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.

    • Eve says

      Very encouraged by your comments! I was starting to feel like the worst mom in the world for sending my 5 year old to 1st grade. I think this is a very personal decision that each family has to make. As an educator, the thought of my daughter spending a critical year wasted was not a compromise I was willing to make. As Americans if we would be as concerned about our children’s academic progress as much as their socialization, we would be in a much different place!

      • says

        Eve, you are right–it is a very personal decision. Just because I am sending my daughter soon after she turns 6 does not mean it was wrong for you to start yours early. Each child, each family is unique.

        We do not feel like we “wasted” a year. On the contrary, we feel we gained one. It would have been a compromise for our family to send her on, while it would have been a compromise for you to hold yours back.

        My husband is a teacher at one of the best schools in our state–and has a masters in education. This decision was not one we made lightly.
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        • Nicole says

          hey Erin

          i have a 5 year old and i am a German kindergarten teacher living here in the USA and i do what you do wait till my little girl turn 6 years. She is still to playful and 6 year is old enough for Kindergarten. My Son started his first grade with 7 years. There is still enough Time for grades and testing at the ages at 6 god bless

      • Alicia says

        Eve: As a fellow educator and mom, I am very sad for both you and your daughter if you feel that an extra year home with her mom is “wasted time.” I understand the importance of cultivating healthy learning experiences at this critical time in child’s life. But I’m constantly disappointed by the false idea so many people have that this learning has to happen in a classroom setting. Children grow fast and our years with them are short and valuable. While I have mixed feelings on this post (it’s a tough topic to tackle) I see a mom who has thoughtfully considered all angles and made the best decision for her daughter and family. The fact that this little girl gets an extra year of bonding with mom and sisters is a gift, not a waste.

        To the original poster: The school you’re planning to send your daughter to sounds fantastic! I homeschool my 7-year-old and almost 4-year-old daughters. We’re part of a homeschool co-op which meets two mornings a week. So, I feel like it’s a good compromise. I struggled with the decision about what grade to put my daughter into. She’s a February baby so she was either going to be old for her grade or young. I decided to start her in first grade at 5 because, academically, she was more than ready. Even as one of the younger kids in her class, she was able to do more academically than the other kids. (She was an early reader, excellent at math, etc.) She would have been bored if I had started her in the kindergarten classes. However, there are certainly pros and cons. I like the fact that you’ve considered the distant future. One concern I had was that, down the road, my daughter would be with kids going through puberty, wearing makeup, starting to date before she was mature enough for these things. In my case, the decision was a little easier because she will not be with these kids nearly as much as she would if she were in full time school. She has plenty of other social interactions (Sunday school, dance classes, town programs, extra-curricular classes at the public school) with kids her own age and even younger. If she were going to school full-time I may have made a different decision about her grade.

        As a mom to two girls and one of three girls myself, I can completely relate with your third point. Having a close knit relationship with your sisters is such a gift. I’m still extremely close with mine and it makes me so happy to see my girls loving each other and wanting constantly to be together. (That’s not to say they don’t fight. That definitely happens!) One question that homeschoolers get asked often is “What about socialization?” Too often “socialization” is viewed as learning to be in a classroom filled with people your own age. How many children don’t even know how to properly socialize with their own family members? (I would elaborate on this but I’ve gone off on enough of a tangent.)

        Bottom line, there is no easy answer here. But what I do see is a mom who has considered this issue from all angles. It’s nice to see someone looking at the big picture. Because really, it’s not ALL about academics.

    • April Sears says

      we have 2 children one of them is 3 and the other 1 and the 3 year will start preschool 2 days a week starting in January because we feel that he needs to social interaction with other children his age and he needs to learn different skills that I feel that’s what he needs

  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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    • Shebb says

      I totally understand your “wake up call” comment as I’ve felt the same way with my eldest at times… :)

  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).

      • says

        I started at 4, too and I’m glad I did and got out of there when I did, but things may have been different if I was held back for one or two more years. Even so, we do not start officially homeschooling our children until age 6 when they start 1st grade. We don’t even bother with kindergarten homeschooling at all.
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  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!)

    • Debbie says

      I know you say that you personally would not do it, but you are lucky in that your child does not have to have that decision made since they have the luxury of being one of the oldest. When you have a child born just a few weeks before the cut off, it is a different situation.

  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.
    Vanessa recently posted..Back-To-School Freezer Cooking: Mini MuffinsMy Profile

  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
    Jules Rothacher recently posted..Settled In September month long series {teasers}My Profile

  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.

        • Daniela says

          Quite frankly it is none of anyone’s business to judge or give their opinion -this is what works for them and what might work for you is not always appropriate in every situation.

          • Steph says

            So this comments section is only for people who agree with you? That’s not what a comments section is for. Sorry, you started a blog, wrote about a controversial topic and opened it up for comments. You’ve opened it up to “other people’s business”.

    • 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.

    • says

      Amanda, my son is on a IEP too! He turned 5 in late May. They want him to go to kindergarten also. Even though he will be in a smaller class and get extra help with speech delay, (he also has language delay) I still don’t want to push him into school when I know in a year he will catch up even more and won’t have to be in special ed classes longer than he has too.

  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!

    • Greg says

      OMG!!!! It’s not 34 months, it’s 2!!! ok, 2 yrs old!! once you get to 24 months it’s time to start using years…..

  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

      • Greg says

        The only thing I don’t agree with is she based her decision on an imaginary being…..praying to nothing is not an answer, come on people…

  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.

    • Dawn says

      Hi Jen,
      Thanks for your perspective. What about the five year old Kindergarteners in your classroom? Did it seem to you like the five year olds did not do quite as well, overall, as the six year olds in your Kindergarten classrooms? I think most parents would agree that age 4 is too young for Kindergarten, but the big question seems to be what to do with the 5 year olds, especially those with summer birthdays. Thanks

  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.

    • Anne says

      Go away you are way to judgemental, there are no hard and fast rules here, and its her child her decision. Why are you even on this blog. Its not about babying , my son will not start school until he is 6 also and he will fly…..

