Red-Shirting?

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sweetsriracha's picture
Joined: 03/29/11
Posts: 1318
Red-Shirting?

Have any of you thought about red-shirting? Do any of you have strong opinions on red-shirting?

For those of you knew to the term, it is when parents deliberately hold their children back for an extra year before starting kindgarten. Some studies have shown it to give children an advantageous school experience, due to the fact they may be more physically/socially/emotionally mature than their younger peers (see here )

I'm pretty sure I'm in favor of red-shirting...and in favor of parent's having the choice to red-shirt if they please. As to whether we'll do it for sure, I'm not certain. Laszlo's birthday is early in the school year, so he'll already be a bit older...it really depends on him.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Right now I'm thinking I'm going to homeschool. We have a lot of moving in our future to places with not so great school systems and I'd hate for his education to get messed up thanks to the military. When we start "kindergarten" will depend entirely on him, but I'd start him no later than the year he turns 6.
If for some reason we do put DS in regular school, I wouldn't hold him back but with an early November birthday he'd be one of the oldest anyways for most school systems.

My parents had the choice with my little sister and they chose to hold her back (she liked to talk a lot and they thought waiting a year would lead to her being quieter for k). They regret it now and feel that it negatively impacted my sister. While waiting another year can really help some kids out a whole lot who aren't emotionally or socially prepared, there really was nothing that warranted having my sister wait. She got bored and wasn't challenged in school, which lead to her being a distraction to others and discipline issues. At their district it pretty much takes an act of God to get moved up a grade. She's a senior in high school right now.

Joined: 05/05/04
Posts: 435

In NY the cut-off is either November 30th or December 1st, I can't remember. Both of my kids are fall birthdays and I red-shirted both of them.

With Sam she did 3s preschool the fall she turned 4, then the 4s/universal pre-k preschool the fall she turned 5, then went to K the fall she turned 6. It worked out well for her. She's in first grade now and a LOT of the kids in her class are struggling with the new math standards and she isn't.

With Tom we planned on doing the same thing. His 3s preschool class was REALLY young though - including 3 kids who turned 3 in the fall when he was turning 4. The school recommended we switch him to the 3 morning 4s program. So he just started that today. So this year has been split, then next year he'll do the 5 morning 4s (which is the universal pre-k program), then he'll start K the year that he's turning 6.

After seeing the current NYS math standards there's no way I'd put him in K the year he's chronologically "ready" because it's just crazy. That being said, our district has a special program for kids that are old enough for K but not academically/emotionally ready. The problem is it's full day so he'd still be eating lunch and school and be gone all day. If I don't think he'd old enough for K then I don't think he's old enough for that either Lol

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

If I had a summer baby I would. DD will be starting right before her 6th birthday. Is that right? When do kids start kindergarten? Smile

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Natalie, in your case I think it's crazy to let kids who are 4 and not turning 5 till halfway through the school year into K! Most places have a cut off in September these days (I've seen as early as July and as late as yours though). With Aiden having a November birthday he wouldn't start till he was 5 almost 6. Holding him back another year would have him starting at 6, almost 7! BIG difference. Smile

Erin, Teagan's birthday is one of those gray areas that it depends on the district when they "should" start. For the longest 5 was typical, but I'm seeing more and more with 6 being typical. I think it really depends on the kid!

sweetsriracha's picture
Joined: 03/29/11
Posts: 1318

"alwayssmile" wrote:

I think it really depends on the kid!

I think you hit the nail on the head! BTW, I was homeschooled.

It will also depend on where we're living when we make that decision, and if we're able to afford Waldorf schools. If we end up going with a private Waldorf elementary, I likely won't redshirt. But if we're still living in a decent area of Portland and public-schooling, we will. I don't know what redshirting statistics in our area look like, but I'm confident that they're much higher than the national average of 20%. It seems like DS would have a disadvantage entering at 5 with so many other older kids!

Thanks for humoring me guys - I know this wasn't directly related to AP, but I'm glad to talk about it with like-minded Mamas!

cmljll's picture
Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 1409

I'll be homeschooling Ethan starting this fall. He'll turn 5 in July but he's nowhere near ready for K so I'll start with the Pre-k4 program. OTOH, I'm going to check into more details of the curriculum I'll be using to see how Gabriel would do with it (he'll be 3 in December). So there's a very slight possibility one will be a year ahead and the other a year behind (in the same grade) but I'm not holding my breath;)

Great to see you, Natalie:) The kids are so big!

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

"alwayssmile" wrote:

Erin, Teagan's birthday is one of those gray areas that it depends on the district when they "should" start. For the longest 5 was typical, but I'm seeing more and more with 6 being typical. I think it really depends on the kid!

Well, I'm definitely not starting her when she's 4. I don't care what my district says. I was one of the oldest in my class and it worked out well for me ;).

Joined: 05/05/04
Posts: 435

Hi Connie!! Yours are big and adorable Biggrin

I am a December birthday (NY then too) so I was 5-almost-6 and it worked well for me too. One person recently said it's the difference between an extra year of childhood or an extra year of working before you can retire. I guess putting it that way makes me even more a fan of keeping them home an extra year!

Sam's first grade class has something like 5 (almost 1/3) of the kids in the reading group that needs help, along with weekly notes home asking us to PLEASE practice math because it's complicated and most kids are struggling. Sam's in the highest reading group (4 kids in that) and understands the math. For her, I think that extra year really helped. It helps her feel confident too - the kids aren't stupid. They all know who needs help with reading and who is struggling with math. Being one of the kids who isn't struggling is good for her self-esteem. She knows she's smart (and to be fair, there are other older kids who are struggling, it's not just age, it's partly that Sam's really bright and she learned to read at 4.5 so of course she's going to be ahead of kids who were learning to read last year).

