Friday, September 13, 2013

Back to School Stuff; Cut-off Dates

Obviously with it being back to school time, I am seeing a lot of posts of your kids on their first day of school.  While I snuck the girls' first day of school pic into an unrelated post, I didn't really go into detail about our plans.  

Since I work full time, have awesome parents who watch the girls 2 days a week, and have to think about what to do with Lucia, it doesn't really make sense to put Adriana in a real preschool.  My kids get a mix of grandparent days, daycare days, and the occasional parent working from home or taking a vacation day.  The daycare we send them to has them in classrooms which do change around the same time other kids are going back to school, but they are HORRIBLE about communicating what date that will actually be.  

Since Adriana goes to daycare instead of a more traditional preschool, I already feel a bit cheated out of the whole back to school experience.  However, this year was even worse because of the lack of communication.  I quickly snapped a picture of them on the porch thinking it was a "last day of school" shot (based on what I was told after repeatedly asking), and dropped them off at daycare only to find that the rest of the kids randomly switched rooms that Wednesday, when the girls were at my parents. 

I had kind of wanted to do the "wear the same dress on the first day of school and last day of school and take a cute pic holding a sign" thing that is pretty much required of me as a blogging mom, but that was obviously out the window unless I wanted to stage something the next Monday.  

I decided to just go with the flow and let this quick photo be the official record.  Whatever.  I suck at Pinteresty things anyway.  

For reference, Lucia turned 2 on August 14th and Adriana will be 4 on October 14th.  

Lucia is in "Toddler 1" and Adriana is in "Preschool 2".  Some time in the middle of this year (when she's further along in potty training), Lucy will move to the next Toddler room, and then next fall she will move to Preschool 1.  

Adriana will go to a "real" school next year.  I am sending the girls to the Catholic school down the street.  I was raised Catholic, but am not Catholic myself.  I just like the school and the public schools where I live aren't very good.  I talked more about the Catholic school decision here and here.  Adriana will be in Pre-K next fall, and Kindergarten the year after that.  The school offers after care, so I don't have to worry about who is going to pick her up in the afternoon.  

The school I'm sending my kids to has a really strict August 1 cut-off date.  I sort of like that because one of the things I obsessed about during my pregnancy with Lucy was the fact that, due to their spacing and where the birthdays fall, I thought my kids would only be one grade apart despite being 22 months apart.  So the strict cut-off date fixes that (perceived) problem.

However, it means that both of my kids will be among the oldest in their class.  Lucy will be one of the VERY oldest.  It's just weird to me since I was a June baby.  I started Kindergarten the fall after I turned 5; I didn't go to Pre-K at all.  Since I didn't have a birthday in the middle of the school year, I was 5 for the entirety of Kindergarten, 6 in 1st grade, 7 in 2nd grade, etc.  I have strong associations with what age you are "supposed to be" in each grade, and my kids will be almost a full year older than I was in each grade.   I was 17 when I graduated high school; my kids will be 18.  

I don't know why this is SO weird to me, but it is.  

Add into that the fact that kids are all different developmentally.  Adriana is really tall and really smart.  At almost 4, she fits in WAY BETTER with a room full of 5 year olds than a room full of 4 year olds.  If it were up to me, I would skip Pre-K entirely and just put her in Kindergarten next year, but that's not an option.  Even if it were, then she would be in the same class as my nephew, whose parents DO like waiting the extra year even though he is basically a walking encyclopedia.  

I guess, ultimately, even though I don't like that my kids are going to be older than I think they should be for their grade, I like that I don't have any control over it and therefore can't make the "wrong" choice for my kid.  They were born after August 1, so they start when they start.  Ultimately, even though it weirds me out, it's probably a GOOD thing.  Why rush real life, right?  One more year to enjoy my kiddos before they are off to college (assuming they are of the enjoyable variety by then).  

So how does the cut off date work where your kids go to school?  Do you get to decide whether to send them or hold them back, and how did you make that decision? Are you sending your kids to preschool and pre-k, or just directly to kindergarten?  


Swistle said...

Our schools have a cut-off date in September; I'm not sure how strict it is because I haven't tried to test it. My firstborn has the best birthdate, because it's right in the middle of the school year: he turns the next age after about half of his classmates and before about half of his classmates. The other four have late-in-the-school-year birthdays, and I feel fretful about it. I feel like two of my kids in particular would have done better if it had worked out for them to be the eldest in their classes instead of the youngest.

I've had to wrestle with it a bit, especially now that it's too late to go back and make a different decision. It was especially difficult with the twins, because Edward is one of the ones who probably would do better to be a year behind where he is, but Elizabeth was FULL-ON READY for school. And the option of keeping them back a year wasn't offered, so I would have had to be pretty certain it was the right thing in order to even call for an appointment to argue the case, and I WASN'T sure, not AT ALL.

ANYWAY. There it is. I feel a little upset, though, when I feel like one of the kids is being compared to a higher level of maturity than he is: like, of COURSE he's having more trouble expressing himself, he's NEARLY A A YEAR YOUNGER THAN THAT OTHER KID.

We did 3-year-old and 4-year-old preschool for my firstborn: he had a speech delay and a borderline-autism thing that made his pediatrician, speech therapist, and neurologist all strongly recommend as much preschool as possible. My secondborn and fifthborn both did 4-year-old preschool. The twins got the short end of the stick because preschool x 2 was more than we could pay. (You know what we should have done, I just realized, is sent just Edward. Well, too late now.)

Pickles and Dimes said...

Your girls are both so, so beautiful.

Wasn't it in that book Outliers where Malcolm Gladwell talks about it being an advantage to have a birthday in certain months? I swear he talked about high school sports, and how it was an advantage to be an older kid in the class, because physically their body has nearly a year's advantage on the other kids, so they're more apt to be a starter on the team. Interesting stuff.

