My youngest ds has a late birthday (August 20) but met the cut-off for enrollment in Kindergarten this year, so I considered this his K year. He has definitely learned a lot this year, but not nearly what I hoped! He is not very interested in anything “schoolish” and resists doing very much seat work. He enjoys listening to stories and is very bright, but he still really wants to play a lot, and I let him more often than not because I have a ds in 9th grade whose work level was very demanding, and another ds in 7th grade who has some learning issues. With that as background, I am starting to think about next year and I am not sure what to do. Because we did not get as far as I had hoped this year, I was thinking of trying to use a more “boxed” or preplanned curriculum that would keep me more on track so that I don’t let him always get the short end of the stick. But when I look at, for example, MFW 1st grade, I am not sure he is prepared for that. I have a hard time with the idea of repeating kindergarten, only for what I know are superficial reasons. And really, the title or name we give to a grade is arbitrary–it is the material that matters, right? So what would you do? Any one else in a similar position? I would love to hear your insights!
Well, I’ll just share that my 7YO still likes to spend 2-3 hours/day playing outside – which I think is necessary and GOOD, especially for boys (in my experience).
I assume your DS is still 5, and will, be six in August? My DD will be 5 in May and is not ready for formal academics yet. I am not sure she will be in the fall, either, but I plan to follow the Early Years Guide at least loosely for her.
In my opinion, buying a boxed curriculum for a 5YO or a 6YO is a waste of money. All you need is some good books, some simple math (a program or just games and living math), and a way to teach beginning reading. Usually a local library can provide the bulk of that!
Oh, and I agree, the grade number is arbitrary. Just let him work at his own level!ShannonParticipant
I also say to not worry about what grade level he is in. Meet him where he is and if it were me, I’d try not to claim this coming year as K OR 1st. Maybe by the end of next year you can tell if he fits one grade level better than another, but I can’t see why it matters at this age. If you want to buy curriculum, buy whatever fits what he knows and don’t worry if it says K on the box. Is you youngest even registered with the state at his age? I’d say focus your academic attention on your older children, read a lot to your little one, follow him in his learning where he wants to go, but don’t push it. Five and six are too young (in my opinion) to bother with ‘school’. In other words, I fully agree with jawgee above – lots of sunshine and you reading wonderful books. Have fun!LindseyDParticipant
As someone who started her children way too early in formal lessons, my advice would be for you to wait at least another few months before beginning “school”. If he is not yet six, his time (and yours) is better spent outside playing and exploring, reading good books on the couch, playing with blocks, cars, and wooden trains, and developing his attention span and habit of obedience. If he is not even interested in school things, your efforts would be lost if you tried to force or coerce him into sit-down lessons with reading, writing, and math. Believe me, he will become interested, especially if you don’t push. Don’t worry about grade level or what age he needs to be in Kindergarten or 1st grade. It won’t matter in the long run.
I know it’s hard to accept that you might be jumping the gun a little, but take it from some of us who have a few years under our belts. 😉 Repeating Kindergarten or even delaying school altogether for another year does not make you a failure as a homeschooling mother. It means you are wise enough to watch your child’s cues about when he is ready to begin schooling. One of the greatest lessons I have learned as a mother so far is that LATER IS USUALLY BETTER when it comes to my children learning certain things or developing certain skills.
Both of my children were 3 1/2 before they were potty trained, but when we started, it was done within a matter of days. Both of my children (now almost 8 and 9) only recently learned to tie their shoes, but learned in less than five minutes. I waited until my son was 8 before introducing him to cursive, and now he writes beautifully and caught on to it very quickly and easily. My daughter tried to get me to slow down when I taught her to read. She wasn’t ready, but I pushed. She was miserable, I was frustrated, and we ended up starting over three times before she got it; and that was with months of breaks in between. I promise you that you’ll be glad two or three years from now if you’ll wait.
As far as wanting to buy a boxed curriculum, I couldn’t agree w/ jawgee more. If you’re going to spend upwards of $300+ on something for homeschooling, go out and buy Eric Carle books, Robert McCloskey books, Arnold Lobel books, Tomie dePaola books, and titles like Little Bear, Stellaluna, Goodnight Moon, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Stan the Hot Dog Man, Amelia Bedelia, and more. Oh, what I would give to re-spend some of the money I foolishly spent early on on materials that were not used to their full capacity because my children weren’t ready!
