BrillKids Forum

BEYOND EARLY LEARNING (for older years) => General Discussions - After Early Learning => Topic started by: akalori on August 31, 2012, 09:28:49 PM

Title: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: akalori on August 31, 2012, 09:28:49 PM
My daughter's kindergarten adventure is about to begin.  I haven't been here is a long while.  I started here when my daughter was about 23 months old.  I never posted much because in comparison to many others we weren't doing much.  I have an older child with learning issues and was overwhelmed and conflicted.  My daughter was obstinate and didn't go along with my plans, and my son son needed me more.  So I was a bit of a slacker.  We did a little here and there, then to great amazement she became an avid independent reader at about age 3 1/2.  Still I don't do much.  I just provide the great library books and we read together, or me to her, or her to me.  She likes to pretend I'm the kid and she reads stories to "Little Mommy."  She reads chapter books, classic fairy tales, and whatever else interests her.  The funniest thing she ever tried to read was an article in Scientific American.  She read about a paragraph with some difficulty before giving up.  I don't know her reading level.  I think it might be about third grade but I could be wrong.  We did a little bit of math.  Again my daughter gets bored and uncooperative easily so it hasn't been a lot.  However she can add a bit.  She also plays a geography game called Stackers on the iPad by herself often.  In general, early reading has resulted in acquisition of overall broad knowledge beyond most 5 yr olds.  I haven't posted much because in comparison to many of the kids here, her accomplishments aren't very amazing.  However, in comparison to average 5 yr olds, she is very advanced.  Now as I approach public kindergarten I know many parents would be interested in the outcome.  So far I have noted her advanced skill on her kindergarten registration material.  Also I called the school to request testing to identify her as gifted.  The principal refused.  They test for the gifted program at the end of first grade.  Then the gifted program which starts in second grade is the regular curriculum with a bit more complexity.  The principal agreed to give her a teacher who would be sensitive to her needs but would use a differentiated kindergarten curriculum.  She explained that they will differentiate the kindergarten curriculum to accommodate different skill levels.  My school does not do grade skipping. 

Yikes, I can't see how a kindergarten curriculum will be appropriate in any shape or form.  My husband is more optimistic.  In the meanwhile I've visited a private school that we really shouldn't be able to afford.  The private school allows kids to work at their own speeds and level, and uses mixed grade project based learning.  Anyway she starts the public school starts on Thursday.  In the meanwhile I am dreaming and scheming of ways to make the private school affordable.  My husband insists we try the free public school first.  He thinks that as long as I after-school her that the public school will be okay.  I probably won't have anything interesting to post right away but I will keep everyone posted when I do.

Thanks for reading, Lori

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: Mandabplus3 on August 31, 2012, 10:38:59 PM
Oh Lori, RH K's for sharing your feelings and achievements. You write in a way that leaves your emotions quite clear.
Having some experience with schools and advanced kiddies. I do agree with your hubby about the public school. But you are also quite right that kindy program will not be near enough for your child. And sadly even if they try their best with a principal with that attitude you will be lucky to get more than the bare minimum. So why do I agree with your hubby? The school DOES have a gifted program! Oh how i wish that was an option for me! A public school gifted program is a wonderful option. Even if it starts in grade 2! Private school is expensive and takes funding away from other extra curricular options. Consider a science club, music lessons, private tutoring or a sport. One on one is much more valuable than private education,
$ for $. If I had your options i would try the public first, keeping the private as a backup. I am also wary of private schools claims at a mixed grades project teaching style. Often it is for one subject only, once a week. And usually "project" refers to a few science experiments done by the higher grades while the kindy kids get to watch and pretend to participate.  If the private school is allowing mixed classes for English then perhaps it is more of an option for you.
Two things, your daughter IS going to learn a number of things in kindy. It will probably be in grade 1 that she gets bored.
And her achievements are spectacular! Don't underestimate the effort you put in. Just because some people not he forum get more results doesn't take away from the fact that you have taught you 3.5 year old to read! A kindy kid reading at all is reason to be proud. Regardless of if it's grade 1 reading or grade 3! Don't sell your self short  :biggrin:

