Young 1st grader struggling. Should I have given him another year?
09/11/2011 at 03:51 AM

My son turned six July 12. He is very bright and everyone has always commented on it. He's been building elaborate Geo-Trax and LEGO sets since he was 4. He has been attending a private preschool for the past two years and last year, instead of making him the youngest in Kindergarten, we opted to put him in the Pre-K/K split class with other kids his age (young official kindergartners and old pre-K kids), since that seems to be the trend where we live. He did very well as the oldest in the environment, but at the end of year assessment, I noticed he aced all the tests ... at the beginning of the year. Knew his letters, sounds, began to read (though didn't like it), etc so I thought perhaps he wouldn't be challenged enough and become bored and thus disruptive.

Anyhow, the teacher recommended we send him to Kindergarten (give him the gift of an extra year) where he would be the oldest (actually a couple months older as the cutoff is Sept 10). But she recommended it for everyone in the class and since the school has their own private kindergarten and not higher grades, I felt it to be a bit biased. They feel most kids with summer b-days (esp boys) benefit greatly from an extra year. This is not the norm in a different state where I grew up, but seems to be here. I struggled with it since he's always been the smartest kid in the class and now hold him back?

So i enrolled in their Kindergarten, but my child wasn't excited about going back. I felt perhaps he was ready to move on, but as the public school's kindergarten was only 2.5 hrs and he's been going to school for twice that time (around 4 hrs a day), I figured 1st grade in the public school would be a good fit, even though he's youngest.

Well, it's only been the first week, and I expected adjustments, but he hates it. First off, way too long for him, no friends ... but I expected that. It's how miserable he is, says there is never time to finish work and if they don't finish they miss recess so he's worried about that and says he doesn't understand the teacher. I worry about all the sitting and wonder if I really should have given him that extra year.

I've been distraught. His private kindergarten starts this week and I'm tempted to move him back to give him that extra year to be a child, not have such long days, have friends and still be learning ... maybe learn to love reading more? But others say this is normal and I'm overreacting and he needs time to get used it it. This is how school is. Deal with it. Maybe I just don't agree with the learning environment and I'm a good candidate for home school? Would another year make a difference? Sorry, so lengthy. Thoughts anyone? I'm desperate.