Red-shirting?

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KaellyNicole's picture
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Red-shirting?

I know this is relatively far off for us, but it's been on my mind as of late because of my eldest, and I was curious if anyone else was thinking about or red-shirting their June Bugs?

For those who have NO idea what I'm talking about, it's willingly deciding to hold off on school by 1 year.

For us, my eldest is a September 7th baby. The majority of the cut-offs is September 1st so she won't make the cut-off anyway, and though there are places that will consider "testing in", I don't consider that an option for us. So, she'll be 5 turning 6 almost immediately her first year of Kindy.

If we kept Alice in her traditional school year, she would be exactly 1 year behind Sammie Lynn as a result. But, because she's June 2nd, she'll graduate high school at 17, drive an entire year later, date an entire year later, and in general, be an entire year behind her peers.

As a result, we have voluntarily red-shirting her. She will start school at age 6 and turn 7 the summer before 1st grade. I don't question her intelligence by any means, and even at almost 2 I could see her in preschool, but while I don't think maturity really matters in elementary school, I know it does come middle and high school. And, since school is nothing like it was when I was a kid, I'd rather her be older than younger---far less vulnerable that way.

So, yeah...anyhow, that's what we're doing. Instead of 2015, she'll start in 2016.

How about everyone else?

cactuswren's picture
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My birthday is July 12 and I started kindergarten at 5 and graduated at 17 (not redshirted)...I would say I was actually in the middle of the pack to my peers, age-wise, since the cutoff was the calendar year, not the school year. I definitely never felt young. This whole redshirting thing is a new concept to me--I was just reading about it last week--and judging by what I've seen of Addy's personality and aptitude so far, I'm fairly confident at this point that she'll go ahead and start in 2015.

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Alex, my oldest, is a September baby too. If our cut-off had put him as the youngest in his class we might have held him back. He would have needed the extra time to mature. Zac will be fine starting on time. He acts older than Alex usually. My boys are 8 months and 3 weeks apart in age. They'll be in the same class.

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This is something I will decide when it gets a little closer. I'm not ready to make the decision yet give that it is 3 years a way. My oldest's birthday is late October so he was automatically "red-shirted" and I'm glad for it. He was not ready yet. Like I said I'll assess it as it gets closer.

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DS1 is an October birthday, so he missed our state's cutoff (Sept 1st).
When I had DS1 in the winter, I hated it, being stuck inside, all the holiday preparations, etc. So I we deliberately tried for spring/summer babies for our next.

After DS1 started Kindergarten and was definitely more ready than his peers, I realized what an advantage it is. If I could go back in time I'd have fall/winter babies again instead of spring/summer.

DS1 missed half of K and 2 months of 1st grade due to his cancer treatment. He's still ahead of his peers, some of which still can't read (the younger to the grade ones mostly, but it does vary)

I have a May baby too, he's got one more year of preschool after this year. I would definitely consider holding him back if in another year I feel he's not ready for kindergarten. I would consider holding him back so he's more mature in the upper grades, but I think I'd have a hard time convincing DH of it.

cactuswren's picture
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Just a thought...I wonder if redshirting tends to be more common/beneficial with boys, since girls tend to mature faster, on average? (And that only seems to be increasing lately. My coworker's daughter just got her period and she is only 9! :shock:)

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I know traditionally they say boys are less ready for school than girls. The period at 9 thing is blamed on hormones in milk a lot. I know that we avoid soy for our boys because soy mimics estrogen. Who know, it seems to get earlier and earlier for AF for each generation.

KaellyNicole's picture
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Leigh, I hear it's better for boys than girl's all the time, but I disagree. I think it makes girls more vulnerable, which is exactly what I saw in my own HS. The younger girls using their bodies for attention, and though I have absolutely NO intention in raising my girl's to be anything like those girls the fact is we're military, we move often, my husband may or may not be around all the time, and how they'll handle military life is anyone's guess. Thankfully, our oldest should be about 16 when we retire, and I think them being older can only work to their advantage. If they get bored in HS, like I did, I'll put them in college early, like I did.

As for the period at 9, that's blamed on hormones more than anything and reason 105 why I do not give my children traditional milk.

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Well phew, not only do we not drink traditional milk, Addy's intolerant anyway.