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: Tamsyn on September 01, 2012, 01:25:37 AM
I've heard a lot of people say that Kindergarten is a lot of fun.  They do a lot of finger painting, crafts, and that sort of thing.  My husband says that it's not until 2nd grade that kids start "hating" school.  I wish you luck.  We would love to know how it turns out for you.  I agree, don't sell yourself short.  This is not a competition.  :)

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: linzy on September 01, 2012, 02:36:05 AM
She'll do great. Imagine it as a playdate where she will have fun with friends all day and just focus on advancing her learning at home. If she has a good teacher she will probably feel special and smart with the knowldege and skills you have helped her obtain. Eventually, she may start getting bored and there may be other concerns, but for this year at least she will do great.

We had our kids in a Montessori for a while and the class my son was in was in no way challenging to him, but he loved his friends and overall it was a good experience, and we just kept chugging away at home after school on the rest of it.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: LDSMom on September 01, 2012, 03:44:57 AM
I too was worried about my son being bored, but he loves Kindergarten. I was excited to learn from his teacher that they have two supplemental programs for the kids that they can work on at home at their on pace. The first is RazKids for reading, and the second is for math but I don't recall the name of it. The great part about the math is that it actually goes all the way up to 5th grade level work, so your child can just keep progressing and not have to stay with grade level stuff if they are past it. I was surprised that they offer these programs, and it will make my after schooling easier, and the teacher can monitor his progress. You may discover programs like this at your school after you register/attend.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: Korrale4kq on September 01, 2012, 05:25:46 AM
I am not sure where you are located; but in the US public Kindergarten has changed a lot in the last few years alone. Some school districts do half day and some do full days. From my experience with one school district that my friend's boys just graduated, they do full days and they informally assess the children and the teacher just pushes more work on them at their levels. They went through a reading program that goes up to 5th or 8th grade. Not that the boys were on that level.  The 18 kids in the class were all at different levels of reading though. Even the twin boys in the same class were constantly bringing home different work from each other because one of the twins is more academically inclined and advances a little faster.

And this public school district has a relatively  academic curriculum., So no finger painting and crafts are limited. Most crafts were done in their once a week art class. They also had dedicated PE and Music classes once a week. The K class covered math, social studies with a focus on self and community and lots of reading, writing and spelling. I am not going to say all school districts have Kindergarten like this, but it seems to be more prevalent. As the boys K teacher said. First semester of Kindergarten is like the old 1st grade and the second semester is like the old 2nd grade.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: eschlem on September 02, 2012, 01:03:09 PM
Hi Lori,

My child will be starting public kindergarten, not this year, but the following year.  I am also nervous about the outcome.  Because of the early teaching that I've done, my child is advanced as well.  From what I've heard, the public school system is resistent to accommodating children with advanced skills, it's really up to the parent to advocate for their child.  I'm not looking forward to having to deal with administration if I feel that my child is not being challenged enough.  But I have yet to see...

That said, I have "gifted" siblings and friends who have done very well in the public school system, and they were accommodated in their high school years.  In the end, it is really up to the parent to focus attention on and provide what their child needs academically etc., no matter what school they attend.

Good luck to you daughter!  Would be interested in hearing about her adventure!!

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: Tanikit on September 02, 2012, 06:29:06 PM
Hi, I look forward to hearing how it goes. I would probably advise limiting afterschooling initially so that your child can get used to the long school day - they come home tired initially. Maybe join a messageboard for afterschooling too then you can get ideas about what other people do if your child needs to be afterschooled. Please do update us with how things are going - both the positive and negative.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: nic31600 on September 02, 2012, 09:29:38 PM
I really do agree with your husband. You won't know until you give it a try. They have a gifted program and are flexible with other children's different learning needs, that's a rarity isn't it? I went to a public school during all my school years and I absolutely hated it. Many students and teachers called me stupid and a loser. I wasn't stupid or a loser but I was a struggling student and I did very bad in school until I decided to leave in Grade 9 and decided to complete my studies via Distance Education.

