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My kiddo will turn 5 this summer, and as we have officially missed the enrollment for Kindergarten I am suddenly sort of thinking about her education, though I'm pretty laid back.<br><br>
Partly, I guess, since soon we'll have to tell the family we're homsechooling, and be prepared for their concerns. (No, I don't feel like I have to convince them, it's our decision, but I do feel like the ability to answer a few basic concerns they might have would be prudent).<br><br>
I know there is a school of thought that says not to do anything formal until age 6 or 7. I tried to Google this and completely failed (got a lot of "why wait until marriage" results!). Can anyone point me in any direction for resources on why wait vs why start at age 5? I'm open to pros and cons but more interested in the pro-waiting since I'm not as familiar with that side.<br><br>
I'd also be curious to understand what exactly "nothing formal" means - does it mean, for example, that we shouldn't play games with dried beans with adding and subtracting? We did that last night, actually - not for long, maybe 5 minutes. The minute DD didn't want to do it anymore, we put the beans away. But I'm curious to know if some people felt like we shouldn't have even gone there, and why not?<br><br>
If it matters, my kiddo is NOT gifted, she's very very average for intelligence. She's not reading yet but I have a feeling she will be within a year. She's not academically inclined like I was when I was her age. She's just a kid, a sweet kid who likes to play - and that's all we've done, even if some of the play I've suggested HAS been kind of academic, like the beans, or sometimes I tell her a few words in other languages, and so on, all in fun.
 

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Why do you think you have to wait?<br><br>
We do plenty of formal stuff, and my DD is 2. I personally don't agree with the idea that you have to wait, and find it far more of a philosophical argument than anything else. Waldorf's delay, which is the strictest one I know of, is based on a philosophical/religious ideology developed by its founder. Most educational theory that people respect was formulated by 18th and 19th century men who wouldn't know a child if he were hit in the head with one. I think it's important to follow your parenting instincts more than anything else. There is no one size fits all education for all kids: which is one of the main reasons why homeschooling can be great!<br><br>
I've read a ton of books about education, and the one that I recommend above all is E.D. Hirsch's "The Schools We Need." Yes it's about public school, but it's worth reading by everyone. It talks a lot about the history of the main educational theories used in American schools.<br><br>
IMO you're overthinking about the beans <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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<span>There's quite a bit on the subject in my page of links to articles and websites having to do with <a href="http://besthomeschooling.org/gateway/inted16.html" target="_blank">preschool and kindergarten</a> ages. Here's an MDC thread on "<a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1060439" target="_blank">Talk to me about delayed reading instruction</a>." And here's a thread on "<a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=452425" target="_blank">Misconceptions about unschooling</a>" - this one can be helpful with the kind of question you have, even though it's not specifically about "unschooling." I see nothing wrong with the bean counting at all - I think that's a superior way to approach mathematical thinking, but I'd just be curious as to whether you were doing it because you wanted to share something fun with her or whether you were doing it because you felt it was time to begin "schooling," and were experimenting with that. Not that it's a big deal, not that it matters, but just that I don't see any reason to bring in those particular skills at that age unless just for the fun of it. The underlying guideline in my mind is what's of value at any particular age - what will a skill contribute to the child's everyday life in the present? If you just take things as they come, introducing things as they're relevant, you won't ever have to think in terms of "schooling," but just in terms of providing her with the information she needs as she needs it.<br><br>
I'm not feeling well today, so I'm afraid I just really can't be very articulate about any of this right now, but I'll try to get back to it later. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</span>
 

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IMO, "formal" means using an actual curriculum or at least establishing some kind of consistent, every day approach to learning as opposed to more mundane, organic kind of ways of learning (like for example learning the rudiments of measuring while helping to bake). It depends on your approach too . . . if you're more of an unschooler, then you'll never really do anything all that formal because the learning will always be more organic.<br><br>
I'm not really of the "wait till 6 camp" having taken cues from my son.
 

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Charlotte Mason says wait until 6. You can read through amblesideonline.org to get a feel for her style. However, epecially interesting to me was the "list of attainments for a child of 6". It was actually pretty intense, and I doubt a child learned it all without a little bit of help of some sort from someone. (The only thing that comes to mind is "speaking 6 phrases in French"). She didn't think a child should sit and do book work until 6, but, like I said, there was obviously some early learning going on.<br><br>
FWIW, I don't really go the route of Mason's philospohies. I find her to be much more literary based, and I am much more mathematical. Her style just doesn't speak to me. But, the ideas of lots of free time for the child to explore and run and think on their own, as well as learning about life through well-written books is pretty good. Well, and the diction and narration...
 

