Monday, May 9, 2011

The Great Kindergarten Debate: Our Decision

Wow. We got a lot of advice. Really, really good advice. Thank you for the comments, the emails, the phone calls. There were some pretty compelling arguments for both sides. What makes this so difficult is that there is no wrong answer, whatever we decide will be a "good" decision. I tallied it up and there seemed to be an equal number of those who were for Kindergarten and those against. Interesting. Again, thank you for all the advice. I think we are a little bit closer to reaching a decision.

If I put Booker in Kindergarten this year, I will feel anxious about it and personally responsible for any difficulties he has and he will have them. If I hold Booker back from Kindergarten this year, I will feel anxious about it and personally responsible for any difficulties he has in the future. As my wise Aunt Diane told me, "I've realized that I'm going to go through life with these three kids successes, failures, happiness and sufferings tied to my identity. That exhausts me. As I read all your reasons, what I really hear is that YOU are feeling anxious about his growing up. You can't stop that. He will grow up. You will feel anxious every step of the way."

Whatever we decide, Booker is going to grow up. He's going to be good at some things and not so good at other things. And that doesn't have that much to do with how old he is compared to his peers or how tall he is compared to his teammates. Some people loved being young for their grade, others hated it. There's just no telling what the future holds.

He meets the deadline to be in Kindergarten and he is supposed to be in Kindergarten. Plus, he's excited about it. Excited about school! That's awesome. It might seem weird to involve a 4-year-old in a big decision like this, but I just can't ignore his utter enthusiasm about starting school. Plus, I liked this argument from my online friend, Bridget. Holding kids back a year just so they can have an advantage over their classmates seems a little unfair to everyone else, doesn't it? That being said, I totally reserve the right to have him repeat Kindergarten if he's struggling with it.

In fact, that's what we're leaning towards. And it seems from your comments, that it's actually more common than I realized. Kids repeat Kindergarten more often than I knew. I'm breathing a sigh of relief. Perhaps this decision isn't as important as I initially thought. I can change my mind in the future if I need to.

I'm glad I petitioned for advice because I might not have otherwise heard about the new charter school that is opening up nearby. They offer half day Kindergarten and I'm trying to get Booker enrolled there. If he goes half day, he will be away from home about as often as he was for preschool/joy school but unlike preschool, this will be free. After a year of half day Kindergarten, I'll bring him back to our local elementary to do a year of full day. If he doesn't get into the charter school, I might consider having him just do two years of full day at our local elementary.

The disadvantage to enrolling him at the charter school is that he won't be with his church and neighborhood friends during this upcoming year and I'll have to drive him to school everyday. But on the bright side, he'll get to wear a cute little uniform! And on the bright side for my waistline, the school happens to be on the way to the gym, a place I need to be frequenting every day anyways. If it turns out that he's a Kindergarten prodigy, he can continue onto first grade no problem. But if I know my Booker, he could use that extra year to grow up a little bit. As I type this, he's in the other room passionately arguing with Ike about who's a bigger "Cheeto-head."

I better go intervene before things get violent between those two crazy Cheeto-heads. Thanks again for all the fabulous advice.


grauntbetsy said...

your uncle Kirk was one who did two years of kindergarten and he is a terrific person. I remember you going into kindergarten how do you have a child doing the same? Make me feel old!

Bridget said...

Hooray! It sounds like you've worked out a great option. I hope it goes well.

Emily said...

See? I knew you'd come to a decision that you could feel good about. I think your logic is PERFECT and I'm actually leaning towards the same thing with Rachel--but just not a Charter school. I don't even know if they have those here. Anyways, I'm excited for Booker and especially for you!