Doing that proved the major cause of my failing grades: I didn't have the support I needed and my peers were a massive influence on my poor grades. I went to a bad school and the teachers didn't care about the student's. I went from being a failure to a high achiever. I was bad too fit in school and I regret it. Everybody was telling me 'why study/bother when you will never use the things you learnt in school after you finish?'. I took this advice, especially after hearing that it was 'true' from my eldest sister who is 4 years older.

The most important thing is knowing that you're there to support your daughter if she is struggling 'being different'. After-schooling is a great idea and you can make it seem more fun and it will show her that learning isn't all that bad. My parents never had any interests in my schooling and never seemed to care whether or not I had completed my homework. You can be your daughter's best teachers by always being there for her if nobody else is (i.e. her school).

My daughter will start Kindergarten at our local private International school as soon as she is toilet trained. School starts next week but she can't attend until she is having no more accidents and is out of nappies. I live in France and French private schools are relatively cheap. Students attend 4 days a week, 8 hours a day. I will be after-schooling her on Wednesday's and any other chance we get, if she won't be too tired.

I would strongly suggest not-opting for private school if you really can't afford it. It will cause you a large amount of stress, especially if the fees are high. The disadvantage of attending private is that if you can barely afford it, then you won't be able to afford any sporting activities etc or tutoring if she would need it. The last thing you would want is to struggle paying off her tuition fees and end up struggling in all other financial aspects. Also, private doesn't always mean better IMHO.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: kmum on September 03, 2012, 05:49:21 AM
I think I'd give the public school a try too but monitor things closely. If it is not a good fit then you can revisit your decision.

My dd is also way ahead in reading & ahead in math, geography etc. On the other hand her speech is somewhat delayed  so we have decided to hold her back 1 year. I think it is the best decision in the long run but I do have concerns with her being bored because she is so much more advanced.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: akalori on September 13, 2012, 12:55:30 PM
So far my dd is loving kindergarten.  However whenever ask did you learn anything, she laughs and says "I already know everything."   Fortunately my daughter got the best kindergarten teacher.  All the kids adore her.  They are going to do something new this year.  The teacher is going to informally assess all of the kids so she can decide how to differentiate her lessons, and may break the kids into different literacy levels.  I suspect this change has come about in order to appease me.  There have been some large issues with my older classified son at the same school.  So we had to get a lawyer on it to get his needs met.  I think they are trying to make amends now by doing their best for my daughter.  Suddenly everyone at the school is very anxious to please me.  People come out of the woodwork to greet me whenever I enter the building, it makes me nervous because I tend to be reserved.  The assessments are suppose to occur over the next couple of weeks.  So maybe my daughter will get to work at her level.  I will keep everyone posted. 


Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: LDSMom on September 13, 2012, 02:31:51 PM
Might as well give a quick update of our kindergarten experience so far (2 weeks into it). My son is still loving it, but never talks about what they are learning. So I was really excited about Raz-Kids, but clearly the books were too easy at the beginner level, so I asked the teacher if we could bump him up a level or two. She said no, they would like to have every kid start at the beginning. I haven't wanted to stir up much Trouble so we are just going through each level, but the books are so easy for him. The great part about going through each one though is for the quizzes at the end, they have really helped me to see how well he is understanding the book. We've just made it to the third level, level B, and I believe most of the other kids are on aa, it takes about a week to go through each level for us doing 15 mins a day. My son tried out a friends raz kid who was on level E and they were still easy for him. I wish the teacher would test his reading level and bump him up a bit. It goes up to a 5th grade level so at some point he should find challenging books. Like I said, I have no idea what actual reading level he is at. My son seems to be perfectly happy though, so we will continue on going through the levels. I just hope he doesn't get too bored along the way! The great thing about having been his teacher during his early years is that I know how to make learning fun, so I am working really hard to make the easy reading books a fun experience.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: akalori on September 13, 2012, 04:51:54 PM

