I regret not redshirting my child

Hello everyone

My 4th grader (June birthday) is a good student but she definitely is lacking in maturity and does badly in tests. Every year her winter conference is the same, and every year she spends January onwards catching up. I fear that this will get worse as the pressure increases in middle school.

I didn't know red-shirting was a thing until after we enrolled her in school. Now I wish we had.  It pains me to know she would have been fine if she was in 3rd grade this year instead of 4th.

It's too late now, but I wondered if there is a way for us to support her now and in the future.

Anyone else feel the same?

Thank you!

Parent Replies

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Have you asked the school whether your child can repeat a grade?

It might make it easier to switch schools if you decide to do this. We've known several families who've had children repeat grades when switching schools. There's no stigma as far as I can tell. 

Montessori schools are also more fluid in grade levels because their classrooms are multi-grade. A 4th would be in a class with 4th-6th graders.

I'm not a proponent of redshirting automatically because of birthdates but I do see many families practicing this. Finding a better fit for your child would relieve stress for you and her for the long term.

Good luck.

Yes! My son is the youngest in his class.. and he has a hard time. He compares himself to others and feels bad that he gets lower grades than many of his friends. It’s hard.

I could have been you. I would consider holding her back a year. The school will get wigged out about it, it will not be easy, but things will only get worse from here. I now have a sophomore in high school who is more or less refusing to go or really "do" school and is so discouraged. She is always just behind her peers in the emotional maturity to get focused. She also has ADHD - not diagnosed until 8th grade, and I would encourage you to see if that is part of her issue. It can be different in girls and can lead to a lot of lack of ability to manage all the school "stuff" in ways you might not realize. Been there, wish I'd done that.

Sounds like you are feeling frustrated and doing what many parents do: thinking that if you only did something different earlier your kid "would have been fine" to use your exact words. Alas, you really can't say that if your daughter was in 3rd grade now she would be perfectly mature and doing well in tests. My experience was the opposite with a June birthday girl: she was struggling to read and doing poorly in tests (which we care less about) and overall not keeping up. We had her repeat 2nd grade and provided supports and academically things worked out a little better. But being a year older than her classmates has it's definite downsides now that she is 15. I know it is hard to take the long-view when it can feel like a slog in those middle elementary years. I advise that you not focus on what you think might have been a good idea (I don't think so) and look forward at what you can do to make her want to do her best and believe she can succeed. (And please don't focus on tests.) Good luck!

Yes. We just barely made the age for our child’s school year. In hindsight, we may have waited one more year. It’s really hard to know how they’ll progress (you don’t, actually). 

My sense is that the middle school years will be the hardest. Our child has been fine but is now struggling as processes and expectations change rapidly in middle school. 

We are trying to be understanding of the position they’re in and helping them work through this phase, but it’s still gonna be hard for them. 

In the end, I think it will all work end.