This week, I’m jealous of parents who gave birth to their child the months of January through July. These parents aren’t faced with the life-forming, educational, emotional, and social trend setting decision that we are deliberating — kindergarten.
Nebraska statute 79-214 dictates that a child must be five years of age as of July 31 of the year of entry to kindergarten. However, the school board may admit a child to kindergarten who will reach age 5 on or after Aug. 1 and on or before Oct. 15 of such school year if the parent or guardian requests such entrance.
Lily will be 5 on Sept. 18; here in lies our quandary. What should we do?
As the stay-at-home mother, I’m pushing for early entrance. I’ll admit some of my reasons for starting her are selfish: grocery shopping with only one set of grabby hands, one less mess to clean up after lunch, and the desirable one-on-one time with my son. I carry a small amount of guilt that he was never privy to the focused, 2.5 years of attention she received as the first born.
Academically, she is ready for kindergarten. She thrives on structure, has completed two full years of pre-school, and knows her numbers, letters, and shapes. She writes her name and is beginning to sound out words on a page. She is inquisitive, enjoys engaging adults in conversation, and generally loves learning.
Hesitation sets in when she throws a tantrum because she didn’t get her way or days she would still greatly benefit from a nap. She can’t tie her shoes, then again, she doesn’t own any tie-up shoes and I’ve never attempted to teach her.
Her father is more concerned with the major milestones years from now. Based on our decision and her acceptance, she will either be first to drive or last to drive. Will she graduate high school at 17 or 18 and how old will she be starting college? He also highlights that starting her this fall means one less year she will be at home.
Well, when you put it like that honey, I sound like a heartless mother trying to rid herself of her children.
I have the forms completed. I answered all the questions and have a letter of recommendation from her pre-school teacher. Paperwork is due at the conclusion of this week and early-entrance evaluations take place in June.
What to do? What to do?
Either way, I’m certain of two things. First, she is a smart kid and will find success whether she starts at 4 or 5, and surely this is only one of the many parenting decisions we will be faced with as she grows.
Jessica Brashear is married with two children. Read her blogs here on momaha.
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