First and foremost, if you are a teacher, I could kiss you right now.
I’ve had very pleasant dealings with the school and my sons teachers over the last few years. Our son is Repeating First Grade this year and they have made everything leading up to it a lot easier.
As I mentioned in my previous post, in the week before school started, he cried at the breakfast table because he was scared to go back to first grade again…
Every year in the few days before school starts, they host an Ice Cream Social meet-and-greet night for students and parents. They post the class lists, and we get to meet the teacher.
I was seriously considering skipping it because of the awkwardness of seeing the class families from last year. I wasn’t sure what I would say to potential on-the-spot questions from classmates and parents, and I didn’t know how our son would react.
But I sucked it up and we went. When we pulled into the parking lot, he ran from the car to the front door of the school and was excited to go in.
He saw a few classmates and was happy to see them. They did ask who his teacher was going to be, but it wasn’t weird. It was like he told them what color his shirt was.
His teachers (both past and present) went out of their way to talk to him about his summer and make him comfortable and I was so glad. He became excited for the first day of school and was really looking forward to it. It was such a load off.
On the way home he said he wasn’t scared anymore, and he jabbered the whole way.
On the first day we walked in and found his desk, and he sat right down.
He really likes his new teacher. And we discovered two of our nearby neighbors are in his class. And another friend in the next classroom is also doing first grade again, and they’re excited to be able to see each other at recess.
Not to mention a class full of new friends. He was a little nervous when I left, but trust me when I say the child did not need me. That’s a mixed bag! But I’ll take it.
When I picked him up he came barreling out of the building with a big smile on his face, and he gave me a big hug. A welcome and joyous sight to a mother that still went home pining….
It doesn’t mean that every day is going to be perfect, but I feel completely at peace with holding him in first grade. The first day was pretty stellar.
One of the most valuable pieces of advice to me in this was that he is going to pick up on whatever my energy is about the situation. That really got my attention and I was able to get into party mode fairly quickly. (I almost wanted to go back to school myself there for a minute!)
I received a great deal of encouraging comments after sharing our story. They really acted as the armor I needed to process it all.
They were so refreshing, and helped me to see we were doing the right thing. Thank you so much to everyone that shared! From the bottom of my heart.
I want to share some of those comments with you in case you are in the same boat and need encouragement. I hope they bless you as well.
(condensed for length)
- So much better to do this in 1st grade than in later grades! He will be fine and so much better that he not struggle all through school. Just prayed for both of you.
- We made the choice for my little one to do that last year. It was a hard decision. We all cried. But now, on the backside of that year, I know it was absolutely the right thing to do. I predict your son will shine this year!
- My oldest had to repeat K & 6th. It was such a struggle when it seemed all my other friends had super smart exceptional kids. But, I have learned it’s not about me. It’s about his needs and now he’s thriving and learning.
- As a former teacher, I’ve seen kids pushed beyond their abilities and it never ends well. Kudos to you for swallowing your pride and doing the right thing. I doubt you’ll regret this.
- I was a September birthday and my mother started me at 4 and I did fine through elementary school, but began having trouble in middle school when confronted with situations I wasn’t mature enough to handle. Moms just have to do their best. Don’t forget to practice some grace for yourself.
- Better to keep him behind a year instead of forcing your child into something he/she is not ready for. That takes a lot of guts and honesty.
- 10 years from now when ur son is in high school, all of this will not matter and you will have a son who is as mature as all his peers. You’re doing the right thing! Hugs!!
- I am a first grade repeater turned special education teacher. Repeating first grade was the best thing that ever happened to me.
- Our oldest was born 8/18 and started at 4. He’s now about to be a senior in high school but there has not been a year that has gone by when I haven’t regretted our decision to start him early. He didn’t struggle with maturity but academically, he spends the first half of every year just trying to keep his head above water. I wish we’d been as brave as you when he was in the first grade.
- I will be sending my 17 year old to college in a few weeks and it is a scary feeling even though he has done well throughout school. If you know now that another year will help him, then you are doing the right thing for him.
- the gift of time is the greatest gift you can ever give your child. I have watched it time and time again make a vast difference from “doing ok” to feeling confident and excelling!
- truthfully the double dose of first grade which is a critical year, due to learning to read and beginning math skills will more than likely put him ahead of the curve later in life. The less of a big deal you make of it, the less of a big deal it will be to him.
- I’ve never heard anyone say they have regretted holding their child back. I’m sure he’ll have a great year and you’ll both be better for this decision.
- Such a hard decision, but you are an awesome mom doing what is right for him instead of worrying about what the rest of the world is doing.
- I am an elementary teacher, and first grade is often the grade that “catches” them. You are doing the right thing in keeping him back.
- There is no shame in doing what is best for your child if its taboo thats just the culture, you are a mum, not a culture leader.
- I applaud your decision…no doubt one of the hardest ever. But also one of the kindest and most selfless for him in the big picture.
- I can tell you that it will be all right, as long as the support at home keeps up just like your doing now, and keep a good eye on what’s going on. He’s got this!
- You sometimes take a risk based on the facts and knowledge you have, but then your course sometimes needs to be redirected. Your son will do so well with his peers. Recognizing all of this early was the best thing you could have done. Good job, Momma!
- Having taught First Grade for 14 years I have seen first hand how beneficial it is and have never had a parent say “that was the worst decision we made”…never.
Big thanks to all.. It takes a village! 🙂
for the backstory, please see: Repeating First Grade (part 1)
for the overall outcome on the last day of school, please see: Repeating First Grade-Success!
for an update 3 years later: Repeating First Grade, an update