The beginning of this week was difficult. There were many tears, countless conversations with knowledgable people, and anguish. Oh the anguish! As a parent you just want to do what’s right and sometimes what you think is right is flipped on it’s head by your amazing child.
So…school started and Lucy is in the same class as last year. She has a September birthday so she misses the cut-off to move up by 22 days. MANY kids repeat the 3s class for this very reason and it’s not a big deal. We knew that she’d be the most advanced kid in her class but we thought it would be great for her confidence and that she would have fun. We are adamant about the fact that Lu is a kid and needs to be a kid. She has her whole life to be in school-she should just have fun. Well school is fun to Lucy. We come home from school and she plays school-it’s one of the only things she plays-that and Farkle or board games with us.
At Challenger we do assessments to see where kids stand at the beginning of the year, in November, March, and June. We ask about numbers, colors, shapes, letters, sounds, words, etc. it lets us and parents know what they’re learning.
Lucy had her assessment and maxed out her points. After that and a week of being in the new class with Lucy, her teacher (who I have a great deal of respect for) went to our director to say that Lu shouldn’t be in room 3. There is nothing left in the 3s curriculum to teach her. At Challenger, we teach to the highest with the belief that the others will catch up (we also throw easier things in there to build up the lower students confidence). They had been trying to teach to the highest (Lucy) in room 3 and it was turning out that it wasn’t challenging enough for Lu and it was majorly confusing all of her other friends.
When I heard that they wanted to move her up to Pre-K, I burst into tears. Here’s the thing, if she moves up, it basically means that she goes to Kindergarten NEXT YEAR (and that she’ll be a 13 year old high school freshman and 17 year old college freshman). I’m so philosophically against this, I can’t even tell you. This meant that she wouldn’t be in the same grade as Tessa :(. I also taught Pre-K last year and know how much we expect out of those kids. I’m ok with Lu being “babied” a little bit for another year-she’s only 3! (well almost 4!)
I start talking to every teacher in the school, and to Megan who used to work at Challenger. Everyone said to do it-hands down. They all started throwing words at me like “advanced” and “gifted” and “genius”. I was like “ok, whatever.” Sure, she can read one-vowel and two-vowel words, tell you short and long vowel words, count to 100, identify most numerals up to 100, do simple algebra (she told us the other day, “If I had 6 and I wanted to get to 10, I’d add 4.” Shaun looked at her with his mouth agape). Can’t all Challenger kids do these things? I thought so. Evidently not. She’s also playing Sorry! with us and beating us fair and square. This summer, Aunt Marci and Uncle Richard taught her Farkle and she turned around and taught it to Gram and Pop in PA CORRECTLY while Shaun was gone one day. Anyway, I thought these things were normal for a bright kid to be doing but then I got all those loaded words thrown at me by teachers and my sister. “Advanced Placement” and “Gifted Program”. Huh? She’s 3.
Add to that, Lucy. Ever since school started, I heard everyday some form of, “Mommy, why am I in the baby room?” and the kicker, “Mommy, I’m sad.” “Why Lu?” “Because I’m not in room 6 and I don’t know why.”
Obviously I’m not going to let her make this huge, life changing decision but I had to take her feelings into consideration. I had thought that keeping her in the 3’s would build her confidence but it seemed to be doing the exact opposite.
I didn’t think she was mature enough for Pre-K and then I looked at the kids in Pre-K-she is right with them maturity wise. I looked at the kids in Room 3, they were not with her maturity wise. I was afraid I’d see a backslide in behavior, and truth be told, we were already seeing it.
After calling the Boise School District (I really didn’t think I’d be making a call to them any time soon) to see if a 5 year old could start 1st grade (if they test into it-yes), we moved her up. She does have the option to repeat Pre-K but we’re 99.9% sure that won’t happen because she’d be bored-again.
She was a little unsure when I first took her to Room 6 but by recess she was smiling and excited. By the end of the day, I had my kid back. She had been whiny, clingy, not sleeping, weird, and kind of bratty since school started. At first, I thought it was from missing me while she was in PA for a week and being overtired. And then I assumed we had entered the Fucking Fours-a stage I had heard horror stories about. Nope. Since we made the move she’s back to her happy, independent, awesome self. She loves learning and LOVES to be challenged.
Here’s the kicker-they did the Pre-K assessment and she got the highest score in her new class. Well, alrighty then.
We know this could level off and we know we have to watch things. We also know that even though she’s a smarty pants and is very mature for her age, we owe it to her to treat her her age. My director stopped me on the way out last night and reminded me that she’s still 3 and that we’re probably going to experience 3 year old behavior. We’re committed to doing what is right for her and right now, this is the right thing for Lucy.