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when to start kindergarten

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

First of all I'm new here so please excuse the lack of abbreviations I'm still trying to figure it all out... Anyways on to my point.  My little one doesn't turn 5 until shorty after the new year so technically not the age to start school yet as far as the age requirements go for schools. But I am planning to homeschool and I feel that we may be ready to start kindergarten this fall. So to my fellow homeschoolers I'm just wondering how you knew when to start?

post #2 of 18
My DS's (dear son's) birthday is in December, but he was definitely needing more activities this past year. I had been working with him on all kinds of stuff in prior years, so I just ramped it up this past year. He'd been reading already and we'd been doing fun math stuff with him already. Last fall, I thought he could handle the K-level curriculum that we chose (it's books-based anyway). Turns out he loved it and he was ready for it. Of course, my DS loves learning new facts, so he ate it all up. Anyway, if you are doing a preformed curriculum of any kind, you just have to make sure your child has the maturity level to handle the content (the reading material, in our case). Also consider the motor skills that will be needed for any crafts, writing, etc. You may have to help your child do some stuff if the motor skills aren't there yet. When looking at curriculum, try to look at samples and scope, to see if you think your child could do it. As far as the state is concerned all our homeschooling was totally unreported as he was technically too young, so I feel like I got a year to test the waters before having to be official.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you! So did you officially start the kinder curriculum before your LO turned 5? My LO is definitely interested in learning. Know all the letter of the alphabet, number, know how to write their name ect. I think we might be ready!?

post #4 of 18

There's readiness, and then there's readiness. 


There's intellectual readiness for stuff like learning to read and do arithmetic. Then there's the emotional readiness for adult-directed goal-oriented learning work. Sometimes they both click at age 6, sometimes at age 5 or even 4, sometimes neither clicks until 8. But most often a child become intellectually ready for early academic learning at a younger age than he or she becomes emotionally ready for school-like structure. 


That's why for years kindergarten was about play and exposure, not deskwork and achievement markers. That's why some of the highest-achieving school systems in the world, like those in Scandinavia, start academic schooling a year or two or three later than is typical in North America.


All of which is to say that your little guy is no doubt ready to learn but he may not yet be ready for the structure of a formal curriculum. You likely won't know unless you try it, but try it gently at first. Start with one or two strands and see how he's responding after a couple of weeks. If he's thriving, offer a bit more. If at any point he seems to be losing interest, and you feel like you're having to prod and cajole to keep him engaged, back off the formal stuff and move instead to a more organic, free-form, play-based approach to learning. Try again in 3 months. You may be surprised: a lot of maturity can take hold in 3 months, but a lot of learning often happens in the same space of time despite the absence of "schooling." I often find that when I set aside something because my kid doesn't seem ready for it, when we come back to it after a break, they've already learned it. How? Hard to say. When they're ready for the learning, they seem to absorb it with breathless efficiency just from the world around them.


My kids used no curriculum at all until the 2nd grade level, because during the time they were blowing through KG and 1st grade level learning their intellectual readiness far exceeded their emotional readiness for other-directed structure. Even at a 2nd grade level we only used a small bit of curriculum, gradually introducing more over the next 3 or 4 years as they seemed eager for it. So if you discover that your little guy is only ready for a little "schooling" next year that doesn't necessarily mean he won't knock back the entire set of KG milestones anyway.


As to whether we "officially started KG before 5," I really can't say. In one way, yes. My kids were all at a solid 1st or 2nd grade level by age 5.5, so they mastered the typical KG learning outcomes at age 3/4/5. And where we live my late-fall-birthday kids were only 4.75 the year they were officially registered as KG'ers with the government. But we didn't do any KG curriculum, not at age 4.75, not at age 5, not ever. So in another way, no, we didn't officially start KG before age 5. 


If you are the sort who wishes to use a curriculum at this level, start gently. Use your child's enjoyment and engagement as a guide as to whether to do more or less of the curriculum. Play it by ear. He'll tell you how much is right for him if you observe carefully for his giggles, his sighs, his focus or his wandering attention. And enjoy! Truly, enjoy!



post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much that was very helpful. A little more background. All along I have been very purposeful about teaching things in a hands on way. And I feel like my LO has always been very verbal and a bit advanced for her age. So over the last year I started picking up some worksheet type books from the dollar store and target just to test the waters. And she loves them. She is so excited to "do school"! She is eager to learn and really thrives. I don't want to put to much pressure on her though if she is not ready. But also if she is ready and excels I would like to encourage that. I guess like you said we'll just have to give it a shot. 

