Wondering if DS is advanced for his age (X-post on DE board)

Wondering if DS is advanced for his age (X-post on DE board)

Joined: March 8th, 2008, 12:39 am

November 21st, 2011, 3:37 am #1

I know there are a lot of moms here with older children, and I'm starting to grapple with the idea of sending my DS to Kindergarten next year when he is 4 (he is eligible since he will turn 5 prior to our cutoff date) or wait another year, but that will be a topic for a whole other post. In the meantime, my DS turns 4 next week and we were talking shopping lists today, so I dictated the letters to him and he printed this list, and I'm wondering if this seems advanced for a 4 yo to be able to print these letters like this?



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Joined: February 16th, 2006, 1:10 am

November 21st, 2011, 4:37 am #2

At least compared to all 3 of my boys anyway. I know now that my boys are behind in verbal skills, writing, maturity and social skills. They are ahead in coordination, fine motor skills, size and I think sensitivity. They seem to understand feelings and empathize a lot more than other children their age. I don't know why, but all three have followed this same path. So, I think it is probably as much genetic as it is the way we parent (can parent be a verb, LOL?)

Anyway, my point to all this ... none of my children could dictate letters into words at that age and my 6/almost 7 still has trouble with this. My 4/almost 5 can't do it at all. My just turned 3 son can identify letters, but not write anything at all. He is barely forming understandable words. Again, they are behind, but since I've spent almost 7 years comparing my sons to as many children as I could, your son seems ahead to me.

However, I would caution you that there are many ways to develop his advanced skills without starting K early. If you home with him, you could use home schooling materials to teach him yourself. My 6yo is repeating K this year. We did a cyber school last year for K and the only way we could get him into a magnet school was to repeat K. It is the best thing that could have happened to him. The main reason, though, is not that he gets a chance to get in-line/ahead in literacy, but more, because this situation is better for him socially. His confidence and experience is so positive this year. I believe if he got the 1st spot, he would have suffered socially because he is more in line with K kids in his maturity.

So, my advice would be to consider how he would do in a class where kids may be 2 years older than he is. My son's class has 4 children that will be 7 before June. There are only a couple of kids that turned 5 in the summer and they are having a very hard time (cut-off is 9/1 here). He has to be able to closely follow directions, sit in a chair for a few hours a day (if it is full K anyway), handle the potty on his own, serve himself lunch, etc. I'm sure my son could have done that last year, too, but he would have had such a hard time... and he would have been 5 1/2. Your son may be totally ready, but be sure to consider the whole experience and not just his literacy level. With all this said, it depends on your individual K, too. If it is more traditional K--- half-day/play-based, that could be great for him. Here, though, there is some pressure. Also, if it is a public K and you are currently paying for preK, you might consider sending him and then having him repeat it if he is not ready for 1st.


Hope this helps!!!






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Joined: December 2nd, 2005, 3:49 pm

November 21st, 2011, 8:33 am #3

I know there are a lot of moms here with older children, and I'm starting to grapple with the idea of sending my DS to Kindergarten next year when he is 4 (he is eligible since he will turn 5 prior to our cutoff date) or wait another year, but that will be a topic for a whole other post. In the meantime, my DS turns 4 next week and we were talking shopping lists today, so I dictated the letters to him and he printed this list, and I'm wondering if this seems advanced for a 4 yo to be able to print these letters like this?



My DD will be 5 in Jan. and her teacher describes her as a "smart cookie". She definitely would have been ready academically for kindergarten this past Sept. She creates "patterns" with everything, has somehow taught herself addition facts, prints all of her letters beautifully, knows all the sounds to the letters of the alphabet and is sounding out words and spelling everything, etc. Tonight she counted to 100; I didn't even know she could do that. Her vocab has always been ahead of schedule. I'm a learning specialist and she has long been able to do what many kids taking our kindergarten entrance exam at a private school could not do. HOWEVER...even though she is very social and very smart, I don't think she would have been ready emotionally for kinder. It's just a big step for a little child and my particular child has enough anxiety and challenge with transitions (at home, not at school) that I think that her entering at 5.8 will be much better for her. Not that we had a choice, but...It's hard when your child has a cut-off birthday to decide what is best, but I think it's really important to consider emotional maturity and overall "readiness". There are lots of enriching activities you can do with him at home (my DH initiates things like mazes, fairly difficult card games, etc. and can even come close to beating DH at backgammon) to keep him stimulated even if you postpone kindergarten a bit.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 21st, 2011, 1:12 pm #4