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Too tired to post actual thoughts, here are links instead:<br><br><a href="http://www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/david_elkind.html" target="_blank">http://www.besthomeschooling.org/art...id_elkind.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.besthomeschooling.org/gateway/inted16.html" target="_blank">http://www.besthomeschooling.org/gateway/inted16.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/lillian_jones_ps_kdgtn.html" target="_blank">http://www.besthomeschooling.org/art..._ps_kdgtn.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fo%2FASIN%2F0394756347%2Fref%3Dnosim" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0394756347/ref=nosim</a>
 

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<a href="http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GUTyDVORhHkC&oi=fnd&pg=PA89&dq=piaget+formal+schooling&ots=tviH_JKitJ&sig=3Xa7sDMVFHtzfJuNSSrPiraQrcc#v=onepage&q=piaget%20formal%20schooling&f=false" target="_blank">Cognitive Development and Formal Schooling</a><br><br><a href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/20403190" target="_blank">http://www.jstor.org/stable/20403190</a><br><br><a href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/640180?cookieSet=1" target="_blank">http://www.jstor.org/stable/640180?cookieSet=1</a>
 

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i began homeschooling when my kids would have started public school. for my daughter that was just shy of 6 & for my son it was 5 1/2. up until that point, my kids still learned a lot of course, it just wasn't "formal". there was literally no agenda, set goals, or expectations in place whatsoever. i wasn't worried about whether they could write, read, do simple math, & i didn't keep track of where they were compared to other kids, etc. i was never concerned about what they knew or didn't know. however, when they are in kindergarten, i do have goals in place. i know many people disagree, but i work with reading as the first skill. i introduce letters, being able to identify them, know their sounds, and write them. we work through basic phonics, and usually by the end of grade K, both of my kids are reading very simple CVC words & sentences. for math, i only introduce very basic addition, subtraction, and great than, equal to, less than. other than that, i have no real expectations in grade K. anything else they cover is just gravy. in 1st grade, it increases to be a little more, and by 3rd grade, we are spending a few hours a day on school work. this is how we do things, and i've been very happy with the slow progression. that's the beauty of homeschooling though - you can move at your own pace & that can look very different for everyone <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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i wanted to mention, the year my daughter turned 5, we did join a co-op. since i knew we would begin homeschooling the following school year, we started to get out and make friends in the community. she took homeschool PE, art, and had park playdates. that was a lot of fun & it was great support for me. just a thought as well <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Formal to me includes a structured day with very specific goals for the child.<br><br>
Reading to/with a child isn't formal. Neither is playing with beans, m&ms, or whatever for math. Unless it gets to be pushy (where the child isn't enjoying anymore). Guiding the child through learning experiences isn't necessarily formal. I am sure your child has some knowledge of shapes and colors and you managed to teach that without being "formal" about it.<br><br>
I think keeping it informal is great because while there is still plenty of room to learn and grow, it allows the learning to be fun and explorative rather than zapping the joy/love of learning.<br><br>
Amy
 

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A kindergarten curricullum is basically play, some developmental writing, with some hands on learning and a very small bit of direct instruction (think 1-3 minutes), even in public school, so I don't think it is horrible to do that informally or formally whether your child seems behind or ahead. I don't think you should jump straight into worksheets and really formal learning at this age because that isn't developmentally appropriate. A lot of people visualize kindergarten as a time for sitting down and doing worksheets and it really isn't like that at all (at least not in the districts I live around).
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">A kindergarten curricullum is basically play, some developmental writing, with some hands on learning and a very small bit of direct instruction (think 1-3 minutes), even in public school,</div>
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That is not at all true for my area. We have 1/2 day K and most of the time is spent on formal learning. There are no toys in the K classrooms, only some puzzles and math manipulative type "toys".<br><br>
To the OP, IMO formal is when you have a set school time, with set materials that need to be worked through, whether the child wants to or not. I personally would not do formal learning before my child was school age.<br><br>
Playing with beans is not formal and just the type of thing you should be doing in the preschool years. Exposing your kids to new topics/situations is always good. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>meetoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15442107"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That is not at all true for my area. We have 1/2 day K and most of the time is spent on formal learning. There are no toys in the K classrooms, only some puzzles and math manipulative type "toys".<br><br>
To the OP, IMO formal is when you have a set school time, with set materials that need to be worked through, whether the child wants to or not. I personally would not do formal learning before my child was school age.<br><br>
Playing with beans is not formal and just the type of thing you should be doing in the preschool years. Exposing your kids to new topics/situations is always good. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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That is why I said it is like this at least in my district. That is sad that your district doesn't have a developmental kindergarten option. The districts in my area do and there are homeschooling curriculum packages that teach the way my district does and my recommendation is to look into something like that before deciding to put of Kindergarten. It is learning through play and doing and very fun.
 

