Parenting Decision: School

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One of the things I’ve learned as a parent is that you cannot second guess your decisions. Many things we decide as a parent are made in a split-second, while others involve great thought and discussion. The decision we made to not enroll Arianna in another year of preschool was not an easy one, yet here I am second guessing my parenting decision about her school “career” and she’s only four.


You see, Arianna is one of those unlucky kids with an October birthday. I used to think that to attend public school she would miss the cut-off by five days, but I was wrong. In our district, the cut-off is September 1, meaning she would not be able to go to kindergarten in public school this fall.

When enrolling her in a preschool program, we knew that moving up to kindergarten wasn’t a guarantee, but a possibility at the private school. So, off she went to another year of pre-3 instead of pre-4 just in case she wouldn’t be able to move up. This saved us quite a bit of money (3 days versus 5) and time spent driving to the school.

When enrollment letters came home, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to swing the pre-4 cost, but didn’t want to hold our daughter back because of money. Unfortunately, the options to keep her in private school simply didn’t work with our budget or timing, so we had to choose to say farewell to her school.

Although we’ve applied for a pre-K program in our local district (free, and five days a week, several hours a day), I fear she won’t get in there. You see, this is an income based program and we make a tad bit too much for it (although they do have a few non-income based slots).

It’s like we can’t win. We don’t make enough, yet we make too much. Sure, Greg could go to work, but at this point, he’d be working to pay for private pre-school and then daycare for Evan. Instead, we sit and wait, floating on hope that Arianna will be accepted to the school program and we will not be “holding her back” from potential this coming fall.

Lots of people say their kid is brilliant, but I really believe mine is. Her mind is like her favorite animal, the elephant. She remembers everything, down to the very last detail. Hopefully that helps her out if she cannot attend a school program. The last thing I want is to know our decision around money kept her from excelling at school.

Are other families faced with the “October Baby” school cut-off challenge? I realize someone would have it regardless of the cut-off, but I need to know that keeping her back with her smarts is going to be okay. What suggestions do you have for at-home learning to keep her going if we don’t hear good news from the school program? We’re already pulling together some Everyday Math activities and handwriting books just in case. I might even throw together weekly units that both she and Evan can benefit from. If so, would this be something you readers would enjoy hearing about here on the blog? Ah, now to find even more time in my already busy life. Wish us luck (and patience). 

7 thoughts on “Parenting Decision: School”

  1. Hey Becky!  My Brett has a December birthday, so he will not be able to start kindergarten until 2015.  My plan has been to wait until the year before kindergarten to send him in preschool, to help with the transition of being home all day to the all day kindergarten that they have now.  With me only doing a little bit of freelancing from home, and hubby driving an hour each way to work as a teacher, we do not make a lot, but too much for any of the special programs, as well.  Almost everyone I know enrolled their kids for preschool at 3.  It makes me worry if he will be behind the others and if it will make it harder to get him in next year since they probably give some sort of preference to the kids that attended the year before.
    I try to put it into perspective, though.  I never went to preschool at all.  Did you?  My parents read to me a lot at home, worked on the alphabet and numbers and writing my name with me.  My aunt who taught preschool at her church gave us worksheets that I enjoyed doing.  I watched Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers and went to free story time every week at the library.  Once I was in school, my mom helped me with learning to read, math homework, and drilled me on spelling words.  Don’t forget, parental involvement goes a long way!  I could read above my grade level in elementary school and really loved to learn (except math, of course).  I took advanced and AP classes in high school, did well on SATs, and got into college just fine.  I was even on the Dean’s List a couple times.  I don’t think not going to preschool held me back academically at all.  Don’t feel guilty.  With some preschool already under her belt, your education background and Greg at home to give your kids special attention, she will have a great start!  I have found a lot of things on Pinterest to try with Brett.

    1. Those are great points, Nicole! Like you, I also didn’t go to preschool and did just fine. 🙂 Thanks for helping me keep my head on straight.

  2. Rachel just misses the cutoff as well (her birthday is september 5), and she is very bright & very verbal. I’m actually glad that she’ll have to start kindergarten as the oldest kid in the class, because it gives us a little more time to make the big decision of where she’ll go to school, and it will also hopefully give her time to develop a little more maturity and self control.  I think that you’ll do fine with your daughter with at home learning and activities.  For what anecdata is worth, I’ve heard of more people having difficulty because their kids are the youngest in the class (and lack maturity to keep it together), but have never heard of any problems because the kid is right after the cutoff/older (although I’m sure there’s somebody out there with such a story.

    1. Making the school decision is HUGE! We keep thinking…do we move? Do we find the money to go back to private school? It’s a lot to consider. And you’re right…I’d be more worried about putting her in too early and failing that way–nice perspective!

  3. Hi Becky, Shahnaz’s birthday is October 30, and the cut-off date was November 1st.  We made the decision to ask for a deferment for one year.  Shahnaz was ready for school, but we knew that she would have 13+ years to spend in school and the greatest gift we could give her was one more year at home.  One more year to explore, be curious, ask questions – all of the things that we felt could best be nurtured by a full-time intentional parent (like your Greg).  We couldn’t see passing up on that golden opportunity for a cruel trick of the calendar.  It’s a time to let her pursue her interests without being bound by the clock and what the rest of the class is doing.  I would not go for “school” type activities – workbooks, etc.  Greg is an awesome dad and he is more than capable of challenging Arianna’s brilliant mind. I highly recommend using this special year for all of the things she won’t get to do in school once she gets there – spend time watching insects, doing all kinds of fun science experiments, doing research together with Dad and/or Mom to find out the answers to all of her questions, learning to cook, giggling, dancing, etc. It’s not only a gift year to nurture her mind, but her spirit – learn all about generosity, empathy, kindness.  I also agree with the advantage that beezuskiddo mentions of entering school as one of the older ones in the class and a little more mature than the others.  Helps with being a leader, not a follower.  And if you’re lucky, Arianna will find an awesome best friend to spend a couple days a week with, like Shahnaz did with Nurin!

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