10 Reasons Why I’m Not Sending My 5 Year Old to Kindergarten

10 Reasons Why I'm Not Sending My 5 Year Old to Kindergarten {Why I'm Redshirting My Daughter}- The Humbled Homemaker

I’m excited to share our family’s reasons for why we’re not sending our 5 year old to kindergarten, and I’d love for you to also read Lexie’s story of how her family chose the opposite–to send their almost-5 year old to kindergarten!

It feels like summer has barely begun, yet around the country–especially in the South, where I live–school is starting very soon!

Our oldest child turned 5 in June, and, according to her birthday, she was supposed to start kindergarten this year.

But she’s not going.

We’re not even starting homeschool kindergarten with her. We’re waiting another full year to start her formal education.

Why in the world would we wait?

Check out these 10 reasons why I’m not sending my 5 year old to kindergarten:

My Little Pony 5th Birthday Party

1. I want her to be one of the oldest kids in her class.

If she is one of the youngest children,we may risk her falling behind some of her peers–both academically and in maturity as she gets older. I have had others tell me that the difference in age wasn’t that visible in kindergarten but could be detected more as their children got older–especially in the middle and high school years as everyone is going through puberty and getting their drivers’ licenses.

If she is one of the oldest children in her class, she will be driving her friends around once she hits 16–and not vice versa.

2. I would rather her be a young 6 than a young 5 when she starts kindergarten.

I have a fall birthday (November), and my husband (a June birthday) completed kindergarten the year he was 6. So, we were both some of the oldest children in our classes and spent kindergarten during our 7th years of life. We both also thrived academically throughout the rest of our schooling.

Because we both started kindergarten at age 6, we want our children to experience the same.

I have not read any of her writings yet, but supposedly the popular homeschooling guru, Charlotte Mason, also advocated starting formal education at age 6.

great wolf with sister

3. I want my oldest daughter and her two little sisters to stay close throughout their childhood.

Our first two daughters are 28 months apart, and our second and third daughters are 22 months apart. Even though the first two are just over two years apart and the second two are just under two years apart, the way their birthdays fall would place the first two three years apart in school and the second two only one year apart in school–if we didn’t “redshirt” both our first and youngest children (which we are already planning on doing with the baby, even though she’s not yet 1!).

Our girls have June, October and August birthdays. Our October baby (our second) will be the only one we do not “redshirt” or wait until she is 6 to send to kindergarten since she will turn 6 early in the school year.

4. I want my daughter to thrive in kindergarten; I want her to be a leader in her class.

My husband and I spoke with our daughter’s preschool teacher before making the decision to not send her to kindergarten at age 5, and she said repeatedly that she thought our little girl would make it just fine and that was she was one of the “smartest” in her 4-year-old preschool class.

But we don’t want her to just “do fine.” We don’t want her to just survive. We want her to thrive.

Her teacher also said she would be more likely to be a leader in her class if we waited until she were older.

DPK

5. I want her childhood to last longer.

Who wouldn’t want an extra year of childhood? Our babies grow up much too quickly as it is!

6. I want her to be older when she starts college.

My husband was 19 and I was nearly 19 when we started college. Just like I would rather her be a young 6 than a young 5 when starting kindergarten, I would rather her be a young 19 than barely-older-than-17 when she begins college (especially if she attends away from home).

7. I want her to be more emotionally mature.

Is our little girl as mature as other kindergarteners? OK, to be honest, I have no earthly idea. But I do know that one day she seems like such a big girl compared to her sisters and the next day she is fussy and whining and even throwing tantrums along with them.

She stopped taking regular naps around age 2 1/2, yet, very occasionally, she will still be tired enough to lie down and take one (she did yesterday!).

I think giving her one more year to mature will do nothing but help the transition from play to formal academics.

our yard on Kallie Loop

8. We are in a season of transition.

This is huge: We JUST moved–as in we have literally not even been in our new house one week.

Because of the move, we have delayed potty training our 2 1/2 year old, and, by the same token, we think it might be emotionally stressful to add formal schooling into an already shaken-up routine.

9. We want to send our daughter to a Christian hybrid homeschool–and we need the extra year to save money to pay for tuition.

Our town is blessed with an amazing university-model school where students attend classes three days per week and are homeschooled two days per week. Our daughter was accepted into this school for this coming school year, but we could really use one more year to save up for the tuition.

(In fact, one reason I started this blog in the first place was to raise money for our girls to attend this school one day! Every book you purchase or ad you click or affiliate link you buy through adds up to this purpose–thank you!)

Pony Rides at a My Little Pony Birthday Party

10. I am just not ready.

Call me a helicopter mom or whatever you like, but the honest-to-goodness truth is that this mama just “ain’t” ready to send her baby to school. Of course, this reason on its own would have never flown with my husband!

In all seriousness, partial homeschool will take a lot of work, and this current life transition we are in right now is not an ideal time for our daughter to start kindergarten–or for me to teach her.

One of the biggest arguments against people holding their children back from starting kindergarten at age 5 is that those children will get bored in school. My thoughts? If we wait to start her and she ends up excelling to the point of boredom, we can always move her up–but it will be very hard to move her back once she has started school.

Ultimately, we prayed about this decision, and my husband and I both felt a huge peace about this. Once we decided to wait to send her to school, I was flooded with relief! My husband is actually a public school teacher (and I was in the past), so we were also able to make this decision from a professional’s perspective.

preschool-resources

Image by cienpies

What are we doing in the meantime?

Just because we aren’t beginning formal schooling with our daughter doesn’t mean we aren’t teaching her!

We are sending our little girl to transitional kindergarten three mornings per week at her Christian preschool. We had the option of sending her for five days per week, but I wanted the opportunity to “practice” our homeschool days. In fact, I’m currently working on unpacking our play/school room in the new house!

Does this mean every family with a child who has a summer birthday should wait to send their children to kindergarten? 

Absolutely not! I’m a firm believer that parents must make the schooling choices for their families based on their children and their family’s unique needs.

In fact, I fully support my friend Lexie, who is writing today about why she is sending her 4-year-old (who was born the same summer and in the same hospital as my little girl!) to kindergarten (her first day is today!). Click on over to Lexie’s site to read her input on this! (p.s. Lexie is an experienced school teacher by trade; she knows her stuff!)

Should your family consider this?

Only you can make that decision for your family. I hope today’s post–as well as Lexie’s–will give you some food for thought and help you make an informed choice.

Keep in mind that my family had 10 reasons–10!–that led to this decision. Even just one or two reasons may have led us to the opposite choice.

Did you send your children to kindergarten at age 4, 5 or 6? Would you ever consider “redshirting” or waiting to send your children to kindergarten?

 

If you’re waiting for kindergarten and looking to teach the basics of the alphabet and godly character during their preschool years, I recommend the curriculum The ABC’s for Godly Boys and Godly Girls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. tiffany says

    My parents sent me to kindergarten at 3.5. I was the smartest in all my classes, never fell behind. I also had no problem when my friends who were two years older then me got the DL or anything else I never felt left out. I did learn to act more mature for my age but that has only been beneficial to me as my life progressed. Now I am 23 aiming for my Phd in education with a 2.5 year old. I am starting homeschool already with her and she is learning and advancing in leaps and bounds. It is never too early for a child to learn. Just my experience. Every child is different. The parents and child should decide together what is right for them but don’t let society tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.

    • Will says

      Congrats on the PhD. And since you are getting it in education, you are well aware studies show that intellect has nothing to do with age. You are right that is never too early for a child to learn, and our daughter will continue to do so this year as we prepare her for kindergarten. Again, congrats on the PhD. That is quite an accomplishment.

    • Rhonda says

      Congrats to Tiffany on pursuing her dream, but I am of the same opinion as the blog author. I skipped kindergarten — and was the youngest in a class of 335. It was very, very hard for me (though I had an abusive babysitter, so I’m not sure another year with her would have been optimal). Although I excelled academically, my maturity level was lower and I felt left out when my friends could drive and see Rated-R movies.
      If this were my choice for my child, I would make the same as you. There is *no rush* to grow up and get out into the “real world,” and even a super-smart or precocious kid can be stimulated academically by attentive parents. I say whenever there is a decision to be made like this, always choose to wait. I can’t see any long-term negatives in waiting, and the short-term gain (“my kid is a GENIUS!”) is negligible at first and becomes riskier as time goes by.
      Be comfortable in your decision.

  2. says

    You have to follow your heart. The issue I was seeing, as a high school teacher, is that the adults (Yes, they are adults at age 18) were having a very hard time in class. It is a very difficult situation when your mommy has to sign your test, when you are old enough to serve this great country. It was also very difficult to have to ask permission to go to the bathroom, as and ADULT. Perhaps we are not looking to their long term issues i.e. 19 years old and just graduating high school. They have been adults for well over a year and technically do not have to listen or obey anyone. The mickey mouse school rules are enough to decide to get my children out as soon as possible. Although, if you are not going to a public/private school, you may not feel this way.

