Can we talk about kindergarten? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What are your thoughts on kindergarten? Whether you homeschool, unschool, or conventional school, do you think a curricullum is needed?
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#2 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 09:11 AM
 
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I do not think a curriculum is needed especially at age 5,but there are some children that want that. School K programs vary a great deal from play learning to regular academics.Many complain that grade 1 material has been pushed down onto K students.Sometimes it works out fine,but not every kids can do the work.

We currently eschool.We started at age 6 with calvert.It is an ok curriculum.We do what is required,and pick from the rest.If we were homeschooling I would use some of the material,but not push reading(and busy work) so much.Even at 6(and 7) kids (mine atleast) like lots of hands-on stuff and play learning.

We get a lot of material(books,cd-roms,and kits) from libraries,resale shops,and so on.
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#3 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 09:46 AM
 
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We homeschool and I don't think much (if any) curriculum is necessary for K. It depends on your child though.

We will be getting a curriculum for 1st grade though.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#4 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 11:56 AM
 
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I will be HSing for K and not using a specific curriculum, but will "teach" her - we are signed up with reading a-z since she is very into learning to read right now, and will also start right start math. Everything else we "learn" IRL.
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#5 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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we homeschool and will be using the Oak Meadow curriculum-since dd has shown an interest in letters and reading. But we're trying hard to make sure that we are not pushing her. It seems like alot of kindergartens have become more "kindergrind" instead of a gentle, playful introduction to school.

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#6 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 05:36 PM
 
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We do public school and although a lot of planning goes into it, I don't think the children experience it as a curriculum - my dc enjoys a mix of activities which add up to lots of opportunities for learning a variety of skills.
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#7 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I hear kindergarteners go a full day AND have daily homework and need to be reading by the end of it.

I homeschool my 2nd grader and have three more under 5 but...

If I were to keep my kids home until first grade, could I put them in first grade without a problem or has kindergarten become a mandatory academic year in the US and would I have to 'account' for it.

Also, anyone know the history of kindergarten? Didn't Froebel create it as a celebration of children? It means childs garden right?
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#8 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 06:30 PM
 
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[QUOTE=hotmamacita]Yeah, I hear kindergarteners go a full day AND have daily homework and need to be reading by the end of it.

This is true! I taught kindergarten last year and was EXPECTED to give them math AND reding homework nightly. I was also expected to fail several children who were not reading at a 1.2 grade level, were not writing sentences, and did not know their numbers 1-100!

If I were to keep my kids home until first grade, could I put them in first grade without a problem or has kindergarten become a mandatory academic year in the US and would I have to 'account' for it.

This varies from state to state. I know it is NOT mandatory in CT, but I also know they will automatically TRY to place your child into Kindergarten if they have no previous schooling when you enroll them. You often have to request placement testing to get them into first grade.:

Mama to 4 darlings. A ('03), O and K ('06), A ('09), and wife to M since 2002.
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#9 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, mamajody. I would LOVE to know more of your thoughts on this? Have you seen this change recently or over the years? How do kids respond? How do parents respond? I have so many questions for you.

See the whole thing boggles my mind and I am trying to wrap my mind around it. I remember learning in college that didadic (sp?) academics were inappropriate for 5 and 6 yo. so the academic shift has me puzzled.


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#10 of 110 Old 05-27-2006, 06:58 PM
 
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I stopped teaching Kindergarten because the "didactic academics" aren't appropriate for most kids that age. The change has occured over the past 10 years and it is all about cramming in the basics early so they will be ready for the test in fourth grade. Seriously, they start that early!

Want to hear something really scary....

I was forced to test the children every 8 weeks in reading, (phonemic awareness, concepts of print, and later ACTUAL book reading) writing, and math. Each kid individually takes like 2 weeks out of the curriculum, for a total of 2 months of lost opportunity per student with high stakes on passing. And yes I am still talking about your 5 year old!

