What's Kindergarten like? (My worries-help!) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-08-2010, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought we'd homeschool/semi unschool through 5th grade then send the kids to private, and still might. But DS1, who's 4, is asking to go to school. We can't afford private school right now so public is the option. Among my friends, homeschooling is the norm. What is kindergarten like anyway?

My concerns:
He learns so well at his own pace, if I introduce something before he's ready for it to click he'll have nothing to do with it. Then suddenly one day he does it perfectly and loves to do it, like counting and drawing letters. Learning as a group may make this difficult.

Learning activities are fun for him, but I worry if they were forced it would cease to be fun.

He's a bit explosive if he's tired or hungry or doesn't get his way repeatedly. Mainly gets loud and uncooperative, he grew out of the violent tantrums though. I don't want him to feel labelled as being a problem child if he does have bad days. I struggle with this caring for him because he can be a handful and don't want to make him internalize that is what he is, because he's so much else.

He's so friendly he scares away other kids, following shy children asking to play. Maybe he'd come off as needy or pushy and not make friends?

I worry about the school indoctrinating him with values different from our family's. For an example I know many of you will understand, pro-vax (mis)information aimed at kids really bothers me. Also along those lines I don't like not knowing what is going on, how much do you get to know about the curriculum and what happens there (I know the kids don't report it all)?

Lastly, I worry the only reason he wants to go is the TV and games he plays and watches tell him that's what is done.
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#2 of 8 Old 10-09-2010, 11:05 AM
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I don't believe very young children should be making the choice to homeschool or not. They just don't have the life experience. If you think homeschooling is best for him then you need to explain that you feel this is best right now and he will be homeschooled, end of.

If your on the fence about homeschooling in your own mind, then I can say there are pros and cons to school like everything else in life. I think a lot of what you are asking really depends on the district you live in so you would be much better off talking to some local families or calling the school and speaking directly to a teacher. Most schools do have an open house for K`

I will say most K's these days have fairly high expectations. By the end of the school year most Ker's are expected to be reading simple books, understand basic math concepts (patterns, sorting, counting by, 1's,5's, and 10's, simple addition, and money values), and be able to write simple sentences.

As far as some of your other concerns they really could be nonissues in school. Both my children seem to learn better from their teacher then me. So where I may get whining about something the teacher gets 110% of their effort. My son is also an ummm, active(), little boy and he is doing awesome so far. He is not acting out at all in school and he absolutely loves it! You also have a full year still until school starts. Kids change and mature so quickly at this age.
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#3 of 8 Old 10-09-2010, 12:02 PM
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I had a brief conversation with one of dd1's teachers yesterday (they'd been doing a "switch" in the morning, so she's been working with two). Anyhoo, I was told what a delight my child is ....I made some glancing reference to her wild girl behavior calming down at home as she grows into a phase of being able to compromise better, to even lose at games sometimes, etc.

The teachers at her school have never ever seen that side of her. Never seen the pissy, foot stomping, screaming, door slamming, in-your-face kid she can be. Ever. Not even a hint.

So I wouldn't worry too much about that part. There was an uptick in some kinds of acting out at home, after school.

Other than that, while we aren't so worried about "indoctrination," we did have some of the other concerns. Those concerns led us to seek out a public alternative school for dd. More emphasis on kids learning at their own pace; lots of care for the whole child; lots of emphasis on parental involvement. Best of all, if it works the way we think, we'll save a fortune in private school tuition.

Mom of two girls.
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#4 of 8 Old 10-09-2010, 12:34 PM
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I never understand why people feel their own beliefs are so fragile. If you talk to your kids, model your believe in them and are respectful of the beliefs of others, your children won't throw them away because they are around someone who believes differently.

Public school is really not so scary. I have two kids (5th and 9th grade.) They are still the vegetarian as we are raising them despite pretty much being the only ones in school all these years. They still carry our beliefs about religion despite being one of the few non-christians on campus. They still take pop culture with a grain of salt because we've always looked at it with a critical eye. DS had some bully issues in 3rd grade but the school took it seriously and turned it around. Both my kids are gifted learners and need a lot of highly individual accomodation which they have gotten at every level without a fight from the school. School has been a positive experience for them.

