I deferred my August-born son and a year on I’m so glad I did. He’s not top of the class but is massively more mature than the youngest ones in the class and coping well with having to sit down and take instruction during the school day. He still says he misses being outside and it’s tough for him not being able to learn in a self-directed manner but as least he’s relatively happy at school.
I deferred him because I didn’t feel he was ready to start reading. I should have been prepared but to be honest it came as a bit of a shock how seriously they took the task of ensuring all the kids were reading by the end of P1. Massive amounts of homework including reading, writing and maths which took over half an hour a night was sent home from day 1. After battling for a few weeks and then reading the research we now just do 10 minutes reading. I feel this is plenty for an active 6 year old who has been sitting and behaving well for a full school day. Not all schools send this amount of homework and I wished I’d known as I may have chosen a different local school with a no homework till P4 policy.
I didn’t feel my son was ready for school on a number of levels. He didn’t know any of his letters and wasn’t at all interested in learning. He still mixed up numbers counting to 10. He was completely disinterested in colouring and his drawings weren’t much more than scribbles. And more importantly he hated being forced to sit in one place for any length of time unless it was something of his own choosing. My only worry, which was putting him out of his age group, has turned out to be completely unfounded. He loves being the oldest in his class and has made friends both with his own class and with older kids in the playground and at after school. And being the oldest or rather one of the most mature has done wonders for his confidence.
Would I do it again? Definitely. My second child is female and far more capable of being sat down to learn but with a November birthday would be one of the younger ones in her class. And while she would cope with being sent this August better than her brother would have 2 years ago, there is no question – we’ll be applying to defer. Unfortunately, that will mean another expensive year for childcare with no partnership funding but our family believes it is money well spent. We’re lucky we can afford to do this as I know other parents that would have liked to defer but couldn’t afford to.
Everyone I speak to says they know plenty of parents who wish they had deferred their children but none that regret deferring their children and that certainly has been my experience.