Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Debate: To send or to wait

The debate continues in our house, whether or not Lainie is ready for kindergarten. Some days I think yes and Jay thinks no. Other days Jay thinks yes and I think no. One educator says yes, another says no, a doctor says yes, a therapist says no. Back and forth, yes or no, snippets of so many conversations and evaluations running through my head. “I’ve never heard of anyone regretting holding them back.” “She doesn’t learn at a gradual pace; she makes big jumps at a time.” “Twenty-five kids in a class is a lot; she could get lost in that group.” “She’s age appropriate in this level and this level and this level…”

Tonight, I decided to ask her if she wanted to go to kindergarten or preschool. She thought for a minute, then asked, “Will Kindergarten be hard?” “Yes,” I answered her. “It will be very hard for you. Preschool would be fun, and kindergarten will be hard. What do you want to do?” “I want to go to Kindergarten, Mommy.”

And after that conversation, she was the happiest girl all night long. She was talking in full sentences, she was doing chores and following directions, and she was taking turns with her sisters and helping her baby sis.She was, is, happy.

How much weight do I put on what she wants? She is “only” five. But, when Katie was a month past her third birthday, she cried and cried to go to preschool, so we signed her up and she started in October. If we let a three-year-old Katie dictate her schooling at that age, shouldn’t we listen to a five-year-old Lainie?

One of the most compelling arguments for me is how hard it could be on her, emotionally, if she needs to retake kindergarten. From what I’m seeing and hearing, redoing preschool would be just as hard on her heart as two years of kindergarten. So, why not let her press on and push her? She’s worked hard and diligently to get this far. Why should next year be any different? 

But if Kindergarten is hard, will she decide she doesn't like school and carry that attitude throughout? Will she dread when the bus shows up? Will her classmates alienate her for talking differently? Would another year make a difference in any of those categories?

Oh, this is one of those times I wish someone else would make the parenting decisions.

No comments: