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February 11, 2009


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Yeah, I have the same thoughts. But kindergarten (full day) is mandatory here unless you can prove full time homeschool curriculum and quarterly home visits and such....

It is complicated.

Well, up until a few months ago, my girl wanted to be a Mamma-Princess-Kitty Doctor-Dentist.

Now she says she wants to be a scientist or a librarian.

Reality sets in eventually. Whether or not this is a result of squishing them into conformity or just a developmental leap has yet to be determined.

Good luck with the decision. It's hard. Harder than it should be, really.

Wait, mermaid is a profession! Awesome! I think I have a new direction in life. :)

We're having a tough time deciding on what to do for Kindergarten, too. When did it get so complicated?

Barbies in kindergarten? That is just bizarre.

I've got the Lutheran school to thank for my 3 yr old saying, "You are a Poo Poo Pants!" all the time. Awesome.

I paid for that.

If you're leaning toward a school-type option, then I wholeheartedly agree with everyone else who suggested Montessori. Otherwise, I vote homeschool! We're new unschoolers, and so far the freedom has been good for the whole family, even though we're only in the beginnning stages.

Ha ha. CC just turned one and I'm already worried about this. And already looking at the Montessori school, even though I swore I would never do private school.

I'll be very interested to hear what you decide.

The US system is still a lot more humane than the UK one - my son will go into full time (8.50am til 3.10pm) education when he is 4yrs and one month old. No joke. Because he is an August birthday, he falls just inside the cut off. They used to put summer babies into part time school until January, but now the government has changed the tactics starting from September (when my son starts school). You CAN opt out, and send your child just after their 5th birthday - but they then MISS kindergarten (reception in the UK) and start right in year 1 of school - so they miss the gentle run-in of kindergarten, not really deferring school at all, just putting off the inevitable. Guh. We find out what school he got into at the start of March, and I am hoping I don't have to appeal to get into the school of our choice (a 70-pupil village school from 4-11, as opposed to the town school of 300 + pupils age 4-7, with ANOTHER change of school from 8-11 of another 400+ kids. Eek!)

You know what's right for your daughter, so all I can offer is my own experience: I went full time, we had nap time on our own cots every afternoon, and I loved being there all day. I hadn't really had any interaction with other kids, so I loved having friends.

I was given the chance to send my 5 year-old to full day kindergarten and I was torn too. But the full day kindergarten here has nothing to do with Barbies or GI Joe. They went to music, art and gym. They did lunch at school. They learned to read. Besides, they are going to have to go to school for a full day next year. I'd rather have it be in the not-so-pressure filled kindergarten than the gung ho full throttle first grade.
Nate loves school, and he had a great time in kindergarten. And unless you homeschool or send your children to an ultra-private and exclusive school or program, 25 kids is normal. And there will be the nice kids and the disrupters, and the kids who are behind and the ones who are super smart.....
You know your daughter and the options available to you better than any of us. I'd say since you are the attentive and caring mom you are, she'll be fine no matter where she goes (or doesn't) go. Because teachers can only do so much, the rest is up to you... and your daughter.

I emailed her preschool teacher yesterday to ask if I can just do half-day with her and she was like "Our Kindergarten is full Day" (um, no shit). So, we'll see what they say.

I'm looking into the Montessori school as well. Maybe I send both Q and Drew? Who knows.

I'm still trying to figure it all out.

My son will be 5 in October.

Put him in Kindy this year or WAIT?

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Or as you so perfectly put it:

***What the fuck?***


Next year will be Cordy's first experience with going to school all day, but it will be a special needs pre-K classroom, so it will still be lower ratio and a lot of individual focus.

I'm still stressing over kindergarten. I think we're considering what so many others have said here, either Montessori or some other private school with integrated subjects and individual learning. I doubt Cordy would have the focus to sit through a boring school day. Even I can barely sit still for a half hour.

I'll be like the 20th person to say Montessori! We love it.

THAT is why we decided to homeschool last year, and we've never looked back.