I know there are a lot of moms here with older children, and I'm starting to grapple with the idea of sending my DS to Kindergarten next year when he is 4 (he is eligible since he will turn 5 prior to our cutoff date) or wait another year, but that will be a topic for a whole other post. In the meantime, my DS turns 4 next week and we were talking shopping lists today, so I dictated the letters to him and he printed this list, and I'm wondering if this seems advanced for a 4 yo to be able to print these letters like this?



We discuss this a lot here -- not just the bright 3yo, but whether even an average child is ready for K. Minna has written some great posts if you want to search for them. Her dm has taught K for 35+ years. The short story is that you can supplement and tutor for academic giftedness, but you can't supplement/tutor for social skills or deficits. In other words, if your ds is not as mature as the 4k kids, it's probably not a good idea. They will be more savvy about how to manipulate him, or they might exclude him during playtime. When he's 5+, assuming the maturity difference persists, you'll see bullying. For instance, the classroom will have a behavior warning system, like a system of colored clips, and the more mature kids will know how to "play" ds and make him get himself in trouble. The older kids will probably be bigger, too.

Not knowing your ds, I wouldn't presume to tell you what he needs, but I do think you need to proceed very carefully and consider more than just academic skill, esp. if he is likely to be in K all day.

Also consider any community trends re: red-shirting. If it's popular in your community, your 4yo could be with kids up to 5y11mo, and if you don't hold him back later, he'll always be with kids up to 2 years older. That's a really big difference in maturity. You'll see a big difference now, and again in the teen years, when the older kids are ready to drive, date, or experiment with substances.

Have you read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers? You should. It's a fast, easy read. He's a good writer. He writes about how much age and maturity affects kids' academic, athletic and social performance. He's in favor of enrolling kids on a quarterly basis, instead of yearly, so that summer babies aren't competing with winter babies, who are bigger and more mature.

GL!




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 50, dh 50
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
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Joined: June 20th, 2006, 2:07 am

November 21st, 2011, 4:02 pm #5

I know there are a lot of moms here with older children, and I'm starting to grapple with the idea of sending my DS to Kindergarten next year when he is 4 (he is eligible since he will turn 5 prior to our cutoff date) or wait another year, but that will be a topic for a whole other post. In the meantime, my DS turns 4 next week and we were talking shopping lists today, so I dictated the letters to him and he printed this list, and I'm wondering if this seems advanced for a 4 yo to be able to print these letters like this?



I'd have to test my DD who turned 4 in October to compare.

Here in my city (province, actually), kids start school (JrK) if the are 4 before December 31st. They are taught the alphabet, (sort of) expect them to be able to write their names at at the very least recognize their names. Count to 10. Know their shapes and colours too. (which should be known by age 3 but some do it at their own pace, ya know??)
This is leading up to Christmas, I think they go higher in counting after Christmas.

I think it's wonderful that he knows his letters that well, really good Unless he can read too, then I'd say it's a wee bit early to claim genius but worth watching. In our school system they test for gifted in grades 3+ because some lag and some jump ahead but seem to equal out around age 7/8/9. Sometimes it's so obvious it's freaky. There's a little guy in my DS's age group in the English stream that has been tested and yes he's gifted but not in every subject so for instance, French Immersion wasn't for him. My mother tongue is French and I feel that French Immersion is not for everyone, that some are more linguistically inclined and some simply are not and has no relevance on intelligence. But i digress.