I guess I had a different experience since the younger girls in my school were some of the most confident/smart (and I went to a large public high school, although in a smallish university town)...I think it probably is really more an individual readiness issue than anything. Babies don't all mature at the same rate; why should we assume older kids would either? I'll evaluate when she's four to make a final decision, but since she'll be a good couple of months ahead of the cutoff (not the youngest) and seems to be either right on target or ahead in pretty much every category at this point, if you ask today, I'm assuming she'll be ready.

KaellyNicole's picture
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Yeah, for me, the biggest thing is schools today are nothing like they were when I was in school. I graduated 8 years ago and I couldn't recognize what's happened to our schools, I shutter to think about what they'll look like 20 years from now. And, I really don't know anyone who has red-shirted it and then went on to regret it...I always hear the opposite spectrum. From a maturity, intelligence level today---I think Alice could handle a 3 year old Preschool Program at 21 months without an issue, and I don't even think of elementary school as an issue---but, what I won't know is how she'll handle middle and high school, that could go either way. So I think of red-shirting as upping the odds, and she won't be graduating at 17.

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It's true, schools are terrifyingly different than what we experienced. I feel REALLY fortunate that I live in a place with A LOT of choices, most of which are not great but a few that are (especially in the upper levels...it's actually elementary I'm having the hardest time figuring out) but it's still very different. The most rigorous school in our city (consistently in the top 10 charters in the country) is only a little bit more rigorous than my 1500+ public high school was 15 years ago. Scary.

That said, I did think of one other issue--and of course I'm not trying to convince you of anything; I know you can and will do whatever seems right to you for your girls! But it seems to me (given appropriate individual maturity) that once you enter the system, grade level matters a lot more in terms of perceived age to your peers than actual calendar age does (at least until you get to legal milestones like driving). Meaning, for example, that a sophomore is a lot more likely to hang out with a freshman than an eighth grader, even if their birthdates are actually only a little over a year apart. In my case, this matters to me because if Adair goes to school in 2015, she'll only be one grade behind her cousin Charlotte, and it's really important to me to give them as much chance as possible to be close, since Addy is not likely to get any siblings. Of course with family members, you're going to have to hang out anyway, but the older child's FRIENDS are more likely to accept an only slightly younger sibling/cousin than one two grades below. It seemed relevant to me in your case because if you are going to be moving around a lot through your girls' childhood and preteen/early teen years, it might be easier for them to stick together socially if they're only one year apart in school vs. two. Especially since Alice is mature, intelligent, tall, etc. and doesn't seem to need redshirting for any particular individual reason.

Anyway, just a thought! School is such a complicated issue. I can't believe the headaches I've been having over it already, and they're not even 2 Sad

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"KaellyNicole" wrote:

Yeah, for me, the biggest thing is schools today are nothing like they were when I was in school. I graduated 8 years ago and I couldn't recognize what's happened to our schools, I shutter to think about what they'll look like 20 years from now. And, I really don't know anyone who has red-shirted it and then went on to regret it...I always hear the opposite spectrum. From a maturity, intelligence level today---I think Alice could handle a 3 year old Preschool Program at 21 months without an issue, and I don't even think of elementary school as an issue---but, what I won't know is how she'll handle middle and high school, that could go either way. So I think of red-shirting as upping the odds, and she won't be graduating at 17.

I completely agree!!! America is so desperate to "catch-up" with foreign countries that they have ruined our educational system. More, more, more in a shorter time period is the motto in public school!

DS was an Oct baby so he missed the cut-off and I am glad. DH and I just decided to red-shirt DD1 who will turn 5 in May. We think it will be better for her emotionally, as she is shy. DH was an April baby and wished his mom would have held him back. Everybody I have talked to who has red-shirted does not regret it. I do know some that wished they would have though. As far as Morgan goes, we will wait and see. I feel as though we will probably hold her too.

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An interesting article reporting on some studies done on this: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/26/the-redshirting-debate-continues/

I have to say that this does resonate with my experience. The oldest kids in my class definitely seemed to be the more insecure drifters, and the youngest were the high achievers. I think being younger CAN be motivating. Depending on the individual child and circumstances, of course!

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I'll see if I can find the link from my other forum (children's clothing, go figure), but a Canada mom posted an article about research recently done that showed younger kids tended to be labeled and medicated for ADHD moreso than their older peers, and I could see that being pushed A LOT in school. Sammie Lynn would definitely fall in line with that if I pushed to start her the year she turned 5.