I'm wondering if you thought about another type of education. My daughter sounds just like your little one at that age (she's nine now) and we decided to put her into Montessori school for that Kindergarten Year. She got more attention (and not just for being good and a rule follower because she is), but for being creative and unique. She thrived there and has gone onto public school and excelled (although her creativity is still not completely appreciated, so we have to deal with that at home). If it makes you feel any better, she was never a Barbie fan, even after she got one for her sixth birthday and Bratz were absolutely banned in our house. Even now, she says that she doesn't like the look of them. You'd be amazed at how much YOU influence her - her peers not as much. (I promise, or at least in my experience). Follow your own instincts and if you get a good teacher in K, it could work out better than you thought.
Good luck - I really enjoy your blog and think you're wonderwoman! Honest too - that's my favourite part... :)

Our state only has full time kindergarten too which I thought was CRAZY. We're sending them to a Montessori school instead. The more I learn about it, the more it makes sense to me.

My daughter (who is now almost 15) wrote that she wanted to be a waitress, when she was this age... not that there's anything wrong with that;)
Her aspirations are a bit loftier, now. She wants to be a chef!
So, if there is a bit of truth to Quinlan's picture, she may later aspire to be a Marine Biologist:)

Perhaps you should look at another school if this one will stifle her creativity. My daughter started out the year going half days. I picked her up after lunch recess (which she didn't want to miss) because she wasn't ready to be gone the whole day. She decided a few months into the year that she wanted to stay the whole day with her friends. I've found school an excellent medium for my kids to learn how to function with lots of people for lots of reasons in the real world. My oldest is 10. I'd suggest starting K and if she hates it, pull her out and try again the next year. I feel strongly about my kids having their own lives, things that I'm not directly involved in planning and supervising. Good for the health of the family.

I always suggest homeschooling myself.

OMG!!!!!!! Your post was me EXACTLY and your daughter sounds a lot like mine with respect to total rule-follower and always doing what she's supposed to be doing while the dingbats are bouncing off the walls. I sooooooo get it the mermaids and "appropriateness". K is terrifying for me. SCHOOL is terrifying for me, public or private, for the very reasons you stated. I so see why people homeschool now.

Our school applications for over here were due the first week of December!

Our oldest will be starting reception (kindergarten) here in September, but I will likely be pulling him out at lunchtime so he only does half-days for the first year. Luckily, I have that right based on his birthday which falls after Easter; he'll only be four when he starts.

With your location, Montessori is screaming at me....find one, enroll there, LOVE IT!

Wow . . . the pressure we all have about education at 5! D LOVED kindergarten and LOVED being there all day. In fact, when I first took him to preschool he immediately begged to stay for lunch, then after school enrichment, then playgroup. Our Maggie just finished kindergarten in our Jewish community center in a class of 4, which was awesome for her, but I think she's ready for another year of K so we're applying to her brother's private school.

There are so many choices and each kids is so different . . . best of luck with finding what's right for you.

@linda 4:20pm ?? Crumbling crackers!! (as my daughter says)

Oh my gosh! I want my kids to go to your school! Kindergarten in Iowa has HOMEWORK, they learn to read - its a 'guided' reading program, and do simple math... there is no toy playing here at our public school. They even have TAG (gifted) programs starting in kindergarten.

If our kids didnt go to kindergarten around here - they'd be in a world of hurt!

Wow. All day sounds long for a five-year-old. I dropped out of kindergarten halfway through because we moved. My mom taught me to count money at home and made sure I read each day. (We probably did other stuff, but that was 26 years ago, so I don't remember.)
What the hell with the Barbies??? Around here a lot of the churches who offer Mother's Day Out also do K-classes for 1/2 day. We're hoping to get him in this fall to a place that goes ages 18 mo. to Kindergarten.

We're having the same issue now. Our school is full day and people are lined up BEGGING for that. Right now it goes until 3:10, but they are considering a change from 9:20 to 4 p.m. !!!! That is total madness I think. We're now scrambling to think of other options for our son. He's a March bday so he is well within the cutoff. he also really still needs some serious downtime in the early afternoon so I have concerns about him going until 4 p.m. I totally feel your pain.

A full day for kindergarten? That's crazy long - I can only imagine the meltdown at the end of the day.

my mom kept me home until 1st grade, and i turned out...pretty alright, i'd say. sure, my degree in literature is useless, but i'm really good at jeopardy!

I'm looking at other schools, as well as looking at seeing they'll let her do a half day.

I'd really like to keep her there rather than switch her around.


