I’m a real newbie so please bear with me! I live in the UK where I know the grade systems are slightly different to the US as children here tend to start school a year earlier at age 4.
We’ve been considering homeschooling since my eldest was a baby but earlier this year thought we’d go the traditional school route so started sending my 3 y.o. daughter to a couple mornings of a very play based preschool in preparation for school.
The thing is now that I’m having to register her for school next fall I’m having second thoughts – I mean she is 3 years old!! – and will be much closer to 4 than 5 when she starts Reception (Kindergarten).
Delaying academics is one of the reasons I have always been drawn to homeschooling and particularly the CM method but now she is in preschool I’m not sure what to do as next fall when she is due to start school here in the UK she would still be 4 and the equivalent of preschool in the US. I’m not sure how to translate this into the curriculum guides here? I guess I just continue with the early years until she turns 6 and forget about the fact that here in the UK she is no longer considered a preschooler?
And when it says start academics at 6 do I start the Grade 1 curriculum in the academic year that she turns 6 or the academic year when she is already 6? If that even makes sense!?
Any other Brits dealt with these questions of translating the grades? Anyone got any suggestions of when to start the academics?
You can begin the academic year when she turns 5 or 6. But it will depend on the curriculum, or book choices, to determine if you’ll use a Kindergarten version or a Grade 1 version or a combination of the two 🙂
I would do “preschool” until she is 5, then reevaluate at the time if she is ready for “kindergarten” material.
Honestly, you’ll just have to try out books, lessons, etc., to gauge your daughter on whether or not she is ready for Grade 1 material at 6.
My youngest is/was a s.l.o.w. reader (he’s getting so much better!), so although he could comprehend material above his “grade” level or “reading” level, he could not read most of what was geared for his grade/age on his own. So don’t be surprised if you’re using material that is way above what is considered her grade/age level and some material that is somewhat below. We use a combination of a lot of different “levels.”
I hope that helps at least a little.
Thank you my3boys. I guess I just need to get my head around the flexibility of it all! The idea of doing “preschool” until age 5 and then reviewing seems like a good plan to me. I think I’m just going to try and forget about the age difference of the UK school system and follow the US grades as there is more resources and support out there for that and it isn’t too different really anyway – basically children start Grade 1 in the US when they are 6 whereas here in the UK they turn 6 within that year. After reviewing at age 5 I can just introduce plan to introduce academics to her as and when she is ready at some point during Grade 1 when she is closer to 6.Renee GouldParticipant
One of the hurdles of homeschooling mindset is grade vs age. Grade levels for certain ages are so engrained in our systems (Countries might be different, but there still is that ‘institutional age’ criteria). I had my now 7 year old enrolled in a private Christian school for 3 years! Ha! When he was 4,5 and 6. Every time I walked out of that building, I had this ‘feeling’ I wasn’t going to send him there. I had considered homeschooling, but was ‘on the fence’. God hadn’t finished ‘nudging’ me yet.:-)
One of the many motivating factors for me was having my kids spend time together, get to know eachother, play etc…before they were in school all day. Well, I had my surprise 3rd and was like, I can’t send him now. I kept getting pregnant and wanted them all to be together as much as possible! I didn’t want to send them away at 3 and 4 years old. To me, this is a normal feeling. For our children to be away half the week and then the whole week, seemed crazy to me after I had kids. (No matter what age, until they were ready to leave the nest.)
I knew I was going to send them to school as late as possible. I wasn’t Charlotte Mason educated at that time, but something in my being told me that school could wait. I could be teaching them stuff and not have them enrolled in school. We moms teach all the time, right?
Fast forward to 3 years later and we have been home schooling for two years now. (Well, all of us moms have been homeschooling since birth.:-) At our church they group kids according to grade level. My oldest is with all the 1st graders and technically he should be with 2nd graders if you use his age. He constantly gets asked what grade he is in. When he tells his age, they are like, “Why aren’t you in second?”
To be honest, you know your children better than any school system. Homeschooling takes you enough ‘off the grid from everyone else’ that you get used to not ‘matching’ normal culture.