      • proudmama says

        My daughter was born Aug 13 so she was a just “brand new ” 5 year old when she started kinder. My oldest has a January birthday so she was 6 through her kinder. My oldest is now in 3rd grade going into 4th. She is at the top of her class and has been in the A honor roll since then. My little one has struggled she is the smallest (age and size) in her class. Her teacher recommended keeping her behind as “my choice” since technically she can pass her to 1st grade. I have struggled with this decision as my husband has too. She would be the 1st person EVER in our family to be “held back”. After much debate I want to do whats best for her, and I feel at 5 she is not mature enough. She has struggled the whole year. We have decided to give her another chance at Kinder. We are scared that seeing her peers go on and her left behind will hinder her socially. The biggest decision was me and my sister who had the same exact situation. My sister always seemed to do better in school and made is seem easier. I struggled all through school, making the grade was a challenge. While all my friends were older I graduated at barely 17. I am choosing to give my daughter a second change to mature and be able to fully take on her education with the same ease as my oldest. Though all kids develop different I am sure I will not regret this decision. THANK YOU FOR YOUR POST!!!
        Also, take the good comments as well as the bad comments. When someone states something that does not agree with the decision to be held back. Be nice while I believe this is the best decision for my child at the time, only time will tell if she will feel the same. Dont be ugly just because someone states it was not for them. My daughter is young she will be the same age as everyone in her class so we will be the only ones to know. lol THANK YOU AGAIN FOR SHARING YOUR STORY!

      • Steph says

        Anne, I was curious to see what her reasons were, I don’t agree with the majority. But just interested to learn what the advantages are. If you are going to author a controversial topic, expect people to disagree with you. If the blogger just wants people who agree with them, what’s the point of a comments section? Judgemental and disagreeing are not the same thing. I’m most concerned about now kids being 18 mos older than my June bday kid, so now I have to hold her back or she’s over a year younger than the majority. Again where does it stop? This bs of “do what’s right for you” doesn’t always work when you are part of a society and generation. That was my point.

        • joanna says

          I will be holding my son back and will be doing a combo of homeschool and Montessori in the future. I am beyond thrilled that others are making similar decisions for their children. This notion of conforming to society is crazy. Have you actually taken a good look at our current society lately, btw? It’s nothing I would ever even want to conform to. I’m not a religious person, just a free thinker :) In a more Ideal world, children’s education would emphasize creativity and individuality, not conformity…every child is different and learns differently. Lets start to have more compassion for what children really need (it’s not more tests…;). A big thank you to all you mommas out there that are confidently doing what’s right for your children!! :)

  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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  100. says

    Our kid has August birthday. Turns 18 this summer and is graduating HS on-time, took advanced placement classes and dual credit. Even played varsity sports 3 out of 4 yrs.
    Most parents do hold back and their reasons look much like those you listed. Sadly every single ‘reason’ begins with “I” or “We”. Raising children to be functional, happy adults is NOT about YOU. It’s not about the parents. Reasons rationalizing how the child will be better off are either unrealistic, not logical or not relevant. This post should be moved to a site called “The Niave and Narcissistic Parent”. You think that you are actually going to be able to predict experiences that your kid will have throughout school years and manipulate those experiences by making her older. It’s called holding back for a reason. Kids who end up being held back for the right reasons won’t be affected adversely by taking extra yr. Kids who are held back for the wrong reasons get cheated out of the amount of guidance due to them by parents and teachers. It makes the parents and teachers feel better because everything’s so much easier on the kid. But guess what? The kid goes off to college and can be shell-shocked at the effort life actually requires.
    Raising children is not about the adults feeling better. Seriously…parents who delude themselves by saying their kid ‘isn’t ready’ or ‘isn’t mature enough’.. listen to yourselves. STOP worrying about your perceptions of what you kid will experience and and DO YOUR JOB.

  101. martha says

    I honestly pity your children, I really do. Imagine how they must feel, they will not feel “older than everyone else”, they will feel younger. You want your children to be with other kids their own age, not a year younger. My children went to kindergarten and ages 3 and 4, and they were both on the honour roll. You are just another clingy mother who just took things too far, and now this decision will affect your children’s whole entire life. Good luck.

    • Greg says

      Who are you to tell another parent that what they’re doing with their child is wrong??? I pity you Martha, because your outlook on life is a poor one…..

  102. Chansey says

    We started our son in kindergarten at 5. In fact he turned 5 the July right before school started. I thought about holding off on kindergarten for another year but looking at my son felt that it would actually hold him back. He is a social butterfly & thrives in environments where there are lots of friends. He also is very smart & needs the constant challenge of learning something new, otherwise he gets bored & usually gets into things that get him into trouble. I also felt he was getting lazy. I know that’s a little harsh to say but in the town I live in there is next to nothing to do & some days I have to force him to go outside. Child care just isn’t an option here since 95% of the day care centers here are not properly run & I spoken with parents about them & even the ones who send their children to them can’t say anything good about them. I will say sending him to kindergarten hasn’t always been easy. I miss him when he’s gone at school. He is also very small for his age. He has done wonderful though! As for my daughter I haven’t yet decided if she’ll start at 5 or 6 yet. She’s only 9 months so I have a while to mull it over. Ultimately I think it has more to do with your child. Are they showing signs of readiness? Or would it just be too overwhelming for them? I say good for you for standing up for your child though! We know our own children better than academia.

  103. Greg says

    We sent our oldest son to head start at 3, and we’re getting ready to send our youngest to head start this coming fall, and he’ll be 3.5 when he starts….our daughter who’s our oldest at 9 gonna be 10 in august wasn’t selected to go to headstart, so she went straight to kindergarten when she was 5. At the end of kindergarten the school suggested that we send her to pre 1st cuz they said she wasn’t socially developed yet and they thought that she’d benefit from the pre 1st, so that’s what we did and it worked wonderfully! Now, she’s super smart, she makes the high honor roll every marking period (we’re so proud of her!) and she’s constantly getting awards at school. Our oldest son who’s now in kindergarten is getting great grades and is developing very very good and fast!! He did 2yrs of headstart before going to kindergarten….and our youngest who’s starting in the fall at headstart is already counting to 20 and saying his ABC’s and he knows colors, shapes, and he can pick out and say certain words in books….we’re very proud parents, and the way I feel is if whatever you choose to do for your kids works, than no one has any room to say you’re wrong!!

  104. Amy Rose says

    I definitely agree with several other points, but I don’t think being younger or older matters as much as developmental readiness.

    I was one of the youngest in my class with my birthday in July. Aside from having to wait another year to drive (I actually didn’t drive until I was 19 anyway), I never felt like I wasn’t as smart or as capable as my peers. It was actually just the opposite. My best friend was 10 months older than me (birthday in Sep), and she had a quiet nature like me. I believe personality rather than age determines leadership.

  105. Kathy says

    My parents waited for my sister and I. We both had summer birthdays, so I agree with the 10 reasons.
    I am struggling with preschool for our son. I work with him at home but he needs more interaction in a group setting, but nothing is working. I am wanting something 2 days a week for different reasons….we have a drive to get to a preschool, I want to spend as much time with him as I can before kindergarten, don’t want to let go, he has speech 2 days a week, I dont want to run every day, cost, etc….
    I am frustrated …….for more reasons but…..