Your curriculum sounds advanced.  Our school hasn't sent home any reading stuff yet.  This week the kids are learning 1 sight word - red.  Also they are learning the sound each letter makes.  They do a letter each day.  Later they will teach the kids to spell using pictograms "can" is spelled using a picture of a cola can, apple, and nail.  I do not want my daughter to spell using using pictograms.  I think my daughter reads somewhere above second grade level.  I don't know how to assess her reading level.  She reads better than the second grader next door who is in the gifted program.   They will start a guided reading program sometime this year but I don't know the name of it.  My daughter loves playing with all of the kids, eating lunch in a cafeteria, riding the bus, etc.  She is enjoying the developmental independent stuff.  It is good to see her becoming more confident, independent, and self reliant.  In those respects, kindergarten is good for her.  Keep me posted on your son's journey through kindergarten.  it is very interesting to hear how different schools handle our advanced kids.


Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: LDSMom on September 13, 2012, 05:59:38 PM
The Raz Kids program is completely supplemental, meaning that if a parent wishes to use it with their kids at home, then that's fine, but it's not part of the standard curriculum. I think they are learning one sight word and individual letters and sounds in class. is an online program, but I'm not sure if you can use it individually without the school.  I think you would run into the same problem we are of it being too easy, but I believe for kids who have no reading experience it would be challenging. They are also offering dreambox as a math program. Maybe you could check with your school to see if they've considered adopting these programs?

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: bella on September 15, 2012, 10:25:44 PM
I use raz kids with my homeschool kids . you can do it privately , all you need to do is pay individual subscription than you can advance your child and find his level . we love it .

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: akalori on September 21, 2012, 02:54:03 AM
Yikes.  My daughter said the teacher tested her reading today.  She was told to sound out the letters, and forgot what sound "Q" makes.  Also she was told to sound out some sight words and claims that she made some mistakes.  I taught my daughter using the whole word method.  Later she must have picked phonics because she reads new words without help.  She seems to be recognizing patterns and letter sounds.  She correctly read a letter from the school district today describing a new "research project.". She said that the teacher didn't give her any sentences or books to read.  What a sterile way to test reading.  My daughter reads better when she starts to lose herself in the story.  She reads with emotion, inflection, and even makes up character voices.  She is very dramatic so maybe she is exaggerating her mistakes.  I can't imagine how she could make mistakes on kindergarten sight words.  It sounds impossible.  When I enquire about school, she loves to say "it was terrible."  The novelty of kindergarten has worn off.  My daughter says it is too long and boring. I was hoping that the teacher would give her more interesting work.  I really hope my daughter is just trying to stir up some drama by exaggerating her mistakes.   You never know with this kid.  She also likes to pretend to be a baby.  I hope she didn't intentionally play dumb.  Well I guess I'll find out soon enough.  I have to remember that I expected to do afterschooling enrichment.  Now I just have to figure out how to squeeze it into our tight day.


Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: Mandabplus3 on September 21, 2012, 11:51:00 AM
Sounds like the teacher was testing her decoding ability and alphabet knowledge. Standard kindergarten stuff. I would test her on it even if she was fluently reading to grade 2, 3 level. Why? To be sure she has the skills needed to continue to improve. If she didn't " pass" with flying colours you will need to see the teacher to ensure they don't consider that the ceiling on the testing. By now the teacher should have some idea of her reading ability and if not your daughter is hiding it. To be honest early in the year many teachers will just class you as a " pushy parent" my suggestion would be to gently ask whether or not your daughter is actively participating in class and sharing her skills with her class.  :yes: This way you will open the door to getting info about what the teacher knows, while finding out how your child is behaving. Also mention that your daughter told you about the test and was dissapointed that she didn't get the chance to read a book to the teacher. Ask her to find some time to allow your daughter to read to the class or to the teacher one on one.
If you find out your child is withholding her knowledge, snap a video of her reading at home and email it to the teacher with a note saying "just wondering if she does this in class?" ;)

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: akalori on September 21, 2012, 03:29:18 PM
Now my daughter says that she wasn't asked to read any sight words at all, just to make the letter sounds. :huh:  My daughter doesn't know why she made up the stuff about the sight words.  It worries me because not everyone is a phonics reader.  Reinforcing phonics is good as long as her overall reading is nurtured too.  It is stressful to let go of her all day knowing that she would learn more at home.  However there is a lot of other developmental stuff that occurs at school that is beneficial.  I wish I could afford private school half time, so that I could home school the other half.  It would be the best of both worlds.

