Kindergarten and Homeschooling

I have to admit that when it comes to Kindergarten, sometimes I wonder if I should enroll my 4-year-old in public school.  I have little memories of my Kindergarten, but it seems like a good time to me.  It’s a place where my son could get used to other kids his age and simply have the “school experience.”  But then I see how well he is doing now, and I think about all the things we can do in our “home school.”  I know it will be a different experience, but a good one.  Maybe a better one too.  In addition to this, I know that if I want to homeschool, it will be much easier to do it from the get-go.

While mulling over the possibility of sending him to school, however, I looked up how to enroll him.  I noticed that the requirement is that he must be five years old by September 1st to enroll in that school year.  That made my mind up immediately.  I would not enroll him in Kindergarten this coming year, even if I was going to send him to public school.  You see, my son’s birthday is August 25th.  If he were born only a week later, he’d have to wait another year.  But if I send him to school, he would be the youngest five year old in the class.  There would be a big difference between his “five years” and the five years of a child that was born in, say, February or March.

This was brought to my attention when I read part of The Little Boy Book by Sheila Moore.  (I should note that I didn’t finish the book because it seemed a little outdated, and I had already gotten similar information from Michael Gurian’s book, The Wonder of Boys. But I do think it was a helpful book.)  She notes that boys develop differently than little girls and sometimes they need more time when it comes to entering school.  As I mentioned, I had also learned a lot about the development differences in boys and girls in The Wonder of Boys.  I highly recommend that book. (FYI: He wrote a book about girls too.)

I don’t know many girls of my son’s ages to compare them with, but I sense this advice is true.  Academically my son is already in a Kindergarten level, but in other ways, I feel that my 4-year-old would benefit from waiting a year to enroll in Kindergarten.

Recently I met the daughter of one of our neighbors who happens to be a Kindergarten teacher at the school my son would attend, if I were going to send him to public school.  She asked me if my son would be going to Kindergarten soon.  When I told her I was planning to homeschool, she said, “Wonderful!”  Then when I told her his birthday and my thoughts about waiting another year for Kindergarten if I were going to send him, she nodded and said, “I highly recommend that, especially for boys.  Sometimes they seem to have a harder time adjusting to Kindergarten.”

It felt very gratifying hearing this from a Kindergarten teacher that could possibly be my son’s teacher!  She was also very encouraging and positive about homeschooling, so that felt good too.

I am going to continue working with my son in a no-pressure way this year on his academics.  Since we are homeschooling, I don’t have to worry about holding him back a year, but I can go at his own pace.  I found this encouraging post on Simple Homeschool about going at a child’s pace, especially at this age, and it says everything I would say on that topic.

What are your thoughts about sending your child to Kindergarten?

Update June 3, 2011:  Just found this interesting article, which says it all!  Psychology Today: Early Homeschooling Can Save American Schools

Update June 29, 2011:  Be sure to read this post about How to Homeschool Kindergarten (with information about the law in Georgia.)

For more of my posts on how we do kindergarten, click on “kindergarten” under Mama’s Main Matters in the left-hand margin.

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