Keep up having him help you with the grocery list--the teachers at school have suggested this exercise for us JrK parents. That the kids can recognize everyday words they are likely to see (parents were to send in everyday labels like Ketchup labels,cereals, other often seen words) My DS's teacher had them reading and bringing home early-reader-books. My son was 4.5yrs in JrK (birthday in April)

I remember back in our day (insert crackely voice and hunched up back) we were taught to read in grade 1! At age 6. I guess the educators clued in that kids nowadays can learn this stuff and not get all stressed out either.

one side note, in case you didn't know this: when writing his name --which he's doing, right? If he knows his letters. he may write them out of sequence and that is ok, he may write them backwards, that is ok too. very normal and not an indication of anything at all. They are still learning that words are read left to right and that yes, all the letters are there but someone else needs to read them too so they have to go in order. I used to tell my DS that it's like a spy code but he really grooved on spies back then; I still use this analogy with him learning French and how complicated it is (never mind English and it's double, illogically placed, consonants and odd silent letters grouped together--French is worse)

Is that a little number 10 in the last E of cheese? Does he groove on numbers? (DD is always pointing out how her spoon and bowl make a 10, she's grooving on numbers, it's fun to see)


Julie



me:42, DH 43
FSH 26
DS: born by c-sec Apr15'03, 9lbs5oz 41wks gest. (after 4 years of ttc, starting in 1998)
DD born by c-sec Oct 13 2007, 8lbs13oz 39wk gest. (after just under 3 years of ttc)
~~DS was conceived naturally the cycle following a cancelled DE IVF, using my good friend's eggs. She was on the verge of hyperstimming.
~~DD's nat conception I attribute to using OPKs like a crazy nut, eating grapefruit daily and using preseed. also 5 cycles of TCM ending 2 cycles before that lucky cycle.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 21st, 2011, 7:21 pm #6

We discuss this a lot here -- not just the bright 3yo, but whether even an average child is ready for K. Minna has written some great posts if you want to search for them. Her dm has taught K for 35+ years. The short story is that you can supplement and tutor for academic giftedness, but you can't supplement/tutor for social skills or deficits. In other words, if your ds is not as mature as the 4k kids, it's probably not a good idea. They will be more savvy about how to manipulate him, or they might exclude him during playtime. When he's 5+, assuming the maturity difference persists, you'll see bullying. For instance, the classroom will have a behavior warning system, like a system of colored clips, and the more mature kids will know how to "play" ds and make him get himself in trouble. The older kids will probably be bigger, too.

Not knowing your ds, I wouldn't presume to tell you what he needs, but I do think you need to proceed very carefully and consider more than just academic skill, esp. if he is likely to be in K all day.

Also consider any community trends re: red-shirting. If it's popular in your community, your 4yo could be with kids up to 5y11mo, and if you don't hold him back later, he'll always be with kids up to 2 years older. That's a really big difference in maturity. You'll see a big difference now, and again in the teen years, when the older kids are ready to drive, date, or experiment with substances.

Have you read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers? You should. It's a fast, easy read. He's a good writer. He writes about how much age and maturity affects kids' academic, athletic and social performance. He's in favor of enrolling kids on a quarterly basis, instead of yearly, so that summer babies aren't competing with winter babies, who are bigger and more mature.

GL!




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 50, dh 50
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
If you put a very young child in with older children, even though bright, there's a good chance your child will perform closer to the bottom than the top of the class, and that's a confidence-killer.

Your child also might later meet up with a teacher who is no fun. A younger child probably can't handle Mr. or Ms. Killjoy as well as a more mature child. For instance: my ds, who is as much as 11 months younger than most of his classmates, tested into advanced math (96th percentile or something like that). But this year, he got Ms. Killjoy. He recognized trouble the very first week. We've taken him out of advanced math b/c we'd rather not discourage and burn him out in 4th grade. He is on the young side of all his peers, and this has shown in his immaturity and social/developmental delays every year since 5k.




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 50, dh 50
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
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Joined: March 8th, 2008, 12:39 am

November 21st, 2011, 8:42 pm #7

At least compared to all 3 of my boys anyway. I know now that my boys are behind in verbal skills, writing, maturity and social skills. They are ahead in coordination, fine motor skills, size and I think sensitivity. They seem to understand feelings and empathize a lot more than other children their age. I don't know why, but all three have followed this same path. So, I think it is probably as much genetic as it is the way we parent (can parent be a verb, LOL?)

Anyway, my point to all this ... none of my children could dictate letters into words at that age and my 6/almost 7 still has trouble with this. My 4/almost 5 can't do it at all. My just turned 3 son can identify letters, but not write anything at all. He is barely forming understandable words. Again, they are behind, but since I've spent almost 7 years comparing my sons to as many children as I could, your son seems ahead to me.