    • Will says

      I disagree. I teach high school, mostly juniors and seniors, and I do not see this problem at all. We have actually considered the long term issues, and graduating at 19 is not really one of them. Many students are actually taking a gap year now to study abroad or examine career options and are not starting college until 19 or 20. And being 18 may legally make you an adult (in some areas), it is does not make you adult in all areas of life and maturity.

      • Kalina says

        You tell as that you are teacher in high school. My husband think that our doughtier need to mature more like 6 years old to stared school, but I think is to late. She is good in sports, good in the daycare school tape, but very wild like a boy. I’m afraid for her being oldest in the classroom. Can you give me suggestion? Please!

    • Marybeth says

      I turned 18 part way through my sr. Year….after that I signed my own absent notes, etc…I was legally an adult and was treated such

  3. says

    My boy started Pre-K when he was four and my “mommy-instinct” hated it. Then he began Kindergarten and both my husband and I knew it wasn’t working for him OR us! So, we pulled him out of school and let him stay home for one more year (I guess we “red-shirted” him. THEN, he started Kindergarten the following fall and did very, very well. For first grade we homeschooled and will continue with it!
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  4. Jen says

    Thanks for this. I have wondered about this b/c my son’s birthday is in August and my second is in October. I’m wondering if this wouldn’t be best for him too. He is very tenderhearted and very easily bullied. Having a younger brother is helping him to stand up for himself, but I have worried about school for him. I was bullied all through school myself and know how awful it is. We plan on homeschooling the first year or 2 anyway and will decide from there. This article helps a lot!

  5. Rebecca says

    Every set of parents, if they’re listening for the voice of the Lord, will hear what is best for their child. It makes sense to me not to rush sending your child into a classroom setting, away from the family, until you feel they’re ready! It seems that so many people nowadays are in such a rush for their children to develop and grow, beyond what they’re capable of, sometimes. Young children learn so much by “osmosis”,without the need for formal education too early. At least that is my opinion!

    We have an almost-3 year old son, and a 4 month old. Our plan is homeschool our children. In fact, I think we are in a way homeschooling already, though I don’t have regular formal “sit down and do school” sessions yet! We learn so much discussing nature on our walks, or reading books about all different topics, or having him help me cook, garden or take care of our animals… learning is so much more than just “school”. It’s a lifestyle :-) Oh, and I highly recommend Charlotte Mason’s theories (Karen Andreola has a lot of great information and has written books about the Charlotte Mason style of teaching).

  6. Caroline says

    I do not see anything wrong with the choice of holding your child back from Kindergarten. I personally wouldn’t do it, but if you feel it is the best fit for your child, then great! My son’s birthday is in November, so he is always one of the oldest in his class. He starts First Grade this year!

    While age may play a small role, I believe the even bigger role is the actual school your child attends. I could have let my child go to a public school here in Las Vegas, but they are probably the worst in the nation. Then there were the Charter Schools. (I honestly do not see them being very different at all from a public school. Perhaps there is a tad more discipline). Then we were introduced to Challenger, a private school. (I believe these are only established in the West, but I’m sure the East coast has schools that are similar). Challenger has been amazing (and so has the tuition). Some people think it’s a sin to pay $1,000/mo. for an elementary school student to attend school, but BOY does he learn A LOT. I am a working mom, so one of every two paychecks I earn goes strictly to his tuition. I have had my elementary years, now it’s time for my son to have his, and I want him to have the BEST possible education he can have. If that means to you that holding your daughter back a year is the answer, then do it. (Wow — I went off on a HUGE tangent there. Sorry!)

  7. says

    My son also just turned 5 on Tuesday. We have had him in preschool for one and a half years, (he was having trouble speaking, and it was a special one that worked with kids in talking.) We also decided to keep him in Preschool this year. After much thought and prayer. In our area, if your a young five you tend to be known as the bad kid and tend to get put on meds faster. It is just that extra year that changes the tables in how they act and are seen by the teachers. We want them to have the head start of being older, instead of getting a bad lable and having that for the rest of there school life.
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  8. says

    We homeschool but I decided to slow down my daughter’s schooling a bit when she was in grade one. Many of my reasons are what you have listed. We’re not planning on sending her to public school but if some day it has to happen, I would want her to be one of the oldest in her class. To have time to mature and work on her confidence/shyness. Thanks for listing your reasons.

  9. Heather M says

    These are really great points and well said. We have recently made a HUGE change in the schooling of our oldest two children. It was a difficult decision for me, and I needed that reminder that we are to submit to our husbands. I had never considered your first point before; that was very wise to think so far ahead of time as to who your grown up children’s friends will be and who will be the “Taxi driver”.

  10. says

    We have two boys with summer birthdays — July and August. The oldest turned 4 this year. (We also have two kids with Jan. and Mar. birthdays, who are now 5.5 years and 5 months.)

    We are homeschooling, so we will go ahead with the boys when they are 5. BUT we will not be pushing any formal academics until they are 7 or 8. We will be reading books, visiting museums, doing hands-on projects, and so on. That is how I think they are meant to learn at a young age and that is what truly works best for us. As they get older and have strong interests, we’ll use those interests to jump start a more formal study of math, language, and so on.

    I am honestly not that concerned with many of the reasons you listed, for my own family. I am not worried about who will be driving whom because we’ll decide, child by child, when they are mature enough to drive and when they can have passengers (and with whom they can ride). I am not worried about when they start college because we’ll encourage them to do so when they want to, even if that’s at age 14 (obviously, online courses, not on campus!). Or if they don’t want to go to college that’s cool too, we’ll help them find trade school, apprenticeships, whatever. Our family’s goals, needs, and concerns are very different. :)
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    • Rebecca says

      I agree 100% with your post… I love your ‘curriculum’ plans for the first couple years of school. Sounds like what I am hoping to do when we start official homeschooling in a couple of years. Our oldest son will be three in November, so I am not sure when the best time would be to start school with him. He’s very bright and interested in learning even now,and has a good attention span, but I still don’t want to burn him out too early!

  11. says

    Great post Erin! We started one of ours in Kinder just 3 days before she turned 5. She is now a 10th grader and has been homeschooled since 2nd grade.

    Can’t say our family’s concerns would be the same as yours, but definitely support prayerfully thinking through decisions for our children. At almost 15, my daughter thrives with both older and younger peers, but also has worked with lots of adults by participating in musical theatre and shows.

    My husband works with consulting schools/educators and we wonder if ‘age’ will as much of an issue in years to come, especially end of high school and beyond. With dual enrollment, gap years, compacting high school, etc! there will be a larger mix of ages & stages entering college or the work force (or starting businesses). It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out….Thanks for sharing!

  12. Angie says

    I applaud you! You are doing what works for your family and your child. You go where the Lord leads and there is no one-size-fits-all educational choice.

  13. Kim says

    I started kindergarten when I was four (I didn’t turn 5 until January half way through my kindergarten year). I was in the gifted class during grades 4, 5 and 6 and several honors English courses in jr. high and high school. I am 43 now and about to send my baby to kindergarten in a little over a week. He has a late September birthday so due to our state laws, he could not have gone to Kindergarten last year. He will likely be one of the oldest in his class but I’m glad for this. This past year in preschool was great for his maturity both emotionally and socially. Now, if this weepy momma can just get through his first day without him seeing me cry!! :-)

  14. Karen says

    My daughter turned 5 at the end of April and she’s definitely ready for kindergarten, so that’s where she’ll be in about a week. Even if I wanted to “redshirt” her, it would backfire on me because of the school district’s supposed policy. I haven’t looked into it but I was told that in our school district, when you try to enroll your redshirted child into kindergarten, she will be put into first grade instead because they want to stop people from redshirting. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it’s something to consider for those moms who will be using the public school system.

  15. Rebecca says

    This whole article makes me glad I home school!! I started school as a 4 year old and I can’t see it ever influenced anything in 1 way or the other. Our state laws would inhibit a person from “redshirting” a 5 year old. And it’s also against state law to have more than 1 person (not a family member) under the age of 18 riding in minor’s car with them. There are a lot of other things I could say about it but it’s not my business and like I said, SO thankful we home school!

  16. says

    We have a 15 month old son, so while this decision seems to be off in the distance, we have already been discussing it. We plan on homeschooling. Being a homeschool grad myself, I know how much pressure parents put in themselves to get it all right and to be “doing” whatever public school peers are doing… a philosophy we disagree with and will guard against.

    We are actively watching for teachable moments even now – like yesterday when my son recognized “Pacific Ocean” was in 3 different places on the map and pointed at them all excitedly… But “school” (i.e. reading and writing) won’t start until he’s ready — which could mean as late as 7. We want him to have lots of time for creative play. And this is what works for our family :)
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  17. says

    We took so much flack about our son who turned 5 August 17th last year that I started out the year planning to do Kindergarten with him. But, through the year I came to a lot of those same conclusions. So, we’re doing kindergarten again this year :) I’ve learned that it really pays to just go with your mommy-gut.

    I don’t know many homeschoolers and the ones I do know are very much all about starting EARLY (like, by 3 with formal preschool and then Kindergarten at 4 or 5), so by their standards we were already behind. However, I ascribe to more of a Charlotte Mason style as well (and there are states for which the compulsory age isn’t until 8!)…so I’m finished trying to do things the way others think I should and this year, we’re doing what we think is best for our family.