Shannon said...

Oh my gosh! This happened to me too. Kaylee turned 3 in July and goes to daycare. Since she was in daycare all summer, it didn't really seem like a "back to school" type deal. But I didn't realize that they were transitioning her full time from Preschool to Prekindergarten (which is much more like "school") on the first official day back. So theoretically I could have done a back to school picture. I thought about doing on afterwards, but then forgot until the next morning. Sigh. Oh well. Cutesy signs aren't really my thing anyways.

Shannon said...

Oh, also, my birthday is June 22, so I know exactly what you mean by being one age the entire school year.

Brenna said...

I have one of each on the birthday spectrum. My oldest has a June birthday, so she has always been among the youngest in her class, but she's never had any issues. I think just being a girl helps (maturity-wise). My son has a December birthday, so he falls in the middle. Again, no problems there. He was the only kid who did a real Pre-K, and he's always been advanced, but I can't say if there is any causation in play, I feel like he would have been pretty much the same without the pre-k. My youngest missed our district's Sept. 1 cutoff by 6 days, so my Kindergartener just turned 6. She was PLENTY ready by the time K finally rolled around, but I was happy to have her home with me an extra year.

I'm all for delaying in the case of a borderline birthday. There are just so many advantages and no real downside. I think a kid who gets discouraged early on in school is at a big disadvantage. Schools label kids, and kids label themselves. And once a kid gets it into their head that they're "dumb", it's really hard to get that idea out again.

Sarah in Ottawa said...

Here in Ontario, the cut off is Dec. 31, so all kids born in 2009 started Junior Kindergarten this September. That includes January baby Teddy, for whom the extra year was amazing. We actually did 2 years of preschool with him (which he adored), and now he's in full day K at our local Catholic school, which is publicly-funded (don't ask; it's totally odd.)
Veronica would be happy to go to school NOW (she just turned three, and is back in preschool after a year of the toddler program). I was an end-of-the-year kid, and it did not hinder me scholastically or socially, so I am not worried about her (and we'll see about 3rd baby, who is due to also be an October girl like her Mom).

Pirate Flag & Island Girl said...

I missed the kindergarten cut off date by 18 days; my birthday is July 19th, and the cut off date at the time was July 1 where I lived. I took a test to go "early" and failed it because I couldn't skip properly and they used this to determine that my motor skills weren't developed enough yet. I actually didn't learn how to skip until around the third grade or so, so that was a bust (and I still can't REALLY skip properly but I can fake it well enough), but I am SO GLAD that I was an older kid-Brian was as well, and we both fared better for it (we went to school together, and were in a lot of the same classes so we witnessed each other's abilities firsthand). We ended up in the smart kid classes, which were HUGE confidence boosters, and I feel like this "extra time" gave us a better ability to comprehend and learn what we needed to.

From my experience, I think it will seriously benefit your girls to be older. Plus, like you said-it gives them more time with you :-)

Jessica said...

I was almost the very oldest in my class: my birthday is September 4 and the cutoff was September 15th. I thought it was the best thing ever. I loved being the oldest. Birthday at the beginning of the year when everyone is still excited, first to get a driver's license, etc. My kids were born in May and June, with a cutoff sometime in August, so they'll be among the youngest in their class and I don't like it at ALL. They're not close enough to the cutoff to hold them back without it being really odd, not that I necessarily WOULD, it just freaks me out a little I can't.

Thomas also has a birthday in May, so he thinks the whole thing is NBD and I'm freaking out about nothing. That does make me feel a little better, I admit. I'm only 4 months younger than him, yet we were a year apart in school and both of us did just fine.

Mama Tully said...

The cut off where we live is 9/1, so L makes the cutoff by just 2 days. She will definitely be the youngest in her class. My biggest concern with holding her back has more to do with her preteen years....I developed early, so if she follows in my footsteps, she will be even earlier than all her peers if we held her back a year. She is also really tall for her age, which again, would be exaggerated even more if she were with kids a year younger than her. So she is starting kindergarten next fall, 2 days after she turns 5. I knew this was the plan in advance though, so she is doing 2 years of preK. And luckily, she is one smart cookie, so she will be more than ready to begin kindergarden next year. I'm not sure what our plan is for A and W, I guess we will wait and see how they do once they start preschool. They both have spring birthdays though, so that puts them more at the middle of the road with their peers.
I'd like my kids to each have a 2 year spacing from each other in school though, and so far, it's shaping up that way.

Kara Keenan said...

The years my older two started school, the cut off was on or before August 1st. My oldest's birthday is April 14th, so she was no problem. Except we wound up retaining her in 3rd grade. So now I have a 10 year old 4th grader. My middle's birthday is November 11th. We paid for a year of private kindergarten for her, and then had the option of either enrolling her in 1st or Kinder in the public school. We picked Kinder, which turned out to be a good choice, since if she had been in 1st, I'd have two kids in the same class. She'll turn 9 soon, and is in 3rd grade. My youngest's birthday is August 1st. So, she was born on the old cut-off. Except they changed the cut-off to December 31st. She's 6, and in 1st grade. My older kids are the oldest in their classes, the youngest is one of the youngest. As girls, I think the ages matter less.

Nilsa S. said...

I think we have a September 1 cutoff date in Chicago. And, from what I understand, you can start your kid in school for Kindergarten OR first grade, which I had never heard of before. We will be sending Gavin to his current daycare until he's ready to enter Kindergarten (thankfully, they make it really easy to stay there as long as we need them). He will be entering the preschool room the first week of November and then he'll be one of the oldest in his class (with a late October birthday).