Seriously. My daughter is one of those children who had the unfortunate ‘late birthday’ so that she had to wait a year to start Kindergarten. She was mentally ready to start Kindergarten last year, but ‘time frame’ dictates that since she didn’t turn 5 by September 1st (her birthday is in November), she wasn’t ‘allowed’, even though she was oh-so-ready. In an attempt to make her feel better about her age/learning ability, I went out and bought a Kindergarten Readiness book – this big, thick binder book filled with activities geared to get your child ‘ready’ for Kindergarten. I was actually surprised at what was inside this not-so-cheap book, and even more surprised when I actually took notice that my daughter breezed through the book without so much as a ‘how do you do’.

When she was ‘not looking forward to’ starting school, I became her cheerleader and encouraged her that she was going to have a great time, no worries. When she lamented that she didn’t know how to read, I reminded her that she had been reading signs by the side of the road for quite some time, so she did indeed know how to read (and when she read ‘Good Work, Amelia Bedelia’ cover-to-cover to me at bedtime, and not by just sounding out each word as you would expect, but actually reading – telling – the story of Amelia Bedelia with personality and flair. I knew my child had nothing to worry about when school started. Or did I?

Two months into the school year, it appears that my child is bored. Kindergarten is only 1/2 day, so at least that’s something, but my child is not getting educated – or at least not in the manner that will stretch her mind into ‘new’ things, since she already is ‘educated’ on what she’s being educated on. So yeah, I felt bad when I found out sending your child to Pre-School is ‘the thing’ to do…well, I didn’t choose doing ‘the thing’. Part of that decision was based on selfishness of me wanting to spend as much time with her as possible before she’s sucked away by school/friends/life and not getting our quality time as much in the future. But mostly because she had already exhibited an excelled state of intelligence even as an infant, I felt that Pre-School at that point was ‘glorified daycare’ and at the time it wasn’t financially feasible.

No offense to those that have to put their child in daycare or chose to place their child in Pre-School. I’m certainly not going to cast judgment on anyone else, particularly when I have been on the receiving end of that ‘judgment’ for the opposite reason…for not putting my child in Pre-School. Yes, it’s true – it seems you’re not a ‘good mom’ if you ‘hold your child back’ and don’t put them in Pre-School in ‘these here parts’. Excuse me? Why should I accelerate her potential boredom status by putting her into a class that would ‘teach’ her everything she already knows? Teach her colors and shapes? Got it…already done by the age of 2. Count to 10? Uh, how about forwards and backwards to 20 and higher since she was 2? The alphabet? Got it covered – she can recite the alphabet and write each and every letter and number concisely…and has been doing that since she was between 2 and 3. Read? Big and small words, thank you. Socializing skills? Apparently not something that is ever an issue – the opposite is true, we have to worry about her being too social.

So now that she’s fully ensconced (2 months) into the Kindergarten classroom, she appears to be bored. Not with the teacher, she has a great teacher and loves her. Not with her classmates, she loves them all. Just with the ‘learning’ in general, because she already knows what is being taught. My husband and I had a conversation the other day about the whole ‘No Child Left Behind’ thing. While that’s all well and good, and we agree that no child should be left behind – what about the children being ‘held back’?

Sure, in the higher grades they have those ‘Gifted Classes’ that your child can ‘test’ into and possibly deter some of that boredom some kids would have if they aren’t actually having their brains stimulated with education and learning something new. Why can’t children that have ‘late’ birthdays take tests to see if they should start in Kindergarten or move ahead to First Grade?

When I was in Kindergarten, I was lucky – I went to a small school that had both the Kindergartners and First Graders together in one room. When it was time for the First Graders to sit down at their desks and study, us Kindergartners were instructed to play quietly in the back of the room. Well, somehow I would end up with no toys to play with – either having them taken away by other kids, or giving them away (because I’m a giver), but I would end up sitting back at my desk and studying with the First Graders instead of playing.

My wonderful teacher took notice of this and watched me do this for the first two weeks of school – at which time she had a conference with myself, my parents and the principal and discussed the possibility of skipping me ahead to First Grade, which they did. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that that decision was made – sure, I was the youngest in my class because my birthday unfortunately falls in the month of December, but I never got bored in my learning. I had to work harder than my sister (who was 1 year older than me, but her birthday is in August, so she made that ‘deadline’) because she could get straight A’s without studying or even cracking a book sometimes. I had to buckle down and work hard for my A’s and B’s, but I may not have applied myself so diligently if I were bored.

While I agree with the concept of ‘No Child Left Behind’, I really disagree with the fact that it doesn’t take into account those children who need more of a challenge to stretch their brain and keep their interest from the dregs of boredom – but not allowing them to skip ahead is actually holding them back. I suppose I could choose to do Home Schooling instead, because your child can go at whatever pace works for them…but I also don’t want to ‘rob’ my daughter of that all-important ‘socialization’ mode of school. So now I’m just waiting for my clearances to come through so I can volunteer in the classroom – maybe I’ll be able to make some suggestions to keep the advanced kids occupied and not bored (without being intrusive or interfering with the teachers planned curriculum), but also help the other kids not feel like they are behind anything or anyone.