Monday, October 10, 2016

Tess's School Decision

When I got pregnant with Tess we started talking about school. She's our first summer baby and the first one where we'd really have a decision to make regarding when to start. With a July 31st birthday she'll either be the absolute youngest in her class or, if we wait to start kindergarten, she'd be the absolute oldest.

Zach's birthday is August 7th. His parents decided to "redshirt" him and have him start kindergarten as the oldest in his class. This was a HUGE benefit for Zach in many ways. It helped him excel in sports being that he developed sooner than his peers since he was older. It also helped in his maturity levels because we all know boys take longer to mature! I do think it may have hindered him some in the academic realm though. Zach is naturally very smart (he actually tested into gifted just like I did!) and he did get more bored in the classroom. He figured out how to do the least work to still make the grades and that's the path he took (whereas I over studied for everything). It may just be his personality, or it may be because he was so smart and older!

We don't find out the sex of our babies while pregnant so we didn't know if Tess (at that time we called her "Leo") would be a boy or a girl. We went ahead though and had the school talk!

IF Tess had been a boy, I'm 99% sure we would have planned to hold her back and have her start kindergarten right after turning 6. Overall Zach is glad his parents "redshirted" him and I'd rather have a son be the OLDEST than the youngest. Thinking long term it'd be an advantage in the dating world if he could drive at the start of sophomore year rather than being a year behind with getting his license and since boys mature slower I think it'd help his chances with the ladies to also be older ;)

We may have another summer baby in the future so it will be something we discuss again since we know Tab will be a boy :)

But when Tess was born a girl we actually made the opposite decision than what we'd do if she were a boy. Tess will turn 5 on July 31st and then start kindergarten the next week. She'll be THE youngest in her class. I know there are disadvantages for this. The driving example...she won't get her license until a week before the start of junior year. Yikes. But she'll have older siblings to help out and at minimum give her a ride to school so that's not a HUGE concern. I'm also not worried (at least at this point in the game) about academics. Zach and I are smart, I just assume our kids most likely will be as well. Of course if we run into issues or concerns or her teachers recommend delaying a year, we'll re-visit everything! But assuming she follows suit of her parents and siblings, I feel like she'll be fine being younger academically.

The MAIN reason we plan to have her start kindergarten at age 5? Developmentally. I started my period for the first time at age 9. NINE YALL. It was the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade. YIKES. I started wearing deodorant and a BRA in 2nd grade. In talking to Kye's growth dr I now know I probably had advanced bone age. Where your bones are aged older than your actual age. So like at age 4 my bone age was probably age 6. It meant I grew quicker and developed younger but that I also stopped growing earlier too. Hence why I ended up being 5'2" ;) (Zach is the exact opposite. He, like Kye, had delayed bone age. Meaning he continued to grow after age 18...hence 6'6"). Kye's growth dr (endocrinologist is the technical term) told us that Kye was most likely a "loyal son" and that she wouldn't be surprised if our daughter (now plural) ended up being "loyal daughters." Meaning Kye has the delayed bone age (at age 4 his bone age was age 2) and the girls may have advanced bone age.

While Britt is tall for her age, she doesn't seem to be developing in any other ways at a younger age. Tess, however, I'm positive has the advanced bone age. She's not SUPER tall but she is on the taller end for her age. The main reason I feel like it's the case is her development. She has had "buds" since birth that never went down even after weaning. She also has "hair" already in areas. The dr isn't overly concerned about it. We are watching things and obviously if needed we'll go back to the growth dr (I doubt she'll be shocked to see us haha). I just assume though that she's my loyal daughter (not a surprise since she's EXACTLY LIKE ME IN EVERY WAY haha).

Assuming Tess follows my developmental pattern there is just NO WAY I could hold her back a year for school. Girls already develop and mature quicker than boys. I'm not about to have her starting her period in 1st or 2nd grade!!! For that reason alone we're confident in our decision to send her to school at age 5.

Once we made that decision we then had to figure out when to start her for preschool. The preschool has a 2 year old class, a 2 and a half year old class, and a 3 year old class. For Kye and Britt they both went to school at the 2 ½ age followed by the 3, then 4, etc.

With Tess we could either a) skip the 2 - 2 ½ year and start her at age 3. b) start her mid-year (Jan) in the 2 ½ class then the 3 in the fall or c) put her in the 2 year old class then skip the 2 ½ one and go straight to the 3 year old the following year.

We talked about it and decided to go ahead and send her two mornings a week this year, at age 2. She turned 2 on Sunday and started school a week later! She's our youngest to go to school as Kye and Britt were both 2 ½ and she's also our first kid to only go two mornings a week and to be in the 2 year old class.

I had some guilt about it. I mean I'm being robbed of more time with JUST TESS at home! Plus she's so little! But overall it was a great decision. Since Britt will most likely go to public school for kindergarten this is the only year she and Tess will be in preschool together. I liked the idea of Tess having her big sister there with her and for Britt to get to feel proud and show off her little sister like Kye loved doing when Britt went to preschool with him for a year.

I also love that by putting Tess in school at the younger age she'll be a year closer to Britt in school. Kye and Britt have 2 school years between them but Britt and Tess will only have one between them. It also means that assuming Tess goes to public school for kindergarten that she and Kye will get to go to elementary school together for one year (He'll be in 5th, Britt in 2nd, Tess in kinder). And yes, I've thought ALL of this through all the way until graduation haha.

The downside is that Tab will be even further removed from his siblings with school grades. But I like that I'll have extra alone time with him for longer ;)

Tess goes two mornings a week for half a day. It was a BIG step for her and I do think socially she needed to be in school. She's my first kid to REALLY cling to me. It's been good for her to have a new place with new people to adjust to. It's funny because she's one of THE youngest in her class, yet she's the only one who is potty trained and she's been a leader with her peers about it! It's tough because she doesn't talk a lot yet so I really am clueless about how her days go or what she does or if she's having fun or making friends. It took her AWHILE to be happy at drop off but she's always smiling at pick up so I know she has a good time! We're so proud of her and feel that, so far, this has been a great decision!

Next year the director has told us it should also be a smooth transition for her to the 3 year old class. We feel confident that she'll continue to excel and will do just fine being the youngest among her peers. She's the youngest among her siblings and she doesn't mind one bit ;)

Do you have a summer baby? Are you "redshirting"? I post a LOT of articles on the topic over on my Facebook page! I love reading pros and cons of both sides and find it so interesting that this ONE decision can really shape our children's futures in so many ways! 

If you're not already following me on Facebook be sure to do so! I post a ton of current articles on a variety of parenting (and marriage and sometimes just random!) topics as well as more stuff about our family!

And if you REALLY want to see us in action be sure to follow me on Instagram! I'm pretty much obsessed with the new Instagram Stories so be warned ;) 


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