And how about this...
many districts are getting rid of recess periods and requiring that even in Kindergarten all activities must have a reading/writing connection. So yes, your child my get "center time" for a short while, but then they will be asked to read a book connected to their activity and write about it after they are done. Otherwise it would just be "playing" and that is not on the test.

Needless to say I am NOT sending my DD to public school until after we have finished reading basics at her pace. She is quite bright, and I know she can handle the academics, but I don't want her pressured and punished for failing to follow the daily routine.

Mama to 4 darlings. A ('03), O and K ('06), A ('09), and wife to M since 2002.
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#11 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you mamajody. That IS scary. And I don't think they are informing the parents up front about this approach and testing and THAT bothers me too.

I find that public schools, however, are doing a similar shift in academics and test prep for the younger grades.

YOu seem like you have so much to offer parents, mamajody. What would you share with them/us about education and what direction would you encourage them as they journey through educational options for their children?

Also, I found this link and thought the history of KG in US part was interesting.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/7905/fblkind.html
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#12 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 12:29 AM
 
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My thoughts on kindergarten:

I believe the kindergarten of today is pushing kids way beyond what is developmentally appropriate.

Most children at age five are unable to sit still for as long as they expect them to. Most children at five are also not ready for reading.

I have enjoyed using the Oak Meadow Homeschooling Curriculum.
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#13 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree.

HEy with Oak Meadow...A really good friend of mine told me that 1st grade OM is on par with current K traditional curricula. What is your experience with it?

Nice sig, btw.
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#14 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 12:39 AM
 
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So far, that's what I've come across. It is definitely on par with trad. KG curriculums.

They teach upper and lower case letters, numbers 1-100, things like that. If I remember correctly, that's what they teach in the public schools.

And thanks about the signature. It's fitting.
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#15 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 12:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueNote
I believe the kindergarten of today is pushing kids way beyond what is developmentally appropriate.

Most children at age five are unable to sit still for as long as they expect them to.
EXACTLY!! That's why I homeschool. (DS1 did 2 1/2 yrs. in public school.)

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#16 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamajody--One more question. How did other teachers and administrators justify or reconcile this shift despite research and tradition that strongly discourages didactic academics on the young mind?

Anyone familiar with these studies or their methodologies?

From Wikipedia ....
"There seem to be many positive learning and social/behavioral benefits for children in kindergarten programs. At the same time, it is widely felt that what children are doing during the kindergarten day is more important than the length of the school day. Gullo (1990) and Olsen and Zigler (1989) warn educators and parents to resist the pressure to include more didactic academic instruction in all-day kindergarten programs. They contend that this type of instruction is inappropriate for young children.

Also, an all-day kindergarten program can provide children the opportunity to spend more time engaged in active, child-initiated, small-group activities. Teachers in all-day kindergarten classrooms often feel less stressed by time constraints and may have more time to get to know children and meet their needs."
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#17 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 12:50 AM
 
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Several times, I have spoken out against the current public school curriculum, but have been told "they need to be ready for first grade."

Well, at what point are they just going to be in kindergarten?
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#18 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What a good point!

I suppose when they can play in a garden. Do you have a garden, btw?

Seriously, some neighbors stopped by tonight and the husband totally shocked me when he out of the blue asked me if I was sending my ds to K and my dh said no then neighbors husband said he had been thinking of homeschooling because he thinks the direction that our schools are going in are just to prepare them for taking a test and not to be truly educated. I was totally floored. He was born, raised and educated here and has real concerns about the scope of education. (sorry for bad punc and grammar, typing fast.)
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#19 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:11 AM
 
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My son does pt time kindy. I was really happy with his progress; he now reads great, knows his numbers, has friends, writes his name really well, etc.