I need to chill out, Lori

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: Mandabplus3 on September 21, 2012, 11:00:50 PM
Chill out yes that is good for the soul  :biggrin:
You are right there is a lot of other learning going on. I considered pulling my kids out and homeschooling them ( they go to a great school but still hit the ceiling often) what stops me in the end is that the things the school offers that I couldn't were my kids favourite things. They LOVE their sports lessons, cross country competitions and athletics carnivals, they LOVE their group music and art classes. They also LOVE their teachers. That's not even considering their awesome friends or learning.
Now that I have been at the school a few years, I find it much easier to deal with them. If I say my daughter is beyond that work we need something else, I can provide it if you like, they will listen and usually implement. Of course there are the occasional years I get stuck with teachers who like the control and have no luck. (but I only ever have them once!  :tongue: )
Just keep an eye on it for now. If you don't see any evidence of some extention work by week 10 then put your boots on and book in an interview. Don't wait forever but do give the teacher time to get to know the levels in her class, and figure out what your child doesn't know compared with what she does.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: lzp11 on September 22, 2012, 07:37:25 PM
I don't have any great suggestions - we are a year behind you as my 3.5 year old will be starting reception class next year (UK equivalent of kinderkarden).  I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experiences.  I know that we will be in the exact same position and I'm very anxious as to know how others are coping.

We currently are in the process of choosing schools.  There are 3 local state (non-private) schools near us, which are all far from perfect.  There are also many lovely private schools that we cannot afford with smaller classes and amazing facilities (but would mean no holidays, my having to work longer hours and spend less time with the children, lots of stress and pressure at home.... bottom line, it's not an option).  But it's hard because many of our neighbours do send their children to these schools and it's difficult not to compare.  Our nearest state school is large and has some issues with some older buildings (apparently the year 1 and 2 classrooms smell like a hospital - I'm yet to visit!).  But apparently the head is very good.  I will of course visit everywhere but it is a very overwhelming task.  My current thinking is that unless a further school is amazingly better, then it may be best to go for the nearest which will at least give more time for afterschooling!!

Anyway, I hope things get better for you.  It's so hard to know what to make of the stories that my DD brings home from nursery about what happens there!! 

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: akalori on September 25, 2012, 02:34:12 AM
I was at the school as a lunch room volunteer today.  The teacher called me aside and to tell me that she would be giving DD some enrichment work.  She evaluated her reading skills today.  It wasn't the right setting to ask questions (in the middle of the lunch room surrounded by kids).  I will give more updates about the enrichment work when we get it.  Parent Teacher Conferences happen in November.  Sarah came home excited and told me that her teacher loves to read too.  I think it helps just for my dd to feel that her skills are recognized.  It makes her feel special so she is encouraged to continue her academic growth.

Our school is one of the better school districts in our area.  It has a good reputation and people move here for the schools.  Kindergarten is full day.  The kindergarten includes reading, math, language arts, science, social studies, art, music, Spanish, physical education, and health.   However I've met a few dissatisfied parents with children in the gifted program.  They say the gifted program isn't challenging enough.  I'm not sure whether we will fall into that category.  The actual gifted program doesn't start until second grade.  Our school doesn't engage in grade advancement (grade skipping). 