  106. says

    I’m only 21 and don’t have children yet. I wish my parents would have held me back a year, i’m immature for my age and struggled all through school due to this. I will be holding my children back when I have them one day! however, I feel very strongly about homeschooling, so I”m not sure yet :)

  107. Julie Gendron says

    I wish I had waited. My Maive turnd 6 in january. I hate what Kindergarten did to her, she is our third born and is very influenced by others, especially boys. With core curriculum and her teacher, she has shut down… she is not the red headed wild spirited girl i once had. a few fridays ago she came home with artwork and things to share, leaping off the bus and skipping… it remending me of the other twos experience.. i asked her about her day and she had a substitute… go figure!

  108. Tara says

    Love how you are doing what’s best for your family. While I too have a list of reasons I did not send mine when he was eligible, my favorite reason is because while he is 22 months younger than his older twin siblings, they would only be one year apart in school. So…I would be loosing three kids to college (potentially) in a 13 month time period…I already know that would be an overwhelming empty nest! I’ll keep him home with me another year!

  109. says

    I am so happy you are following your heart. I waited until my son was 6 before he started kindergarten. As a kindergarten teacher I feel so many kids would benefit by starting at 6 rather than especially with the expectations these days. Enjoy these days!!!

    • kelly says

      I am from Australia and recently moved to Brooklyn. I would like to hold my kids back if I don’t think they are ready for school, however I was told here by a friend that you can’t do that if you send them to public schools. She said you can private but we have 3 kids so can’t afford it. Did you send yours to public? thanks

  110. Elyssa says

    Our daughter has a late July birthday and started kindergarten a month after her fifth birthday. I’m familiar with some of these points – she was born nearly three months early and had she been on time would have been in a grade a year younger. People started asking me while she was still in the hospital if we planned to hold her back! We always took the wait and see stance. As a third grader, there is no way I could imagine her in second grade. She is bright, happy, athletic and super tall for her grade! Children will adjust and rise to the challenges we set before them. It wasn’t even a question with us because she was bored in preschool from an academic perspective. I’m certainly not trying to convince you otherwise, but I’m glad we didn’t wait. The fact that she will be a late driver and a young college freshman are most definitely not negatives to us. It is also a huge misnomer to believe it is simple to skip a grade – most schools wont entertain this idea. This had been brought up many times with our daughter, and she cries at the thought of leaving her friends and what she knows. For anyone who makes this choice, be sure you’re truly doing it for your child and not yourself. Just because you are not ready for them to leave home doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.

  111. chassi says

    I have 3 daughters. ages 10, 9 and 6. They all started K at age 5. They are all 3 thriving!!! My youngest is in the top of her class and my oldest got advance in everything on her TCAP. I do not think starting them earlier or later affects them that much. All 3 of my girls are mature, super smart, and they were ready for school when they were to enter K. I had learning time everyday with them. They love school and always have. Good luck!

  112. says

    I agree that it all really depends on the child. My oldest daughter turned 5 in late August but she was reading chapter books before she started K. She excelled all through school.
    My next daughter turned 5 in July and she struggled right away. We learned later she had dyslexia and brought her home to homeschool her. Her whole personality and outlook on education changed. I wish we had waited instead of putting her through all that. I knew I really did but the main stream was what I thought was best.
    Since then I have had two more boys start K on time. As they turned 5 in Jan. and March.
    Now along comes my last child who will turn 5 this year in August and she will not be starting. Sometimes emotionally I think maybe she is ready and then the next time I see she really is not at all. She will be at home anyway either way but we decided to work on some more preschool thing educationally. My point to all of this is it really depends on the child, maturity and educationally. Just stop and think . You will know what is best.
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  113. Nancy says

    Our son started kindergarten one month shy of his 6th birthday. Best decision ever. My husband has the same birthday and he started a year earlier. He was sorry his parents didn’t make him wait.

  114. martha schmidt says

    Your doing great! I don’t think it matters what age your child is when they start Kindergarten. It’s what you do before you send them to Kindergarten that matters. In Pa you don’t have to send your child to school till age 8. When my children were 4 and 2 I babysat a 6 year old who knew basically nothing. My children who were younger than him taught him, his letters, numbers, colors ect and too read basic words . They taught him what they were learning from simple games we played at home all day. The 4 year old who went to prek would come home and teach the 6 year old and his younger sister then 2 what he had learned in “school” that day. Children learn an amazing amount of things the first 5 years of life .I know this from teaching my own and about 100 other children in various babysitting and daycare/nursery school ,home school situations, some even say that after 6 the learning rate slows down. So by all means keep your child home as long as you want to. But please teach them while they are at home, play simple games with them and read , read , read to them.

  115. Pam says

    First child went to KG at age 5, but she was so very ready. Much more mature that the average 5 year old, even for girls. She handles difficult situations and failure with grace. We also opted for full day KG and our experiences were fantastic! She is a model student and is in our district’s gifted program, which provides many more opportunities and a unique learning environment.

    Second child we waited until he was 6. Why? Because he is a boy and was emotionally immature. No way was he ready for KG after just turning 5. Can’t send him to KG without being able to write his name. He is a child that has troubles with self esteem and we did not want to set him up for failure. We did formal pre-K preschool instead. If the school year could have started in January, it would have been perfect :) He is is now in full day KG and is absolutely thriving! Best. decision. ever. Per his teacher’s recommendation, we are having him tested for the gifted program this spring :)

    Our third child will be 6 when starting KG as well. Biggest reason is simply that his bday misses the district cutoff by 6 days. But that is ok. He is quite bright and is academically ready for KG per testing, but as a boy, is very emotionally immature. Since we have had such wonderful experiences with full day KG and absolutely LOVE the teacher, he will do full day KG also. In the meantime, another year of preschool, which he LOVES. We are lucky to have a really great early childhood education program in our district too! Kinda like Montessori, but without the big price tag… 5 classroom areas, the child chooses, makes a play plan, etc. Lots of learning through play, but with more structure than we can provide at home.

    We never felt pressured to send them to KG at 5 years old. We just did what seemed right for our kids and were supported by other parents and educators. When I was registering the middle kiddo for KG last summer, even the school principal said “smart move, I wish more parents thought about it as much as you did”.

      • Pam says

        It is called “Tools of the Mind”. I first read about it in a book called “Nurtureshock”. As I was reading, I realized that is exactly the model that our early education centers use. I can vouch that is is very effective! Website is http://www.toolsofthemind.org

  116. Julie says

    I love your post! I am a first grade teacher and I see my “younger” kids struggle year after year. Good for you for weighing out all the issues before making your decision. It’s a tough decision to make and one I struggled with with my own children. Thanks for sharing!

