kjsmom17 asks:

Worried About My Child's Willingness to Learn

My soon-to-be five-year-old son took his assessment for early entry into kindergarten today.  His test scores didn't make the cut and the assessor cited the fact that he's easily distracted as among the reasons for his low scores.  I knew going in that he needs to work on his writing and reading but thought that his overall communication skills, aptitude for learning (as demonstrated by his being so adept at computers) and relative maturity, compared to kids his age, would weigh in more heavily than his technical skills.  

My husband and I have been working with him on his reading and writing for the past year but it's been a struggle.  Given his intelligence (logic, reasoning ability, etc.) I know he has the chops to learn.  But he is completely belligerent when we spend more than 10 minutes reviewing lessons.  We've tried everything we can think of to make it a fun, pressure-free experience but nothing is working.

Though I refuse to give up, I'm getting tired and, given today's development with the test, am more worried now than ever.  My son is only 2 weeks past the kindergarten cut-off and I was really banking on that kind of day-long structure to give him the motivation he needs for me to really be able to help him outside the classroom.  I've written a letter to appeal the decision but am still facing the possibility that he'll have to go back to preschool--to learn what he already knows.  Any encouragement would help.  Thanks!
In Topics: Tests (preparing, taking, anxiety!)
> 60 days ago



Aug 6, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

There are two way to look at this situation.  One is that your son isn't ready because of something you or he is not doing right.  Or you can see it as a gift.

I hear parents all the time say they wish they could have their little children stay that way longer.  You get a whole extra year to do this him!  Make plans of things to do with him that you won't be able to do when he starts school (for the next 13 years).  Plan some trips to see the grandparents or close friends.  Hit some of the tourist attractions near your home: historical places, museums, or factories.  When you go on these adventures, take the time to teach your son life skills.  For example, if you go on a airplane, explain the process of checking in.  Have him hold his boarding pass to get through security.  Then of course get it back from him so it doesn't get lost.  If you go to a factory, explain the different jobs and responsibilities.  If your time is limited due to work, then plan these trips during your vacation or on the weekends.  Try to pick off peak times to go.  It won't be a crowded nor as expensive.

Continue to work with him.  Keep it fun and light.  I'm sure this time next year he will be ready.  And when he starts Kindergarten, he will most likely be a leader rather than a follower.  I'm sure you have seen a tremendous growth in your son's academic and social growth over the last nine months.  So think about the other kids who are starting Kindergarten this year who are nine months older than your son.  They are probably more prepared just because of age.  That is just a fact of life, nothing that you did or didn't do.

As for going back to preschool, maybe you could send him to a different program or see if the preschool you are using has a special program where he won't repeat the same curriculum.

You sound like a loving and wonderful mother who wants the best for her son.  You are doing all the right things so don't worry, I'm sure he will do great whenever he starts.  Don't let the sigma of him not starting Kindergarten this year get in the way.  The extra year might be the best thing to happen to your whole family - so enjoy the extra time.

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