As parents we often find ourselves having to make decisions. Some are easy – no you can’t have ice cream for breakfast. Some are much more difficult – is he ready for school?
Master N was born on June 30th, the school cut-off date in QLD. Up here, kids can start prep as long as they turn 5 by June 30th of that year. He will turn 5 on that date, making him the very youngest in the school, if he goes. If he had been born 10 hours later, he wouldn’t be allowed to go to school in January.
I have agonised over this all year. His friends are all going, even one who is only one month older than him. We even enrolled him in a school, went to the induction morning tea day, accepted the spot they offered, then didn’t confirm it. We had decided he wasn’t ready. I was also not really impressed with a few things from the school, including the principal! But that’s another story. That was back in September.
Now it’s December, and after a conversation with some friends, I started questioning our decision. I texted my husband, “B & M think Nick should go to school next year.” His reply came back, “So do I.” In a panic I called the local public school, where several of his friends are going. I’ve not heard one bad word about this school, but we were yet to actually check it out. The woman on the other end was lovely and set up a meeting with the deputy principal for this morning.
I can see both sides of this argument. I can see benefits to holding him back and benefits to sending him. So how do we make this decision? With our gut? My gut is flip-flopping. He goes to a great Montessori-based kindy, it wouldn’t hurt him to stay there another year. He gets plenty of stimulation and won’t be bored. But he will be the oldest, always. I see how he is with older kids now and he loves them, and learns so much from them. Wouldn’t it be good if he went to school with older kids and continued to learn from them?
We have confused him – taking him to the other school, telling him that will be his school next year. Then telling him he’s staying at kindy for another year. Now taking him to a different big school today.
Yesterday when The Mechanic picked him up he told him, “I’m graduating with my friends tonight!” First off, parenting fail to The Mechanic and I, neither of who realised last night was the Christmas sing-a-long and graduation night. Secondly, last year he refused to even stand with the kids, let alone sing, and spent all night attached to me. He repeated that at the Mother’s Day morning tea they had. This was one of the indications I thought he might not be ready for big school just yet. Last night he blew us out of the water – he not only stood with his friends, he sang. Then he got all dressed up in his graduation cap and gown and graduated with 19 of his little classmates, telling everyone that when he grows up, he wants to be Batman. Seriously. Others wanted to be doctors, pilots, policemen, he wants to be Batman.
He told me last night, walking to the car, “That’s not my favourite school anymore.” I said, “No? Which is your favourite?” “Big school,” he said. He seems pretty pumped to go to big school. I feel like if we don’t do the right thing for him with this decision, we’ll be doing a disservice to him. All any parent ever wants is for their kid to have the best chance to excel. I just don’t know what will help him to excel in this situation. But then I fall back on the “Whatever we choose is the right choice” motto, and I think maybe we can’t go wrong, no matter what we do.
Are you kids the oldest or youngest in the classes? Did you have a hard time making this decision?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT!