Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is he ready for Kindergarten?

This picture was taken at 6:30 AM. Ben is teaching Will kindergarten site words. And Will is learning them. This is why.........

Anyone that has a late summer or early Fall birthday for one of their children has gone through or will go through - the BIG decision. Is my child ready for kindergarten? There are many different philosophies about holding kids back. Some say that anyone with a late cut off birthday should be held back. Others say that all BOYS with these questionable birthdays should be held back. My take on it, is that it is an individual decision based on the child in question.

Ben had a questionable birthday and we sent him to kindergarten. He struggled with being away from mommy...crying on the bus....getting tired at school....all throughout his first year of school. Kindergarten was not easy for Ben. Academically, he excelled - but emotionally there were time where I regretted my decision.

Now, Ben is a thriving second grader. He makes friends with everyone - has all high a's on his report card...he is a perfect match for his grade. And in hindsight, I am glad that I made the decision to send him.

Kyle...with a September birthday missed the cut off by mere days. He is the oldest boy in his kindergarten class. He is the biggest boy in his kindergarten class. School work is too easy for him, he is not challenged AT ALL. In fact, his maturity level is so much larger than the other boys in his class, that he truly has not made friends with them. His friends are the girls. And when I ask him "why" he is not great friends with the boys he says...."They are nice mom, but they act like Will!" (his 4 year old brother)

Kyle does not like when people comment on his size, it has made him very self conscious. He is the best kid on the soccer team, but with that said, he is not really learning to play the game because he is the oldest and the only one that gets the sense of competition and game readiness? The kids will catch up with Kyle in maturity and in size, but until then, he does not love school, it is BORING (in his words) and that breaks my heart because he sees no reason for school? Not a great way to start an educational career in my mind.

And with that said.... we have Will. A questionable birthday yet again? Thank Goodness Josh's birthday is in the early spring. Much easier decisions to be made.

Is he ready? Well...if maturity were the driving factor, I would say yes. But his fine motor skills are weak and his frustration level is high because of it. And so we have decided the he will go to a private kindergarten in Virginian and then if he does not do well...we can go public school the next year. If he does do well..and I expect he "probably will", then he can move straight to first grade at his big brothers school.

And so....the point of all of Kindergarten preparation. Because Will gets very frustrated when he is not fully in the "know" I feel we need to prepare him for what lies ahead. This is my plan:

I have told Ben and Kyle that I will pay them in game stop money if they can teach Will the top 20 Kindergarten site words. So for two days I have watched my to oldest boys try and teach their little brother. This is what they have learned:
Yelling at him shuts down his brain.
Bribing him with starburst to keep learning gives them lots more time to teach.
Teaching him to sound out the words rather than just memorize makes him learn them faster.
A smile on a teachers face and a little praise with each right answer makes Will so happy he wants to keep going.
The learning process takes repetition and it does not come in mere hours.
Convincing Will of the fact that they are a team...working toward the same video game goal makes him WANT to learn.
This is so fun to watch and truly.....if Will never learns a was worth it all just to see them work together so efficiently. But in fact...Will read off 10 words this morning....from flash cards...without hesitation? He was so were Ben and Kyle...and so was I. This may prove to be the first WIN WIN idea I have EVER had!! :)


Football & Fried Rice said...

Well, the moments are sweet, no matter what decision is made!

I will MISS you in July! Are you sure you can't make it?????? For a day????


Heather Thompson said...

That's amazing! I believe I will allow my oldest to work with my daughter with some cards to see if he can help her prepare for PreK... At least I won't get so frustrated perhaps;) We had the dilemma with my oldest and I'm glad that the other two are late fall. Chase has excelled but I was almost sick with worry for the first half of kindergarten.