If you choose homeschooling; the beautiful thing is, you get to choose when they are ready. (Well, I am not sure about the laws in the UK..but, within the laws you get to put together your children’s schooling.) You no longer have to be within confines of what everyone else is doing. Except follow the laws. It is amazingly freeing!
Trust your guts and choose a path you want to take ‘curriculum’ wise. It is a hard thing to step out of the ‘norm’ and take the road less traveled. Then is hard to find your stride among what ‘everyone’ else is doing.
Having a pretty clear path, conviction in what you are doing, and faith in the process of home schooling make it a much easier transition from institutionalized school vs home.
Hope this helps!
@IslandMama, yes, it is flexible 🙂
If it helps, you could look at amblesideonline.org, just for an easy looksy at years that are meant only to be “years” not grade levels. I’ll share what we are doing.
My oldest, who is a senior, is using their Y12 and it’s a good fit for him. My second oldest is using their Y7 although he is technically a 9th grader/14yo. And then the baby is using their Y3. He would be in 6th grade if he were in public school. Ambleside’s years are fairly challenging, so I chose their years on their current abilities, plus some challenges. Much like other curriculum, Math is a “choose your own program” so that subject is based on their skill levels and with the program we are using there are no grade levels. There are levels, but not a “grade #” attached…actually, I think there are several math programs out there like that. Anyway, you can use grade level material for a comparison (you have to start somewhere) but ultimately your daughter will direct where she’ll be grade-wise. If she a genius, well, then you could probably skip preschool. 🙂 If she struggles with a certain subject, then you can choose material to meet her where she is and then go from there.
Also that uneasiness about deciding to homeschool is common. When my oldest was about the age to start Kindergarten, I was a total wreck… we knew we were going tohomeschool, but I would see the K open houses, and the signs to register, and I’d second guess myself. Again when he was age to start grade 1…. and even when he was ready to start grade 2 and my next was K age. But each year that uneasiness was less and less.
(Well, until this year…. my oldest is almost high school age…. and homeschooling high school is our plan…. but it all those fears are raging.)
That is wonderful advice, @gouldfamily5 Here in the UK we have a similar freedom around choosing how we school them at home although I believe the senior years are a little more complicated as the Colleges here like them to have sat the school exams. Like you say I just need to stick with my gut and have faith in the homeschool process!
@my3boys I was looking at Ambleside Online last night and thinking of it as Years rather than Grades does actually help. Hopefully once I start and ease into those Early Years I’ll gain the confidence to just add in the academics as and when she is ready without worrying about grade level.
@suzukimom it is wonderfully reassuring to hear that the uneasiness is common! Both my heart and head tell me homeschooling would be a wonderful thing for us as a family and my girls individually but nevertheless the uneasiness is there as we make this step and from time to time doubts set in. I think for me this mainly comes from outside pressures and comments (interrogations!) that I am not yet used too but hopefully in time I’ll be able to rise above them more easily.
Thank you all for your wonderfully help and encouragement! 🙂Renee GouldParticipant
One of the things you will hear a lot of home school moms say is, take it one year at a time. Especially, when you are starting out. That undeniable ‘nudge’ as I call it; I believe the Holy Spirit:-), gives you the strength to ‘do it’.
You will be amazed, as you get your stride, how your confidence builds and you start ‘feeling’ it all come together. Yes, there are hard days. Yes, sometimes you think, “what am I doing, am I capable?” BUT, that original gut feeling you have gets you through. And wonderful support groups like this SCM group. You will hear all the challenges, break downs, celebrations, break throughs, suggestions, questions etc…from this group alone.
Yes, there will be nay sayers! I even have them in my family! Obviously, the conviction and trust that I am doing the right thing for my family trumps all that. For me, it was a 3 year process of reading, talking, praying and more praying..to get to the point of ‘taking the leap’. It is not for the faint of heart.:-) You are ‘going through the process’ I think we all have been through when stepping out on this home school journey.
It is great you get the freedom in the UK to choose your schooling for your children. So, if you are feeling strongly you want to do it, then take it one year at a time. (Or even one month) I never dreamed I would consider high school, when I started this. Now I can not see me not doing it. So, things change as you move along. Maybe God will re-direct me in the future. For now, I choose to listen and continue to ‘take the leap’.:-)
I will pray that you see the clear direction for your family!
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