Posted by: Liza | 2005/07/26

My youngest son - opinions needed

Parents' evening was last night and both my children are settling into their school very well. The only problem is with the youngest. His teacher says that he is very bright (he's in the Grade 0 class, and bigger than most of his classmates), but he is a year younger than most of them. She showed me the work that he did last week, compared to the work that the other children his age, and the children a year older did. His work is close to the best with the older children, and much better than the younger children. She advised that I have his psychologist do a school-readyness assessment to see whether he will be able to cope in Grade 1 next year. But she also said that sometimes children have problems accepting the fact that they need to do sports etc. with their own age-group instead of their classmates.

I remember being put in school at the age of 5. More than school-ready. The sports thing was very frustrating and I consequently didn't do much sport in primary school. This gave me a more time for academics, and by middle grade 2, my teacher wanted to advance me to grade 3 - until she realized that I was already a year younger than most of the other children in our class. I became extremely bored in primary school and simply never recovered. I was lazy, just did the bare minimum for homework but paid attention in class. Never studied for exams (except in Matric) and still made very good grades.

I don't want this to happen with my son. Would it be a good idea to leave him in Grade 0 for another year even if the assessment shows that he is school-ready? His teacher has already said that she will give him some extra work to do and that he'll become a class assistant and help out the other kids that struggle. But will he become bored with that? I also have a feeling that he will become impatient if he has to help children that struggle. He is a bit bossy.

Any opinions?

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Our expert says:
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Actually, Liza, I had some similar experiences, in being twice advanced a year ahead of my age-group in primary school, and personally I found it beneficial and no problem at all. I had good friends among the other kids without worrying about anyone's exact ages, which only became obvious at birthday parties. I think the problems that may be possible on advancement, are usually far, far, smaller than those caused by becoming bored at being kept back with work much less challenging and interesting than one needs. Get the assessment and discuss this with the psychologist. If the advice is for him to advance, go ahead

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Our users say:
Posted by: Mommy | 2005/07/26

My opinion as also a mom would be to not keep your child back. Get a professional opinion on his readiness and if that person is also of the opinion that hy must progress rather to grade 1 - let him go. Children are adaptable and the sport-issue may be a bit frustrating, but not as crippling and frustrating as learning with children who are not on the same level as you are.
My toddler is in a playgroup for 2,5 - 4 yr olds and a while ago a mom asked if her 5yr old can join the group. He was there for only 1 week, because the teacher noticed that although he was able to already draw proper figures, he was also starting to scribble like the younger kids.
I am also not for pushing a kid too much, but I think it will do a kid more bad than good to be with kids that are on a lower level than he or she is.

Reply to Mommy
Posted by: Liza | 2005/07/26

I'm just so scared that he gets bored and then gets lazy the way I did. I could have done so much better if I had just put in a little more effort instead of coasting along. Today studying is a battle. I've had to teach myself the same discipline that other people acquire in high-school.

Reply to Liza
Posted by: SG | 2005/07/26

I have personally found some children advance quicker than others but eventually they all "even" out.However,some children are simply more gifted and are more intelligent.You might need some expert advice on your child before making a decision.
Don't worry too much about the sport issue,I played in older boys sides for most of my school days and I came out ok.Just be careful with contact sport as he could get hurt.
Don't push him too hard if he is not completely ready.
Most children that later prove to be leaders tend to be a bit bossy when small.

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