Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To Delay Or Not Delay Kindergarten

Over the next few days I'm going to be posting some stuff that I posted on the other website.  I should have been doing this the whole time.  Sorry :(

I’ve been trying to figure out something interesting and thought provoking to write for my first blog here on Patch.com.  You know, something that will reach right out of the computer screen, grab you by the collar of your shirt, shake you for a bit and leave spittle on you as it shouts “READ ME!”

But alas, I have not been able to come up with anything that spectacular.  I keep thinking about what Ernest Hemingway said in his book “A Moveable Feast.”  He was talking about writing, more specifically trying to write and getting stuck to the point where your brain seems likes it’s malfunctioning.  He said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence, write the truest sentence you know.” Right now I don’t know much truth about anything except for my own truth and what’s going on in my own life at the present moment.

Right now, I’m trying to decide whether to send my youngest daughter to Kindergarten in the fall because her birthday conveniently, or inconveniently depending on how you look at it,  falls right smack dab in the gray area.  I could send her, I could keep her home. Eeny, meeny, miny, mo.

I’m so overwhelmed with trying to figure this out that every time I sit down to write some thought provoking piece about homelessness or the economy or whether Osama Bin Laden really is dead (seriously, they buried the guy at sea?), this Kindergarten issue spews out of my brain like some un-medicated kind of mental tourettes.  I can’t seem to get it out of my thought process so here is my truest sentence: I’m consumed with making the right decision for my daughter.

I had never even considered keeping her back until her preschool teacher suggested that because she isn’t speaking up for herself, she might benefit from an extra year of preschool.  Up until then I had been dreading yet planning on sending her on her merry way come September.

I had registered her for kindergarten and had decided to not pay for a deposit on preschool.  And when the teacher said that to me, it triggered an instant chain reaction of thoughts that started with “hmm, I never thought of that” to “hmm, according to the state I can technically keep her home until she’s seven, maybe I can push that deadline to seven-teen!”

I interviewed friends, I talked to her pediatrician, I did online research, I combed through educational studies about the subject, I questioned her pre-school teacher with CIA “advanced interrogation techniques”.  I was thorough and hard core because you should either go big or go home, especially where the well being of your children is concerned!

There are presumably pros and cons on each side.  The advocates of delaying Kindergarten state that it gives the kids an opportunity to mature for another year.  For some it might give them an academic or athletic advantage over peers and it supposedly gives them confidence and gives them a chance to “just be kids” for a little longer.  I like this theory, mainly because it gives me an excuse to keep my baby home for another year because you know…it’s all about me.  Sadly, the data does not support what most suppose are the benefits.
Study after study showed there is inconclusive evidence to support the claims that there are any benefits to keeping kids out of kindergarten for an extra year.  Most show that the discrepancies in age tend to fade so that there if overall zero benefit to delaying kindergarten.

In fact, some of the data actually suggested that kids that were delayed a year were slightly less likely to graduate from high school! Don’t believe me? Just type in “benefits of delaying kindergarten” into Google.  Go ahead, do it.  I’ll wait.

On the home front, I heard advice that ranged from delaying kindergarten being the home run in the world series of education all the way to suggestions that my kid’s brain might explode and ooze out of her ears from lack of usage if I kept her out of school.

In the end, the best advice I got came from a woman who said, “I kept my child back and it was the best thing I ever did.  And I sent another one early and it was the best thing I ever did.”  She was absolutely right.  Ultimately any decision I make will be the right one.  Furthermore, there is a lot to be said for going with your gut.

My head says, “aw c’mon, you can keep her home for anothe  year, just think of all the fun you’ll have together, all the cuddles and afternoon naps and running barefoot through fields of sunflowers.”  In other words, my head is delusional…and kind of selfish.  My heart says, “She’s ready, you know she’s ready, so just send her and shut up about it.”

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cheating

I've been cheating on this blog with another blog.  I know...I'm a dirty, dirty whore.  I can't help myself.  I've had the opportunity to blog on a local news website and have found it to be really fun.  It's the first time I've ever had to submit my work to an editor and work on a sort-of deadline.  It's also kind of scary.  Talk about not having control and letting it all hang out there.  I feel all exposed and nekked. 

But I'm learning...