Last July I learned that Jack would be starting Kindergarten in September 2011. The school system here in NYC is unlike any other I'm familiar with. The cut off date for Kindergarten here is December 31st. If your child turns 5 any time during a particular year they are expected to start Kindergarten in September of that year. I was really caught off guard. I never imagined Jack would go to Kindergarten at the age of 4 1/2. The real kicker is that they don't allow you to hold your child back. Kindergarten is not required by law, but if you choose not to send your child in the year they turn 5 then they go to 1st grade the next year. It still kind of blows my mind, especially the educator in me, it just seems to early for me to have to put Jack in school.
This became a topic of many conversations for Freddy T. and me. I went ahead and signed Jack up to take the Gifted and Talented Test, in case we wanted to send him on to public school. Depending on his score for this test he could qualify to go to a school for the Gifted and Talented. Basically these schools teach on a little higher level than the actual grade level. It would also increase our options for schools, if he were to get in. He took that test in January, we'll get the results sometime in April. When I took him for the test there were about 15 other kids there to test as well. When I went to sign Jack in they had to see a birth certificate or a passport and wanted to know what preschool he goes to. Jack was one of two kids who brought a birth certificate, the rest had passports. Of all the 15 kids Jack was the only one not in preschool. That is New York City for you.
After giving it some thought and weighing the pros and cons, Freddy T. and I decided we would keep Jack out of Kindergarten and home school him, at least for a year. There were many deciding factors. Freddy T. suggested that I have a plan by March as to what I was going to do with Jack for school. I did some research and looked over some curriculum that a friend gave me and and made a plan. I decided to start him with a preschool/Kindergarten curriculum. The set up I'm doing is a 27 week plan. That would take us through July. I know of a few weeks we will be out of town, so I'm guessing this will carry us through September, we'll see. After that my plan is to focus on Reading and Math and continue weaving other subjects in. I haven't done all my research on that part yet. But as far as what is expected to learn in Kindergarten he will be exposed to over the next 5 or 6 months and anything we miss I'll include once we work through this material.
So March 1st was our first day of school. I've really enjoyed preparing and planning for our days. Jack has been very receptive to the work and has done a good job with it so far. It's been rewarding to see him do his work. We do school 4 days a week. Right now we have been spending an hour to an hour and a half total each day on actual school work. I'm still learning what is easy for him and what is challenging. We are working daily on writing. He knows his letters, with the exception of a few lower case ones that still confuse him, but writing is another story.
I'm still trying to figure out how to manage Lillie and Elliott. I'm working on some file folder games that will help them learn colors and animals, basic things like that, and we have a few games that they play and they read, but it's still slightly chaotic.
Jack working on his math.
Jack had to dictate a memory to me about a time he was with his family. Then he had to illustrate the story. He told me he didn't know how to draw, but I told him it was just important to try, so here you go.
(he said that there were lots of different colored cookies)
On this one he picked up a blue crayon to draw the water then looked at me and said "wait!" "That flood water was brown, not blue." Then he drew a boat. The three little circles on the left are Daddy, Jack, and Gramps on the boat.