Are you considering redshirting kindergarten for your child? Our family has A LOT of real life experience with this subject as ALL FOUR of us have August birthdays. True story. We did not plan it, but we think it's rather funny and a hectic month for us x 4. Not to mention the start of school is enough to send me into a tailspin. If I can get through it once, I can do it for the rest of my life, right? It's that time of year where we are thinking about pre-school, VPK, MMO, public school VPK, private pre-school, home school... THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS but my main concern is not where, but when to start my child. Here is a brief description of our four experiences so far.
My Experience - Not Redshirting Kindergarten
I was an early starter and my parents did NOT redshirt me in kindergarten. I would say I had an easy time until about 4th grade. Which I feel like now is the new 3rd grade... I began struggling to understand what I was learning, my reading comprehension slipped and my confidence diminished. This girl became a kid who wishes she was held back or today would be called redshirting.
I would never verbalize it to my dad because it made me feel like a loser and that I couldn't handle it, and I am not about accepting defeat. So, I chugged along through school always feeling a little out of place and don't even get me started on test taking... It was NOT my strong suit. I nearly failed algebra 2 and ended up taking it twice (once in the summer) to help out my GPA. By the time high school came along it was WAY too late to do anything so I just kept my mouth shut. Not to mention I had a unique situation growing up. My mom passed away two weeks after I started 1st grade. I was a FRESH 6 and my dad had bigger fish to fry and at the time I was "ready"from a kindergarten preparedness standpoint. It caught up with me eventually.
Hubby Experience - Redshirting (6th grade)
My husband started early, and ended up repeating the 6th grade for non-academic reasons. He went from a private school to a public school and a lot of his friends also were younger so he transitioned into public school and repeated the 6th grade. He only has positive things to say about it and his parents had the same positive impression about it. In my opinion since he was on board with it and was switching schools, nobody had to know so he didn't have that negative social aspect to it. If I did it, I felt like everyone would know and I would be MORTIFIED. Literally like my life was over and I would be known as "the dumb girl" who was held back. I've also heard (because I am not an expert) that boys mature slower than girls and have a higher redshirting kindergarten percentage than girls.
Taylor - Redshirting Kindergarten (currently)
Now we had our first daughter who is in Kindergarten now and I can't tell you how many days I had cried to come up with the solution of redshirting kindergarten. I had MANY people tell me what I should do, and what their opinions were. There were may of them as I am sure you can imagine. I actually enjoyed the dialogue even though most of the time it brought me to tears. But I was desperate for a solution and wanted to be 100% sure about whatever decision I made.
Taylor, my oldest was ready at 5 but I wasn't worried about her at 5, I was concerned for her at 15. Would she be mature enough, would she go through puberty later than the other girls and feel different, would she struggle like I did test taking and constantly have anxiety? I wanted her to be as confident as possible.
After the Redshirting Decision
I took my friend Barbara's opinion rather seriously because she had been a kindergarten teacher for many many years and had seen first hand over and over the effects of it. I'll never forget what she said "I've never had a parent regret redshirting kindergarten, but I have heard the opposite about starting early". It was an ah-ha moment for and had another long talk with my husband (who was super supportive). We prayed a lot about it and decide to start her late.
It was probably the biggest sigh of relief I had since I became a parent. Taylor is now nearly done with Kindergarten and she is thriving! She is getting better and better at her reading, and is doing math equations I don't think I was doing until a bout 2nd grade. Mrs. Keith her teacher is WONDERFUL and we were very blessed to have gotten her. I think moving forward we will NEVER regret the decision. I think Taylor will thank us someday. Or at least I'd like to think so!
Cameron- Will Redshirt Kindergarten
My younger daughter Cameron will turn 4 in August and we will be redshirting kindergarten for her as well. I am more than confident in this decision even though our girls are night and day different. One is more artsy (Taylor) and Cameron just wants to do puzzles by herself! We also look at redshirting as another year with our kids that we won't be able to get back. I've considered my child when she is driving, making tricky decisions before she is mentally prepared, and managing her money. A memory I have that I continued to overdraft on my account in college and thought magic money was appearing. I AM NOT KIDDING! So embarrassing to admit, but it's true. This girl wasn't ready and didn't feel equipped. My goal is to try to better prepare my children.
I hope that our family experiences has helped in some way. If you ever want to chat about redshirting Kindergarten for your child, let's chat. It's one of my favorite topics. I know that every family and child is different with their decision and I respect everyones personal choice. I just want to help if my experience means anything to you.
A few of my favorite things: preschool to kindergarten readiness
Zingo Sight Words Game (perfect for early readers)
we got this as a gift and it is a perfect handy way to keep all of our favorite art projects in one spot for each child