“Is Josh starting school next year?”
It's a question I'm asked daily and, as the year races on, I still struggle to answer. Josh’s birthday falls between January and July, so in NSW I have the option to send him to school or wait another year. It’s an option that I wish I didn’t have.
I faced the same situation with my eldest child Freddie (a January baby) so I am well aware of the arguments for and against.
Watch: How the horoscopes homeschool their kids. Post continues below.
Is he mature enough? How are his social skills? Will he be able to keep up? What does preschool think?
In the end I sent Freddie and he has thrived. He loves school, has made a ton of friends and races to the gate each morning. The decision was easier with him because his birthday is 10 January so I reasoned with myself that if he had been born two weeks earlier, I would have had no choice. With Josh’s birthday at the end of February, it's less clear cut.
They say that mother knows best and to go with your gut instinct but, once again, I find myself agonising over the decision and seeking the views of others.
In the yes camp.
“What does pre-school think?” I have been asked.
In fact, preschool have said they think Josh is ready. He works well in groups. He is confident in voicing his opinion and he is beginning to grasp basic literacy and numeracy concepts.
Yes, he would likely be even more confident if he started school in 2022 but how would he handle those last six months of preschool? Would he get bored? Will he become boisterous and overconfident?
One of the reasons that Freddie settled into school so easily was that he knew so many of the other kids. Kindy was like an extension of preschool and the local playground.
Most of Josh’s friends are starting school in 2021 and, from what I can see, they are like him in terms of ability, speech and maturity levels. I worry how Josh will cope with seeing his friends go off to school while he remains at preschool.
Work and money.
Not only would Josh going to school save $600 a month in childcare fees, it would enable me to work more, which would make a huge difference to the family finances. Not a small matter in the present climate!