Family Life

My “big school” dilemma

I accidentally stumbled upon worklifemom’s blog and the first post I read resonated so well with me. Oh My Gawd! Someone else is getting what I’ve been saying for the last couple of months.

Let me fill you in real quick.

Last year, a friend of mine (she works at a school), called me to ask if I had enrolled Jody for grade R for this year (2018). I hadn’t because I was under the impression that he’s supposed to start school in 2019.

Jody was born on 23 December 2012 and according to the Western Cape Educational Services, 2018 is the year he needs to start grade R. I didn’t agree and I still don’t.

This year when applications for Grade R for 2019 opened, I was ready to collect all the forms which will hopefully secure a place in Grade R next year. I was wrong. All 3 schools I applied to told me that Jody needed to be in Grade R this year and all of them gave me an application for Grade 1.

I was so frustrated because the more I tried to tell them why he needs to start Grade R next year, the more they told me that according to the rules, I am wrong and they are right. Blah, blah, blah!

After a week of back and forth to the various schools and the WCES, I gave up and sent the forms in for Grade 1.

This is my reasoning:

  • The child who turns 7 in January, February or March, is basically an entire year older than Jody but will be tested and evaluated on the same level as him.
  • While most of Jody’s classmates will be 7 when they’re Grade 1, he will be 6 for the entire school year.
  • Jody will be practically the same age as a child born a  week or even a month after him – who is also expected to start school a whole year later than him.

I would rather have had him start school a year later than him having to be kept behind in a higher grade where he’ll have to say goodbye to friends or even feel embarrassed about it. Not that I feel it would happen but what if his teacher comes up to me in the middle of the year telling me he’s not coping or that they’ll be keeping him behind another year? What do I do then? There’s absolutely nothing I would be able to do.

I can remember back in the day, when school was still fun and when we weren’t bombarded with so much homework, that those whose birthdays are before June starts school the one year and those after June, the following year.

For now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that he gets accepted and all goes well from there onward.

Did you experience any issues when you enrolled your child for Grade R? What are your views on the matter? I would love to hear your thoughts.



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