  117. says

    Erin, you have a lot of moxie and I really respect that about you. Reading your article just affirms to me the decision I made this past year about NOT starting my son in preschool (I could have started him right after his birthday in December). I chose not to. Although, preschool is not a “required” area, it is the catalyst for the rest of his time in school. By starting him this Fall, he will have the opportunity to attend Pre-K before starting Kindergarten. We have a great program at our church that I will be sending him to for preschool. After preschool, we have not yet made a final decision on what we will do for schooling that-private, public, homeschool. There are pros and cons to all of them. Your article affirms that we don’t have to do what everyone else is doing just because they are doing it.

    My birthday is in May. I had to be tested to enter Kindergarten when I was 5. I passed the tests so I was a young 5 when I started. I then moved schools when I was 10 and was way ahead of the rest of my class (I had already learned what they were learning). The decision was made to have me skip 5th grade and move up to 6th grade. I was academically ready but not emotionally ready. I ended up back in my original 5th grade class within a month after a whole lot of frustration (I still went to the 6th grade class a couple of classes each day). When I got into high school I had enough credits to graduate halfway through my Junior year. I was 16. At the time this excited me. I could go to college early (I already had college credits through Upward Bound). My mom spoke with me about what I would miss out on if I made this decisions-proms, homecomings, varsity sports, student council, all of the things I was involved with at school that I enjoyed. She also spoke with me about what I could gain-a job to pay for school, rent, bills, graduating college early, the college experience. My mom had a lot of experience in this area because she was a teen mom in the 60s. Back then, she didn’t have a choice but to leave school early (she was able to graduate since she had met all academics) and start her adult life. I chose to stay in school through my Senior year. I was still only 17 when I graduated and still required my parents’ permission to do a lot of things-such as join the military. My older brother graduated when he was 18 (December birthday) and he didn’t face the same challenges as I did. I just moved from a state where most of the kids do not start school until they are 6 due to the remoteness in many areas. I have seen nothing wrong with this at all. Many children seem to thrive. I honestly believe that a lot of whether our children thrive or not has to do with the support they receive from a very early age.

    We have to remember that as parents it is OUR primary job to educate our children. Education starts the day that they are born. Schooling is just a supplement to that education. Too many feel that schooling is the primary. Teachers are there to help mentor both the parent and child.

    It makes me sad that you have been criticized for your decisions. For some reason, that is what everyone decides to do. We don’t build others up for their decisions but tear them down. I have always said that you have to do what is best for your family. You have to decide your family priorities. No one else can do that for you. I have had people try to tear me down for cloth diapering, breastfeeding, using essential oils, and making my own baby food. I have had friends who have been criticized for the opposite. I say that as parents we need to learn how to support and build each other up (even if the decisions we see others making aren’t what we feel are best for our own families).

    God has trusted us with these little blessings. He expects us to turn to Him for guidance on their upbringing. I strongly believe that God gives each of us a different path because He has different purposes for all of us. We just have to listen to what He is telling us.

    Many blessings to you, Erin!

  118. says

    Am I the only one who lives in an area where you CANNOT send your kids to school early?? I wanted to send my 4, almost 5 year old to K, but the schools would not allow it. She was almost 6 when she started, because in order to start school you have to be 5 by September 1, her birthday is early October. She was reading at a 3rd grade level when she started kindergarten so I felt she was ready to go. But for all sorts of reasons she really needed that one more year-she is small for her age, in 3rd grade she is still one of the smallest in her class, she also really mellowed in that year before she started! She had some behavior issues with a very strict kindergarten teacher-and that was after the extra year to mature. She’s doing much better now :) I just don’t know how all you lovely people were able to start your kids so early!?

    • Lesley says

      Were I live children have to be 5 by August 31 st to start K and 6 by August 31st for 1st grade. No exceptions are made so there’s no starting early. I find it interesting that people have such strong opinions about each families individual choice. Where I live in Massachusetts home schooling is not at all popular but red shirting boys with summer birthdays is pretty typical. It’s true red shirting makes kids older and possibly more mature but there is no guarantee it will make them smarter. Best of luck to everyone trying to make the right decision.

  119. Deb says

    I do not agree with what years kids are in school related to their closeness. My oldest did kinder 2 yrs. due to we didn’t know he had vision and hearing problems. Once he got those corrected as much as possible he did Ok ins chool and graduated at just past 19. Our middle girl was 5 in Dec. before starting and did great in school. Our youngest was 4 when she srated kinder, truned 5 about 2 wks. later and did great also. it certainly would’ve did more harm than good to hold her back. No reason to base it on what “I wanted” to do as that unimportant in their lives. I had 3 kids graduate 3 yrs. in a row from HS. The girls went to 4 yr. colleges and my son had paid trianing at an apprenticeship job he was in. Graduating close together made them no closer than had they been every other year which could’ve happened. So my youngest was 17 yrs. 8 mos. when she grad. HS. Our cut off was Sept. 30. Being a helicopter parent isn’t a reason to hold kids back either. being 18 in this day and age many think they’re grownup and no longer have to attend school so they drop out. At least with being younger it keeps some in school that might otherwise decide to leave. As for driving other kids instead of the other way, it’s not legal to take others under 18 here in OH, I don’t think. I wouldn’t allow our kids to ride with others very often or take others as they could be easily distracted. Only siblings, safest way to avoid lawsuits and such after inexperinece drivers take others and then have an accident. Being young is not a bad thing, my youngest had 4.0 gpa all through HS and graduated high in college. I agree that to want your kids to be the leaders, we can’t all be one, is not a good reason to wait. if I ahd kids in kinder I would also worry about 5 yr. olds with 7 yrs. old kids, jsut cause a parent wanted them to be a leader. 2 yrs. is a lot of difference emothionally and could lead to serious problems. Maybe homeschooling at a later age might be good but not where the kids’ ages are so varied in public school. To want to save tuition, what is the matter with public school? To use that as an excuse seems a bit off, if you can’t afford it then do like millions of us, send them to public school. To the one who pays $1000/mo. for a private school, wow! is it worth that? They’re many public schools that don’t require tuition thata re jsut as good. Wish we had that much income to afford such a thing, wouldn’t work 2 wks. jsut to pay this, but just to have for important things like food, shelter etc. Imagine that $9000X13 yrs. !!!!

