Should I attempt to enroll my son into Kindergarten Early?

Paige - posted on 05/14/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My son will be 4 in August but the cut off where we live for kindergarten is before his birthday thus he'd have to wait until he was 6 to start kindergarten. I know from teaching experience that sometimes letting children start at 6yrs is fine but I think my son would be very bored. He is already reading books that kids have to read in the 2nd grade, he's math skills are equal to that of a 1st grader, he has no trouble socializing with older kids, and just seems ready to start real school (not to say that prek is not real school) Alot of people tell me to enroll him in private school but we just don't have the income to do something like that (I really wanted too). I'm not sure what to do. Should I wait and see how he performs or should I really push to get him in early? Any thoughts?

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Heather - posted on 05/25/2010

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I was/am gifted, and was ahead in school since kindergarten. My parents tried to get me into the public school kindergarten at age 4, but the school would not let me in. (I have a late birthday, too - March.) My parents sent me to kindergarten at a private school and when I "graduated" from there, the public school could not refuse me. I went to first grade at age 5 (turning 6 in March.) I was a child that physically matured early, so I didn't have a problem looking small or young (in fact, I STILL looked older than most of my classmates.) During elementary and junior high, being ahead a year was not a big deal. But when high school hit, along with the "coming of age" things that you get to do as a teen - getting a job, getting your license, turning 16, etc., I could not enjoy those things along with my friends. All my friends got to experience those things a year ahead of me, and when it was my turn, no one cared since they had "been there, done that." In addition, I had some problems in college not being 18 yet. I could not sign for myself. This caused problems in psychology class when I had to write a paper for credit instead of being able to participate in a study.

I have also decided that, though children may be ahead intellectually, they should still be compared to children their own age. When I was in school, the other kids in my advanced classes were all older than me, some by almost 2 years. Just having another year being alive gave them an advantage. When it comes down to GPA, class standings, scholarships, etc., I don't think that it is fair to compare a child against others that are older. I do not know if I had stayed in my "regular" grade if that might have pushed some of those statistics more in my favor, but why put more pressure on, especially when every little bit helps when you are trying to pay for college.

After my experience being ahead in school, I would not do it. My son, also, is gifted, and we opted not to challenge the cutoff and put him in school early. We decided to homeschool instead, and we are very pleased with our decision. Other people have mentioned finding out about your district's gifted program. This is very good advice. If you cannot find a school that will be able to challenge your child, homeschooling is another good option. The district we were in was very small and rural, and did not even have a satisfactory amount of AP classes at the high school level. A gifted program was not even an option. Homeschooling has been a blessing for us, and now that our son is heading into 7th grade, we have many options available to us. Check out Johns Hopkins and Stanford University for gifted programs. Incredible!

Another reason why we decided to homeschool is because life is not all about academics. When I was in high school, I hated it. I went to school all day, and then had 3+ hours of homework for all those honors/AP classes! I was trying to get all my work done on top of the activities I loved, mainly music. If I had been homeschooled, I would have had time to finish my schoolwork and then really develop my passions. And you know your gifted children have passions! Especially as they get older, they need more time to work on those things that make them unique.

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Tammy - posted on 05/24/2010

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I put my daughter in early. So far the one draw back that we've seen is she's smaller and younger than everyone else - I didn't think too much of it, but apparently some of the kids in class make an issue of her size and age - she's got a bit of a size complex at times but now for the most part kids have realized she's the smarty pants of the bunch. Some kids think it's cool, but most seem to think she's weird. Despite this, I still feel we made the right decision. She would have been bored if we made her wait. She tends to get in trouble if she's bored too much, so at least this gives her a challenge and helps her stay focused. Ultimately though, he's your child and the decision is yours.

Carol - posted on 05/20/2010

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We did put our son in early. He missed the cut off by only 4 days. He was also way ahead academically. He seemed more comfortable with older kids too. Our district not only did NOT have a gifted program - they told me a few months into his kindergarten year that there was nothing they could ever do to challenge him through 12th grade. Way to go No Child Left Behind! We wound up pulling him out half way through 1st grade when things didn't get better even with a great teacher. We've put him back into a different district this year for 4th grade.



Research the school you want to put him into. Utilize school choice if you can. Specifically ask how they handle kids that are quick learners or gifted at the elementary level. The few schools that actually have gifted programs usually start in middle or high school grades, not the lower ones. In my opinion, the gifted kids' brains have turned to mush by then and they've never developed the skills to try to learn anything - everything's just been too easy.

There was a book I read, "Gifted Denied," that really advocated putting the kids in academically where they'd fit in. It seemed to make a lot of sense.

Jane - posted on 05/17/2010

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Does your school district have a Gifted Program? If so, research it and see what he will be offered once he goes to school. My kids are both gifted and I knew it by the time they were 2. Our school district integrates so GT kids get all the challenges they need/require once they get into school. I didn't have to push them into school before the district allowable age and it all worked out well. My now 20 year old just finished her 2nd year of college and has continued to excel. She'll technically be a Junior next year but will be categorized as a Senior based on the amount of credits she has already taken, is in the Honors program and is on a full (and I mean FULL - we get stipend money too which means the school pays us for her going there) scholarship. My 16 year old son will be in the same position once he graduates high school. Neither of them started early, skipped a grade or anything. And, for my son, with his birthday being after the cutoff basically was 6 only 2 months into his kindergarten year.

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