FT kindergarten blues - alternatives or insights? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 11-22-2011, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,

 

Thank you in advance for any ideas or suggestions.

 

My son will be starting kindergarten next year... We are moving to a new state and much smaller town in the spring. We're moving from a PT K district to a FT K district.

 

I was counting on PT K, and I'm having a really hard time dealing.

 

I've asked the principals at both elementary schools in the new town if my DS could go PT. One said no and the other said it would be my choice to put him in PT, but then he would just come for the morning academics and would miss all the fun classes like library and PE, and that I would be cheating my DS, and also that my DS would be the only child doing PT at school and that would cause some social issues. Yuck. But something about FT feels really wrong. The new town has 2 public elementary schools and no alternative schools and no home-schoolers.

 

My son is very bright, he's also extremely sensitive. He is outgoing and really puts himself out there, and gets emotionally trampled more than any other kid in his pre-school (or at the park, etc.). And these incidents effect him sometimes for hours and sometimes even weeks. His current preschool is a co-op preschool with a hired teacher, so I'm there a lot of the time, and try to teach him the skills to deal with these situations ('if she doesn't want to play today, lets look around the room and see who looks like they would want to play' or whatever.) Neither of his teachers have ever noticed any of the emotional stuff going on in class, and his new teacher will have twice as many kids, so I'm assuming he'll be on his own once K starts. More so because I visited the two kindergartens in the new town, and the only K class I saw any love in had a sub.

 

Also, I'll miss my DS like crazy and I feel like he's being stolen from me. The teacher will spend more time with my DS than me, and chances are she will barely know him. Of course I wouldn't make any choices about his education based on my loss, but it hurts. 

 

 

Do I have alternatives to FT K that I haven't thought of? Or are there ways to prepare for this, for both my DS and me, that will make this OK?

 

 

Thank you!

 

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#2 of 16 Old 11-22-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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I know how you feel. My eldest had part time kindergarten but the district shifted to full time before my youngest started. I was really nervous about it. I'll be honest though, full time was SO much better. It actually felt like kindergarten used to feel. 3 recesses, rest time, lots of music, school pageant, daily art, messy science experiences, library trips, community visitors like the firemen, lots of free play. Academics were sprinkled out and I can tell you, my DS was 4 when he started K and he barely took notice that there was "work" to be done (and we're in an area with high K expectations.) It was so much less stressful than the half day which was back-to-back academics and a constant "ok, let's move" feel. 

 

You almost always have alternatives. Kindergarten isn't mandatory in all states. You could either keep him home or homeschool him then go straight to 1st grade the following fall though I'd be careful to work on certain skills prior to doing this (namely writing.) There are often private preschools that offer part-time kindergarten. Neighboring public schools can have different set-ups... there might be a few that still have half-day.

 

If I were you though, I'd try it. He is going to grow SO MUCH before next fall. What seems totally inappropriate now may not feel so 9 months from now. Remember that K's are far more independent. If he still needs more attention, keep in mind that his peers will need a lot less than they are needing now. The worst to happen is that it won't work and you'll pull him out and try something else. I think you'll be surprised at how much nicer full-day is than half-day though.... at least I was totally surprised by this.


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#3 of 16 Old 11-22-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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My daughter just started kindergarten and seems to love it, I cannot imagine keeping this experience from her.  She does struggle a little socially (which makes my stomach turn) but she is really learning and is not bothered by the social stuff.  You should be able to be a parent volunteer if you like.  My daughter's teacher is always inviting parent interaction in the classroom.  Bottom line, my daughter was ready for kindergarten and I was not.  I am starting to get past my fears for her, and she has none.  

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#4 of 16 Old 11-22-2011, 09:47 AM
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You should be able to be a parent volunteer if you like.

Absolutely volunteer! Most kindergarten teachers could really use the extra pair of hands, and that would give you the opportunity to get to know the teacher as well your child's new classmates, to observe the work, the dynamics, etc. It might also help ease the transition for BOTH of you :)


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#5 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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i wish our district had a FT K program. that would have helped dd IMMENSELY.

 

she hated, hated, hated the academic atmosphere of school after her really fun ps experience. mom what kind of a school is this that doesnt do art or experiments everyday.

 

like pp said - a huge change happens in kids at around the 4 1/2 mark. huge. just overnight they are v. mature. 

 

for the first 3 years of school like almost ALL kids he will have a hard first month or two of getting used to school. its mostly about transitioning from a lose play at home structure to the regular school structure. 

 

because of the academic nature of K's now i always advice parents to send their child to full day K just coz they get to do fun things and fun things in a group is fabulous. 

 

if your son is v. sensitive and has a hard time socially i would wait for the first two weeks of school to watch and see and then go talk to the teacher if needed. thankfully for us dd's teacher figured out dd's needs and gave her the responsibilities that met her needs. she also had kids arranged in a buddy system so that one kid was there to guide and help the troubled kid or keep them on task. 

 

the key though is volunteering. i would volunteer as often as you can so you know what's going on and more importantly your son is proud his mama is there to help. if you can swing it. the other huuuuuuuuge plus that comes with it (at least for me) was building friendships. i get to have the worst kids in my group (4th graders) because i've known them since first and they tend to behave better with me than parents they know for the first time. 

