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Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The school year ended a few weeks ago... and I was in constant contact with my son's teacher... so I knew.. they were thinking of retaining him.. The graduation... was so cute... and I loved hearing ... songs... I once sang with my pre-k students.. song by MY son... but it was bittersweet.. to know.. some of the friends he made this year... would move on to first grade.. and he would be left in the dust.. and maybe they would forget him... BUT deep inside.. I was sure I was making the right decision... or was I ?
I can't help but feel like I failed him in some way.. not preparing him for 1st grade.. I have taught many pre-k students... to read, to be more independent... but my own son not ready.....?

 I have noticed.. that people like to tell me what to do.. as if I was a 19 year old.. just learning the ropes... I had my grandmother.. tell me that I should fight the decision... to hold him back.. and just send him to 1st... Why ??/ would I want to do that.... and have him struggle.. .in 1st... how is that helpful??? Many people believe you should not have a child repeat kindergarten... the theory is that experts warn that the risks may outweigh the benefits....
  Like many other mothers...  I do realize that success in kindergarten depends on many factors, not all intellectual..... I know they take in to account... fine motor skills ( in which my son's are weak) they take in to account social emotional issues.... I know developmentally that some kids can the end of Kindergarten...but with all the practice I did with my son with flashcards... (sight words) he still was not blending or chunking words....and 1st grade is a lot of reading.. and if he can't do it.. isn't it going to be that much harder.. and his ADHD... has him a bit out of focus.. too... so that is 2 strikes.... against him... so I thought... why not... give him a little more time?

Some one told me it's a gift of time.. for my son to be retained.. and I agreed, until I heard someone say.. It's a waste of time...then I read this quote- and became... a little unsure
," Schools that favor retention ignore the research, which has shown that most children don't catch up when held back. There may be individual cases in which a child benefits, such as it he missed a lot of school because of illness or a move, or if he has significant delays in all areas of development, but according to organizations such as NAYEC, the National Education Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists, the best option in most cases is to provide specific support to help the student catch up during the remainder of kindergarten, over the summer, and in the first grade."
 After reading this information... I was torn... I have  a reading tutor.. hired for the summer.. .. but now.. should I send him to first??? or stick to the teachers' recommendation.. about retention?

Then people started talking about the social stigma of being held back... and how it can have a major impact on a child's attitude... Really?????? at age 6?????  they even went as far to say that boys that are held back in kindergarten, by middle school...have behavior problems and are bored ??? Not sure I agree....

I wanted my son retained... but I wanted him to have another teacher... not because I had any problems with his kindergarten teacher... I didn't.. but I felt he needed to have a different educational experience, as well as interventions and support to address his areas of need.

In the end the issue is about the kids and about how we collectively define learning.Perhaps the intense pressure at a young age amongst those financially capable of sending their kids to private school stems from a  a national public education system that is profoundly broken, where many kids cannot ever read to grade level.

As parents we should know better than to put our anxiety on our kids like some kind of disease. Education is suppose to be an adventure, one that is largely directed by the child's own passions... and I try to nurture that.. by day trips...and lessons plans... in my home. My husband is a science teacher and I can see my son's eyes light up like a Christmas tree when  my husband brings home something science related and my son discovers it new and eagerly.
Learning grows like a weed among children when it is shared. One child reinforces another's learning. It is a much a process for the group as the individual.
I have noticed that more boys are being held back. We know that the development of verbal skills for boys at that age can be 12 to 18 months behind girls, yet they are in the same classrooms with similar, if not identical, expectations.
I can't be sure I made the right decision.. in keeping my son back.. I tell him it's a change to play more and get his brain bigger... but I hope it allows him to be on the older end, rather than the younger end, maybe it will allow him to start for a sports team as opposed to sitting on the bench. He may be one of the first to drive....
I know that there are people who disagree with me.. but I have to do what I feel is right for me, and my son.
   I wish kindergarten had had more play... and recess was not a thing of the past... but I have to hope... that  he grows a little more mature this summer... and that he does not have trouble... reading....


Joanne said...

It's hard isn't it? you are such a loving mom. You want whats best for him. You know your son what is in your heart. you have his best interests at heart and no matter what you decide, he has a wonderful supportive Mom every step of the way.
Blessings, Joanne

Ella said...

I think u did the right thing ;there are so many children that needed to repeat n didn t. Xxx

Ella said...

Listen to your heart

Sweet Tea said...

Call it a "growth year". Time is your friend, and later, as you see him prepare for high school graduation you'll be so thankful you had him "one more year" before you had to send him out into the world. You've done him a favor, rather than a disservice. Breathe deeply and read my lips "He WILL learn to read". I promise.

My 2 boys are grown men now, but I've been where you are. It will all be OK - actually it will all be GREAT!

Arlee Bird said...

I don't remember doing much of anything in Kindergarten other than playing games, drawing pictures, hearing stories, and just being unstressed. Kids today have a lot weighing upon them.

Tossing It Out

Gabrielle Evelyn said...


Just do your best and no need to think too much.

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