    • says

      Crystal, we are pretty eclectic homeschoolers and we just followed what we believed the Lord wanted us to do, even when that didn’t make sense to anyone else. I hav 6 children, (4, 11, 13, 15, 17,19) and they’re all different. I have one that didn’t learn to read until he was 11 (but at 16 he passed his college entrance exam and started taking dual credit classes) but my 4 year old is already learning.

      Just follow the Lord and He’ll work it all out for you.
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  18. Darena D says

    My son’s birthday is late August so he was actually 4 when he started Kindergarten because school starts in early August here. I wanted him to start per-school instead but according to the law where I live, if his birthday was by a certain date, he had to start kindergarten. Everyone should be aware that its not just up to the parents but laws can apply.

  19. says

    Many of the reasons you outline here are why we “redshirted” our second child. He went to a private Christian kindergarten at age 6 (instead of 5) and we’ve never regretted the decision. It was the right choice for this child. We sought the Lord in pray over it and discussed it for well over a year before making the decision. Parents know their children best, and more so, the Lord knows what’s best, so seeking His will is key. Whether you homeschool, or your children attend school outside the home, I think we all should respect any parent who has sought the Lord in how best and where best and when best to school their children. I love that you were so open about how you came to your decision without pushing that everyone should do the same. Thank you for always being truly humble. :)
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  20. says

    Our son only just turned 2, so we haven’t made any serious decisions yet; but his birthday is in June so if he started kindergarten at 5 he would be one of the youngest in his class. I do know for sure we aren’t doing preschool, I am definitely comfortable with doing that on my own :) But considering also that boys tend to take longer to develop in some areas, like reading, we may just decide to keep him home an extra year and do a bit of “homeschool”. (I say “homeschool” because isn’t every day as a Mom all about teaching them? :) ) We just plan on waiting and seeing how he does with reading with me at home; he is already good at the alphabet puzzle he got for his birthday and can count to five :)
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  21. says

    I went to school as a 6 year-old with an August birthday, and I think it was a great decision on my parents’ part. Being one of the older kids in my classes throughout school did help push me toward more of a leadership position in school.
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  22. says

    We homeschool, and the law here in RI is that children have to begin school by age 6. At 4 and 5, I work with them when they initiate it, but I don’t initiate it much myself until they are 6. So far this has worked well!

    I think what you are doing is wonderful! I love that her school mixes both types of teaching. That means they give the parents credit for knowing how to teach their children. It also helps you to get a taste of both types of school!

    An best of all, I love that you are keeping her home because you want that year to spend with her! She’ll cherish those moments with you and her sisters! God bless you, Erin!
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  23. Sarah says

    We just made the same decision for our son. I could add 20 more reasons for sending your child to school as a 6 year old versus a young 5. It is a decision that many parents feel the need to defend, but know that you are making a good decision because you have been thoughtful about your decision and not simply felt the push of society to make children grow up as fast as possible.

  24. J says

    My oldest is only 3 but I’m British and started school at that age along with all the other British kids. I came to America when I was 4 and started in kindergarten although they planned to keep me there for the following year as I arrived at the end of the school year and technically I was to young for the class ( I have an October birthday). Then they saw that I could already read, write and do basic math at the level of a second grader and they went ahead and put me in 1st grade and tried to convince my parents to put me in second. I did fantastic though despite being much younger than all the other children in the classroom as did my older sister (same story just add 2 yrs to her grade level). I guess coming from a place when all the kids start school at 3 this notion of a 5 year old not being ready for school is a completely foreign concept. I’ve talked to the British school teachers who say that that is the ideal time (3) because they are still complete sponges and pick up the academics so much easier than if you wait two more years when there brain growth and development slows down drastically. But I guess it’s just one of those cultural differences :-) G/L

  25. Martha says

    We are choosing to redshirt our son (June birthday) also! I really appreciated this post- it has helped me to put words to some of my thoughts/feelings and also acts as confirmation. The University model school sounds fabulous- I would love, love, love something like that. I am considering homeschooling, but that sort of model of school I would jump on in a heartbeat. Love the idea of calling it redshirting, too!

  26. Ham says

    I think this is wonderful news! Most parents never even concider this at all! They think oh well you are old enough to go so they sent them. Some also think (and I know quite a few like this) what will other parents say if I hold my child back? So they just send them. Your children are blessed to have parents who love her enough and pay enough attention to her. And holding her back bc of a move is reason enough alone! I am 25 and still do not do well with moving. And I am in the middle of the bigest move of my life! Yall are wonderful parents!

  27. says

    I enjoyed reading your post and appreciate that you included the link to the other side of the issue. Our older son’s birthday is at the end of August, just a few days before school starts and my husband and I spent a lot of time talking about whether or not he was ready to go to Kindergarten. We ultimately decided to let him start Kindergarten since he was already reading and seemed to be ready academically. After starting school he really blossomed. He became more independent and much more willing to try new things when before he always asked for help and didn’t like to try new things. Looking back I think I was the one who wasn’t ready for Kindergarten. :) He will be in second grade this year and we have no regrets so far that he started Kindergarten when he was a just-turned five year old. But as you said all families, children, and circumstances are different.
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  28. says

    I have read this post when it was first published and searched for it again while HEATED over a personal issue with choosing to not send my 5-year-old to Kindergarten.
    I remembered nodding in agreement the entire time I was reading as well as sharing these main point with my husband.
    Our local HIPPY program {free preK curriculum that includes all supplies as well as monthly social gatherings my daughter has been apart of in another town for the past 2 years} has refused to allow my 5-year-old to participate in the program if I do not present them with a letter with an acceptable reason(s) why I’ve chosen not to begin kindergarten with her this year {public, private, home, or otherwise}. This infuriated me!
    I have until Tuesday to get a letter ready for them to return along with another form {I believe from the local school} in order to be reviewed to see if she is allowed to participate. I am taking this time to write a blog post VERY similar to this one in order to work out all the hateful tones before printing a letter for them by Tuesday.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and making me secure in my decision because at least 1 other mom in this world just “doesn’t want to”.
    So, do you think a letter simply saying “Nun Ya!” would be “acceptable”? LOL
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  29. Jess G says

    I honestly feel as if you jumped inside my head and read my thoughts! I too have a five-year old daughter who will not attend Kindergarten until she is almost six! We recently celebrated her 5th birthday on September 2nd! She just went back to school on September 4th, attending the only Young Fives program in our county! According to state age requirements she could have stareted Kinderarten this year, but after much thought, consideration and MUCH prayer we decided to wait one more year! It has been the hardest decision thus far as a parents we have had to make! She is academically more than ready, but something in my mommy gut said, “Wait!” I feel like an “odd duck,” as most parents I know with children with late summer/early fall birthdays are sending their children to Kindergarten. I, like you, felt much peace and relief after this decision was made! But sometimes my insecurities of, ” my child is just as smart as yours,” can creep up and make me question my decision! But for my husband and I, we simply want another year with her! For our family this is the right decision and since the father God knows what’s absolutely best, we can’t go wrong obeying what he has called us to do! We have all ready seen blessings from this choice! We are not sure if we will pursue homeschooling next year, but it is an option! As for now, I am supplementing her Young Fives Program with at home lessons because she is eager to learn! Thank you so much for your article! It has brought another level of peace to my heart and makes me feel not so “odd!” Thank you and many, many blessings to you and your family!!

  30. nemxgirl says

    I wanted to know can I get in trouble if I have not registered my 5 year old in school. He just turned 5 in August.Please let me know.

  31. Amethyst says

    I completely disagree with this. You are holding your child back and babying her for no reason. graduating high school at age 19 is NOT a perk. By then, they should be either in college or taking a gap year to work or do something meaningful.
    I understand the need to want to keep your children “babies” for as long as possible, but believe me, it will backfire. I’ve seen it all too many times. It’s time to help the children fly.

      • Steph says

        Did you honestly tell the teacher all of your reasons though? I can’t imagine a teacher agreeing with you bc you want them to be children longer, it better balances the grades their sisters are in and “you’re not ready.” I understand if a kid isn’t ready academically but some of your reasons are about you and not your child. So sorry, can’t see a credible teacher agreeing with you based on those reasons.

    • Shannon says

      Wow. What a mean comment. This mom chose to do something different than what you would have done. That doesn’t make her wrong. Moms need to stop judging each other’s choices. Her parenting choices are not your concern anyway.

    • says

      Amethyst, I’m not sure if you have adult children or not, but I do, and a whole slew of teenagers (ok, only 4). These days, most high schoolers can start college while still in high school so even if a student doesn’t graduate until 19 he (or she) might still graduate with 24 college credits which is *almost* the equivelent of a whole year in collge. If they’re ready, if its the right thing for them. By the way, my oldest graduated right before his 18th birthday and my second oldest will graduate right before his 18th birthday.