Homeschooling is a great option for some families with it's own pros and cons but that doesn't mean all public school is toxic lol.

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#5 of 8 Old 10-09-2010, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post
He learns so well at his own pace, if I introduce something before he's ready for it to click he'll have nothing to do with it. Then suddenly one day he does it perfectly and loves to do it, like counting and drawing letters. Learning as a group may make this difficult.
our experience was the opposite. We use to homeschool and the kids started school at a latter age. There is a different kind of energy to learning in a group. Rather than it being more difficult for them, it was easy because they got caught up in the group energy. Both my kids work far harder at school than they ever did at home.

The fact that your child sometimes wants nothing to do with things you introduce *might* be a reason to send him to school. When he sees they other kids his age doing whatever it is, he *may* feel far more motivated.

but everything has pros and consĀ  shrug.gif

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#6 of 8 Old 10-09-2010, 07:40 PM
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We have done both and right now both my boys are in school (K and 2nd). My first homeschooled for K and my second is in full-day K. He loves it. I don't think your child will be labeled a problem child just for having a bad day. Both of my kids can be difficult IMO but their teachers say they are always kind, polite, hard-working, helpful, etc. My kindergartner's teacher told me he is "always on the side of good" and he is my most difficult child (we butt heads).

My kindergartner has "stations" in his class which include a nature table, painting, draw/write, computers, home (play kitchen/dressup), water, Legos, etc. The teacher works with small groups on their "lesson" while the other kids play. This makes up the majority of their homeroom time. They also have science, PE, spanish, art, music, library and computer lab (all multiple times a week) along with lunch and recess.

My 2nd grader always resisted learning at home. He doesn't listen to me the way he does at school. He started public K behind in reading/writing and ahead in math but quickly evened out in both. He is very social and fits in wherever he goes; a good school environment works for him. My little guy is a self-led learner who would do great at home but he does not EVER want to homeschool. He loves school despite it not meeting all of his academic needs.

On the values thing, I guess I'm just pretty confident that we are right and they'll see that. We aren't non-vaxers but as far as the way we eat, etc. it hasn't been an issue.

You can know as much or as little as you want to about the curriculum and what goes on there. The teacher will give you his/her email and probably phone number. They send home newsletters or have a website or both. They'll tell you what curricula they are using and the school district should have info on grade standards online. You can volunteer in the classroom. You can be a room parent. You can stop by to observe. I had a regular day that I volunteered in my oldest son's 1st grade classroom (Mondays from 9:30-11) and am starting in my K's classroom next week (Wednesdays from 8:50-11:20). Schools welcome parent involvement.
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#7 of 8 Old 10-09-2010, 09:43 PM
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There are more options out there than just public school, expensive private school, and homeschool. We are trying to decide where we will be sending DS to kindergarten next year, and are considering a wide variety of possible schools for him. The possibilities beyond the 3 you mention include; charter school, kindergartens that are part of preschools (much cheaper than schools that go past 1st grade), co-op schools, magnet schools.

If there is a particular private school that you would really like to send him to but can't afford, then you could inquire about scholarships or a barter arrangement.

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#8 of 8 Old 10-10-2010, 12:32 AM
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We did public K last year and are homeschooling now. I did not find our particular school to be a good fit for our "needs his own pace" child, but that was partly because DS is a quirky learner, and partly because our district was heavy on busywork.

I think it is common, especially for boys, to be interested in the idea of school around that age--and it's something to be honored to a degree, but it's certainly not the only consideration.

Can you visit the school? If they frown on parents observing, and you don't want start out as That Mom, you could present it as, "My son is very active, and I'd like to get a feel for the classroom expectations so I can help prepare him for the transition." Back to School night may not give you a good feel for whether the classroom learning will be a good fit for your son.

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