redshirting: an update

We made the decision to redshirt Ethan, which essentially means hold him back a year. While the rest of his similarly aged peers have begun Kindergarten this year, Ethan is in Pre-K. Because of his summer birthday, holding him back a year will make him one of the oldest in the class instead of one of the youngest. This was not a choice we made for any academic interest, but simply because we feel like true enrichment is still happening at home. I don't feel modern day Kindergarten is biologically appropriate for a young five year old and I just wanted to tack on some extra time to his carefree childhood.

So how's it working out?

Pretty spectacular, actually.

Last year, Ethan wasn't ready for school. He was working through attachment and coming into his personality on his own time. I'm a firm believer in following the child, and I didn't feel like school should be any different. This year, Ethan is ready for school. While we hit a little road block after pulling him out of a preschool that wasn't a good fit and then getting snagged on a waitlist until January, Ethan cannot wait to start preschool again after the holidays. Seeing him ready and excited instead of apprehensive and unsure has really eased a lot of stress that I've been prematurely carrying around for years. It has also helped me to feel pretty confident that he will be ready and excited for Kindergarten next year, which is the best thing I could ask for.

Ethan is reading, writing and thirsty for knowledge. I try to follow his lead by balancing fun outings (the park, the museum, the zoo, etc.) with structured homeschool activities in the theme he's interested in at the moment. However, knowing he's academically ahead of where he should be leaves me with more wiggle room to plan more fun stuff. Or not plan anything at all. Hours of backyard play? Baking and cooking and painting and coloring all morning? Of course. There's nowhere else to be!

There is a huge noticeable con, however, and that is the fact that all of his friends are in school. The kids he's spent the past few years playing with are mostly all gone Monday through Friday. For Ethan, that has been the hardest adjustment in the sense he's trying to understand why his playmates have suddenly all disappeared into thin air. Making new friends at the park is tricky when they're all three or younger and he's the only five year old who isn't in school at the moment. This has forced our mornings to slow down a little bit.

I've enrolled Ethan in extracurricular activities of his choice every afternoon, which he is ecstatic about. It sort of takes the bite of all of the children his age being in school away and helps him feel like part of a group or a class. He takes engineering, art, yoga, gym and music and it's been amazing for me, as his mom, to see his independence blossom. He is fascinated with his classes, his classmates and getting that time to be around other children in a group setting.

People ask a lot how it's going at this point and I really have no regrets. Actually, I'm so happy that we made the decision to redshirt. While it totally stinks that Ethan is now in Pre-K limbo until January when his spot opens up at his new school, I'm excited that his entrance into school is age appropriate and on his own terms. Beginning school again is something he's excited for, which makes all of the difference to me. We'll see how our journey goes the further we delve into school but as for right now, we're just taking it day by day.

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  1. I am always curious about redshirting. In NY where we come from, all the kids born in that year go to kindergarten at the same time. So my daughter born on Dec 28, 2010, would go to Kindergarten in 2015 with all kids born Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2010. She was prepared to go in 2015, and we abruptly moved to IN where the cut off was July 31, 2010 for 2015. She was held back because NOWHERE would take her. She started public K in 2016, but is bored beyond her mind. We are in the best school district in IN, and top 100 in the country, so it's pretty good. She was in Montessori from 2.5 up until K, part time, and we didn't "teach" her things. Montessori would develop her as the need be. Home life was more art, games, play and lots of gross motor stuff. Now, in public school, her teacher told me she's always asking what's next, and just wanting to move on. This semester they put her into the gifted and talented program, but it's still not challenging. I don't want her to become overconfident feeling that she knows everything because that's what's happening, and I don't want her to zone out because everything is easy. So for me, I would have preferred if she was younger as she's socially developed, and I want her to be challenged. My middle daughter is a Nov baby and baby daughter is an Oct baby, so they will be redshirted unless we move back. Nov girl is advanced in her Montessori room, and very social because she feeds off of her older sister. Have you guys made plans for Kindergarten (public/ private?)

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