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When I first start homeschooling, a friend lend me a book by Raymond Moore: The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook. He also wrote Better Late Than Early.<br><br>
On the site of the Moore Foundation, you can read about his reasons to delay. <a href="http://www.moorefoundation.com/article.php?id=5" target="_blank">The Moore Formula</a>.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">First, don't subject your children to formal, scheduled study before age 8 to 10 or 12, whether they can read or not. To any who differ, as their evidence let them read Better Late Than Early (BLTE) or School Can Wait (SCW). In addition to our basic research at Stanford and the University of Colorado Medical School, we analyzed over 8000 studies of children's senses, brain, cognition, socialization, etc., and are certain that no replicable evidence exists for rushing children into formal study at home or school before 8 or 10.</td>
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These links may have been previously listed...or not:<br><br>
Here are a bunch of articles:<br><a href="http://www.besthomeschooling.org/gateway/inted16.html" target="_blank">http://www.besthomeschooling.org/gateway/inted16.html</a><br><br><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/7234578.stm" target="_blank">http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...on/7234578.stm</a><br><br>
This is a 3 part series on Sweden's delayed education. They don't start teaching reading until 7 and within 3 years have the highest literacy rate in Europe: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecinNaR32Qs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecinNaR32Qs</a>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>One_Girl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15442163"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That is why I said it is like this at least in my district. That is sad that your district doesn't have a developmental kindergarten option. The districts in my area do and there are homeschooling curriculum packages that teach the way my district does and my recommendation is to look into something like that before deciding to put of Kindergarten. It is learning through play and doing and very fun.</div>
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don't get me wrong, I'm not at all opposed to K kids learning through play. That is just not at all our PS K experience/expectations. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">
 

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People have already listed the links I was thinking of (Best homeschooling, Dr. Moore, the Swedish model) so I thought I'd just list why we personally are going to wait: I deeply want my child to have a rich childhood. I want her to have memories of rolling down hills, jumping in puddles, baking bread, picking leaves, etc. I'm not saying those who do start formal schooling under age 7 or 8 don't do those things, but I have noticed that most do advocate the worksheet approach, which I dislike. My dd is 4.5 and she learns so much from just playing and living. I see no need to distract her from this. I figure she can always learn to do xyz later, but she can't always have the gusto to pretend to be a chicken squawking around a barnyard, ya know? We are Waldorf-inspired unschoolers, and I have to admit that I really love what we do. I don't think your bean example is "formal" at all. I have totally done things like that when dd was interested. What I haven't done was order a math curriculum and say, "Okay, honey, we're going to do 10 minutes of math practice each day." When dd is kindy age (5.5) I am considering buying an Enki kindy package just to enrich what we already do--I imagine we'll do it inconsistently and just however it fits in with our lives. I think as long as you follow your child's lead, you'll be fine. I seriously cannot comprehend how some hs-ing mothers can force a young child to sit and do work they don't want to do--or maybe that's just because my dd is VERY headstrong and stubborn. If told I had to teach her 10 minutes of math each day, she'd rebel just for the principle of it!
 

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With my younger 2, I am going to wait to do any formal instruction until the age of 7. Of course we will read books, and play and experience life and whatever else they want to do. (my 3.5 yr old does like to do mazes from time to time) but I see no rush to start his 'schooling'. Plus they already learn a lot from the older 3
 

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I 2nd the idea of reading Raymond and Dorothy Moore's books! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br>
Also anything that was written by Ruth Beechick. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">
 
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