  120. Anne says

    Thank you for publishing this, I am holding my 5 year old back, he was not ready for school and we are starting him when he turns 6.I find most people dont agree which I dont understand because as you said there are so many benefits here. I know my little boy will be older but he will be emotionally mature and ready for learning. Starting a child when they are 4 is crazy, in my opinion. I have a few friends who did this just to save money, its cheaper to send them to private school then back to preschool in australia. This should change the government here should make preschool fees more affordable to parents wont be tempted to send them early. Anyway, I am not judging everyone, so dont jump on me if u are one of those parents who sent your 4 year old to Kindy! Its your choice! Just like its my choice to hold mine back. My friends who did send thier kids this year at 5 -all of them and I mean all of them about 5- 2 boys and 3 girls are all struggling and still crying at school, alone in the playground, struggling with friendships etc. so I know I did the right thing not starting mine! The age limit should be 6 not 5. If you look at other countries where kids start at 6 or even 7 they do much better in life in the long term so we should be taking a leaf out of thier books. Thanks for listening!! Take care! :)

    • Erin O'Kelly says

      Other countries are not doing better. The district I live in performed better than Finland on those international assessments, and this is a very affluent district. America does poor because we have a lot of children living in poverty. Now I hear all the time “4th graders in Korea are learning physics”, yes 4th graders in Korea are learning physics, but not at a high school level. Heck in my district, 4th graders aren’t taught high school level physics, yet we did better than the top countries.

  121. Sue says

    Thank you for all of your comments. We visited our first preschool the other day. My son’s birthday is early August. He was behind when he started talking, although he picks things up very quickly otherwise. I am a stay at home mom and I love my time with him. To my very core, I feel that he would benefit from not attending kindergarten until he is six. When I mentioned that to the Preschool administrator, she just spouted out the local school districts cut off dates. She didn’t appear at all interested in my comments on his readiness, etc. So reading your thoughts today, helps me feel more confident in sticking to my instincts about holding him another year. I was just wondering if I have to report in to any elementary school or someone to explain what we are doing???
    Thanks.

  122. chris says

    Thanks for your post, we are redshirting our middle son this year, he will turn five three weeks before the August 31st cutoff. From the previous comments, people don’t seem to understand that most K’ers are five then turn six during the school year, for my son, he will just be six the entire year…then seven the entire year…then eight the entire year. He will graduate at 18, just like most other seniors. We home school, and he already reads and can do basic math, but I am not starting formal schooling (meaning a full day with reading, math, history, science, handwriting, etc) until he is six. This does not mean he is not learning in a totally age appropriate way. He learns every time we read a book about knights or watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly in our bug box or go to a play or Artquest downtown. So my redshirting him has nothing to do with denying him learning opportunities, it has everything to do with him not being ready to handle a kindergarten schedule because he just barely turned five. Anyway, mama, I fully agree with your post, and I am a former teacher ;).

  123. Christina B says

    I am SO glad to have found this! My son will be turning 5 mid August and I have battled and battled with whether or not to send him to Kindergarten. I have cried over sending him and cried over not sending him; I just want to make the right decision! Your article here has made me feel a thousand times better with our ultimate decision to wait another year before sending him to school.
    I recently read another article and someone had written that you won’t regret waiting a year to send them to kindergarten but you just might regret sending them too soon.
    It’s nice to know that I am not alone in this difficult decision!
    Thank you so very much for writing this!

  124. Renee says

    This seems slightly backwards. So instead of encouraging your child to excel amongst children her age you want her to excel amongst children almost a year younger than her? That just seems like you’ve acknowledged that she isn’t as sharp as those her age, so to grant an advantage you’ll hold her back in hopes she will top her class (which she should because she’s months older).

  125. Ally says

    I was the lucky October baby, (on the 30th actually!) , so I never had that issues.
    However, my mom was smart enough to put me in preschool twice, (3 turning 4, and 4 turning 5), so that I could transition better. I was blessed enough to be near a preschool that did a lot of “play” activities, but incorporated learning as well. :)

  126. Maris Allen says

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  127. raisingcropsandbabies says

    We are putting my 2 oldest kids in school this coming year. My oldest is STILL going to be in 1st grade (we homeschooled some 1st grade this year, but fell behind) and he will be 7 years old the entire 1st grade year (summer bday). I think it will be really good for him… extra year of maturity (he is young at heart and so tender), more self confidence, etc.

    My 2nd son will be going into Kindergarten and will turn 6 years old in early fall. So he’ll be 6 years old much of the year.

    I went to the Kindergarten meeting and with how much K has turned into 1st grade (vs. when I was a Kinder 20 years ago) I think it’s a GOOD thing to keep them an extra year. My oldest didn’t start blending well until he was a couple months shy of 6 years old… and they expect kids to start blending in the first couple months of Kindergarten!

    My 3rd son is a VERY early summer birthday and after that Kindergarten meeting, I think I’ll be having him wait an extra year as well.

  128. Lisa Cunkle says

    My son is now 25 and I too made the decision to hold him back a year with his birthday being in Aug. He passed all testing for kndg. but when I got to compare his testing with others I saw a huge difference especially with his fine motor skills which is normal in boy. When he was a junior in school I asked him if he was bummed because he could have graduated that year and he replied ” No way Mom. I’m not ready to graduate, I’m glad I have one more year.” So glad I made that choice!

  129. says

    Here is what we experienced Becca was 4 going on 5 when she entered kindergarten at the advise of her preschool she was a year or more younger than the rest of her classmates. I wish I knew then what I know now. I would have held her back the extra year.
    She seemed to do well in kindergarten but I had my concerns about first grade. I asked the school to hold her back and they refused to even consider it.
    The result was that she struggled to sit still for first grade and did not thrive.
    At the end of first grade they started to tell me they thought she had reading issues.
    I pulled her out of public school and began to home school her full time. At the end of second grade she was still a year behind in reading but by the time she ended third grade she was reading at a 6th grade level.
    Becca needed the extra year and I wish I had trusted my instincts instead of listen to other people.
    I later learned from a few friends that were educators that they and their colleagues all wait the extra year as most of the children who waited end up in gifted classes by the time they start middle school.

    I applaud you for doing what you know is best for your children.

  130. Dee Duran says

    I agree, 1 reason, I feel children are growing up too fast, when parents need to put them in pre-schools and kindergarten when they are not mature, it’s causes the child frustrations, stress, and learning disorders. If they are not ready, they don’t like school. Let a child mature at their pace, they have the rest of their life to continue with their education; and working is forever.

  131. Christine says

    I agree with your reason 100%! I made similar decisions for 2 of my children and they have blossomed in ways that I could only hope for. With maturity on their side, they are leaders and confident which makes learning easier and helps them make better social choices. To me, the decision is not at all based on Kindergarten readiness but instead the life ahead – when big decisions matter, it’s better to be more matured and prepared. Research suggests the same. To parents considering the choice, talk to other parents – you will find many families that wish they had made the choice to start later or repeat a grade – but it is very hard to find a parent that regrets “redshirting”. Good luck to all parents trying to do the best for their kids.

