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The redshirts are coming!

February 3, 2010 - Erin O'Neill
Academic "reshirting" is a term which refers to the practice of postponing a child's entrance into kindergarten to give them more of an advantage. The thinking is that he or she will benefit from an extra year of growing, maturing and socializing in preschool or whatever.

It's a term that I've become familiar with in the past few weeks as I delve into the frightening world of kindergarten admission policies. Yes, it's February and the beginning of the school year is months away but, as most parents know, the months tick by all too quickly. Before I know it, my biggest concern will be that my teen is driving and - eek! - dating!

There are many, many...many websites weighing the pros and cons of holding your child back. It's very confusing and frustrating. I can't help but be concerned that if I make the "wrong" decision, whatever that is, then I'm going to end up scarring my kid for life.

My nephew, who is 8 days younger than my child, is going to start kindergarten in the fall in another part of the state. His birthday actually falls within the cutoff time, while my daughter's birthday is one month after the Marietta City Schools cutoff of Aug. 1. However, I feel she is ready on almost every aspect. She knows the alphabet, can count pretty high, plays well alone or with others and can sit and watch a 1 1/2 hour movie or listen as I read to her. She loves to play on the computer, can print her name and never ceases to amaze me with her vocabulary and social skills.

But this ain't your mom and dad's kindergarten, from what I hear. Homework? Math? Spelling tests? What happened to throwing a ball, coloring in the lines, and naptime? Can a 4-going-on-5-year-old handle this much pressure? On the other hand, if she's 5 and about to turn 6 before she starts kindergarten, there's the risk that she will be so bored with the lessons that she might find other ways to amuse herself. That's never good.

Of course there is always the option that I start her early (albeit not THAT early) and if she needs to repeat, it's not going to hurt her.

Oh how I long for the days when my only concerns were what diapers are on sale and which onesie looks cutest!

Any advice?


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