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Can you be my sounding board? (Re: Kindy) - Page 2

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by karanyavel View Post
I've found that the mandatory attendance age in MD appears to be whatever school year your child will turn 5 in!
And yet, if you tried to actually enroll your 4 year old with an April birthday in their system they'd refuse. Certainly hope someone in that state is working to get the wording of the law changed to be sane.
post #22 of 24
I haven't had time yet to read through all the responses, but since you're asking from close to a Waldorf perspective, I'll go ahead and offer my own ideas that fall kind of within that territory.

My own child went to Waldorf kindergarten for two years, because he was not quite 5 when he began, and they like to do two years in those cases. It was wonderful to have that time for imaginative free play along with all the other things they did. I felt their avoidance of exposing them to sight of the written word was obsessive, though. I personally think keeping them from the written word is as obsessive as it can be to go out of one's way to introduce and teach the written word at those early ages. But exposing them to the written word in a perfectly natural way is different from starting to teach them to use it.

I'm all for exposing them to lots of interesting things to learn about, though! My child, for instance, used to peek into the high school area's science room and was dying to have test tubes and experiments in his kindergarten (and he did have some in 1st grade, at age 7, in a different little private school based on unit studies). He loved learning about anything having to do with science, and he also loved stretching his imagination and body to the max in imaginative play - but I see all that as interconnected. And Einstein said, "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”

The thing is, though, that I personally don't see teaching letters and arithmetic in those early years as particularly useful - all that can so easily be learned in no time when a child is a little older and has some real use for it. I think those are things that draw a child into a little different way of thinking, and there's obviously nothing wrong with that way of thinking at some point, but I just think they're not particularly appropriate skills for that age. I would never ever dream of withholding them from a child who was particularly interested in them, but I just hate to see so much value and attention placed on them by so many parents - as if they're the core and measurement of learning. Reading and writing are wonderful and necessary, but I just don't think there's anything at all special about them at early ages as compared to all the other wonderful things a child can be learning about and thriving from. A lot of children struggle needlessly with them so young, while your child seems to find them easy - but I don't see that as an indicator that it's time to start formally or even informally teaching them so much as just an indicator that they'll be coming in pretty naturally and easily as the time comes when there's more need for them.

I came to ask myself as we went along what my purpose was in wanting to introduce certain things at certain times, and came to realize that a lot of it really had to do with the influence of school traditions and my own needs. I think the best guide is your own child and what she's drawn to - in the brief skimming I had time for just now, I saw a few people comment on the advisability of letting a child gradually take in something on her own, and I found that to be very effective. Not only is it effective, but it's empowering - it lets her be her own teacher, which is something that will give her the realization that she can learn anything on her own in her own way as she grows up and goes on into adult life. The more of that she has, the deeper her learning and her experience of what learning is.

Time to cut the ramble and run off to an appointment. Lillian
post #23 of 24
Waldorf is written with the idea of the classroom in mind. This means, as a group, the children would only be expected to be learning those things at an older age. However, you are homeschooling. Therefore, you should do what the individual child is ready for. If she is already doing these things and wanting and ready to move on to what is next, then move on.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
Waldorf is written with the idea of the classroom in mind. This means, as a group, the children would only be expected to be learning those things at an older age. However, you are homeschooling. Therefore, you should do what the individual child is ready for. If she is already doing these things and wanting and ready to move on to what is next, then move on.
Actually, having been in the system for a while, and doing my own reading on it, I found that their ideas of when things should be presented specifically have to do with their spiritual view of human development - they're trying to provide an appropriate setting and nurturing for a certain alignment of body and spirit, and they see the coming in of the teeth as a visible sign of readiness to move into a different realm of learning and activities. I'm not arguing against the idea of moving on - just saying that the Waldorf view has a very different concern than those most of us here have in mind. But there's no reason why one can't take from that system things that feel right for them - I loved some of the math and writing methods, for instance, and used some of those when we began homeschooling, but gradually felt there simply wasn't a need for so much teaching and orchestration, because my son learned so readily without all that. Lillian
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