  132. Lisa says

    Your child will learn more from you (and likely more important things than the alphabet) over this next year! I love it that as a parent I get to see the ‘light bulb moments’ first :)

  133. says

    Good points. My birthday is in June and I started at 5. My sister’s is in September, so of course she was nearly 6, but my brother’s is in August and he was held back. Socially, I was quite awkward all the way through, but I don’t think that had anything to do with when I started. Academically, I was bored and frustrated and decided I would never put my kids through that, they would be homeschooled. Dd just turned 3 and she absorbs everything like a sponge. We started ‘doing school’ last month and she loves it. We went to homeschool day at the park on Tuesday and we both loved it. I was afraid she was going to be the youngest of the group, and she was by a few months, but it didn’t matter. The big kids looked after her and she played with other kids more than she has in her entire life. I can see her growing up with these kids, learning leadership skills from the older ones, then passing those skills along in several years.

    If I have my way, she’ll homeschool until college. Though at the rate she’s going now, that may be sooner than I like :-)
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  134. Louise says

    I did some homeschool kindergarten with both my kids when they were 5. I tried to send my daughter to school at 5 1/2, she was not ready to be away from home. They also did another year of “formal” K in a school and are thriving. They are ahead, and maybe a little bored, but like you said, the changes happen later in school, so they are staying where they are at. They are only one year apart in school, because of their birthdays. My son, like your daughter has a fall birthday, so he turned 6 in early Oct. I am glad you are doing what you feel is right. I heard a lot of negatives, sometimes I still do since my daughter is 8 in 1 st grade. But their teachers say I did the perfect thing for them. I was 8 in 3 rd grade, always the youngest, and I struggled socially for it, I was smart enough though. But didnt really shine until college when age matters so much less. Good for you for making this decision. Have a great support system to help you with homeschooling, it can be a challenge, but other homeschooling parents are helpful.

  135. Leila says

    Hello. I just read this and I am struggling with this issue as we speak. I have a son that turns 5 on september 10 and I would have to test him in if i want to start him in kindergarten this next school year. Everyone keeps telling me to hold him back so he is not the youngest and smallest boy in his class. The thing i am having a problem is that he starting reading when he was 3. He is super smart and is well above all the kids at Pre K. I do not know what to do.

  136. Vivianne says

    My 5 1/2-year-old son is supposed to start kindergarten in the fall. I don’t think he is ready, nor do his preschool teachers. He is in a private Christian School now, and they recommend he enroll in a transitional kindergarten class this year and then kindergarten next year. My son is exhausted after school, half day school, three times a week. I know he will never be able to sit through a full day kindergarten class five days a week. He is also an only child, and emotionally/socially immature for his age. I do worry a bit about his being 6 going on 7 when he starts kindergarten. His birthday is in December. But I tend to worry more about his having to repeat kindergarten or being shifted around at the beginning of the year to accommodate his shortcomings. I fear the stigma attached with being held back, yet I also worry about the stigma of being older than everyone else in your class. This is such a tough decision. I am going crazy mad trying to figure this out. Does anyone have any experience with children who are almost 7 years old when they start kindergarten? Any insight would be much appreciated, as I am really struggling with this one. If I go with my gut, I’d do the transitional kindergarten this year, and kindergarten next year. I wager that having to repeat kindergarten would be far more traumatic and harmful than the potentional upset being older might cause.

  137. Rose Cameron says

    We started our oldest son in kinder at age 6 and have never regretted it. He is now 11 and is very mature with great leadership skills. At the time we felt he still needed more time to work on his social skills and speech. Our youngest son will turn 6 in August and will start kinder in September. With the push towards academics in kinder, it made sense for us to wait. What is the rush? Let them be kids while they still can. Let them use their imaginations. Public schools are focused on academics and now with common core the push is even greater than before. It shocked me to see that they ‘re pushing first graders to write essays when some are still learning to master reading.
    Parents know best when it comes to their children and what they are ready for!

  138. Kayla says

    I feel most of your reasons are completely selfish being based on you not being ready and wanting your children gapped differently. I didn’t start kindergarden until I was six and I hated it. Kids would always ask if I was held back or why I was the oldest in the class. I would never hold my child back for my own selfish reasons.

  139. Heidi says

    Why not consider homeschooling, completely? I have one daughter who is in graduate school, a son, who is a senior at the University of Pgh, and a daughter, who was able to complete 21 college credits in her senior year of high school and therefore is able to graduate from college one year earlier. In my opinion, you are too much on a roller coaster ride. You will drive yourself crazy, going here for this and here for that. I have experienced other homeschoolers going here and there, it’s too fragmented, be consistent. You can do it and homeschooling will fulfill all of your reasons. Be encouraged!

  140. Joy says

    Hey Erin! We held our son back a year for many of the same reasons you are stating! We knew our son better than anyone else and still feel that we made the best decision…and so does he!

  141. Angel B says

    I have 3 children. A 13 yr old daughter (dob 7-11-00). A 10 yr old daughter
    (dob 8-05-03) and a 6 yr old Son. (Dob 11-02-07)
    I was a young Mom and didn’t know any better so I started my girls in Pre-K when 4 yrs old. Mind you, my oldest was 4 yrs and 1 month. My 2nd was 4 yrs and a week! They did good in Pre-K. So I moved them up to Kindergarten. My 2nd daughters teacher advised I keep her in PRE-K one more year due to her being the youngest. But we moved and I was unable to place her in the district we moved to. So I put her in Kindergarten. She struggled. Her teacher said to move her to 1st grade. She struggled more. We retained her in 1st grade. She will start 5th this year. Academic wise she’s doing great. She excels at reading. She still is very immature for her age. At least I believe so. So Idk if we did the right thing for her. My oldest did well up until middle school. For the past 3 years she has struggled in Math. Now she’s entering 9th grade this August 2014 and I’m worried for her. Now that I know I have the power to help my children, I’m seeking out people and places for them to get the help they need. (I don’t remember doing any of the math she does so it’s hard for me to help her)
    My son, who will be entering 1st grade seems to do fine. His Kindergarten teacher said he was right on target. I like that my kids are on target, however, I want them to excel. No we aren’t those parent s who yell and ground when they come home with C’s or below. We talk with them and figure out what happened on that paper.
    I’m sure I’m rambling. My point is, like everyone else, the choice is yours. I feel I’ve failed my kids by not being more involved. Parent’s have more rights and say in their children’s education than we are led to believe. I’d love to homeschool. But I don’t believe I can do that. I’m sure your little girl will do great this year. Bless you.