Perhaps another kindergarten or maybe hiring a tutor to come in once a week until she starts 1st grade? I mention this because I tutored a couple of kids during their kindergarten school year once a week instead of them going to school. They learned a hell of a lot from me and had each other to socialize with. It didn't cost much and it helped their parents out immensely since they had to work. Now both kids are doing so well in 3rd grade and no one would ever know they didn't have kindergarten.


I think I'd try to find a Kindergarten that doesn't have Barbies! That's ridiculous!

My son's K class is only 16 kids and the few toys are educational and are only used on Fridays. Most of their time is very academic, but done in a fun way.

Are there any 1/2 day Ks around? That might be a good compromise.

Do what your gut tells you!

What about considering your other choices? Like, say, a different kindergarten?

I still remember all things I LOVED about kindergarten (and I'm 28!) Lining up on Halloween for our costume parade, eating paste, making popsicle stick creations...all these fun things. I also got time away from my brother (we are twins) which was good for our independent identities. They wouldn't put us in the same class. I even remember my teachers name! Mrs. Butler.

I think either way you go...as long as she has memories of fun times -- whether its in a classroom or with you, she will have a happy and fulfilled life...

Whatever choice you make, you'll be making the right decision. It's clear that you're trying to do what is best for her, after all, and nobody could ever ask anything more than that. Good luck!

Perhaps the answer is to really think about what you think Quinlan should get out of kindegarten... what is important to you. I think that every Mom might answer that differently. Then I would "interview" schools that are available to you and find the school that matches you the best. Hey, maybe that school is "homeschool" or maybe it isn't.

That's my advice. And its free. And you get what you pay for. HA HA.

Do what you think is best. How's that for ambiguity? We all know you'll feel guilty either way. Maybe you can find a half day program to compromise? I'm still not a fan of all day kindergarten. I have a friend who has taught it, and she said it's a nightmare. She wasn't allowed to even have the kids put their heads down on their desks for 5 minutes when they clearly needed some sort of rest.

We did Montessori half day at that age and it was wonderful. I wasn't too keen on the idea of full day anything at that age. gawd. They're only babies.
My son would have never done well in a regimented structure of a traditional classroom. I don't like the idea of thinking inside the box at five.

Kristen, My daughter is currently in Kindergarten in Gwinnett County. I don't know which county in GA you are in, but it is extremely academic. I am the room mom and spend at least a day a week in the class and they spend a lot of time writing and working on their reading comprehension. Also, she only has 15 children in her class, and the teacher makes sure no child gets lost in the pack. They learn to work independently, in small groups and in teacher-lead groups.

I am keeping my son out of Kindergarten next year, though, but he was a micro-preemie and I'm trying to get the state to let him repeat the state-funded pre-k 4, otherwise he will stay home and go the following year.

Check it out and see what you think. my daughter Lurves kindey and is sad there is only 60-something days left!

I hear you all the way. We're dealing with the same stuff right now with my almost five year old. We're trying to get her into a Charter school that has a much smaller class size. But the spots in that school are limited so there's a good chance we won't get her in there and instead she'll go to the local school where we will be bored to tears because she is advanced and ready for a challenge and this school won't offer her that. So we're considering homeschooling her for Kindergarten and possibly longer. I don't know it's such a tough decision and you don't want to make the wrong choice.

Oh and another thing her Ped. asked her yesterday what she wanted to be when she grows up and she said "A kitty cat." Nice.

I am so totally with you on this and my daughter is in half day kindergarten in a private Christian school. I love the teacher and she is learning a lot. But she also disappears into the background and only really plays with one girl in a class of 18 kids. Plus we have had the same conversations about other kids saying, watching, doing things we just don't do.

My advice to all mommies: follow your heart no matter how hard it may seem at times. Only you know your kid and there is plenty of time to realize you can't be a mermaid (how wonderful is that!).

Quinlan and I are similar as I wanted to grow up to be a dolphin. A highly respectable mammal. Go with your gut on this, you're hitting all the right points, will she miss her friends, will she be in worse or better position when she enters 1st grade. In order to get the full picture, maybe you might meet with a couple of first grade teachers in your area and see how responsive(or not) they are to kids who enter their classes without attending kindergarten. That fact finding mission might be helpful in making whatever decision you guys make.
And if you need anyone to bounce stuff off of, Aviva and I can obtain latex suits and wear them just for you. We know how you are...; )

@katie -- OH totally. I'm not doing it all on my own.

