Monday, August 26, 2013

First Grade

I realised after reading my Texas sis-in-law's blog that I never really wrote about Fifi's first day. I wrote about Lolly's first day of homeschooling, but at the time of that writing, Fi was still at school... so I didn't know how her first day had gone.

Fifi has now completed a full first week of First Grade.

What follows will potentially sound like a big bag of whinyface mixed in with excessive annoying parent-pride, but hear me out.

In Scotland, the kids start school between ages 4.5 to 5. Because of where Fifi's birthday falls, she started when she was 4.5, a year earlier than she would've started school in America. By the time we'd moved here, she had completed P1 and P2, the equivalent of Kindergarten and First Grade. Yet because of her age, the schools here placed her back in First Grade. Scott and I were really not sure about this move, though we approved of her being with her own age group. I spoke to her teacher at the Open House about Fifi's situation (repeating First Grade) and spoke also the Principal and Vice-Principal. Everyone agreed that following beginning-of-term assessments, they would review where Fifi should be placed.

On Friday, Fi brought home her class work for the week. I was a little bit upset. It was just as I thought. She was back to practicing how to write her numbers... counting to ten...

I know it was only the first week. But I also know that if this is the review level for first grade, well, I'm not trying to say my daughter is incredibly clever (though, of course, you know, she's a genius, obviously) but seriously, she has already completed this grade level. She was going into P3, or Second Grade, in Scotland.

I feel torn. I think Scott and I both do. Do we keep her in with her age group and allow her to have an easy year? Or do we push to have her moved to Second Grade? Will keeping her in First result in her being bored, unchallenged and potentially hating school and/or becoming a class room menace? (She already comes home with stories of how she 'helped so-and-so with his maths and so-and-so did very good with her reading, she didn't even have to ask me for help', which makes me think she's already turning into Miss Bossypants.) But will moving her to Second Grade result in her being a bit intimidated by the older children and at the end of the day, graduating high school before she turns 18?

I have gotten conflicting advice from everyone. I don't know what to do, except give it another few weeks then make another appointment with the teacher or the Principal. The teacher is very young, presumably not long out of college, which isn't a bad thing necessarily, but will she know how to challenge the kids who need challenged while giving the appropriate support to the ones who are behind, or - the most unfortunate of all - those who are working to the average? I suppose that could be a topic all on its own.

Anyway, academics aside, Fifi IS adjusting to her new school beautifully. She's making friends with the kids in her class. She likes her teacher. She loves the library and the playground. She doesn't so much like the walk to school in the heat, but that's something we're all adjusting to!

And school aside, she starts football - erm, I mean soccer - tomorrow and Girl Scouts next week. I'd say she is really enjoying her new life.

We all are. :)


  1. We lived in NY when our kids started school, and the birthday cut off there was December 1. My girls, being born in October, both started school when they were still 4. Ages don't run the same, even across the US.

    I don't want to tell you what to do, because I don't know Fiona. But I'd say that if she is a confident and happy child, I would not be afraid to consider putting her up a grade. I think that the fact that she has had two years of school is more significant than her age, that she would be more on par with other children who have had the same number of years of school than with children who are her age.

    My youngest has his birthday on August 27 (tomorrow). I dropped him off at college over a week ago, and he will turn 18 without me. It's rough, and you always second guess whether you did the right thing. But man, I feel for Fiona, thinking of the boredom of doing nothing new for an entire year...

  2. Ugh, I just wrote a big long comment to you, Ruth, and my phone deleted it. The gist was... Thanks for your advice, it helps!

  3. my first question would be what does Fiona think? Just a thought.


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