  142. Paula says

    All of our children have had a combination of private school, home school and charter school due to moving and income level changes. We’re raising three children. D1 was 4 when she started kindergarten. She excelled academically. We let her go early because her best friend was starting and she was already 5. She’s now 17 and leaving for college out of state. I am pleased for her, it turned out well. She has always been thoughtful and mature. D2 started at 5. She’s the tallest and somewhat imposing. At 14 she is as tall as her male teachers (and taller than some). She is ready for highschool, but some thought processes have gaps and are illogical and I don’t know if that is immaturity. She is super-brilliant and as such, is sometimes in a cloud. But, Valedictorian, 4.4 GPA, etc. Third child is a boy. S10. I have noticed throughout his education (homeschooled) that he can most easily grasp grade level concepts at the end of the school year. He started at 4, also. With this knowledge, I wish I had waited an extra year for him. If I had thought all the way through to the end, I would have waited at least a year for him. Each child is different.

  143. Holly says

    My son is a July 16th birthday. As far as I was concerned just 5 was basically 4 so I held him back. I had zero doubt he was ready academically but I was concerned with his maturity. Now he’s about to turn 15 and enter high school. He is a straight A Honors student but he is also a leader, in fact he won the leadership award at his 8th grade graduation. He is still all teenage boy but I feel he is a little more mature and serves as a peacemaker among his friends. It’s also been great with sports. I have no regrets!!! My daughter is a Sept 2 birthday and missed the enrollment deadline at 5 by 1 day. I could have fought it but of course I didn’t. Just 5 is basically 4.

  144. Kim Stoddard says

    I am a school psychologist and also have perspective on the subject as a parent. As a school psych I have received many special education referrals for young kindergarten and first grade students. None of them have ever qualified for special education….they are just not developmentally mature enough to thrive in school. I think some children may be successful in school at a younger age, but many are not successful and develop negative feelings towards school as a result. As a parent you know your child best…it is up to each of us to make the best decision for our children. All of those decisions will not look the same, but in my opinion “redshirting” your child in kindergarten is rarely a bad idea.

  145. Aroush Saar says

    My birthday is Nov. 21 and I was the youngest in the class and I always had the highest grades from 3rd grade onward, but I worked hard for those grades. I moved to the New York City in the summer at 7, from my native country Afghanistan and was put in 3rd grade that September. Now I am graduating college at 19. I graduated HS with a bunch of college credits. I was a leader as well. Why? Because people looked up to me and I would always help people who needed it.

    The cutoff in New York City is 12/31 and any child who will be 5 by that date will go to kindergarten. If the parents wait a year they will put the child in 1st. I have a son due 9/13 and he will be starting kindergarten almost turning 5. Schools don’t start until after labor day here.

    • says

      It sounds like you had a great time in school. The cutoff date here in earlier. School starts here in August. Thanks for commenting!

  146. Shannon Wojick says

    I made the decision to redshirt my July son for the following reasons.
    1. He had significant behavior issues. If I hadn’t redshirted him, he would have been a NIGHTMARE to his teachers.
    2. He could not separate from home even for even for 3 hours.
    3. He could not understand basic letter and number concepts
    4. He had significant motor delays

    HE started kindergarten at 6 and was still the most immature kid in his class, despite being one of the oldest. He is now in 4th grade, receiving special education. Academically, he is at the bare minimum of passing. Socially, he has trouble making friends and with his maturity. I do get told my child has an unfair advantage because of redshirting, but this child is already behind and has been recommended for retention in every grade. He in no way has an advantage over his peers.

  147. says

    I don’t understand #6 — barely older than 17 when she starts college? She would be 18 when she graduated high school if you put her in kindergarten at 5- — not 17…. so if she started college in the fall of that year, she would be 18+….

    I am an April baby, and was a leader throughout school — I don’t think that age (being a young 6 or young 5 or old 6 or whatever) made a difference. It was who I was, who I am…. naturally born. Every child going through school is going to have struggles — with friends, with bullies, with teachers they don’t get along with. Those struggles will make them stronger if they are taught to handle them correctly. And you can teach those skills at home.

    I graduated high school early – and went to college when everyone in my graduating class was still at school. Because of that, and my experiences, I was able to get a decent job in my field when I was only 20, and now that I am 39, I have almost 20 years experience… those opportunities would have passed me by had I done things differently.

    I also think that the first born child is usually the most mature — they aren’t as babied as much and they tend to have more responsibility caring for their younger siblings. I was the oldest girl of 9 children and I was a second mom to the 4 youngest.

    Just my thoughts — you need to make the decision that is right for your family, I just disagree with some of your reasonings behind your decision — but that is ok as well, we can disagree…. I have always been a go getter and want to get things done quickly and as fast as possible. :)
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  148. says

    I think this is great! You made a decision that many parents don’t even think about and many children would benefit from! Kids need longer just to be kids! My husband and I plan on homeschooling when we have kids and the homeschooling “theory” I like the best is Thomas Jefferson Education. It encourages parents not to start formal education until 8. Until then, children learn through playing. The idea is if you give them enough time to play when it’s most appropriate in their life, they’ll be ready to take learning seriously in other stages of life. Many blessings on you and your family!
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  149. Laurie says

    I love this article. I just found and just “reshirted” my 4.5 year old for pretty much the same reasons. I was one of those kids that started kindergarten at 4.5 and graduated high school barely after turning 17. I can testify to not catching up socially to my grade level peers. I DON’T want that for my daughter… even if she is more social than I am. I would rather she be one of the oldest in her class. AND in the state I live in… you don’t have to enroll your children in school until they are 8.

  150. Laurette says

    I was born on June 22. My parents redshirted me and I always hated it. Being older does not make you a leader at all, it all has to do with your personality. I didn’t get my driver’s license till 21. There were kids in the grade above me who were younger than me. In high school, I was so mature that I did stupid things just to fit in with my immature peers. Do you really want that? I already wanted to smoke and have sex while my classmates still wanted to play pokemon. No fun at all. Even the psychologist working with me agreed I needed to be living on my own in college rather than dealing with this high school stuff. I will say if your child will be 5 by the 1st day of school, she should be with kids her age, right where she needs to be.

  151. Erica says

    I was held back and it never bothered me. I was always the oldest in my classes. However, as an older child I was had more pressure put on me. I was immature for my age, so I wasn’t the most mature in the class, despite being the oldest. I was always expected to set a good example for the rest of the class. In 8th grade, I and a group of kids in our class got into trouble for throwing clothe pins at a group of 7th graders, the teacher told me I am the oldest so I should be the one setting an example for the rest of the class. My classmates expected me to be a leader, because I was the oldest, but I was NOT a leader. After 8th grade during the summer we moved to an area where lots of kids were held back, so I was no longer the oldest. Being the oldest never bothered me, just what was expected of me because I was the oldest. I hope this doesn’t happen to your daughter.