      There is so much pressure in our culture to have our children grow up and always looking at for preparing for what’s next. I applaud Erin and her husband for enjoying the now. There’s no way not sending your child to kindergarden is going to ruin them for the rest of their lives.
      angi recently posted..This MomentMy Profile

  32. Amanda says

    My son is on an iep, he turns 5 in July 2014! They want him to go on to kindergarten (Sept 2014)but I want to red-shirt him. I’m being given such a difficult time. I found your blog, by researching can they legally make me. While I didn’t find the answer here, I’m so glad, I found your blog because I know we’re making the right decision to fight this.

  33. motherto4 says

    If a child isn’t reading and writing, forget about starting kindergarten. He/she might never catch up.
    I started my 5-year-old boy with a July birthday. He came in doing “just fine” from preschool but didn’t read or write yet. The material was covered so quickly (we have half-day) that he never quite caught on before a new concept. In 2nd grade, he is struggling still and might never catch up. There is SOOO much to learn. If the basics are not THERE, it’s very difficult to do well in kindergarten.
    My daughter just started kindergarten but will be 6 soon AND she came in reading/writing (nothing I did; maybe the preschool?). She is excelling.
    For my next summer birthday boy, I am sending him to a private kindergarten so he’ll learn to read and write and be VERY well prepared. Then he will start in the public school. It will be kindergarten twice. A chance to mature, too. A chance to actually be academically ready as well. NEVER again will I assume “oh, the child will be fine, they all catch up eventually.” It’s a slippery slope. (Also, grandfather started kindergarten at age 4, EXCELLED academically and was valedictorian but was NOT emotionally ready for college at 17 and actually dropped out at first. I do not want my 17 YO starting college; same mistake).

  34. Elizabeth says

    I was sent to kindergarden at the age of 4, I was younger than everybody in both classes. I was smart, could already read ( started at age 3) and could spell better than any other child. But emotionally I was not ready. I wish my parents would have waited. I am now 23, a mother to a 34 month old, and he will be homeschooled but on his schedule. We plan on starting pre-school when he is 4, and then take a break and start kindergarden at 5 1/2. I think it is wonderful that you not only thinking about your daughters age , but her emotional well being. Great Job!

  35. Stephanie says

    For me, while I don’t agree with every reason you’ve listed, I do agree with waiting longer to start formal education.

    My siblings and I (five total) all had differing degrees of success both in our regular and secondary schooling despite all of us being considered “above average” in raw intelligence. A large part of our success or lack thereof came from our mental and emotional maturity when we were in school. All of us were home-schooled at least one year with the youngest home-schooled four or five years. We all attended the same public school system.

    But because my youngest sister was home-schooled the longest before being exposed to public school she’s excelled far beyond the rest of us when it comes to completing her educational and work-related goals.

    Going back even further my grandmother who is a mother of 13 children, 9 of whom are still alive today, commented on this same trend that seems to appear. Because of the age difference between her oldest and youngest children, she saw for herself that her fall babies had an easier time acclimating among their peers and performed better both in academics and sports than her late-spring and summer babies. As a result she “held-back” her last three children for one year allowing them to mature before starting their education. To this day she credits that decision with their excelling in school.

  36. Gina says

    My son started Kindergarten this year close to 6 years old. He has a slight speech delay and his birthday fell after the cut-off date to start Kindergarten at 5. I am thankful we had an extra year to work with his preschool and private therapy in catching up to the level we were comfortable in knowing that he would be prepared for Kindergarten. He is thriving wonderfully. On a personal note, I never went to preschool. I am not sure why, but I’m assuming this was because the teachers were not opened to my parents speaking me in 3 different languages. They were told many times to stop by teachers since it will academically hold me back, and speaking English is the only way to go. This was back in the mid-1980s, and I am thankful my parents never listened. I started Kindergarten when I was 6 years old and had no problem articulating in 3 different languages. Went to college, got my masters, and blessed in a job field being tri-lingual.

  37. says

    I had a friend in high school that was almost 19 when we graduated. He always felt older and out of place. He hated people assuming he was held back and not as smart because he was still in school. He had a job before us and drove before us. He kind of felt like the older brother in our group of friends.
    I also knew a couple that were 17 when they graduated as well and never had any issues. In fact, they loved that they were graduating “early” and starting their lives once they were 18 (that summer). None were immature or couldn’t handle graduating. To me that is not based upon age as much as personality.
    Of course, you have to do what is best for your child. Only you could know for sure.

  38. BCamp says

    We made the same choice for our twin girls. They were 5 in May, but we chose to wait one year. Our son started Kindergarten and turned 6 shortly after(November Birthday), ans we could see the benefits. They too wil go to a private Christian school with their brother next year. The girls attend a 3 half-day a week preschool now. My husband and I feel completley at peace with our choice! :)

  39. Verna Turner says

    I am a former kindergarten teacher. With the pumped up kindergarten curriculum that is required now, I think waiting until your child is older is a very wise decision. Even if your child can cognitively handle the curriculum, it may be emotional draining on a child who is less mature. It is for this very reason (and several you listed) that my school district has a kindergarten readiness class for children with summer birthdays. The children must test at an average or above level to qualify along with the summer birthday. This class is a step past preschool level and teaches what used to be considered kindergarten in the past and the children go to kindergarten the following year. Kindergarten is very formal schooling now with a lot of pressure on the students and frequent testing of skills. You are making a wonderful decision for your child to wait until she is older.

  40. Jen Stinson says

    I love this post!! We are now in October and my daughter turned 5 in May. I struggled with almost every single point you made and was REALLY wanting to “red-shirt” my oldest. (my younger two are boys, but the same age difference) (we also moved into our new house in a new town and new state two weeks after school started)

    I made the decision to homeschool. My husband wasn’t on board with either option, but knew it was silly to start two weeks late. So we homeschool full time and LOVE it!!! There are many days I think “she wouldn’t thrive in a classroom” and I thank God for giving me the peace and ability and my husband for getting on board.
    And SHE LOVES IT!!!!

  41. April says

    To each there own. We homeschool. I think it is a good idea to wait when starting formal academics. I teach my children how to read early, but it took about 10 minutes a day and within a year they were reading. Other than that though we play. Make crafts. Paint. Bake cookies. They learn stuff by just living life with us. The formal sit down stuff can wait. I think they handle it with more confidence if we wait.

    Blessings,
    April

  42. German says

    Food for thought: In Germany the cut off is June 1, so you would not even have to consider red-shirting your kids, since they would not be eligible to go. Interesting, no?

  43. Monica says

    I don’t know what the big deal is about holding your child back. We here in the North have been doing this since the 1980″s. There is always going to be someone that is the oldest in the class no matter when you decide to send your child to Kindergarten. Holding them back doesn’t make them smart. They are either smart or they struggle I don’t believe holding them back give them an advantage in the brains department. However I do believe that only the parent’s know when their child is ready to start School and that it should be the parent’s choice to hold there child back or send them. Also the years your children are apart in years of school doesn’t make them close. I know twins that aren’t close and I know siblings that are 10 years apart that are very close.

  44. Layale says

    Sent our son to 2 years of preschool outside the home, but we have homeschooled him from Kindergarten through present day. He’s 8 now, and in third grade. We love homeschooling. I do not regret not sending him to Kindergarten.

  45. Kiya says

    I just wanted to point out that sometimes when a lot of parents redshirt it can cause problems for others. I never considered keeping my April son back but now he is in kindergarten and is being compared to the 6 and 7 year old’s in the class. If I had had a summer baby I might have kept him back too but with him being a spring baby I never thought anything about it. It is so infuriating that his teacher is holding up other kids work to me and comparing the way that he draws and writes to older kids! I suppose that this is not anyone’s problem but my family’s but I just wanted to point it out.

    • says

      I am sure that would make me mad as well! It is a deeply personal issue. I don’t think the teachers should compare that work/throw that in your face! I am sure you made the very best decision for your son and your family!

    • Daniela says

      That also infuriated me -was part of the reason we held our son back another year in PK (currently)…he is a summer birthday and only child and the pre school felt he was struggling -there was no way with the new common core that is out there (and our district only has 1/2 day K) that we could take the risk. It just isn’t fair and I agree…

  46. Becca says

    This year I had planned to begin homeschooling my (at the time 4 year old) in kindergarten, because I want ready to send her to school, and because she only could have attended half day preschool. We did not end up sticking to a rigid schedule, and my older girls (5 total, she is number 4 of the 5) ended up teaching her all of her numbers and how to write most of her alphabet! We will be putting her in kindergarten this coming school year. She will turn 6 in October!

  47. says

    I was born in July and was in the middle age wise in my class, had no problems acclimating or anything else, mostly because ALL of my friends were younger than me by a few months.

    All of our children are November/December birthdays, and while we do plan on homeschooling, we are going to hold off on formal education until they are older.
    Jess White recently posted..Books in 2014My Profile

  48. Danielle says

    We held our son back until age 6 for kindergarten. He’s just now starting to wear a 5T, an he’s currently 6 and a 1/2. Like you say, it’s easier to move them ahead once they’ve started education. I was 4 when I entered kindergarten, but in Hawaii where I grew up, the birthday cut off date was December 1st. I don’t regret holding bak my son at all.