However, I would caution you that there are many ways to develop his advanced skills without starting K early. If you home with him, you could use home schooling materials to teach him yourself. My 6yo is repeating K this year. We did a cyber school last year for K and the only way we could get him into a magnet school was to repeat K. It is the best thing that could have happened to him. The main reason, though, is not that he gets a chance to get in-line/ahead in literacy, but more, because this situation is better for him socially. His confidence and experience is so positive this year. I believe if he got the 1st spot, he would have suffered socially because he is more in line with K kids in his maturity.

So, my advice would be to consider how he would do in a class where kids may be 2 years older than he is. My son's class has 4 children that will be 7 before June. There are only a couple of kids that turned 5 in the summer and they are having a very hard time (cut-off is 9/1 here). He has to be able to closely follow directions, sit in a chair for a few hours a day (if it is full K anyway), handle the potty on his own, serve himself lunch, etc. I'm sure my son could have done that last year, too, but he would have had such a hard time... and he would have been 5 1/2. Your son may be totally ready, but be sure to consider the whole experience and not just his literacy level. With all this said, it depends on your individual K, too. If it is more traditional K--- half-day/play-based, that could be great for him. Here, though, there is some pressure. Also, if it is a public K and you are currently paying for preK, you might consider sending him and then having him repeat it if he is not ready for 1st.


Hope this helps!!!





It helped tremendously! My DS is in daycare as I work fulltime and yes, it is very difficult to NOT compare my DS to others in his classroom. The letter writing did seem kind of advanced to me, but I just wasn't sure. I have been well aware that there are so many other things to consider before sending DS to K at 4 years old, and I had been intending to hold him back until he was 5 (like almost everyone here agrees), but his DAYCARE is the one who is telling me that he would be bored, etc, and they are fully indending that he will "graduate" this August. He is definitely not as mature as some of his daycare classmates (who missed the cutoff and will turn 5 soon after my DS turns 4 next week). I like the backup idea of repreating K if I do send him to K next year, it's a nice option to have in my back pocket. I had firmly decided NOT to make a decision until I absolutely have to, which won't be until what, April/May of next year? I just sort of wanted some validation that his printing letters/words was sorta advanced, I thought it was. I will search for some of the older posts on the holding back issue as someone below mentioned.

Thanks so much for your lengthy reply!

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Joined: February 20th, 2006, 11:35 pm

November 21st, 2011, 8:42 pm #8

I know there are a lot of moms here with older children, and I'm starting to grapple with the idea of sending my DS to Kindergarten next year when he is 4 (he is eligible since he will turn 5 prior to our cutoff date) or wait another year, but that will be a topic for a whole other post. In the meantime, my DS turns 4 next week and we were talking shopping lists today, so I dictated the letters to him and he printed this list, and I'm wondering if this seems advanced for a 4 yo to be able to print these letters like this?



I love it -- so great!

Your DS really has some excellent fine motor skills there. My 4 year old can write letters too, but probably not that nicely, with such a firm hand. Your DS actually is writing better than my 8 year old too (but he has fine motor skill delays). Certainly being able to hold a pencil and sit and write is an important skill for kindergarten.

But I will say that social skills are definitely higher up in my book for whether a child should be accelerated into kindergarten. My older DS, whose birthday missed the fall cut-off date by 2 months (it sounds like our cut-off is much earlier than yours), was doing amazing things at age 3 (began reading on his own, counting up well past 100, knew lots of geography, etc.) and so I kind of thought I wonder if I should petition to have him go to k the fall when he was four about to turn 5. We ended up not doing that and it was certainly the right thing to do -- it is so much better for him to be a little more emotionally secure in school.

But it depends on what your school system does for k. Ours is full time, gives homework already in kindergarten, has one recess, expects the kids to sit down much of the day, and it just gets more intense as you go along. I was glad DS had another year to play.

My younger DS makes the cut-off by 3 days and I have pretty much decided to keep him back, because he is shy and because our system is so intense. He is a bright boy and more emotionally mature than my older DS, but is very shy, on the small side, and has to contend with an older brother who is so academically advanced in ways that he may not turn out to be. Given how they push academics so early in school, and how many other boys wait a year, I want him to feel confident when he starts up. And to be honest, I want him to have more time to play like his older brother got to.