 

in K actually we'd go to school an hour or so earlier (it was afternoon K - now THAT was more helpful for my night owl dd than a half day K - great transition to early morning first grade) so she could go play in school and attend the recess of older kids. just to have some fun time in K. 


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#6 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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Since you asked about alternatives, I thought I'd mention homeschooling. How do you know there aren't any homeschoolers in the new town? I don't imagine there's a public registry. I was told when I moved to our tiny town (pop. 1000) that "no one homeschools here, because the school is so awesome," but as I got to know people, and became a homeschooler myself, I discovered that there were a number of homeschooling families. And gradually, especially with the advent of full-day kindergarten, the numbers increased such that by couple of years ago the homeschoolers I knew of comprised 14% of the school-aged population. 

 

We were lucky for a number of years that although there were only a handful of homeschoolers, they were clustered around my kids' ages. Social needs were easily met through after-school extra-curriculars combined with schoolchildren, after-school playdates, twice-weekly homeschool playdates or learning club activities, and social opportunities within the general community (eg. visiting the nursing home, visiting elderly friends, errands to the post office, piano lessons, hanging out at our favorite café, mid-week downhill skiing, museum visits, etc.), family travel, etc.. We also, now and then, took advantage of homeschool activities in the town 90 minutes away and got some awesome opportunities that way. 

 

We started homeschooling due to my eldest's emotional sensitivity when she was due to enrol in KG. We assumed we would send her to school as soon as she was emotionally ready, but it turned out we loved homeschooling for so many other reasons that we never really stopped. Still, it would have worked fine simply as a work-around for that first year. I agree with the others that a lot can change by next August, and not to assume he won't thrive in the full-day setting. But if it turns out not to be a good choice for him at the time, the apparent lack of other homeschoolers and his sociability don't necessarily mean homeschooling wouldn't be a very viable option.

 

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#7 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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Since your son is very bright, what I would suggest is he ONLY go to the "extras" (not really extras to me) vs. the academic portion.  He will be bored quickly.  Let him get the fun of going to the new school with interesting classes vs. working beneath his capabilities.

 

My oldest 2 went to FT KG and I wish I had them in only PT in retrospect.  I am not sure what I will do with my 3rd . . .I may start her in PT and then move her to FT as I see her getting used it/enjoying it.

 

 


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#8 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post

Since your son is very bright, what I would suggest is he ONLY go to the "extras" (not really extras to me) vs. the academic portion.  He will be bored quickly.  Let him get the fun of going to the new school with interesting classes vs. working beneath his capabilities.

i have not heard of ANY public school allowing that. its been the other way. school will say no to fun, but never no to academics.

 

it is because my dd was advanced that K was hard for her. her class had tooo much diversity in learning needs. 
 

 


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#9 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 03:41 PM
 
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Oh, some definitely do.  Depends on your school district-- it would be considered part-time hsing.  My friend hs's all her kids, and this is exactly what she does.  Mine allows certain subjects to be taken (like music).
 

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Originally Posted by meemee View Post

i have not heard of ANY public school allowing that. its been the other way. school will say no to fun, but never no to academics.

 

it is because my dd was advanced that K was hard for her. her class had tooo much diversity in learning needs. 
 

 



 


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#10 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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aaaaaaaaaaah gotcha. yeah we have that here too as a charter homeschool. but you would be homeschooling and it is only part of that particular school. i cant go to any public school and say i want to do the fun classes and not the academic ones even if you are homeschooling because in my city i have not come across one public school who will allow that under homeschooling. if you are homeschooling you have that charter homeschool school - if that makes any sense. 

 

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Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post

Oh, some definitely do.  Depends on your school district-- it would be considered part-time hsing.  My friend hs's all her kids, and this is exactly what she does.  Mine allows certain subjects to be taken (like music).
 



 



 


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#11 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 06:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post

i cant go to any public school and say i want to do the fun classes and not the academic ones even if you are homeschooling because in my city i have not come across one public school who will allow that under homeschooling.


Never say never, though. Homeschoolers where I live have been welcomed into gym, art, field trips, special festivals and extra-curriculars at the local public school. I'll be the first to admit that this is the exception ... but there are exceptions.

 

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#12 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 06:44 PM
 
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I've definitely heard of homeschoolers being allowed to go to public school extras (like music, PE, etc.)  In fact, my youngest sister was homeschooled through high school, and did all her academics at home, but took chorus, wood-working and art at the local public high school.   I know that at least some districts/states allow it.  I've also known other homeschooled middle or high schoolers who were on the local school's sports team/band, etc. so I really don't think it is that unusual.

 

That said, I knew very few homeschoolers who actually did that (the extra stuff during the day, not the after school extras), especially in the elementary age.  Mostly, because it would be a scheduling nightmare. Many schools have gone to a 6 day rotating schedule (to avoid all those "missed Mondays" due to holidays), which means art class could be Tues and Thurs at 10:10 AM one week, but the next week it is Mon and Wed at 1:05.  Would make it super hard to plan any other cool homeschooling stuff (like field trips, classes) and would be a pain.   If a school has FT kindy, I highly doubt that they would part all their "extras" back to back in one block.  They are probably spread out through the day and may not even be the same week to week, so trying to plan around that would be a major pain.