    • says

      I’m so glad to know you’ve been where I am now and don’t regret it! We are halfway through the TK year, and we don’t regret it at all! Thanks for visiting! :)

  49. Cynthia says

    My daughter is 4 and she would have started school this past year, but we’ve decided to keep her home for this year, at least, to help her develop her character. It’s rough business being a kid these days, and I want her to be a little stronger than she is. She’s so sensitive and caring, I don’t want her to lose that.

    We’re tossing around the idea of homeschooling, but in all honesty, I just don’t know if I have the patience to formally educate my children (she’s the oldest of 3, so far).

    Here in Ontario, Canada the cutoff date determining when your child starts school is December 31st. My daughter’s birthday is in March, so she would have been on the older side of her classmates… But that wasn’t really something we thought about. But you do bring up an interesting point.

  50. Stephanie says

    Thank you for this. I did not want my son to go to school for kindergarten either. I also didn’t want him to even do preschool when he was four, but he did because with my mom working there it was like free childcare while I worked part time. But I didn’t like it. Mostly because I believe small kids belong with their families. They are so impressionable, and the parents should have the most influence, not other small children or teachers you can’t pick or may not even know. Also, we lived in a very rural area where, to be honest, the schools there scared me. I ended up doing online public schooling for K out of necessity because those schools were simply not an option for us.
    Education is a huge part of life, especially in childhood, along with peers and other adult role models as well. Some parents take it too lightly and just do what everyone else is doing without questioning. I’m relieved to read from so parents here that they pray about it, think about it ahead of time, and consider all possible options. There really are more options out there than what many families realize.
    Love you “Humbled Homemaker” ;) you’re a girl after my own heart

  51. Nancy says

    Did what you are doing with my oldest he had a May 7 birthday, would do it again, never had one regret! My other two had November and December birthdays so were OLD 5′s when they went. Both my husband and I were youngest in our classes and those middle school years were tough. We know we did the right thing and it has been over 25 years.

    • says

      It is SO good to hear from parents who did this years ago and don’t regret it at all!! Our second has an October bday, so she will be nearly 6 when she starts. But we have already decided to keep our youngest–an August baby–back a year!

  52. Lynda says

    I love what I’m reading!!! I only regret I didn’t read some of this a year ago. My oldest started kindergarten when he was 4 and did quite well and continues to do so. My youngest who is now 4 is coming along with great strides and I believe he will be ready come September (he will be 5 in May 2014) for kindergarten. However, my middle child is six and is having a difficult time in 1st grade this year. He did “ok” in kindergarten at age 5 but I really believe there is a maturity level that has not been reached yet and in reality, I should have kept him home another year before starting his school adventures. (I knew this before he ever started and even went as far as to tell his teacher not to compare him with his older brother) Why oh why did I not listen to my gut instinct?!!! :0(( They attend a private school but I also work closely with them and I told my husband that I felt like we really needed to lay off of the academic process for the rest of this year and work on maturity and our “normal everyday teachings” that we do in our home. I’ve had a very frustrating 4 months that I really don’t think would have happened had I just followed what I knew in my heart and what has been confirmed in many posts here. Praying its not too late to correct a misguided path. ~

  53. Debora says

    ‘I want her/him to be a leader’ , I hear this all the time! but somebody has to follow people! I use my time teaching my kids how to follow the right people, even though one being one of the youngest and the other one one of the oldest they both have natural leadership skills. ;-)

  54. Lori says

    Just now reading this – we held our youngest son out of kindergarten the year he turned five for multiple reasons. The first was that he was behind in his language, second because he would have been one of the youngest in his class and third because he was small for his age. I’ve never regretted doing that. He had a friend who was more than a year younger than he was (in fact, he was only 9 days away from the cut off). I didn’t notice much difference while they were in elementary school, but when they went to middle school, the difference was amazing – Chris was so much more mature than his friend. Now as an adult, Chris has said he was glad we held him back and he would do it in a heartbeat if he had a child close to the age cut off.

  55. Rebecca B. says

    This is the complete opposite of what I think. From personal experience (just like you and your husband were the oldest), I believe it’s advantageous to be youngest. I was younger than most of my classmates, yet was receiving the same information and opportunities. The youngest in the class (in the elementary years) have bigger vocabularies because they’ve been exposed to more complex language of their older peers [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshirting_%28academic%29]. Upon graduation, they start university at age 18– an entire year more to work on their education and careers.

    Having said all that, there is a chance that I may hold back my daughter. We’re teaching her two languages, so her communication isn’t strong. She is mixing languages (which is normal) and her teachers and friends have a hard time understanding her. Academically she’s not up to par yet, but she will catch up in due time. During that time, I’m not sure it’s worth it. I’m quite concerned about her getting into trouble during high school because she is the oldest (18 during her entire Senior year.) I do appreciate some positive spins on my notions!

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your experience! I think having a bilingual child will give her some amazing opportunities–no matter what you decide! :)

  56. Lacremala says

    Erin, thank you so much for this article. I almost cried when I read it. We too, have a very young 5 year old girl (August bday.) Cut-off in my state is Sept. 1, so technically she should have done kinder this year. Where we live, there are not many options for “post-preschool.” So we enrolled her in 1/2 day kinder at a private school, with the intention of having her do full-day kinder next year. ALL of her summer birthday friends that are girls went ahead into public kinder. Several of the boys were kept back as well.

    It is refereshing to find an article about a GIRL being held back, as there is almost no information on the subject for girls. I have agonized over what to do, since all of her friends have gone ahead–but to different schools, thankfully. My husband, a summer bday who went to school at a young 5, wishes he had not, and wants to hold her back. We also have a younger daughter who has a Sept. bday, so she will be virtually the oldest in her class by default.

    Our 5 year-old is amazing and smart and socially adept, but I notice a distinct difference in maturity between her and children at the older end of the spectrum. She has always gravitated towards the younger children in her class as well. Her current teacher says she would do well in either kinder or 1st grade next year, but pointed out it is not just next year that matters, it is also all the years to come when the differences in age might really start to show themselves. This last year together before “real school” has been amazing and I would not trade it for the world. I wish we lived close by so we could be friends, lol!

    Thank you for sharing your family’s decision.

    • says

      I am so touched that you were encouraged by this, Lacremala! I felt led to share our story, and I was just thinking tonight how I am so, so, so glad we waited another year! Since Christmas, things seem to be clicking with her so much more than they were at the beginning of the school year. If school were to start right now, when she is over 5 1/2, I think she would be ready–which tells me she will be even more ready at 6 in fall 2014!

      Our youngest has a late August birthday, and we are 99.9999% (lol!) sure we will do the same with her.

      I hope you have peace and encouragement in your decision!

  57. Cheryl says

    IMO your reasons are very surface and selfish. My daughter turns 5 in September and I am on the border weather to send her or not, however the fact of prolonging her childhood, keeping her close to her younger sister (only a year behind her) or getting her license early (realky?)or because I’m not ready would never enter in decision making, they are in fact ridiculous reasons. Looking at a child academically and socially yes. If you did some research you would see there has been studies done both ways, some say start early some say don’t. What about the size of the child?

    • Kristin says

      She is also planning on red shirting her 1 year old, I have to agree this seems like a case of I want to give my kids an advantage over others. This advantage really isn’t one – the children are simply older. My 7 year old can do more than my 6 year old- not because she is any better or smarter she is simply older and can’t be rightly compared to a child a year younger.

    • Carolyn Webber says

      ‘surface and selfish’? I get the impression that this writer put quite a bit of thought into her decision making regarding her daughter’s education. Considering the relationships between the siblings may not seem to be an appropriate reason to make this decision in your opinion. But, she is not considering the family needs overall at the expense of her child. She is obviously considering her Child’s needs first and foremost and then listing the peripheral considerations which effect the family overall. Who is going to look out for your Child’s best interest if you, as the parents chosen by God, don’t? Blindly herding your child through a system that has taken God out of the classroom makes no sense to me. What does make sense is doing exactly what she is doing. Carolyn

  58. Kristin says

    In my opinion red shirting serves to make the gap between students entering K5 even larger, which makes it more difficult for those at the top and especially the bottom of classes. I would at least let her try to go to K5 or homeschool. I understand the reasons parents do this but the more popular it becomes the less advantage your child will have and the further behind the younger or less “talented” children will become. I am not a teacher, other than to my own children I homeschool, but I can imagine having 5 year olds and almost 7 year olds in one class would not be optimal.

  59. Jen says

    I was a kindergarten teacher with 3 four year olds in my room last year. If there is one thing I couldn’t agree more with it’s waiting to send your children. The biggest issue was they just weren’t ready for an entire day of structure. I should add I worked at a school with an extended day – 8-4. We had recess, p.e. everyday, and center time, carpet time, etc., so it’s not like they were sitting at desks all day, but it’s still a lot to ask kids to attend and focus all that time. The older kids did much better. I would totally support parents in this decision, although, speaking from a public school perspective, it’s not that easy to move your children ahead a grade if you think they are not being challenged enough.

  60. says

    I was 19 just out of high school. I was the 2nd oldest in my class. It was not easy. I felt that my parents doing preschool, pre-k, & then kindergarten slowed & stunted my development. As I went through school I was always a step behind the other kids. I honestly think my parents decision, hurt my growth, learning, develpoment.

