Saturday, June 6, 2009

School Debate

It is that time of year again. Trying to figure out what to do with Jacob for next year. So here is my dilemma. Jacob will not be old enough to start kindergarten for two more years. He will have to repeat a year of preschool at some point. I have already decided that I will not have him tested next year to try to get him in early. It just doesn't make sense when he can fit in with the kids in his grade level and age group. The dilemma is only which year to repeat.

Last year, I had a similar discussion with his classroom teacher and we decided to leave him in the 2 1/2 to 3 year old room this year. That seemed great but then he had a huge developmental spurt towards the end of summer. He was suddenly becoming a behavior problem because he knew the curriculum the teacher was going through and was bored.

About six weeks into the school year, I had a discussion with the daycare director. I explained that I really believed he needed to be moved up to the three year old preschool room. I explained that when we discussed his classroom assignment in May, it seemed like a good decision. It no longer did as he had grown over the summer and was now bored. She agreed to try him in the older classroom. It turned out to be a good fit. He was challenged but did fine.

Now we are at about the same place we were last year. Academically, he is somewhere between the four year olds and the younger three year olds. He has good friends in both classrooms. He is also showing signs the past few weeks of being on the verge of another huge growth spurt developmentally. He can spell his first name, write some of the letters, spell his last name and is beginning to learn his phone number. He is also growing physically in the huge leaps I saw at this time last year. It seems his body is timed to do most of it's growing and developing in the summer and fall months.

So here is where the dilemma lies. I know the daycare will do whatever I tell them to do no matter what their opinion is. I'm the mom and I get the deciding vote. I just don't know which vote that should be.

The school is suggesting that I leave him in the 3 year old preschool room for 1-2 months next fall and then evaluate him. That makes me nervous because he will not be able to settle into the routine when the other kids do. They also have some concerns that he will advance quickly at the beginning of the school year but aren't sure he is ready for four-year-old preschool now. The kids do a lot of writing worksheets and even write in journals. I'm not sure what that looks like but know that he isn't ready to start writing words yet.

I am leaning towards planning to allow him to stay in his current classroom next year. There will be a couple other kids staying and he really likes some of the kids moving up to that room. I would tell the director that I reserve the right to change the decision in August if he continues to make huge gains over the summer months. That would give me some time to think about it and watch him over the summer. If he suddenly advances like he did last year, I can tell them to move him. If not, he can try the three year old room out. If he is bored, then we can move him then.

These are the parenting decisions that keep me up at night. I don't worry about behavioral issues as I know I can help any kid through them. I don't worry about medical issues because I trust the doctors and I can't control those things as much anyway. It is the educational decisions that worry me most. I don't want to set him up to struggle or have him bored so that he no longer likes school. I have a feeling these issues will be keeping me up at night for years to come.

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