Kate's end of school year {and thoughts on repeating kindergarten}

Monday, July 1, 2013
I know I am late in posting this but I wanted to post a little bit about Kate's last day of kindergarten and reflect on having her do an encore presentation of kindergarten as I know so many parents out there struggle with this decision.

Let me start with the celebrations first.  They had a fun splash day the last week of school which Kate really enjoyed.  It was HOT though.  Almost too hot for a splash day even:)

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I went to the splash day for a little while but had to leave to go to work.  Plus, I was melting:)

Also the last week of school was an awards ceremony.  Kate had perfect attendance for the second year in a row!  And while I know that is not an academic achievement, none of the other peanuts has ever had perfect attendance. And honestly I never would have thought Kate would either.  She was the SICKEST little pre-schooler.  She had strep, ear infections and even mono constantly until we had her tonsils and adenoids removed.  BEST DECISION ever!!!

Kate also was given the Art Achievement award for her class from the Art teacher.  I was really proud of her.  She loves art and she won two art contests at school this year (Spooky Spaghetti and Fundraiser Bash).

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{Iphone shots}

Kate and her sweet and wonderful teacher:)


A few last day of school photos of Kate and Harry....

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Okay now onto my thoughts about repeating kindergarten...

Two of my 3 peanuts are summer birthdays. And 2 of my 3 peanuts are what I would call "late bloomers."  They are very smart peanuts but the lightbulb for reading and some other things (sitting really still or paying attention or doing multi step tasks or writing 5-7 sentences in their daily journal) just took longer.  Last year a lot of things went right over Kate's cute little head both academically and even more socially.  She was on track to go to first grade academically according to her teacher and the school but as I observed her in the class, I could tell she was just not fully absorbing all that was being presented.

Also, she was bullied a bit last year and I worked really hard on trying to teach her to stand up for herself and to be strong and confident.  Kate was one of the youngest in her class and she was not a leader. Our school is quite challenging.  I did not want to see Kate struggle year after year and see her confidence crumble.

This year, Kate was a leader.  She was not bullied once.  By the end of the year, Kate was at the top of her class in everything (even reading and she has dyslexia).  She is strong and she is confident.  The other kids looked up to Kate.  And most importantly, we saw the lightbulb switch on.  Kate really absorbed all that she was taught.  She came home and taught us things. She had the attention span and the maturity required of the classroom.

I would say that without one shred of doubt, this was a fabulous decision.  Kate bloomed.  I am sure she would have bloomed either way but I think we gave her better soil for blooming by having her do another year of kindergarten.  There might have been a small touch of social stigma for about the first 2-3 days of school but then that was gone completely. All of her sweet friends from last year's class still include her in playdates and birthday parties so she actually doubled her social circle at school.

Last November, a classroom mom pulled me aside and asked me why I held Kate back.  She said, "Kate is so smart and she is such a leader.  All the girls want to be her friend and they look up to her.  She is a fabulous reader and good at art and sports.  I just don't understand why you held her back?"  

In all honesty I was a bit taken aback because the way I was asked was kind of accusatory.  But I just smiled kindly and said..."THOSE are exactly the reasons I held her back. She was not those things last year.  She was a follower and she was struggling to keep up academically and socially.  She needed an extra year to get there. So, if you perceive her that way, I know we made the right decison"

Kate's teacher summed it up too. She knew Kate last year and she witnessed how timid and naive she was.  She said, "this year Kate found her voice."  And she did.



24 comments:

  1. So proud of Kate. We love her... three things: 1.) just left you a vm. 2.)what are yall doing on the 4th? 3.) where did you get Kate's b-day jammies and your blue and white shirt dress? I know that's technically 4, but whatever. Love ya and I have my phone on me. Like I said I'm "On Call" for a delivery so I may be out of pocket in the delivery room, but I promise to call back!!!

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  2. AND PS... Will is officially a Hottie... Hoot even said so... Ha Ha Ha!!

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  3. Good for you (and Kate!) Thanks for explaining so eloquently your decision.

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  4. As a former Kindie teacher (and soon to be there again!) your words brought tears to my eyes!! You are such a smart mom.

    Kate bloomed!!

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  5. What a great post. My son was a late bloomer and I still kick myself for not holding him back in kindergarten. He is fine now but it was a rough and rocky road. I think it's great that you were confidant enough in your own skills and as a mother to go with your gut feeling for what was best for you daughter.

    PS: on a much more shallow note, I just adore Kate's swimsuit!

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  6. What a great post. My son was a late bloomer and I still kick myself for not holding him back in kindergarten. He is fine now but it was a rough and rocky road. I think it's great that you were confidant enough in your own skills and as a mother to go with your gut feeling for what was best for you daughter.