    • says

      That is interesting. That is the very first comment I’ve heard like that. My husband was 19 when he graduated as well. So far, we have no regrets. She is thriving right now. :)

  61. Cynthia says

    We didn’t red shirt but we did choose to have our sons repeat Kindergarten. They are July babies but were 7 weeks premature. So they started the first time at age five and started again after their sixth birthday. The difference the second time around is powerful. Not only academically but socially and emotionally. We did not take the decision lightly, especially since they were both “passed” to First Grade. We are thrilled with our decision.

  62. Lindsay says

    I have a September birthday and started K when I was 4.(Turned 5 just a couple of weeks in) I remember struggling socially and academically, especially remember other kids reading with ease and it was so difficult for me. My oldest has a Nov birthday and has never had any issues, is a leader and very confident (she is a born leader), my middle one has an early Sept bday and we held him back and have never regretted it. My youngest is due to start K this fall at 6 years old. His bday is late May and we struggled with the decision to hold him back or not. Alot of your same reasons, being the oldest, academics, a little selfishness on my part, but our main reason was MATURITY. He may have “done fine” academically, but was just not ready socially. I have seen a huge change in him this year with all areas of readiness, but definitely know we made the right decision. One of the K teachers at our school questioned me on when we were planning on sending him and agreed with our decision, her comment was “I have heard alot of parents say they wish they had held their child back, but have not ever heard a parent say they wished they had sent their child a year earlier”. Thank you for this post!

    • says

      “I have heard alot of parents say they wish they had held their child back, but have not ever heard a parent say they wished they had sent their child a year earlier”. <—THIS

      I’ve heard that over and over. I don’t think either of us will ever regret this!

  63. says

    I really struggled with this personally. My daughter’s birthday is in the middle of June and our school districts the cut off is June 1st. I thought about having her tested so she could start, but after talking to multiple teachers. Everyone of them told me to wait, it was better for the child. Now my daughter is in the middle of her last year of pre-school and the top of her class! I’m excited for kindergarten and I’m confident she will be ready!

  64. Cindy says

    I was just speaking with a friend whose son turned 5 in December and they have decided to not send him to kindergarten for another year. We were discussing that the maturity issue may not matter in kindergarten but I have seen it become an issue in 5th or 6th grade, esp with girls. I have twins with a June bday and we waited to send them until they were 6….best decision we ever made!

  65. Steph says

    I get many of your reasons except “you aren’t ready” and you want to “extend childhood” is a little selfish. Personally, I was August and on the younger side. I loved being younger especially after I got out of college. I started a career at 21 and was so much farther ahead than a 21 year old junior in college. Every child is different and I understand if there is a developmental issue but I do worry if everyone does this, we are going to have a bunch of 22 year old HS seniors looking for the next “edge” their parents can give them.

    • says

      She will actually graduate at 18–the same age I was at graduation since I have a fall birthday. :) Waiting until age 6 is one thing…for a 22-year-old to be in high school, the parent would have to wait until age…10. Like I wrote in the post, it wasn’t just 1 reason…all 10 added up to our decision. :) She is now reading and adding…and excelling. She will be very ready now, and we are so much more at peace with starting kindergarten with her this coming fall. :)

      • Steph says

        A 22 year old senior was an exaggeration to make a point. My point again is where does it stop? If I don’t want my kid to be younger and she was born in March of the same year do I now hold him back, and again and again. It worries me that nobody wants to be the youngest. If everybody does that it will just keep going and going.

          • Steph says

            It takes a village though. I don’t just worry about just my children, I worry about the generation they will be part of. And readjusting ages in grades and ignoring cut-off dates so everyone can feel good that their 7 year old is rocking at kindergarten isn’t going to help anybody. It’s creating a false sense of entitlement when the majority of people play this card. Everybody wants to hand over this “edge”. I see the entitlement with our interns, they aren’t used to failing. When you are a year older than your peers it’s easier to make a sports team or ace the spelling exam. But can you handle not winning? I’m not commenting on your individual situation, I don’t know it. And i certainly understand some kids really need another year. But it should be an exception not the rule. it’s just a general comment. Lots of parents are doing this and it seems like it could go on and on forever.

  66. Irene says

    I’m not sending my kid to school, home school all the way. One of the biggest bashes on home schooling is that “if your kid is home schooled they will be lacking when they get to college” etc. those type of comments. I’m going to school with a girl who was home schooled all of her life, guess how old this chick is? She’s 16! I’m not even kidding, she far exceeds me and I’m in my third semester of college she just started, everything literally bores her because she was a straight A home school student! That’s my biggest reason out of a few others but any who, I’m not bashing people’s wanting to take their kids to school, bashing the schooling system, you would think they’d be a bit better off.

      • Kristin says

        What is a “university model” of homeschool? I had to come back to this blog because I heard the term used again. I thought this article was about sending your child to a brick and mortar school. I have to assume you are putting your child into a private school and not sitting at home instructing them. If you were homeschooling them most of the things on your list would be a mute point.

        • says

          Hi Kristin. A UMS is a model of homeschooling where the children are in Christian school part of the week and homeschooled part of the week: http://www.naums.net/ I would have still waited even if we weren’t doing the UMS model. I believe most of the points would still be valid. I am super excited about starting UMS in the fall. We had our family interview today! :)

  67. Carolyn Webber says

    I have three children, two are in their twenties and the youngest is eighteen. My youngest is completing his senior year in high school. I held him back a year before beginning kindergarten and have never regretted the decision. This was not an easy decision. All of our friends advised us against this decision because of his level of maturity and intellectual development. He is the student council president this year and has been the easiest of my three children to raise. Attending a private Christian school, he has been self-motivated and is the most well adjusted of all my children. By the way, I really enjoyed that extra year with him at home. : ) From one who has been where you are: do what you know is right for each of your children. An extra year at home is a decision that you will never regret. Carolyn

  68. Ronda says

    I have 2 sons the oldest has a August birthday and the youngest a Jan birthday and we were told when they were tested before kindergarten that they would be leaders instead of followers! They are now in their upper 20′s and they both are very much leaders and were also the first to drive in their class! My husband & I were also the oldest in our class! I agree it’s far better to hold them back and be older & more mature!!

  69. Sammy says

    What a bunch of shit. The only real reason was # 10. She fabricated the other reasons to validate the last. 1. No one cares about classmates age or whether or not they are older. Number 2 is just stupidity. You don’t remember that time and neither does your husband, and surprise, neither will she. 3.Number 3 is stupid too. Whether or not they are closer to each others grade level does not mean your kids will be closer. Number 4 is just dumb. She isn’t any more likely to be a leader just cause she’s older. Anyone can telll you that has more to do with their personality. 5 Kindergarten = part of childhood 6. If she has passed high school then she will be just as prepared for college, as her knowledge academia wise won’t be any different. 7.Again, age doesn’t determine emotional maturity. 8. You’re moved? So does everyone. Its clear you were really stretching on the last 3. 9.You want to send your daughters to a nice private school, but can’t afford it? Tough. I’m sure lots of people would like that LUXURY, which clearly you cannot afford.. 10. The only halfway reasonable reason. You just don’t want to cause you’re a helicopter mom, who apparently would go through all this trouble writing 10 bs reasons you don’t want your kid to start kindergarten just to validate it to yourself.Can hear you whipping your husband from here.

    • Esther says

      Wow. Don’t you have anything better to do than spread negativity? You sound like a very angry, sad person, and I feel sorry for you.

  70. Tanya says

    I personally started K5 at 4 years old, and went for about half a year before they decided I needed another year at home. I was academically ready to start school…I’m a fairly smart girl. But I’m somewhat of a homebody and I wanted my mommy so much I cried every single day till I guess I basically forced them to take me out. I agree that every child is different…I’m thankful we each still have the opportunity to decide what is best for our own kiddos. I already have toddler homeschool with my girlie and we have such a blast with it. I hope I get to homeschool her for a long time!

  71. says

    My children(3, 2 girls and a boy) all have fall birthdays. Both my girls did fine starting at age 5 (turning 6). But my boy was just not ready and I wish I’d waited another year, because after a year I decided to hold him back and “wow” what a difference !

  72. Eleanor says

    Hi, I have found this post really interesting as I’m needing to make this decision soon. There is a big expectation to start school at age 5 so was really good to hear your side of the coin. definitely something to think about, thanks for sharing!

  73. Zita says

    I regret to let my daughter to start kindergarten at age 4, turning 5 in November 10 years ago.
    She is straggling in school and not mature as the kids in her grade.I wish I can turn time back for this one and keep her at preschool for one more year.

  74. says

    We are homeschooling, but we still started our summer birthday daughter “a year late” in kindergarten. I am a summer birthday, and I started when I was supposed to, and I really think it hurt my confidence and social skills. Although always at the head of the class academically I just wasn’t ready for the social aspect of school. Probably has more to do with my personality, but who knows. We also wanted to make sure to keep her home as long as possible, so she would mature as much as possible before being on her own!

    • says

      I’m so glad I’m not the only mom doing this! We have seen her mature a lot this year and now feel confident in starting her this fall–at age 6!