  152. Angie says

    As a mother of older children I need to say that it is not an age thing as much as a maturity level my first child was the young one on his class a June baby and had no trouble he was a leader and thrived in his studies. My second was the older one In the class a April baby and was much more immature then my first his was great academically but was defineetly not as mature as the other kids. I will say that each child is there own person and needs to be considered on a one to one basis. One more quick more the older one who has always been younger in his class graduated college at 19 I am glad I never kept h
    Back because of his age I knew he was ready and hit the ground running.
    Ps second child in on course and doing the 4 year college track.

  153. Erin O'Kelly says

    In a single term system, with fall admissions only, then it is unreasonable and unfair to make school-ready, almost-five year olds wait an entire year to enroll in kindergarten. If it is a semester or trimester system, then of course, the waiting time until the next period of enrollment is reasonable. My son will turn 5 this November, and 4 is too young to start kindergarten (out cutoff is September 1st, yet since he will enroll later he’ll be almost 6. He will be doing transitional kindergarten this year, which regular kindergarten should be like, arts and crafts, not writing paragraphs. Writing paragraphs should be saved for 1st grade.

    I have a daughter born on September 3rd, who will be going to 3rd grade. Her cousin was born August 30 and is a grade above her. She even teases my daughter about it “I am in 3rd grade you are in 2nd”.

  154. Miranda says

    Hi guys, this is the 2nd week of my son in Public school kindergarten… He’s a late June baby (starting at 5) and yes I understand this is only week 2 but right off the bat I knew deep down he’s not ready. What do I do? He needs more time. If I pulled him out what happens? Confused mommy!

    • says

      Hi Miranda! If you feel it’s not right for him now, I would pull him out. I would look up the laws in your state, though. In my state (NC), kids don’t have to be in school until age 7. Best wishes for you!

  155. Kim says

    I loved your post and applaud you for your honesty and following your mommy instinct. Our daughter has a May birthday and we just started Kindergarten as a new 5 year old. It didn’t feel right for 1 second. We live in an area where holding back is very common, and as such she was the youngest child in her class. A May Birthday! The only other May birthdays were a whole year older than her. She appeared less mature than them BECAUSE SHE WAS….they were 6 or almost 6 and she’d been 5 for just a few months. At first it made me angry…all these redshirting parents making it difficult for those of us trying to “be normal”. I cried a lot, I prayed a lot, I stressed a WHOLE lot. In the end I’ve realized it was actually a blessing. I pulled her after 1 week. Yes it was difficult. I put her in a 5 year old PreK2 class where she is one of the oldest but closer in age with peers than she was in her Kindergarten class. She still gets to learn, and she still gets to PLAY…she’s FIVE. I graduated at 17 and I was fine, but frankly, that’s irrelevant. School has changed so much. It’s not even really about Kindergarten for us. It was noticing that age difference now and imagining that ahead to middle school and high school. Peer pressure. Boys. Driving. There’s NO WAY that extra time to mature can hurt her. She’d PROBABLY have been fine to send on, but I can’t think of a single negative consequence to waiting.

  156. Samantha says

    Redshirting is NEVER a bad idea. She will be older, likely bigger, and maybe smarter than the other kids in the same grade. This will give her a leg up in a lot of ways. My birthday is August 22, and I was the youngest in my class, I did very well. But I would have smoked all the kids in the grade below ;-)

  157. Grace says

    Hi, Erin,

    Honestly, I was saying ‘uh, come on…’ to first several reasons of yours. But after reading the whole article, I really do think you made the best decision for your daughter. With the moving, and the hybrid homeschooling you’re seeking, it makes a lot of sense to make that decision. Also I cannot agree more of your opinion ‘to let her childhood last longer’! The modern American children are pushed in to such stressful and competitive environment from awfully young age. I have two children with summer birthdays and I agonized whether or not to wait one year. I ended up sending both of them ‘on time’ which meant my younger one with late August birthday starting kindergarten a day after he turned 5!

    Both my children are rather shy and not really ‘leader’ type. But they are rule followers and for some reason from when they were really little, made friends with kids who were a little bit older than themselves. So I thought it might stimulate them to start school sooner than later. I also wanted them to be only one grade younger than their friends rather then two. Generally I am happy with the decision, but still have some concerns especially about my 13 year old who is in rather slow side of his physical development. He is slightly above 50 percentile height but combined with his younger age, he regrets that he is one of the smaller kids at school. At the same time, he is happy that he will start college and end up start making money younger :) We live in a city where selective enrollment school seats are competitive to get, and if your child is younger they get a slight edge. Fortunately both my kids were tested into excellent schools, and handle them fine. My smaller than peer and shy 8th grader benefit from such academic environment. He is captain of Math Team at his school and pushed his way to join highschool senior level band this year. So I want to believe a well-intended parent always make a best decision for her child, or God will guide us for what is best.

    And I have to add, your girls are so~ cute!

  158. Charlotta Boestam says

    I´m from Swededen and here you start school in august the year you turn seven. But you’re offered to go to something we call “playschool” (kindergarten) at six.
    I’ve been working as a preschool teacher a long time (but not anymore) and I’ve always told the parents NOT to let their children attend school a year early. Some parents consider their children very mature, but not even then I would advice that… There is something importent to say about this: you are a child for a VERY short time in life, but a grownup for a loooong time.
    The years you allow your child to play, are not a waste of time. I consider them as important as the following school years!

  159. Emily says

    My parents chose to have me skip preschool and go straight to kindergarten when I was 4 :) my mom taught me to read fluently when I was 3 and not only was I academically above most of my peers, God also allowed me to be senior class president at Pensacola Christian Academy even though I was a year behind everyone else! My employers and peers are also impressed when I tell them I’m only 18 and a sophomore in college; I believe if a child is ready and wants to go to kindergarten they should go! I totally respect your decision though! Your children sound truly blessed to have you as such a caring mom! :)

  160. Jennifer says

    Many of the people concerned about not sending a young five year old to kindergarten are not even considering the curriculum. The curriculum is very rigorous now. I have a five year old son who has an August birthday. The more I read, the more convinced I am that I should wait another year to send him to Kinder. He is very smart, I just don’t think he’ll be ready for such a long, structured day. I’m also a certified teacher and have seen first-hand how many boys would have benefited from starting Kindergarten a year later.

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