The decision to go forward with redshirting our kindergartner has not been an easy one to make. My son is bright, loves stories and books, and is articulate to a fault. He’s also impulsive, has problems with his “listening ears,” and has a summer birthday. From the day my son, Lucan, turned two I have been pondering the finer points of whether or not to redshirt him (Katie did an awesome post about their decision to redshirt). The academic standards for what a five-year-old is expected to achieve are so much higher than when I was five. The curriculum our kiddos do in preschool is the curriculum we did as kindergartners, and so on and so on.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “redshirting,” it’s the idea of holding a child who is technically eligible to attend full-day kindergarten back a year. While Lucan does turn five this summer, he is one of the youngest in his four-year-old preschool class. We will send Lucan to full-day kindergarten next year when he is six. Because our school district offers a robust half-day transitional kindergarten program, we are choosing to redshirt our son.
No, it has nothing to do giving him an athletic edge over his peers (although my husband is trying to turn Lucan into an ambidextrous baseball player because it will make him harder to hit off of as a pitcher and more valuable as a switch-hitter). No, we don’t think that Lucan isn’t “smart enough” to make it through a traditional kindergarten program. We simply feel that emotionally and behaviorally, Lucan would benefit from an extra year before being thrown into full-time education.
I’m completely and undeniably grateful that my work-life schedule allows me to take Lucan to school every morning and pick him up at 11 a.m. because that is not the reality for many working parents. Yes, I would selfishly love the extra time during the day when Lucan would be busy at school. But me being selfish isn’t a viable reason. In my heart of hearts, I know this is the best choice for Lucan and for our family. My mother-in-law, a former educator, and many of my other teacher friends have always told me that I will never regret holding a child back a year but I could definitely regret sending a child when he isn’t ready.