  75. Beth Ann says

    I homeschooled my two daughters who are now 19 and 21 and in college. I started the 19 yo a year early because she had the ‘me too’ syndrome. She kept up easily so we continued through to graduation. Her grades are great but she is on her second college and major and yesterday told me she was having doubts about this one. Her advisor told her she’s young and she just keep on until she gets her calling. All this to say I would WAIT.

    • says

      Thank you so much for the input, Beth Ann! It’s so good to hear from those who have “been there, done that” and can now tell from the other side!

  76. Earl Brunner says

    As a kindergarten teacher, the only one of your reasons I would take issue with is number ten. All of the rest are valid good reasons and I wish MANY more parents would consider them instead of being in such a rush to send their kids off to “free daycare”, I mean kindergarten…..

    • says

      Thanks for the input, Earl. #10 is partly a joke. :) But in all seriousness, I wanted to be ready to take her on our homeschool days. Over halfway into this year, I feel we are both ready now (but wouldn’t have been in August).

  77. says

    My birthday is in October and the cutoff was December. My parents put me into Kindergarten when I was 4 because I would be turning 5 a month later. For our family, I think they made a wise decision. My brother is only 17 months older than I am and we lived down the street from the school. My mom was there almost every day helping out my brother’s kindergarten teacher so I would sit with the rest of the kids and do all the kindergarten stuff. So I basically had two years of kindergarten. I was very ready.
    Plus, due to unforeseen circumstances (which is why I believe the decision to start or wait kindergarten is a personal family choice) I hit puberty at age 6. I started growing breasts. My mom took me to the doctors when I was 6 because I had lumps where my breasts would be. With a family history of evasive breast cancer, she freaked out. Turned out the lumps were breast buds and I was developing WAY young. I had my first period on my 8th birthday. So I was a VERY early bloomer. Had I waited another year, it would have made the already difficult early blooming even more difficult.
    I also loved being the youngest in my schools. I think my parents made a wise decision for me. Just as I feel you made a wise decision for your family.
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  78. Allyson says

    My daughter’s birthday is in July and I have always wondered what we will do when the time comes. It’s very personal to me because I also have a July birthday and my parents started me in school early and I had to re-do kindergarten!!! Who has to do kindergarten twice, this girl! My parents said a lot played into it. For one the school had no idea I was falling behind, my parents actually noticed it during a recital and second I just wasn’t mature enough. My parents took me out of the public school system and put me in a private school. I have always been an “A” student and I have just finished my master in nursing, so by no means does this reflect my intelligence. However, It was always embarrassing to tell people that I had to take kindergarten twice and I would want my daughter to avoid that. BUT on the flip side my husband was also a July birthday. He started kindergarten as a young 5 year old and he’s a cardiologist now. I think it really depends on the child and their personality AND of course what’s best for the family! This was a very nice article, thank you for sharing.Best of luck! Allyson

    • says

      Best of luck in your decision! I didn’t include this in the post, but my husband–who also has a June birthday–had to repeat kindergarten as well. After that, he was a straight A student through his masters degree! His experience also played a small part in our decision to wait to send our June “baby” to school.

  79. I. Evans says

    All of your reasons are valid and personal. Home schooling isn’t right for every child nor is public school. When my children were little back in 1980 I had never heard of home schooling. But in actuality it is exactly what I had done it with my first child. It was natural to teach him about letters, numbers, shapes, colors etc. He would have thrived with home schooling but as mentioned earlier I had never heard of it until he was older And the first time I did hear about it I thought it was depriving a child of the ” school experience”. Had I known then what I know now home schooling would have been ideal for my first child. For my second child it might not have been as beneficial as he had learning issues and was placed in a class that was specific to his needs. So basically what I am saying is that each family is different in their views, each child’s needs and personalities are different as well. Parents have to do and will do what they feel is best for their situation. I don’t feel your position needs to be defended. It is what you feel is right for you and your family.

  80. Carrie McGuire says

    Our son has a sept 1 birthday. We originally planned to send him to kindergarten when he was 5. We made the decision to hold him back and opted to send him to a private Christian kindergarten when he was 5. He did very well and his teacher and the director actually encouraged us to enroll him in first grade the following year instead of repeating kinder in the public schools. We had him repeat kinder in public school only because of his age. He is now in 1st grade and is at a second grade level for reading and math. It was a hard decision for us, but was the right one for sure. He is more mature than most of his classmates. I applaud you for making a choice based on your child’s best interests not what everyone else says you should do.

  81. Shawnya Hallin says

    Many other countries, with top education systems, start children at six and later. There was recent news about Sweden beginning formal ed as late as age 7. Classroom time was short, 3 hrs, while most time was spent out of doors.
    Time home with parents and sibs with other community/early childhood ed events, etc teach needed social skills. Research shows kids actually learn a better sense of independence and self-esteem having been cheered on by mom and dad for several years.
    An article in World magazine also showed how different preschool and kindergarten are on our boys. It is hard for them to sit still and they are actually learning social-emotional skills through wrestling and rough housing. If anyone should be held back, maybe its boys.
    Additionally, age should not really be a factor. We all know how mature, emotional, leading/following our children are. Having mixed-ages in class is quite positive. The Montessori model is built on it. Each child has different skills and can display these to those younger and older. Shy, older children can thrive teaching the younger children in these fluid classrooms.
    Different methods, all good for certain children. By high school, there isn’t much catch-up needed. Parents and kids know where their skills and interests lie. And skills/fortitude is not always in the school house anyway.
    Play on.

  82. Irene says

    Erin,
    I’m really curious about the university-model school you mentioned in your post. Are you in Washington state? I’d love to homeschool but I also work 4 days a weeks, so I couldn’t make that work. A part home / part classroom setting may be just the thing we need! I’d appreciate any leads – I’m in the Issaquah area of Washington state.
    Thanks!

  83. says

    I love your reasons for waiting to enroll your child in Kindergarten! I, too, held my son back until he was 6 before I let him start Kindergarten. His birthday is in September and it would have made him one of the youngest students in his class. Being one of the younger students in my own school classes, I wanted differently for him. These are all beautiful and completely validated reason to postpone your child entering Kindergarten. Thank you so much for sharing – it’s a wonderful article!
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  84. Iris Porter says

    Any thoughts on waiting til 6 with a Feb birthday? I have three children ages 1, just turned 5, and 7. The 1 and 7 are May b-days and I will definitely wait til 6 on both, but is Feb birthday too old to wait on? If I send her at 5 then there will be 2 years between her and her brother but 4 between the two girls. We homeschool and I used to teach public school. So I’m leaning toward waiting on her too. My only thought is that it might make my oldest more excited about doing school at home if his sister was doing it too.

    • says

      I would probably base it on if the child seems ready. I think if my daughter had had a February birthday she would have been more ready by the time school started. Right now she is 5 years and 8 months, and I feel like if kindergarten were to start now, she would be ready.

  85. says

    We skipped kindergarten and red shirted first grade with our son, who turned 7 at the beginning of first grade. He was neither socially nor emotionally ready to start school, even then. While he had learned to read and write at 4 (I am a school principal and former teacher), he was angry at being away from his father and grandparents and sister, so refused to work on any assignment until mid october. One of his teachers pushed to put him back into kindergarten. I refused. By the end of that school year, he was reading at a 6th grade level. By the end of second grade, he had read the Eragon triology twice. Our daughter, on the other hand, informed us on the day that she turned five that she was ready to go to school. (She did turn 6 one month after starting kindergarten), and she has excelled ever since. Each child is different, and involved parents know what is right for their kids.

  86. Georgiana L Salter says

    My state has School choice so that my childrens Christian School tuition is paid for. I did not wnt tosee that opportunity wasted so i.pu sept 5 year old in and he its doing k 5 twice

  87. Esther says

    I wish I had read this half a year ago. Possibly I still would have sent my daughter to K anyway, but I just wish I had taken my misgivings more seriously. My daughter turned 5 in early November, and so she was 4 when she started Kindergarten. One of your points was that you do not want your daughter to “survive” but to “thrive”. This is how it is for my daughter. She is surviving. And maybe that is supposed to be good, but frankly, it breaks my heart. In our small independent school, Kindergarten is 2 days/week until February, and then it goes to 3 days/week. There would have been no way I would have sent her had it been a full time program.
    Things have gotten easier, for sure, and for the most part she likes school. But it is the emotional and mental aspects of school that are hard. She is easily overwhelmed and becomes upset when things seem to get out her control. It actually has nothing to do with how well she does academically.
    WHY do parents feel the need to put children in school so early? I’m afraid I am always going to look back and regret this decision of sending her to school at 4 years old.

  88. Lynn Gammell says

    My birthday was October 4 and I was put ahead to the first grade and believe it was detrimental because I was too young when as a very young teenager and others were smoking around me and had early birthdates and started smoking as a result of the older students. I have only an average IQ yet my parents got an exemption in Fairfax, Virginia, in the early 60s to put me a year ahead.