As for the sister's being a year apart, I think that enables a double-edged sword and could also provoke a lot of sibling rivalry. My sister's boys are 1 year apart, a little closer than my girl's, and my sister had to fight (though she works in this school) for the kids to have different teachers because all she heard from her second's Kindy teacher, who happened to also have my eldest nephew, was "Oh, Logan could do...blah blah," so I also foresee that as an issue. And, they are 2 years apart, they should be 2 years apart in school. My brother was 2 years behind me, and I liked it---I would have felt crowned with only a year apart.

I think for Alice a lot could come down to personality, though. Yes, she's mature, intelligent, looks like a freaking 3 year old, but on a social level she hates people. Unlike Sammie who would let a stranger take her home, Alice will just glare at you until you stop talking to her. She's great once she knows you, but it's that transition that I think will hurt her a lot if it's not something she outgrows.

I'm a Jan baby, so I was always in the middle of my peers, but at the top of my class, my HS diploma and AA degree are dated 6 months apart, I was always on the mature side, and I think I saw a lot of the opposite than you saw, Leigh. The older kids tended to be the ones in dual enrollment, were taking the AP classes, while the youngers were using their bodies for attention, didn't care about classes...etc. Of course, I graduated in a class of over 500 and started with over 1000 in 9th grade. Most of the drop-outs were the younger friends I had.

Anyhow, I don't think there is any perfect answer, but I see holding back as a benefit unmatched to starting early which I think is a gamble.

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I definitely agree with you that there are pros and cons to both approaches--I think it really, really depends on individual kids, circumstances, etc. You'll be moving around and don't know ahead of time what schools you'll be dealing with. That's a lot different from someone like me who isn't going anywhere and so has all the time in the world to do my research and choose the right placement for Addy's aptitudes and interests (also the inside scoop, since DH is a teacher and we have one million teacher friends and relatives in the schools here who can really tell us what's what.) Good point about the rivalry factor with closer sibs, too...again, depends so much on the individuals!

Addy is already in "preschool" (they are NAEYC certified and have a curriculum, although at this age of course most of the learning is through play) and is doing extremely well--she learns ridiculously fast, has a mind like a steel trap, and is very social. Being one of the most verbal kids in her class, she also gravitates toward the older kids, since the younger ones aren't as interactive yet. I just can't see holding her back from continuing on with her peers right on track at this point, unless of course something changes between now and then. We shall see!

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It is definitely an individual decision based on the child. Some younger children will do extremely well while others will struggle. Morgan is very bright and I have no doubt that she will be academically ready. However, we will still consider holding her based on her emotional development because she would be one of the young ones. We are taking a wait and see approach. What I hold firm on is that it is better to hold back a year before they enter the school system. I know a mom who sent her child to kindergarden with the knowledge that she would probably have to repeat it. That would be much harder on the child!

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I thought I heard its not only the milk, but the meats we get with all the hormones in them too?

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In Canada the cut off is calendar year, so Aidan barely made it in. (dec 31st birthday) I really considered holding him back, but he really demonstrated that he was ready. He had a hard time adjusting to routines when he began (since he wasn't in preschool or day care) but he's doing awesome. I could understand why parents would want to wait, though. He did hate being the only 4 year old for a while.

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Elizabeth: My BFF from middle/high school was a Dec 30 baby (in a calendar year school system), and she turned out just fine Biggrin

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I always here them harp on milk moreso than meat, but they could both equally cause the issues.

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This is an interesting topic, though not really one I have to think about. If DS joins our local kindergarden he will be exactly in the middle of the peer group anyway (the cutoff is 31st Dec here). But honestly, once you're talking about High School, surely individual personality, parental or other support, and environment at home is going to be far more influential on a young learner than a few months difference in age? I think doing what's best for them in the moment is more important, so I'd prefer to go more by my instincts and their preference - as these babies will have their own opinion on this by then! I'd do whatever made a child happier at age 5,6 or 7.

More of an issue for us is whether we should home school or part-time home school at any point. We'll probably end up giving the primary a chance, as it does seem like a happy school, but be ready to take him home if it doesn't work out, or maybe do a 3 or 4 day week if we can get this approved.