Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What you really should be teaching your kindergartener

I recently read an online article geared toward parents of preschoolers.  Although my kids are in kindergarten, this particular article caught my attention because it outlined what you should teach your children prior to kindergarten in order for your kids to get ahead.  I scratched my head.  Why does a 5 year old need to get ahead?  Don't get me wrong.  I believe that learning starts at home but why does your kid need to read before he/she is really ready to read?

As a parent of three kindergartners, here is my semi-expert advice.  Your kids will learn when they are ready to learn.  Six months may not seem like a big deal at this age but it is.  In order to begin kindergarten in our school district, you must be 5 years old as of September 1st.  With the girls' birthday in April, they are at the younger end of their class.  Admittedly, I freaked out a little bit in October when I discovered that some of their classmates were already reading.  I've learned a lot this year, mainly to allow learning to happen as a natural process.  At home, we supplement and support what is taught at school but we don't push.  And you know what?  We now have beginner readers!

I believe that most people are really good at some things, need to work at other things and all the stuff in the middle is average.  And that's okay.  This applies to children as well as adults.  Let's face it, not everyone can be a super genius (or a rock star or a princess ballerina.)  For example, learning accounting was very easy for me but I could never, ever pass as an english teacher.  During the girls' most recent parent/teacher conferences, Emily's reading teacher told Rich that Emily had placed at the first grade level during a portion of the testing.  She also commented that Emily had done something with her writing that she had never seen any of her kindergartener students do before.  But Emily needs to work on numbers and math. And that leads me to Anna.  Because Emily missed so many days of school last week, her teacher sent home her school papers with Allie.  Emily had completed a math worksheet and Anna decided to review it while I was cathing her.  She immediately pointed out which ones Emily had answered incorrectly and told me what the answers should be.  

So what are we working on at home in addition to sounding out words and making sure our fives look like fives and not twos?

  • You don't have to be friends with everyone but you should be nice to everyone.
  • Help those who need help.
  • Clean up after yourself, especially in the bathroom.
  • You get what you get and you don't get upset.
  • Recycle, go green!
  • Eating fruits and vegetables is important but sometimes it's okay to have ice cream for dinner.
  • Be happy with who you are.


Anonymous said...

I have followed your blog for a very long time! We live in Wisconsin and although I will never ever meet you an your children I love the updates and you common sense.

This is my favorite post so far. Thank you for pointing out what is really important in our 5 and 6 year old.


Ellis said...

As a teacher (I taught K for four years, then K4 for four more years, and now I'm teaching 2nd grade), I couldn't agree more! I love your list of things you're working on at home- they sound perfect to me!

Amanda said...

As a former kindergarten teacher and now a stay at home mom to young toddlers, I love this post!!

Emily said...

You are such a good mom! I wish more parents had the same approach you do. Especially the "you get what you get".

Lisa H. said...

This is really helpful. I'm pregnant with our first right now (I posted about finding out if you're going to sell the girls' clothing)--it's a girl!--and we're just looking at preschools. I live in California and we were told to start looking early. Some preschools say they'll have kids reading by kindergarden and others don't mentioned it or seem concerned. It's hard to know what to think or what the benchmarks should be so that it's a balance of not being behind and doing what's right for the children.

Cindy said...

Sarah,this post is genius. I went to kindergarten orientation yesterday for my twins and it's bitter sweet. One of my girls is totally psyched to go to K and the other is totally terrified. I am pleased to announce, though, that by the end of the 45 minutes in their own (separate) classrooms, they both came out wanting to start school tomorrow. Both made a "best friend".

I know from my older daughter that you can not improve their learning by comparing them to someone else. This was ingrained into me permanently by raising two completely different twins. They have their own strengths and weaknesses. They will learn when they are ready.

Your list at the bottom is the MOST important lessons to learn in life - forget about before entering kindergarten. Kudos to you for knowing this :)

Christi said...

You know what's really neat? Your girls have their own strengths. Someday in 4th grade or whenever, Anna might be able to easily explain to Emily some math concept so she gets it. And Emily might offer some suggestion to Allie on an essay.

It's really neat that they'll be able to help each other based on their individual talents.

Mindy said...

I didn't read much at all until first grade, and then it was like someone flipped a switch and I was way ahead of the reading/language arts game for the rest of my K-12 career. You just never know... :)

Meet the Brummett's said...

Love this post and it was so refreshing to read. We share the same views as you when it comes to letting children learn at their own pace. It is so hard to keep that in perspective when it seems like everyone around us is trying to get their kids in to college at the age of 6!

maureen said...

Who would have thought an accountant would have such good common sense...oh yeah, that's right, I would! Sound advice! I have 4 girls that are as different as night and day. Two of them took a really long time to learn to read, one of them was reading at 4 and my youngest is doing whatever she will do...we'll just have to wait and see!

I have always said you only need to know 3 things to start school:
1. How to write your name.
2. How to wait your turn.
3. How to make friends.

The rest your child will learn in due time.

Oh and I have only been reading your blog for a month, but I went back to the beginning and read through some of what I missed! You are a terrific writer and a great sewer!! I came for the skirts!!