However, there are some kids who aren't ready and that is sad, because they are going to feel left out. I definitely feel there is way more pressure on kids now to learn at a much faster pace. SOme children just aren't ready for reading until 1st or even 2nd grade--just as some are reading at 4 yrs of age...that's the bad part about ps curriculum. In these extreme cases, i think hs is best.
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#20 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:27 AM
 
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My son just finished Kinder last week. We are in N.Texas & it is incredible the amount of homework that these little kids have to do each night. My son now reads at 2nd grade level & his math skills are almost at 2nd grade level. IMO, Kinder was not fun for my son. Basically, they are getting our kids ready for the TAKS test. My sister is an educator & absolutely hates the direction that education has taken. Here in Texas, it is all about the test. If I could, I would home school my son. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us.
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#21 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. That sounds intense.

Hey, I hope things change for you this summer and you can follow your heart's desire for your son.

Can you tell us more about how K was not fun for your son? Are you able to just skip K in Texas or is it mandatory?
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#22 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:38 AM
 
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Are you opting out of kindergarten, hotmamacita? I'm opting ds out next year, keeping him in the "school" that he currently goes to part-time because he's so happy there and because I can't stand the idea of him being stuck in a classroom for the majority of the day, with hardly any activity (and we're, I believe, the last state with mandatory recess!), and forced to take tests.

I have the same concerns about being able to get him into 1st grade. On the other hand, I'm thinking about sending him to a school where grades don't matter and he can just learn what he needs to learn in his own time.

It's overwhelming trying to figure all of this out.
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#23 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotmamacita
Wow. That sounds intense.

Hey, I hope things change for you this summer and you can follow your heart's desire for your son.
Thanks so much for the hug & kind words. Unfortunately, this summer is going to disappoint also. I have to leave my son at daycare all day long. The program is pretty good, but I truly am worried about the part where they go swimming 2 times a week. Scares the you-know-what out of me.

Quote:
Can you tell us more about how K was not fun for your son? Are you able to just skip K in Texas or is it mandatory?
K was not fun because of all of the homework & extra projects that he was expected to complete. The classroom was pretty intense with very little time to just play & be a kid. He also came home on the last day with homework for the summer in reading & math! My son is very much like me, so he ended up getting notes & punishments almost every day. AFAIK, kinder is mandatory in Texas. I don't look forward to next year either. But, I guess that we will make the best of it, just the same.
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#24 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotmamacita
then neighbors husband said he had been thinking of homeschooling because he thinks the direction that our schools are going in are just to prepare them for taking a test and not to be truly educated. I was totally floored. He was born, raised and educated here and has real concerns about the scope of education. (sorry for bad punc and grammar, typing fast.)
yup, this is one of many reasons why I am considering it... and it is a big reason. I can't stand the idea of "teaching to the test".
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#25 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay Dragonfly....if you feel led to put your child in school and you know of a school where grades aren't important and that you like and trust...then I say go for it. That is what I loved about yale. You learn, not perform.


UP--you'd be awesome at it....and ARE YOU STALKING ME?
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#26 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 01:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hotmamacita
UP--you'd be awesome at it....and ARE YOU STALKING ME?
no, of course not! great minds think alike, etc. yeah, that's it...
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#27 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 02:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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sure, sure....

Hey, seriously, what are your concerns about it? Your HS that is....
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#28 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 02:05 AM
 
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actually, I think YOU are stalking ME

anyway. HS: I made the mistake of signing a contract for ds' preschool, so we are bound to the committment of paying for the following year of school. I think what I'll do is get myself pregnant, quit my job, and keep ds home whenever he wants to (but send him to school when I'm feeling sick or tired ) and then next year, we can really get into a more formal homeschooling thing. But, next year, he will be in K, and from what I'm reading tonight, I won't really need a curriculum. So, we can play with the new baby! sounds like a plan
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#29 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Any clauses in it where you can get out of it?
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#30 of 110 Old 05-28-2006, 02:10 AM
 
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nope. some private schools have "insurance" so you can pull out for whatever reason and not have to pay the full tuition, but not this one.
AND it's housed in my church. So, that's a plus, but still.
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