My son is a bright, sweet boy who happened to not do very well when he started Pre-K.
It was a combination of factors that included a teacher/student misfit, a diagnosis we had yet to receive, and just not being ready. In fact, we pulled him out that December. I questioned if we were making the right decision. After his first week home, though, his behavior made a complete 180. This poor kid had been in a stressed out-meltdown mode for an entire semester!
Later, the school called and suggested trying a different Pre-K class the following year. At that point, I didn’t question if I was making the right decision. There were no thoughts in my mind about my son being behind a grade level or how old this would make him at graduation. Maybe because he has a summer birthday, I didn’t give one more thought to his age compared to his classmates.
I just knew that he was not ready to move on to Kindergarten. If we had sent him at that time, we would have been setting him up for failure. Our school’s willingness to work with us made repeating Pre-K feel promising.
So the following school year, we went back and tried again in a different way.
And you know what? The timing was right. The teachers were right. My son learned, grew, adjusted, and had a wonderful school experience.
But, once we got Pre-K under our belts, my husband and I grew nervous for Kindergarten. Our son would be going from half day to full day with more transitions. Would he be able to handle it? Well, I am beyond proud to report that he was successful in Kindergarten and is on track to start 1st grade next year.
Repeating a grade gave him the time and resources he needed. I’m glad we chose to hold him back a grade.
I realize that it is easy for me to look at this from the other side now, because I can see how it all unfolded. But when we were in the thick of it, it was a tough and stressful time. We had many tearful days, conversations with teachers, and e-mails to the principal. It felt like I was in a battle. And even though the school was helpful, it was a battle in a sense. Education is not one-size-fits-all. I had to advocate for my child.
I am not trying to give advice. I fully acknowledge that each child and each circumstance is different. However, I do want to share my experience, because since going through it, I have had several mom friends deal with similar situations!
If you are wrestling with the decision of holding your child back, I KNOW it is hard.