post #6 of 18

I don't think you have to jump into a "full curriculum."  With my kids, when my DD was just short of K age (they cutoff on Sept 1 here, and she has an October birthday), we started formal lessons.  This was just the kids (also DS who was an older 3) doing a 100 Easy Lessons reading lesson with me.  I don't remember well but they might have had some other small requirement, such as ... OK I can't remember.  I do think sometimes I would let them substitute a reading skills computer program for doing it with me.  DD also went to choir, and many hours of dance and gymnastics that year, and other activities.  She is also very tall.  So we called that her Kindergarten year.  And yes I did go mainly on height LOL since the point of the label at that time was to fit in.  


But I think my main point here is that you don't have to jump into a full-on curriculum the minute you "start homeschooling".  What we have done is go year round and ramp up gradually.  But K is not particularly ... you don't have to ... even if you aren't an unschooler at heart, honestly the skills of K are going to be  mastered by the end of K if you only teach reading and engage in basic household mathematics and don't shut them up in a closet.  Of course these days the K kids write quite a bit so if you plan to enroll in a typical school for 1st you would want to do that. 


And you can call this year K if you want, whether you follow her lead with the workbooks or yours or a combination of both.



post #7 of 18
Originally Posted by mamatalks View Post

Thank you! So did you officially start the kinder curriculum before your LO turned 5? My LO is definitely interested in learning. Know all the letter of the alphabet, number, know how to write their name ect. I think we might be ready!?

Yes, we started an official curriculum in the fall before he turned 5 in December. But I had been working with him for years before that, just slowly ramping up activities as he could handle them. There's nothing magical about turning age 5. Just depends on what your little one (LO) is ready for.

What I found with the workbooks (we did them prior to this past year) was that he was interested for awhile, but eventually got tired of them. The books-based stuff is more interactive with me, and he really likes that aspect of the formal curriculum we used this year. He still occasionally is in the mood for a worksheet type of thing, but he's not so obsessed with them as he was at first. So we still have them and I only offer them when he asks for them, or if he pulls them off the shelf himself.

I agree with pigpokey. You don't have to go all-out on curriculum. The ramping up gradually approach seems to have worked for them, too.

You may want to put some research and thought into what type of curriculum you'd like to work towards, what would be best for both her and you. Books-based, unit-study, classical, unschooling, etc.
post #8 of 18

We're starting Kindy for our son later this summer when he turns 7. We originally planned to start at 6, giving him that extra year to "catch up" (he's autistic/communication delayed) - but it ended up being a difficult year for us (although not really for him, thankfully). I think he's ready now. :)

post #9 of 18

the thing with homeschooling is the ability to do the work they are READY for not the work they are of 'age for' Once your child completes the skills it's time to advance her regardless of her age. :)

post #10 of 18

I always wanted to home school, but as soon as my son could point he pointed at school buses and schools and said, "Me!"


I reluctantly sent him to preschool ( 2 days 2  1/2 hours) he loved it and wanted more. I sent him to 1/2 day kindergarten, M-F and he thrived! He wanted to go to first grade.


I think he thought that in 1st grade he would get to use the playground- and that is why he did it.
Once he started full days, all creative play and activities/ reading stopped. He was tired all of the time.  I had to fight with him to do his homework. He learned things fast and was bored with the constant repetition. When I spoke with the teachers about it they said that no one could be treated differently, that he had to work along with everyone else. Th eteacher confided in me that they were just teaching to test at he end of the week and that she had to follow that curriculum.


He also started saying mean things to his sister that I have never heard before , he would say, " I don't want to sit next to HER." and other mean things. I couldn't help but be sad- that someone had probably said that to him.  :(


One day I was complaining with my husband about all of the homework, I said, " I don't even believe in homework, how can  make him do it?"

And my husband said, "Why don't we just pull him out?"

I asked my son if he wanted to be pulled, and he said, "Yes!"


I don't regret sending him to school, he learned that that atmosphere was not for him and now he loves and appreciates being homeschooled.


I suggest that you hang out with other homeschoolers- and may be try to go to a homeschool convention. You can meet lots of homeschoolers on yahoo- groups!! Good luck!

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

yaboobarb thanks for you POV. My daughter is constantly talking about going to school but we have had lots of talks about homeschooling and she seems totally on board about it now. I feel like if we put her in school we'd have the same experience. And what you said about your son being ready to excel but the teacher not giving him special treatment that is one of the big reasons that I want to homeschool. I want to give my children the chance to excel at their own pace and not have to fit the mold of what the school thinks they need to be. Great post! Thanks! 

