You know in your heart if it is best to retain your child or not. More than likely you knew halfway through his or her school year. I am only able to say this because I have experienced this with my son: age 8 and retained in the first grade this year.
Child are retained in school for many different reasons, from maturity level to knowledge level. If it is suggested that your child be retained, you need to make the best decision for the child regardless of how you personally feel about it. That is what I had to do for my son. It was very difficult, but the decision was made.
There were many reasons why I did not want to retain my son.
1. Feeling different. I was very worried that my son would feel different than everyone else.
2. Not being with friends. My son made some very good friends and I hated that he would have to start all over again.
3. A waste of time. I thought that he just had to know enough to move on to the next grade and repeating a grade would just be a waste of his time.
4. Disbelief. I just did not believe that this was happening to MY child; no way did my child not learn enough to move on.
After looking at my reasons above, it was clear that I was not thinking about his future. I wanted my son to have the best education and succeed in life after he completed school. During the first couple of years in school, a child learns the most basic concepts about all subjects. My son was excelling in Math but was not advancing in Reading. I began to think how was he going to be able to move on to the next grade without a good foundation. You can not add on to a foundation when the foundation is not there.
Reasons why I changed my mind and decided to retain my child
1. A good foundation. My son needed to learn the foundation of reading. Moving him on would only set him up for failure.
2. The advice of professionals. I strongly believe that not all professionals are correct in their judgement but have a very good idea as to what they are talking about. Not just one teacher believed my son should be retained, but all his teachers did.
3. Personality. I knew that my son was well-liked and made friends easily; he would be just fine making new friends.
4. Talking to teachers. I decided that I needed to know how a teacher treated a child who is being retained. I went to the teacher he would have the following year and found out exactly her thoughts on the situation.
5. Talked with my son. After talking with my son about his retention, he was OK with it. He was a bit disappointed and realized his friends would move on but after I told him that he just did not know enough to go to the next grade and that it would just be too hard, he understands better. I told him that I did not want him to move on and be lost because he did not know the basics.
Ultimately, in a school system, the decision to retain a child is left in the hands of the parents. I strongly believe that the child’s future and best interest has to be placed first in the decision and not the feelings of the ones who are making the decision.