That would surely be my demise.

We received our Kindergarten acceptance letter on Monday and have to make a decision by Friday. Having survived public school in Alabama (barely), I've always been on the homeschool side of the fence, but I'm pregnant and the new baby is due in August and based on the tiredness I feel now and the anticipated tiredness I'll feel then, I'm worried that Henry will spend way too much time playing Wii and watching Playhouse Disney. The local independent private school had a good sales pitch and addressed most of my concerns. Still not sure what we're going to do though.

Barbies? In a classroom? That is disturbing on SO MANY different levels.

I don't know if you've ever looked into it, but Montessori is a fantastic way to educate a lot of kids. Though it's not for everyone. I think there are a couple in your area, but I'm not sure if they're accredited or not. (That's important.) I'm a bit of a Montessori cheerleader. The classroom sizes are a little larger, but it TOTALLY works. You've got to visit a class to understand.

Best of luck. I know that, whatever your decision, Q will thrive. She's got two parents who care about her education, and that's more than a lot of kids.

I skipped the kindergarten round up here in favor of applying for the charter school lottery. I don't think she'd mind either way where she went, but if I'm going to have to do this school thing x3 in the next few years, well I'm putting all my eggs in this basket.

We live out here in GA , too, and kindergarten is not a requirement- I say enjoy her a while longer at home, she sounds like she is on track anyway and it's not like you don't make an effort to socialize her...
I am keeping my boy out till he is 6 simply because he is not mature enough. He turns 5 in July and I KNOW my boy, and kindergarten is not for him, not yet.

Hmmm.. I would only say that judging by your last post you seem a little overwhelmed sometimes, and maybe it would be good for you and for Quinlan if you could find somewhere for her to go play with other kids, etc.

You're going to ruin her life if you take her out of kindergarten. You're going to ruin her life if you leave her in.

There. I just thought I'd cover all the assvice to save others the time.

I hear you. I have thought very seriously about homeschooling my kids, in spite of the fact that my family (on both my side and my husband's) is chock full o' teachers.

The thing is, we started her in a church-run preschool this year, and she LOVES it. I've seen a lot of improvements in her skills (recognizing letters, counting, etc.) since she's started. And it's kind of good for them to get away from Mom, to have their own little lives and develop their own friends and interests. As hard as that may be for us when their interests include Barbies and Bratz...

I'd check out the state educational standards for Kindergarten where you are, and really ask yourself if you have the 1) time, and 2) self-discipline to make sure that she meets all of them (and at least a good start on the 1st grade standards) by the time she starts 1st grade. After looking at ours, I realized that I do not have the self-discipline to sit down and do school with my kids every day, and unless they add Playhouse Disney to the standards, my kids are better off in school.

Hey Pia -

It's pretty strict here too. Same thing - no nuns, but she wears a uniform etc.

K isn't a requirement here I think, at least, you don't have to start reporting the kids to the school district until 6.

My oldest daughter started all day Kindergarten this year but we've decided that our younger daughter(who will start K in the fall)will only be going half days. Our public school still offers both half day and all day Kindergarten but who knows for how long. We have had some Kindergarten issues this year that I feel would be better if class was only half day. A child in my daughter's class has a recurring case of head lice, which makes rest time a little interesting and the school lunch program is driving me nuts.

Perhaps there is another program in your area that is only half days, or maybe just a weekly class that she would enjoy going to. I know our local art's center offers classes during the day, mostly geared for homeschoolers but would work to get out of the house once a week. Good Luck to you!

I never realized how different education is in different parts of the country! Here in Boston, private, Catholic kindergarten (without priests!) is pretty strict. My son wears a uniform and I'd get a phone call if he used the word butthead. His teacher is not a nun, nor is the director, but the school is run by Sisters. It's full day, but I'm a full time working mom, so I like that he has a long day.

This situation works for me, but it sounds like it is not so good where you are. In Massachusetts, kindergarten isn't even a requirement. Sounds like Q might do just fine at home next year, and might be better prepared for first grade if she is with you. Good luck!

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