So bottom line, I'd think about the school system and how intense it is, whether other kids are held back often or not, and about how mature, shy, confident your DS is.

xoxo
Lillian

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Joined: August 30th, 2006, 9:39 pm

November 21st, 2011, 8:50 pm #9

I know there are a lot of moms here with older children, and I'm starting to grapple with the idea of sending my DS to Kindergarten next year when he is 4 (he is eligible since he will turn 5 prior to our cutoff date) or wait another year, but that will be a topic for a whole other post. In the meantime, my DS turns 4 next week and we were talking shopping lists today, so I dictated the letters to him and he printed this list, and I'm wondering if this seems advanced for a 4 yo to be able to print these letters like this?



Hi Bethlyn,
What an adorable helper you have!

I can chime in with my recent experience.
DD is 5 -- she turned 5 9 days before the cut-off for K.
I never really considered holding her back -- her preschool teacher agreed. DD is highly verbal, and most people tell me she has a vocabulary about 1-2 years above her age.

Because of other factors in our district, we explored some magnet school options (still public) and lotteried into a Mandarin Immersion school, where she spends am in English, PM in Mandarin (full day K), as well as afterschool time at YMCA program. Net result: 2 teachers and one para-teacher (YMCA).

About 3 weeks into K, was chatting with teacher about para-teacher's concerns. Teacher (English) pointed out to me that because district cut off is 9/1, nearly half to two-thirds of DD's class will turn SIX before the end of December. (Her class is 2/3 girls but that's another story). Teacher reassured us that DD is just young, and expects that she will grow into the behaviors they hope to see. She was NOT worried at all.

Ok, so that's a long way of saying, if you can talk to teachers in the school in which you plan to enroll him and get their feel for it. Many schools here have an assessment period prior to opening to make sure kids are k-ready. I don't think you should make the decision without the input of people who a) know your boy and/or b) know the other children/curriculum specific to your school. I have tremendous respect for the experiences of the gals here, but each school system/demographic mix, has some differences. When we were touring schools in our area, with some other neighbors who are educators/SLPs and who have a boy, we discussed how the various teachers handle squirmy boys, variability among students, etc. Only then can you really assess what is the best option for your little guy.
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Joined: March 8th, 2008, 12:39 am

November 21st, 2011, 8:51 pm #10

My DD will be 5 in Jan. and her teacher describes her as a "smart cookie". She definitely would have been ready academically for kindergarten this past Sept. She creates "patterns" with everything, has somehow taught herself addition facts, prints all of her letters beautifully, knows all the sounds to the letters of the alphabet and is sounding out words and spelling everything, etc. Tonight she counted to 100; I didn't even know she could do that. Her vocab has always been ahead of schedule. I'm a learning specialist and she has long been able to do what many kids taking our kindergarten entrance exam at a private school could not do. HOWEVER...even though she is very social and very smart, I don't think she would have been ready emotionally for kinder. It's just a big step for a little child and my particular child has enough anxiety and challenge with transitions (at home, not at school) that I think that her entering at 5.8 will be much better for her. Not that we had a choice, but...It's hard when your child has a cut-off birthday to decide what is best, but I think it's really important to consider emotional maturity and overall "readiness". There are lots of enriching activities you can do with him at home (my DH initiates things like mazes, fairly difficult card games, etc. and can even come close to beating DH at backgammon) to keep him stimulated even if you postpone kindergarten a bit.
I do know your DD is a "smart cookie" as I've seen some of your descriptive posts about her I think your suggestion that it's the "emotional" maturity that makes a difference whether one enters K or not is the real key, I certainly don't want to put him at a disadvantage in school (or in life, for that matter) and send him before he is really ready. And of course, it is not necessarily HIM, but his classmates and how he interacts with them. Now I wish I didn't have the choice, it would make my life much easier

As I mentioned to omissy, his daycare staff are the ones pushing me to have him go to K in one year, it's not really my idea! I even asked them about his social development level, etc. and they kept focusing on the fact that he knows all his shapes, colors, etc. Am not certain why they would want him out of daycare if he's not really ready, and I would think THEY (with childhood educational background) would know better than me, and yet, everyone here says to be sure to consider emotional maturity (which I agree with).

Thank you for your reply, it helps to know what others are doing.

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