    PS: on a much more shallow note, I just adore Kate's swimsuit!

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  7. This post makes me so happy! I'm thrilled that Kate did so well this year!! What a little cutie she is!

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  8. Yay, Kate. That is wonderful news.

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  9. Way to go, Kate! I wish we would have held Kamree back too since she is very young for her age! Although she did blossom this year moving ahead, the first semester was rough! I should have gone with my mommy instincts instead of listening to her teacher who said she was ready!

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  10. AWESOME update!!!!! So happy for Kate!!! What great momentum she has going in to First Grade!!!!!

    Hugs,
    Di

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  11. GREAT DECISION!! Kate is going to be a FABULOUS 1st grader!!!

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  12. This made me cry. I am so happy for Kate, and for you, Kim! I have a little niece who was adopted from India, and she has had a struggle finding her voice too. My brother and sister in law have decided to have her repeat Kindergarten, and I am so happy to read this! I still read you blog faithfully, but haven't commented for quite awhile. My life has just been so crazy for a time. All the best to you and your family!

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  13. So happy to hear this report and that the encore was just what she needed! I always say, if I don't advocate for my children, who will? Good for you and Dave and congrats to sweet Kate!

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  14. Great to see Kate doing so well! May I ask if she received any specific interventions for her dyslexia? Our daughter also has dyslexia. She just completed an intensive, one-on-one, 30 hour program with a trained facilitator through the Davis program and it is working very well for her. I am continuing to work with her at home. It was great for me to hear how bright our daughter is. It is amazing to realize that many people with dyslexia are actually quite bright, or even gifted, as it appears your Kate is! We are looking at dyslexia as a learning difference (or just a different way of learning), not a learning disability.
    Happy 4th!
    Debi

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  15. What an awesome update on Miss Kate! I wish I would have held Sophie back in K... she is now heading into 3rd grade very behind, socially shy and this past year, she was bullied in her class. Her self confidence is pretty low. Her school won't let me hold her back until next year, if at all... I am struggling with the right decision. Reading this about Kate makes me smile! So happy you did what you did and gave her an amazing gift!!

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    1. I would SO fight the school on this one Sarah. They were a tad hesitant to let me keep Kate back as she met academic benchmarks. But I carefully laid out all my reasons in a meeting with the principal and she agreed. But ultimately I think it is a parent's decision. Also the older a child is when they are held back, the bigger the stigma!

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  16. That is great news that the second year was such a good decision for Kate! We had our daughter do a second year of kindergarten also - (July 15 b-day) it was a tough decision because she's so precocious :) It has been a great decision for Tia also - her teachers have been telling me they think she's bright - which had never crossed my mind because of how slow she has been to learn to read! I definitely encourage a second year of K if there is any question at all!!

    xo ellie

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  17. I have enjoyed reading your posts and seeing the photos of your precious family! As a 4th grade teacher, I applaud your decision to repeat K. I am so glad Kate had another year to blossom to her potential. I also agree with your comment above--the teacher can suggest what he/she thinks is best, but the final decision should be made by the parent. I hope you and your family have a wonderful summer!

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  18. Hooray for Kate! Happy I read this today. We held my son back (he starts K this fall)mostly for confidence reasons and this is reassuring:)

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  19. I love your honesty, always have. You often say things that others don't. At the end of the day you made the right descision for your little one, and oh how lucky she is!

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  20. I love this! So fantastic!!

    I've seen friends get into arguments over this issue- to hold them back or not. I obviously don't have kids but my take is that it makes more sense to repeat pre-K or K than it does say fifth grade, when social stigma could really tear you down.

    Congratulations to your confident little first grader!

    KK

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  21. Arghh! I don't often comment, but these comments have me all fired up! I h*te the phrase "held her back" . You did not hold her back, in fact you did quite the opposite, you gave her the gift of more time. You are such a good parent, you did not let fear of what others thought or pride keep you from doing what you knew was best for your child. You gave your child such a gift, all the years of school with less struggling and more self confidence which is even more valuable in middle and high school.
    As a teacher, I saw too many children struggle and fail because their parents were too worried about other people's opinions to give their children more time. It broke my heart.
    When it was time to send my late summer birthday twins (adopted from China) to school, I did not think twice about waiting. I'm so glad I did. I will continue to see the benefits as academics AND social skills become more difficult.
    Love your blog and The Nurtured Home. I look forward to reading both and always come away better for it.
    Susan in FL

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  22. I am so happy for Kate!!

    Girls can be so competitive. My daughter has experienced a bit of dealing with critical comments from friends who are trying to 'one-up' everyone. I think my girl has been pretty graceful at dealing with it; however, as a 'mama bear,' we are working full steam ahead on confidence!

    Again, go Kate!

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Thank you for your kindness.