Today's episode of parenting frets will be devoted to Jordan and school.
DC has schools that start at Pre-K 3, and so, at age three, Jordan started school. Prior to that he was in daycare, and daycare in DC is costly. So for us it was no question but that he'd start school at age three rather than us continuing to pay many and many thousands of dollars for childcare.
In any case, he was going to be somewhere outside our home, whether it was daycare or school.
He has an August birthday, and there's a September 30 cutoff, so while he's not the youngest in his class, he's among them. There are kids in his grade who turned six in October, so are nearly a full year older.
We have Jordan in this terrific bilingual school. We bought in this particular area of DC so that we'd be guaranteed a spot.
His two prior years were at a different school. We loved his teachers and the school, but the Spanish instruction depended on the teacher. For us it was miss rather than hit. This was fine, because his primary teachers were wonderful for him. He just didn't learn much Spanish.
Now he's in Kindergarten at a school where half the day is spent in Spanish. He's learning math in Spanish.
He says he hates it.
He's in a good mood when I pick him up at the end of the day. I know he likes his teachers. He has friends.
But every morning he doesn't want to go and over and over he says he hates his Spanish-speaking teacher. And when you ask why he wails, "Because I don't understaaaaaand him!"
Jordan is, like his mother, someone who sits on the side until he is comfortable. Someone who is anxious about making mistakes. Someone who will not just jump in and barrel through. He wants to know he can do it well before he does it at all.
I'm sorry about the genes, little pal. And also all the stress I was under while pregnant with you. Oh, and the PPD. Did I do this to you? (Guilt and angst, guilt and angst.)
I wonder if we should've started him a year later. This is a pointless fret, because we did what we did.
But now we are wondering if we should have him repeat Kindergarten.
His class has a wide range of abilities, and he is at the low end in terms of reading and writing. When he brings English books home to read to us, I know he's just reciting what he's memorized, or what the picture is making obvious. "There is a tree."
When it's a Spanish book, he has no idea, refuses to sound out letters, and generally makes it all so miserable that I am just like fine, fuck it, never learn to read and go ahead and limit yourself to miserably few low-wage employment options.
I don't say that, of course. But I hate reading his Spanish homework with him. He whines and cries and says it's too hard and I just have to remember to breathe and be patient and try to remind myself that wine is not the solution.
But I've started to think that repeating this grade might be the answer.
I mean, I know that he will learn to read and write. I don't actually have that concern. Nor do I feel a need for him to be at the top of his class. What I want is for him to be happy.
Instead of struggling so hard, instead of feeling like he's hanging on by his fingernails, maybe he could feel good. Right now he feels like everyone in class knows what's being said and he doesn't (this is not the case, but it is how he feels, so it's real to him).
But if he did Kindergarten again, maybe he could actually be comfortable. Maybe he could feel like he knew what he was doing, and perhaps even do some things better than others. Which (I think) would make him a much more confident student.
However. I also worry about him feeling bad about himself for still being in Kindergarten when his peers go on to first grade.
I talked to the teachers, who said they could go either way with him. He could stay on grade level and get extra support. Or he could repeat. We're going to have this conversation again in June and decide.
Ultimately, we'll make this decision with his teachers and the administration. But I'd like some personal stories as I consider it.
Do any of you have experience with this? What are your thoughts?