern.  Before I comment on this topic, please remember that I do not know your son.  You know him best so follow your gut feelings; they are probably correct.

With that being said, the research indicates that retention in Kindergarten usually successful and sometimes works in first grade.  Personally, I have one nephew who was retained in Kindergarten and another one didn't start Kindergarten until he was six.  Their birthdays were late (September and October) and they both are doing well know in 9th grade and 5th grade respectively.  

When I taught first grade in the late 80's and early 90's, my school district had a program called pre-first.  It was for those students who weren't quite ready for first grade, but far enough along that repeating the Kindergarten curriculum wasn't going to help them.  Those students who went through the pre-first program were the leaders in my first grade classes.  That extra year gave them the time to mature and grow.  They were confident and ready to try new things.

Now about your son's Kindergarten teacher....  If he is retained, will he have the same teacher?  Also, will the school work with you?  A parent who is involved can make all the difference.  Listen to what the school has to say.  See what the testing reveals.  Also, ask when you have to make the decision by.  Give yourself as much time as they will give you.  You might not have to make up your mind until August.  That will give your son even more time mature.

I applaud you for asking questions.  Read what everyone has to say.  Continue to work with your son on his school work as well as his behavior.  Talk to your husband and your son about how they feel about the retention.  Then make your decision.

You son is going to be fine.  Just listen to your gut.

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Additional Answers (2)

MrsReading , Child Professional, Teacher, Parent writes:

This is a very hard decision. I am going to make several educational guesses regarding your son. But as the writer above stated, you know him best, but do you know him best in a structured, educational setting?

Your son has a late birthday, which may make him close to a year younger that some of his peers. The defiant behavior you describe may very well just his being a young boy not ready for structured learning and nothing more!

I taught kindergarten for 10 years. It was my experience that schools tend to be geared toward educating little docile girls and not active little boys. That being said, it was my experience that kiddos whom were retained in kindergarten were either at the very top of the class or at the very bottom. There was no middle of the road.

The students for the most part, however, always considered themselves as having been "left back" in kindergarten. From an emotional standpoint I question the value in retention. While academically it makes good sense.

In your son's case,and you are able to do so, I may consider homeschooling him for another year and then having him placed into 1st grade. This way he does not carry the stigma or retention and is emotionally and academically ready to handled a structured school environment.

Hope this helps!

Mrs. Reading
> 60 days ago

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brenskids writes:
I have been a preschool teacher/director for 30 years, and the mom of three grown sons.
Reading your description I cannot suggest strongly enough that your son will be a great success, and be happy, if you hold him back.
The fact that he wants to go to 1st grade is irrelevant. He's 6...he only knows it's the next thing.
I have counseled many parents during my decades in this profession. When seeing a child with a late birthday that is anything less than strong in all areas....and developmental areas are THE most important here...we strongly urge parents to give them the gift  of time.

When speaking to parents I put it this way, "Your child is so busy doing the extraordinary, he can't be bothered with the ordinary"(quote credited to Brenda MIlhem). And I mean it!
Over the years the parents who have headed my advise have been forever grateful. Those who have not have struggled with their child, or eventually held them back at a later time.

My personal story is this: We have 3 sons born 1 year apart (no, it wasn't planned!) Our youngest has a March bday. He was (and is) bright , imaginative and very funny. I knew he had a hard time in Kinder, but his teachers didn't say anything. He struggled in first grade.
then in 2nd grade he announced that his teacher wanted to know why he wasn't smart like his brothers. I rode into the school on a broom!

I ended up homeschooling all the way through the 12th grade...tried reenroling him a few times, but his immaturity ( as well as comedic talent) always ended with disaster.

When he was 16 we invested in a 3 day long battery of test to determine what his learning difficulties were. The conclusion: he was a genious, but immature for his age.
His response was:" I can't possibly be a genious, I'm stupid"

We had never made him feel this way. He felt that way because he could not compete with the peer group in which he was enrolled.

He is now 29, and an interactive annimation specialist for a large ad agency in New York City.(makes more money than his dad!) A career he carved out due to talent and determination....because he also couldn't cut college.

Please, please, give your son the time he needs to develop. This has nothing to do with intelligence. Infact, the brightest minds are usually "given" another year before school entrance. He will NEVER care..boys associate due to interest, not age.

And, ask your husband this: Why does he want to rob the two of you from an entire year with your lovely son before he leaves the nest?
I'm talking college here.

You, or any others who would like more info are more than welcome to contact me...
> 60 days ago

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