  89. CeCe says

    I am considering taking my 6 year old daughter out of school to home school at least 1 year. She’s in a self-contained special needs class, but at this time of year it appears to be only because she’s having behavioral problems; academically she’s performing at or very near grade level in all areas. Seems she can’t tolerate a long day at school; as the problems usually come up around noon and later. Her classroom has only 6 kids in it. I know the teacher she is likely to have next year, and she’s not going to be as patient as the teacher she has this year. Also the classroom in 2nd grade serving my daughter’s “significant developmental delay” disability will include more kids with various mild disabilities. When my now 9 year old son was in that class, it started out with 9 students; by end of year it was at 15. This is NOT going to work for her. She is very inmmature, attention seeking, has ADHD, likely has PDD and a moderate to severe sensory integration disorder (which contributes to her not being able to tolerate school long, in my opinion— cause in general she gets very overstimulated at school). She’s on all kinds of meds for ADHD. Everytime we change the meds, they work for about 1 to 2 months then we start having all the phone calls from school. At this point, I just want PEACE. I would rather keep her home and work with her myself than to have to be on pins and needles every day about when “the call” is going to come—which is usually some time when I’m out running some errand or other.

    Another thing: when the school complains of all the problems, they offer no solutions. I have to always be the one to offer the solutions. When we often drop by the school to see how things are going, we don’t find that all of the suggestions we’ve all agreed to try are actually being consistently done.

    IF I actually go thru with homeschooling, my goal is to get her more OT and PT as well as continue school’s speech and OT services they are required to offer. She also has private speech we will continue. My other child also has ADHD and mild sensory issues, but he’s WAAAAAAY more well adjusted than my daughter, so will continue him in school in his self-contained classroom. But planning on adding neurofeedback in our weekly schedule starting this summer.

  90. Sarah Sahan says

    I have a late Nov. birthday and skipped a grade (so I was 16 in 3 months of college). Some of these are not reasons to redshirt:

    1. So what if your child is the youngest? Big deal.
    2. She can’t thrive academically being the youngest?
    3. I have siblings 2, 4 and 8 years younger then me. That is not a reason to redshirt your child?
    4. We can’t all be leaders. How is keeping her out of school an extra year going to make her feel smarter when other kids ask why they didn’t go earlier like the others her age?
    5. That is what YOU want, not for your childs benefit.
    6. Read #5.
    7. They are kindergarteners. They are supposed to be immature. (Please note that what many parents think is “immaturity” is actually a special education / disability issue that can go undiagnosed if not in a classroom setting. This is why redshirted kids are more likely to require special education services. I am not saying that is true for your case, but please keep this in mind).
    10. Read #5. There are things that we have to do for our kids that we aren’t ready for. That’s parenthood.

    • says

      Kuddos for you for being such a young one through school, Sarah. Bottom line? It’s a personal decision for each family to make. And I 100% stand behind my 10 reasons, regardless of what anyone else thinks of them. This was the BEST decision for OUR family.

      I have a November birthday, too–and I graduated valedictorian of my high school class and Most Outstanding Female Grad of my college class…sending me to school at almost age 6 was one of the best decisions my parents made. :) At age 16? I had not a care in the world. I’m glad my parents let me enjoy my…childhood. We only get one once, after all.

      My hubby would like to know what your research is to back up the special needs allegation? He has his masters in education and is a teacher, and he’s never heard of that.

  91. says

    It’s wonderful you are doing what God is leading you to do for your family. Clearly, you have both thought and prayed through this decision. You know your family. One size, especially in education, does NOT fit all. :-) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

  92. Gillian says

    I found this article and all of the comments very interesting as here in Australia we start kindergarten at 4 – but I think this is the equivalent of the US preschool. Then we start school at 5. Most public schools used to have intakes every term (4 terms a year) and private schools I think would have 2. Now they are putting in laws for only one intake and a cut off date and there is a lot of controversy over it. Here the school year runs Jan to Dec and I turned 5 in April then started in 2nd term a few weeks later so did 3/4 of a year of reception (your kindergarten). My friend did half a year and then another whole year which was quite common too. I loved school and did well academically but I’ve never been mainstream in my beliefs or interests so struggled a bit socially. Don’t think it was an age issue but who knows?

  93. Beverly Hall says

    As a Kindergarten teacher, I would like to say congratulations for making an individual decision that is right for your child and for your family and for you….I see no reason to debate this decision….I applaud you!!!!

  94. sydney says

    I just want to start off by saying that I fully support your decision as a parent to wait to introduce your child to formal education. I even agree with all of your reasons for doing so. But I couldn’t help but notice that every single one of your reasons start with “I” or “we.” Personally, my birthday is in July, and I started my formal education 2 months after I turned 5. I was neither “young” nor “old” for my grade. My age was pretty average, and everyone that I know whose parents waited until 6 to start their schooling complained that they couldn’t graduate “early” or as young as some of their peers. Once you reach graduating age, kids are typically anxious to get their college education started and over with as soon as possible. Preferably sooner than all of their peers so they have an advantage in the economy. Now, I can even admit that this reason in itself is not good enough to change your mind about the other 10 reasons why you’re deciding to wait, but ironically, it’s not all about what “you” want for your child. It’s also good to consider what your child might want. But only a parent can know what’s best for their child.

  95. Mary says

    Love this article! Especially the parts about keeping your kids close, and letting your daughter thrive instead of survive. I am a June baby and started school the Aug. after I turned 5. I love kindergarten and was a great student throughout school. BUT, looking back at several areas in my life it would have been so much better for me to have waited until I was 6 to go! My oldest turned 5 last August and stayed home doing some pretty laid back homeschooling. We wanted her to have another year with her sisters, and if we let them go to school – be closer in school (same situation you are in with the 2 year age difference and 3 year school gap). Hopefully, we will be able to homeschool though! Thanks for your bravery in encouraging others and sharing your story!

  96. Sara says

    The only reasons that make any sense here are that you’re saving money and that you’re just not ready. I don’t believe any of the other reasons would have any sort of profound impact. This whole list seems to be all about what YOU want, and no matter how you try to mask that it’s for HER benefit, it’s obvious that it’s more about you than about your daughter. Everyone wants their kid to be the best, but I HIGHLY doubt that starting school one year later is going to change anything. For example, just because your kid is six and the rest of her class is five doesn’t mean she’s going to be more emotionally mature. Have you considered that maybe spending time with children her own age in school might help that along? Ugh.

  97. Nicole says

    I have an early September birthday and started kindergarten when I turned 5 or shortly before turning 5. In my school there was a special program for people who were “young 5 year olds” and I did that instead of normal kindergarten for a year. Since I didn’t do a formal preschool (we moved too late for me to be enrolled but I did some day care) this was a great way for me to learn what to expect in school. The following year, I went to regular kindergarten and turned 6 shortly after the school year started. I ended up being one of the oldest amongst my friends while growing up, which is something I really enjoyed. I liked having my drivers license first and being a little bit older when I started college. I am only 20 years old now, but I think it was the best decision my parents could’ve made for me. I think I did better in school and was more focused and mature than my peers, I still am! I also have always been small and petite, my parents didn’t want me to be the smallest and the youngest among my peers. This worked very well for me and I just thought I’d share my story. Like you said, the decision is up to the parents and what they think will work best for their child. I’m not saying that what worked for me will work for everyone else.

  98. Josiah Blodget says

    After reading this I can understand why some parents do this and heck I’m a Senior in High School saying this. See like your daughter I to started Kindergarten at 6 years old in 2001. I was born on December 16, 1994 and the majority of my class was born in 1995-1996. When I was younger I didn’t notice but then when I got to Middle School it bothered me when everybody was turning 12 I was turning 13 and I starting thinking to myself should I really be in the 7th grade because I was born around the same time they where born. It bothered me for quite a while in my Freshman year it bothered me I turned 16 and everyone else was 15 and I was probably the only Freshman to be learning how to drive. In my Junior it really bothered me because that class was graduating and I turned 18 years old in my Junior year and the grade above my grade was graduating and they where heading for college and I told myself that should be me graduating with them. A lot of my classmates told me that they didn’t care how old I was. They just liked me being in their grade. When I go to College next I will be 19 going on 20 years old and most of my class will be 18 going on 19 years old. I can understand why some parents do that your kid my be ready physically at 5 but they might need an extra year to develop. It was a good article. Maybe being a 20 year college freshman won’t be a bad thing besides I’m not the only one.

    • says

      Thanks for weighing in, Josiah. Congrats on graduating soon! In my experience, age is really minimized once you get to college. There are people of all ages there. My daughter will not turn 19 until after she graduates and will spend her freshman year in college as a 19-year-old (since she has a summer birthday). It’s a very personal choice. It’s great to hear about your experience! Blessings to you as you continue your educational journey!

  99. says

    I guess I’m doing the opposite of “red-shirting”. My daughter will turn 4 on May 14, and begin Advanced Kindergarten on Sept 2 (about 3 1/2 months after her 4th birthday). She was ” ready” academically for kindergarten work this school year, but really didn’t have an attention span longer than 90 seconds. While she will be taught everything in the curriculum, we will only formally do math and reading/phonics and perhaps penmanship. For everything else, she will be taught through life experiences and being read to from books rather than the text books and worksheets.
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