Friday, July 13, 2012

To red shirt or not to red shirt.

I should be blogging about my oldest turning five years old yesterday but I'm going to hold off on that until Sunday when we have his birthday party. Happy Birthday Wesley! In the mean time I'm going to write about something that is constantly on my mind. Never leaving my mind. Perhaps I just have too much time on my hands or maybe it's just because he's my oldest and will always be my guinea pig. Sean and I have to make the decision to go ahead and let Wesley go to kindergarten next month or hold him back a year and let him go to preschool another year. This is referred to as "red shirting". Kids with summer birthdays are usually the youngest in their class, something that can be a detriment to their learning. They are literally going to school with kids that are nearly a whole year older than themselves.

So here we sit with a little boy with a mid July birthday and two years of preschool under his belt. He's bright and somewhat social and eager to learn. But maturity wise? That's what we are questioning. His constant friend and playmate is a hyper active 2.5 year old sister. I think when he's around her all day he tends to act like her. She on the other hand is picking up stuff at an alarming rate (in a good way I suppose). She's learning from example, and he's a great little teacher.

I keep thinking if I have the ability to hold him back why wouldn't I? It might give him an extra edge over the other kids, he'd have a whole extra year to mature and school might not be a struggle. But then again, being the youngest in the class wouldn't necessarily mean he'd struggle. It might give him the challenge he needs to succeed. Sean said school was very easy for him and he skated through it up until college which was a wake up call for him. School was easy for me too, not much of a challenge and I'm a May birthday...probably one of the youngest in my class. There's always the chance that another year of preschool will cause him to be bored in kindergarten.

I've come to the conclusion that there isn't any right answer here. He'll do fine either way and we want him to be soaking up as much as possible in these "sponge years". Right now we are about 95% sure he'll be going to kindergarten next month. He's excited to go. I'm excited for him to go. Yet I keep asking myself if this is the right thing to do for him. Is he ready? I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

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