To red shirt or not — one mother’s decision process

One more year. I have one more year.

Until about six months ago we lived in Maine where the birthday cutoff is October 15. My son was born on December 31, so I was watching other parents around me agonize over the kindergarten decision with a smug look on my face. And then we moved to Connecticut. The cutoff date here is January 1 and my smugness was suddenly all gone.

Is he ready for this? Am I ready for this? We spent the summer talking and thinking about little else. My son was evaluated by the school, I talked to friends and relatives, everyone who was willing to listen and give advice. But of course in the end, the decision was up to us.

Is it just me, or is this decision much bigger than any others I’ve had to make as a parent? The earlier ones seemed to have sort of an expiration date, even if the stakes were high. Natural birth over drugs and C-section, breast or bottle, staying at home or going to work—these all really applied or had their biggest influence for a few years at the most. I never worried too much about these decisions, because I felt like the effects would all even out in the long run. Will a child live life at a great disadvantage because I had a shot of something to take the edge off the pain of childbirth or because he wasn’t breastfed? Probably not. But the same does not feel true for school. Lives do go astray because of the wrong kid, in the wrong school, with the wrong teacher, at the wrong time. You don’t breastfeed for 12 years, but you do go to school for at least that long and hopefully longer.


The full article is on The Washington Post

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