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

So a little update... I was under the impression that by law we had to have our little ones registered from kindy but then I did some more research and realized that we don't! So the pressure has been lifted on the time table I thought I was under. I'm so excited to do more research and start on our homeschooling journey! I have lots to learn and all advice is welcomed! winky.gif

post #13 of 18

I am pretty new to homeschooling.  I just started this past year, so I now have a year under my belt.  It has been quite an adventure, as I pulled all of my school age kids from public school, and began homeschooling.  I had done tons of research but yet, still didn't have a clue as to what I was doing.  I did buy a Faith based curriculum.  I really felt like I needed that because I had no idea of what to teach.  The good thing about a curriculum is that it does give you some sort of direction as to what to try to teach.  If your child isn't ready, you can simply skip it and go back to it later, if you want to.  That's what I have done w/ my Kindergartener.  One of the things I have learned, in my limited time of homeschooling, is that if you and your child are becoming frustrated, skip it for now.  Often times, when you revisit it at a later time, it will just all of a sudden click.  So I do what she can handle and understand, and will revisit other things later.



post #14 of 18

I would definitely go for it! Kids are all different and if he's ready there's no reason to put it off another year! My daughter will be 3 in August and we're planning this year because I know she's ready. Obviously, we're starting slow since she's little, but I'm planning on doing a literature based curriculum (Sonlight) and we'll be reading lots of little books this year, starting phonics and doing crafts! Good luck with your son!

post #15 of 18

We actually started when she was born,more or less.Teaching and learning occur at all times,so keep that in mind.Started for real when in Kinder garden,had to fill out forms and turn in to school system.You should notice when your child is ready to learn individual things,what they are most into at the moment.Of course there are things they may not be into that they need to learn,so that just a guide of sorts.But the brain forms according to what the child experiences while growing up,so like I said.we taught from birth,pretty much.You just have to use your intellect to figure out how to word things so your child will get it.That also teaches the child how to figure out how to word things to be understood.How to communicate.With all that,she was tested to have an IQ of 189.Pretty good I guess.Good luck and use your intellect to know how to teach YOUR child who is a part of YOU!It's so good for bonding,also!

post #16 of 18

We started K the year before the public school would have accepted DD. I knew she was ready. She was extremely verbal, knew all the preschool stuff, and was starting to read. She was/is very tall for her age as well, so people were already asking her about school.


The side benefits of starting a year early were giving me more confidence, convincing skeptical friends and family that we were doing fine, and giving DD a sense of accomplishment to ease the transitition when her friends all went off to K the following year. She didn't feel left out because she already finished K.


Have fun!

post #17 of 18

I have two very close in age...5 and 6. Their stories are as different as light and day. My daughter was NOT ready to do K at "the right age." It was an absolute total failure. My son, on the other hand, was doing K/1st work with her when he was still "preschool" age.


I think you need to look at your child, developmentally. I noticed my "not ready" child could not easily draw pictures (say, a stick figure or something beyond scribbles) at 5. The younger one (who is ahead) could easily draw pictures we could recognize. Same thing with coloring and cutting-- things like that just weren't possible for her while he did not have a problem.I would have saved myself a lot of grief if I had just waited another year with her.


She should be going into second but we consider her going into first. He should be going into K but we also consider him going into first....developmentally. I'd say give it a shot, and if it works, GREAT! If not, back off, wait a few months and try again.

post #18 of 18
Originally Posted by mamatalks View Post

So a little update... I was under the impression that by law we had to have our little ones registered from kindy but then I did some more research and realized that we don't! So the pressure has been lifted on the time table I thought I was under. I'm so excited to do more research and start on our homeschooling journey! I have lots to learn and all advice is welcomed! winky.gif

LOL my state laws say you have to be in school on the sixth birthday ... so I did a Declaration of Intent on my son the fall he was five, turning 6 during my declared school year.  They bounced it and said not to declare him until fall when he was ALREADY six.  LOL.  I don't think they want so many home schoolers on their books.  I don't think anyone follows the law even in the schools since redshirting is fairly common -- holding them out of school past the sixth birthday and then putting them in K the fall that they are 6 on Sept 1.


I wish it was the olden days (a few years ago) when compulsory education started at age 7 in Georgia.  I'm not sure what they lawmakers think they are accomplishing by pushing down the age.  Just more paperwork ... parents are going to parent the way they are going to parent.


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