Jay's School Plans for Next Year

I've written very openly for the last several years about what we were going to do with Jay for school when he turns five-years-old. I wrote very openly that red-shirting kids who have late summer birthdays was not for me, and that as long as the state of Georgia allowed Jay to start kindergarten, and that his birthday was before the cutoff, we would be sending Jay to public school in the fall. 

In March the public school registration crept up on me faster than I was expecting, and all of a sudden I was scrambling across town getting all the papers and medical records together that I would need to sign him up the following morning. By the afternoon, I had everything together to sign him up, but I also had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just couldn't do it. 

Derek and I have been praying non-stop for ages now that we would know what the best choice for Jay would be in the fall, and to be honest, I still feel like I haven't gotten my answer. I'm starting to just be at peace with the fact that I may never feel at peace about this situation, but we had to make a decision of some sort, so here's how everything panned out. 

At the last minute I called every church preschool in the area to try and gather what our options were for Jay. Church preschools started registration a month earlier, so our options were limited at this point. Many church preschools in our area offer a 1/2 day kindergarten program and so we found one that was still accepting students and got Jay signed up that day. We felt good about the decision for a few weeks, but then I started to dread that I was going to have to drive 10+ miles each way to get him there everyday. That and his school schedule was 9am-1pm, and Em's school is 7:20am-12pm, so shuttling across town back and forth all day for an entire school year sounded unpleasant. 

A few weeks later a church we'd called to earlier that had been full previously, told me they had an opening in their 4+ class, and wanted to know if I wanted the spot. The class is designed for kids in Jay's situation, where all the kids will turn 5 before December, and will all be the older kids in Kindergarten the following school year. I was excited for Jay to be in a class of kids that are all the same age range as his, and I was also excited that this school was right down the road from where Em would be attending the public school preschool, and only a 5 minute drive from our home. It also cost $50 less per month than the 1/2 day kindergarten which was also a bonus. 

So that is where we're sitting for next school year. Jay will be attending a preschool program at a local church with kids that are all in his age bubble. The pros to this are that Jay has never been in any sort of school setting, and I really think it will be a good stepping stone before kindergarten, which is pretty intense from what I've heard about the school district that we're in. 

There is still such a large part of me though that feels conflicted. At church, Sunday School classes are divided up into birth year, and everyone in Jay's church class will be starting Kindergarten in the fall, and I wonder if he'll be made fun of for not being in Kindergarten. If we lived on the other side of the main road in town, we would be in a completely different congregation where 1/2 of Jay's Sunday School class would be in Kindergarten in the fall, and the other 1/2 in local church preschools. I feel like that would be a lot better spread for the given situation. It's also hard to see all our friends who had babies the same year as us, sending their kids to Kindergarten, and knowing that we're waiting another year. I've also learned though that comparison is the thief of joy, and I can't base decisions on what I do for my kids, based on what others are doing for theirs. One continuing thought that I keep having though is that we're going to get an extra year with Jay before he heads off on a church mission, college, etc... and I know there isn't a single parent who doesn't wish they could have an extra year with their child, and so for now, I'm finding peace that I'll have one more year. 


  1. I have a son and daughter with birthdays in the late fall. They are now 10 and 12, but I totally remember feeling conflicted when my oldest was 4 going on 5. I never planned on holding her back a year, but when it came time to register her for K, I could tell that she just wasn't ready. She did an extra year in preschool, and we never looked back. At the time, I did feel like we were missing out, since all of her preschool friends were moving on, but I guarantee you, those feelings will pass, and you and Jay will have an amazing new set of classmates and parents that you will connect with too.

    Good job not worrying about trends and just focusing on what is right for your family. :)

  2. Just make sure this doesn't affect his self esteem when he gets older. Some kids get depressed over stuff like this. I know all parents make choices for their kids, but those kids who were older (graduated from HS at 19 instead of 18) all had a bit of depression over it through those years. Not trying to scare you, but kids are sensitive about stuff, even silly stuff. Good luck.

  3. Jay will actually be 18 for three more months when he graduates high school if we do this option, as opposed to 17 if we send him this year. And if he seems bothered by it later down the road, I'm not opposed to him taking extra coursework to graduate early, if he chooses to make that choice.

    1. My Paige is a late fall birthday and we made decision to send her to young 5s so that she would be 18 when she graduates from high school. She has friends the same age who are a grade ahead of her and she sees how they struggle with school work, maturity, and social issues. She likes being older in her grade level than her peers and I have never regretted the decision. Only you can make the right decision for your child. Sounds like you have perfect solution for you.

  4. My parents regretted not red-shirting me (I graduated at 17 and was born in July), so they red-shirted my brother who had a late May birthday. He really benefited from it, but then later was so obviously more mature than his classmates that he skipped a grade. Another friend of mine with an October birthday who started kindergarten at 4 was miserable and repeated 3rd grade and was much better off for it. Jay is Jay, with his own unique self, and what's best for him is best for HIM, regardless of what other people do. I'm sure he will make new friends to carry with him to public school kindergarten, and a year in preschool will really help him adjust to full-on school later. His real friends from his church year won't care that he's in another grade, especially not at this age. He'll just have opportunities to have friends from a wider range of people.