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

My SIL is an elementary school teacher and she says that she can almost always point out the summer babies who started when they were 4. Since I'm still counting my baby's age in months right now I can only imagine that an entire year will still make a huge difference in the 4-6 age range.

I think for some working parents its a matter of finances more than anything. Kindergarten is free and daycare can be expensive. Knocking out that huge payment can really help. We're fortunate in that we'll be able (hopefully) to afford daycare for an extra year. If all goes to plan we'll have #2 in daycare with DD. Sending them to the same place for another year will make our lives a lot less hectic. I'm not sure how my daycare would handle "red-shirting" because they have a Kindergarten now. I don't know if they have a room for 5 year olds. If all her friends are moving up to the Kindergarten class in the Fall she's turning 5 then perhaps it'll be less traumatic to bump her up to the Kindergarten class but then keep her back a year when she moves to another school?

Joined: 05/05/04
Posts: 435

That's a tough one. Right now Tom's in the new preschool class and most of these kids will move onto K in the fall. Our district does two years of K for kids who need it though, with a sort of pre-k all day thing, so some kids will move to that, then they will be in K the same year he is.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

As a teacher, I have to say I am a fan of keeping kids in their peer group. I have seen both kids too young and too old REALLY struggle. I taught Kindergarten for 5 years- and there was always some parent who thought their kid was so smart and so ready, and the school would give in to putting them ahead... and then centers time or some free time would roll around and you'd have this one younger kid wanting to play "puppies" (like pretending to be dogs) and all the other kids would shun them, because they thought the kid was being a baby. Similarly, I've had the one kid who was a full year older feel really lonely because all the kids are still playing puppies, and she wants to do something else, that no one else can even grasp.

As a teacher, I am definitely a fan of small class sizes so that the teacher is ABLE to provide each child with the appropriate level of learning whether they are a kindergartener at a pre-k or grade 2 level. It is easier, and much more fun for the kids, when they have other kids also at their level. Again, I had this one kid who was a year older than the others and she was MILES ahead of pretty much everyone else in reading, math, etc... and it was boring and lonely for her- group work was always too easy, and learning by herself was isolating and boring. Of course, you could still have a very smart kid that ends up alone at their skill level among their peers, but, I do think it's less likely to happen if kids are kept within their peer group.

School is about so much more than just learning... and so much of that has to do with being able to be able to relate to your peers. So, as a teacher, and as a parent, I would want to keep my kid with their peer group- to basically have my kid turning 6 the same school year everyone else is.

I myself am a summer birthday (June 12), so I only turned 6 right at the end of kindergarten...and I never had any issues, and ended up in advanced programs throughout all the older grades (well, I think starting in grade 3 and on through high school). But, I did still turn 6 the same school year everyone else did. If my kid were on the cusp, I would probably choose to have them be the older one in their grade, but, if my kid has a birthday that lands them pretty clearly in a specific year, that is where I would put them.

But, definitely, as always, a lot depends on the child. Hardly any rule can be made to fit all... but generally speaking, I'm a fan of keeping kids with their peers!

Joined: 05/05/04
Posts: 435

It's definitely not a cut & dry decision. Sam's one of the smartest kids in her class and I'm sure her age has something to do with it. There were quite a few kids in her class who'd been in the 2-year K program though, so at least one kid actually turned 7 a little over a month before Sam did, another girl turned 7 a week after her, etc.

I'm definitely a fan of the 2 year program. It helps make sure as many kids as possible are ready for first grade - academically, emotionally, etc. It also widens the age base of the kids a little. In theory, some kids turned 6 this fall while others were turning 7 (I don't actually know). That's good too though, because it increases the chance that someone is at the right level for you.

MrsRiggert's picture
Joined: 11/21/07
Posts: 2195

I just wanted to put my 2 cents in because we are still struggling with this decision. In Nebraska the cut off is July 31st (new law) my DD's birthday is August 1st. I'm a teacher at school where she'll be going so I sat and had a chat with the principal. We decided that in the fall she will start the Pre-K program (age 4) and at the end of the school year we'll sit with her teacher and para and make the decision as to whether or not she should "test into" kindergarten at age 5 (since she's a day off she'll have to test in) or wait until she is 6.

I agree with Mara 100% being too old or too young can have a negative impact, it depends on the classmates and maturity level of the child.

ETA: As for my boys, I'm all about red shirting them...in Nebraska it's a no brainer! The later they start school the bigger they are for high school/college football.

(BTW I'm so totally kidding! My boys won't have much choice really since one is a December baby and the other is an April baby)

CamelNoodle's picture
Joined: 07/28/04
Posts: 908

I see how much an advantage my first son has being the oldest in the grade, I'd consider it for late birthdays (just before the cut off). My nephew is 5m months older and 1 grade older, and he's struggling.

The cut off in our state is September 1st. He is an October birthday.

The advantage is great enough that if we have another child, we'd plan his birthday to be what advantageous for him for school, rather than a summer baby (which I prefer so I can have the summer off for maternity leave and then I am not pregnant in the summer).

We will consider "red-shirting" our June birthday boy, when the time comes. I think being ready for Kindergarten is very important. I can't see my May boy NOT being ready. But we'll see when the time comes.