Graduating to Kindergarten or 1st Grade?

{Part 2 of Recording A Homeschool Student’s Progress: The Homeschool Portfolio}

In my last post I listed all the ways that I kept track of my son’s homeschool this past year from June 2011 – May 2012.  In June 2011, I wrote a post stating that I had an official kindergartener, and indeed, we completed a course of study for a Kindergartener this year.

But last month, in May 2012, I completely changed my mind about his grade level, and I’ve decided to consider him a Kindergartener again in this coming year.  Why?  The simple answer is that if he were going to public school, he would be entering Kindergarten this fall because his birthday is so close to the cut-off date.  (I wouldn’t want him to be the youngest child in the class, and I’ve read much on this subject and spoke to a Kindergarten teacher at his would-be school who agreed with this decision.)

In many ways it’s silly for me to give his grade level any thought at all, especially since we’re homeschooling.  I believe grade levels are arbitrary, and children should be educated at their own personal level otherwise you’ll risk losing that spark they have for learning.  So why am I labeling him as a Kindergartener?

  • Frankly, and perhaps it’s not a good reason and you can argue with me, but I’m doing it for the rest of the world.  It’s how our society works at this time, and I want our family and friends to be able to understand where my son would be if he were in school.  I think they’ll be more comfortable with our homeschooling that way, and as my son gets older and has to answer other people’s questions, it may help him be more comfortable with the rest of the world.
  • Second, I worry that if I call him a 1st grader, I may push him too hard this year.  I always have to remind myself how old he is and how far ahead he is – I don’t need to worry or push him.  Keeping it as it would be if he were in school will keep me on an even keel!
  • Third, it’s much easier (and more impressive) for us to say he’s a Kindergartener doing mostly 1st grade work than to say that he’s a 1st grader but he may not be up to that level in some areas.

So I’m saying he’s a Kindergartener, but let’s not lose sight of the fact we’re homeschooling!

  • We will teach at his level in an engaging manner until he gets the concept!
  • He won’t have to worry about grades, and he won’t even know what they are.  Mama will know what he knows.
  • He won’t have to worry about tests.  (Except for a few required by law.)
  • We (our whole family) will explore the world together, and learn together.
  • We will have awesome conversations, quality time together, less stress, and plenty of time for weird, spontaneous science experiments.
  • No one is going to kill his passion for asking bizarre questions and taking off on tangents that might not have been in our original plan.
  • He’s a Kindergartener doing 1st grade work!

In my next post, I’ll write about why I decided to do a pre-K graduation and how it helped me understand what I’ll truly need for our record-keeping.

9 Responses to “Graduating to Kindergarten or 1st Grade?”

  1. When people ask us what grade our kids are, we usually stare at them blankly and then I start doing mental math. ;^)

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  2. We have a 4 year old and just got a 1st grade curriculum to start in the fall (Oak Meadow). I feel like when some people hear we’ve gotten a 1st grade curriculum, they assume I’m a pushy mom who is trying to rush my child up the academic ladder. But really, I just want my child to stay engaged in what’s she’s learning. And if that means I have to freak out a little bit when I order a curriculum that is 2 “levels” up from where she would be in a public setting, then so be it. I just want to move with her pace. If she’s ready, we go forward. And if not, we play for a while.

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    • Exactly, Kimberly. You have to go at her pace. I also feel like some people think I’m pushing too much. And that’s why I’m saying Kindergarten. I am pretty sure my son is well above that in most subjects, but by thinking Kindergarten, I know I won’t rush him, and others will know what he would be if he were in school. I haven’t actually ordered a curriculum, so I don’t know what level I’d order, if I reviewed one and decided to buy it!

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  3. Wow, this sounds exactly like what I want to do! I’m just now seriously considering starting homeschooling my sons, and I’ve been so overwhelmed with everything, but this blog looks exactly like what I had in mind. My son turned 4 in August, and he seems to have recently started hating his preschool class. He’s already reading, writing full sentences (invented spelling), doing some first grade level math, etc. and his preschool class focuses on LEARNING one letter per week and most of his peers are so far below his level that it seems like he is having a hard time having a good social experience. I don’t really have any other options, so we’ve been thinking of homeschooling. This particular post kind of vocalized exactly what I’ve been thinking about his grade level. I’m so glad I found this blog and I’m excited to read more!! Also, I’m going to pin nearly everything I find, it’s easier for me to keep track of it that way than in my excel document. :) Just a heads up!

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    • Hi Sarah, It sounds like your son would be a perfect fit for homeschooling. My son isn’t even that advanced, but I know he benefits from a one-on-one instruction going at HIS pace and not an entire class’s pace. I think he would be too advanced in some things and behind in others. And thank you for liking my blog – you flatter me! Please e-mail me back and let me know how it’s going, if you do homeschool.

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