Enjoy this precious time while you can. It will be gone so soon!
My oldest will be turning 6 in June. I think there’s wisdom to be gleaned from the previous comments for sure. I started teaching my daughter to read when she was 4.5 or so, I would have waited but she really wanted to. In the beginning, I found myself getting frustrated because she wasn’t getting it so we just took it much slower and I relaxed my expectations. So glad I did. She reads quite well now and loves it. I haven’t done anything formal with her besides that yet, and I’m glad. She loves me reading to her so I read the Bible (Catherine Vos’ Child’s Story Bible…which she very much looks forward to), so we’ve been doing that for over a year now. Plus, reading good books together. She has her own calendar where she marks off the days, puts family member’s birthdays/holidays. Sometimes we’ll do some practical math like when we’re cooking (I need this many cups, I put one in, how many more kind of thing). Other than that and exploring natural things we find outside like bird’s nests, insects, etc. I don’t think anything else is necessary and maybe even hindering especially if one is working on instilling good habits with them and teaching them to have some household responsibilities. That seems like a full plate for a little one! I hope that is taken encouragingly, sometimes we as moms think we have to do it all right now and set our expectations high then we just get frustrated. Since I have to register with our state this year, I will have more of a plan but I want to still keep it light and fun. I looked at MFW at one point, briefly, but decided it was too much money and it didn’t fit us, I like to pick and choose. I’d rather spend my money on particular books that we would really enjoy and of course use the library as much as possible. As mothers, we know our children and what they are ready or not ready for.SharonMember
l would say that this year was Jr. Kindy and do next year as offical Kindergarten – if he ends up by the end of the year doing more 1st grade work it will just put him ahead for first grade.
My daughter turned 5 in Oct so she missed the cut off for kindergarten and we called this year her Jr. K year. I am glad that next year is just her K year as I think of testing in 2nd grade I would rather have her be older than be younger.
Better to keep him where he is at right now then jump him ahead. Most children make huge leaps between 6 and 7 but in my opinion that puts him at a better place for 1st grade next year than it does having him do 1st grade this year.HollySParticipant
I have a DD with a July b-day. I pretty much consider her a grade “behind” where she would be. I also have a son with a November b-day, but I almost consider him a grade “ahead” of where the school would have placed him. I try to place them in materials that are appropriate for their abilities, even if that means they are in a different grade than they would be in public school. I also have them in different levels for each subject. My DD is ahead for reading level, so she reads more difficult books. DS struggles with writing, so I have him a bit behind with the writing. I think the key is to place them where they need to be for each subject…even if they are doing the work of different grades for each subject.
I have a K’er this year as well (she turned 6 last winter). We’ve been doing phonics, basic math (lots of manipulatives), and a bit of copywork. In addition, she joins in with siblings on some of the readings and most of the activities (art, experiments, handicrafts, picture study, etc.). For 1st, I’ll probably just have her join in a bit more and spend a bit more time on narration…everything else will be the same. I am planning on using MUS Alpha, so our math lessons wiill be just a bit more formal. I don’t think there needs to be a huge jump between 1st and K.
I don’t think a boxed program is necessary. I am using one with my 3yo to keep me more consistent (HOD’s LHTH), but we often skip more of the school-ish lessons. With my K’er, we’ve been using some of the FIAR books (she also joins in on some of her little sister’s lessons). It does help them feel a bit more included, and both programs are pretty laid back, with very little writing. MFW seems more heavy on the phonics and two of my DC haven’t been ready to read until around age 6…my DS was reading very well at 4. I think there is a huge jump in reading readiness at those ages! I haven’t actually used MFW, so maybe it isn’t as phonics intense as I’m thinking.
By purchasing a boxed program, there can be a tendency to push him to finish the lesson, even if he’s already lost interest. You might be better off gathering some materials and creating your own informal lessons…and stopping in the middle of the lesson if he needs to. I’ve had regrets about purchasing a phonics workbook for my DD, even though she loves it. I constantly remind myself that it’s okay to stop after 1/2 worksheet if she’s tired of writing.amcampbell4Participant
Thanks for all the comments and ideas! Sometimes you know these things in your heart, but the world’s ways still sneak their way into your thoughts! I will continue to move at my son’s pace and focus on nurturing a love of learning, rather than the need to “keep up” with what others are doing.
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