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Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Old and the Restless?

This recent article from the New York Times has given me pause. It describes several parents who have held their kids back -- particularly those born later in the calendar year -- to give them a chance to mature.

Both Dan and I are September-born and were always the youngest in our classes. To be honest, I never minded. I kind of liked it. Mind you, I mostly grew up in smaller towns, where months or years didn't necessarily determine friendship.

Since Jonah is a December-baby, the issue is bound to come up. In fact, given that I suffer from Type A-aholism, it already has, as Jonah is registered in a preschool for next September that normally only takes children who have turned three. But is this a good idea? Should I give him an extra year to learn numbers and tie his shoes? Or does it just depend on what his abilities are at that time?

All thoughts are welcomed!


  • At 7:36 PM, Blogger landismom said…

    My daughter is a September kid, and she's gonna be the youngest one in her class forever. It has it's ups and downs, I think. You have to judge based on your own kid's maturity level. It's probably a good idea to figure out in preschool, rather than kindergarten.

  • At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I moved from being one of the youngest in my class in Scotland, to being one of the oldest in England, and I can report that it didn't seem to make a blind bit of difference. My brother had the same experience - we both have autumn birthdays.

    Mind you, we were 8 and 10 at the time so I don't know how much application this has to preschool.

  • At 1:56 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    I was supposed to skip first grade, but then it turned out that my brother, who is two years older than me, was going to be held back a year. In the end, the school decided that it wouldn't be a good idea for two siblings who were two years apart in age to be in the same class, which I think was a good call.

    I'm glad I wasn't pushed ahead. Sure, it meant that elementary school was a bit boring, but elementary school isn't just about academics. It's also about sports and socialization, two things I was fairly inept at. I was pretty small and pretty physically and socially immature. I think I would've been way out of my depth in a class full of older kids.

    So yeah, I agree with landismom. It really does boil down to assessing each kid on an individual basis. Though from what I can tell, Jonah already has some pretty rockin' social skills, which I'm sure he gets from you guys. :)

  • At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I read a really interesting report on school acceleration a little while ago. It makes the point that in the case of school acceleration, what people believe to be true is exactly opposite of what research is finding (and that when beliefs and research are in opposition, beliefs always win). Despite its inflammatory name, it makes its case well. A Nation Deceived

    I was one of the youngest in my class and always desperately wanted to skip ahead. All my friends were always in the year ahead, and my senior year of high school was insanely lonely because they were gone. I think any social problems I had were based on being ahead of the other kids - kids (and adults) don't particularly like people who are "smarter".

  • At 1:14 AM, Blogger trophycase said…

    Parents have been seeking that kind of edge for years in sport. A fourteen year old playing with eleven year olds is going to score a lot more points than he would against players his own age but who cares.

    Seeking that kind of advantage in a school seems odd. If a parent reads to his kid, talks to his kid, even watches tv with his kid (a kid will ask a lot of questions if you're in the room, and watching tv becomes an active experience) your kid will be ready for kindergarten. So it seems odd that someone who cares about their kid would seek this added advantage.

    Just today I was talking to a mother who wants her daughter enrolled early, not for any advantage, but because she feels her daughter is ready. There's a curriculum. You can get a copy and look at what kindergarten kids will be doing. Chances are the school will be exercising skills your child already has.

    Your kid will either be bored if he knows everything or humiliated if he can't do it. I'm kidding. But that's how it is with parenting. You're going to mess up your kid one way or another. Hopefully your child will develop a healthy patience and desire for learning, but that won't happen if things are too easy.

    If you're capable of taking care of yourself and even the slightest bit concerned about your child, your child is ready for school.

  • At 6:38 AM, Blogger Libby said…

    "But that's how it is with parenting. You're going to mess up your kid one way or another."

    So true! As someone told me when Jonah was born, "Almost every kid turns out okay regardless of what their parents are like, so yours should be fine, too". It was oddly comforting!

    Thanks for all of the perspectives and the article.


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