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#13 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much everyone for all of these great responses. I love this community.

 

So... I'm assuming it's good to let my ds know as much as possible about what he'll be doing in school in a 'isn't this exciting' sort of way. Is that about how you prepare? If most of the kids go through a hard time for the first month, what do you say to them on the second day of school when they don't want to go? And for people who wish they'd pulled out their kids, or moved them to PT, what signs do you wish you'd payed attention to? (Please don't stop posting responses to the original post because of this note - I would love to read more.)

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#14 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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Yes! Find out about the routine-- go observe if you can (without him) and help him visualize it, along with you picking him up, what you'll be doing at home while he's gone, etc.

 

It really sounds like you don't want him to go.  Why do you?  Homeschooling is a great option, and school will ALWAYS be there.

 

I wish I'd listened to my DD complain every day.  I thought she'd adapt but she really disliked it.  I left her in the whole yr. 

 

I would not take the 2nd day too seriously-- everyone has bad days, even homeschooling.  Try to volunteer as much as possible-- no better way to get info!  He will feel much better with you there, too. 


 

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Originally Posted by rainytown View Post

Thank you so much everyone for all of these great responses. I love this community.

 

So... I'm assuming it's good to let my ds know as much as possible about what he'll be doing in school in a 'isn't this exciting' sort of way. Is that about how you prepare? If most of the kids go through a hard time for the first month, what do you say to them on the second day of school when they don't want to go? And for people who wish they'd pulled out their kids, or moved them to PT, what signs do you wish you'd payed attention to? (Please don't stop posting responses to the original post because of this note - I would love to read more.)



 


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#15 of 16 Old 11-23-2011, 07:22 PM
 
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So... I'm assuming it's good to let my ds know as much as possible about what he'll be doing in school in a 'isn't this exciting' sort of way.

Do YOU know what he will be doing in K? i would only tell him IF you know what was going to happen. 

 

Is that about how you prepare?

hmmm. dd was already in PS and daycare (at the same place) so i really didnt do anything to prepare her. i wasnt sure what to do. what i did do was take her in when i went to fill up the paper work and she met the principal and walked around the school and looked at it. however we had already been going to that school to play on the playground a year before she went there.

 

If most of the kids go through a hard time for the first month, what do you say to them on the second day of school when they don't want to go?

this is what i told my dd - (you have to figure out what you want to say to yours. sometimes change is not easy). and it feels like it sucks the first few times. you hang in there and check it out for a few days. and figure out how to make it fun for you. i also told dd that i wish i could have hsed her but that was no way an option for our family. so she and i would have to work at it to do something about it. i also told her that i would hang around school for an hour. she could call me if it was unbearable and i would take her home. i KNEW it was more about the fear of the unknown - what if. that once she was there she might be bored but it wasnt scary or unbearable. after the first month seh told me mama i am ok now. you can go home now. when asked her favourite subjects she answered - recess and lunch time. 

miranda yes you are right. never say never.

 

see with high school they have independent study. most of the high schools where i am offer that option. 

 

however i am glad that some schools in some places in the country allow hs kids to come in at some time and allow them to choose what classes they want to take. 


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#16 of 16 Old 11-24-2011, 05:39 AM
 
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Glad to hear you're getting so much support. You can post on the Learning at Home forum (a short skip from here) if that is the route you decide to go and you need support/ideas/etc.!

 

Having moderated on Learning at School for more than 10 years, I would say that mamas who had concerns about full day K almost universally end up feeling o.k. about it once it got going and the adjustment phase was over. It IS hard. My oldest is almost 17 and I can clearly remember my feelings when the school decided to go from half day to full day. I was one of the parents going to board meetings and speaking out against this plan. Yet, he did well, as did my two children after. They all loved kindergarten and loved having more time for play, etc. I think one of the realities is that with the national (core) standards taking hold in most places, there is more demand for academics (which in my experience my kids hungered for) and the full day allows for more "down time" that is not so academic. By doing full day the school can keep "choice time" and outdoor play, hikes, etc. In our school they are able to keep music, French, gym and art integrated as well. It is a very rich program. I can't imagine trying to put it into half days, with all the time that k-garteners need for shoe tying, nose wiping, potty breaks, and even talking through their stories!

 

Your son does sound like he has some unique needs and I would be up front with the prospective teachers about that. You may want to do a whole bunch of research into the needs of bright kids. Our Gifted Forum here at MDC might be a good place to start. Even if he is not 'gifted,' being very bright is going to give him some challenges that you would want to be prepared for. THere are some great websites for parents of very bright kids. Also, google "Hoagies Gifted forum" for a great start. Again, even if you don't resonate with the term gifted, there are some important things to be aware of. The social/emotional needs of bright children are different, plain and simple. They often have sensory sensitivities.

 

Good luck exploring all of this. It's wise to be thinking about it ahead of time!

 

 


 
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