feeling calmer, Lori

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: LDSMom on September 26, 2012, 01:51:29 AM
My son is still loving public kindergarten. His reading level hasn't been tested, but in Raz Kids, he's worked his way up to level E which I think is the second level of 1st grade books. He will start bringing books home from school so I'm curious to see what level they give him. I find it a little strange that his teacher sent home a note telling parents that when we receive the books, if the levels are too easy or too hard to tell her so they can adjust accordingly, but she wasn't willing to adjust his level on the online program. Goofy? I think so. No matter though, we are cruising through and 1st grade level is still easy for him, but the comprehension questions are getting tougher, so I like that.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: eschlem on September 26, 2012, 12:00:31 PM

Great to hear that your daughter's ability and your efforts are being recognized! That's very encouraging.  What else are they working on at the moment? Many of the surrounding towns have half day, but our town has full day kindergarten as well.   

Raz-kids looks like a great website, LDSMom, I'm definitely intrigued. I just got a subscription to Dreambox, my daughter is really enjoying it. 

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: akalori on October 17, 2012, 02:33:58 PM
I have an update.  My dd has been getting incentive projects with 2 other kids.  The teacher sends it home at the end of the week explaining they worked on it all week.  The first couple were simplistic CVC word building projects.  I liked the last project a lot. They read a story and did a "story map" - a worksheet where they filled in the title, the characters, the setting, and wrote a sentence about the problem (conflict), and a sentence about how the problem was fixed (the resolution).  I like writing projects, because she doesn't write much.  Sometimes she writes short disorganized notes to slip under my son's door.  Otherwise she doesn't have any interest in writing and pretends she can't do it.  I taught her to read using a joyful game approach as per Glenn Doman.  So I didn't get her writing because she didn't like it.  I wish I had turned writing into a game.  Anyway writing sentences at school seems infrequent, slow, and laborious.  However I am pleased that at least her teacher is doing it, since it isn't part of the kindergarten curriculum.  She has kids that are obviously delayed, average kids, and advanced kids, all in one classroom with just one aid.  The last incentive project was a good match for my daughter's abilities.  I just wish there was time for more of it at school.  However I realize that in most classrooms my daughter wouldn't get any advanced work.  Also I do believe this teacher is working very hard to try to meet all of the kids at their level.  I may have to inspire my daughter to do some afterschooling with me to ensure she gets enough enrichment.  At the moment my dd is not interested in doing any extra work at home.  She stills complains that school is too long and hasn't completely adjusted to her school schedule.  In addition to the the enrichment work, my daughter gets the regular curriculum which is too easy.  They have a word ring with 5 words (red, green, blue, yellow, black) that they are supposed to practice reading nightly.  Also she gets dot-to-dot worksheets to practice number recognition.  Usually a couple of homework assignments regarding color of the week.  This week the color is black.  She had to find black objects in our house, draw them, and write the word "black" neatly.  The teacher adds instructions that the kids who want an extra challenge can label their drawings, or write a sentence using the "color of week" on the back of their homework.  My daughter reluctantly does the extra challenge with lots of encouragement from me.  The curriculum doesn't thrill or inspire my daughter.


Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: LDSMom on October 18, 2012, 07:11:59 PM
My son is bringing home daily readers, writing worksheets, sometimes a pattern sheet. Nothing very challenging, but this is actually ok with me because I'm able to fit in lots of after schooling stuff.

What had been really fun for me though,is I stick a bunch of library books in the car and the kids we carpool with love looking through them or reading to each other. I also found an addition facts music cd at a local education store and I started playing it in the car. We're working in facts of 2 right now, but its so great how into it the kids get.i pause the music before they give the answer and th kids all try to get the right answer first. It's been a fun way to after school my son while also teaching the other kids. Btw the other kids are the ones who beg to play the math cd game now!! Maybe I should start an after school learning club for the kids.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: LDSMom on October 18, 2012, 07:15:24 PM
Btw, I should add that my son sits at a table with kids who are all reading very well, so he's got a good group of peers who are at the same level. One of them writes amazingly well. I can't wait to meet the parents of these kids to learn how they taught their children.

Title: Re: About to start public kindergarten
Post by: akalori on October 18, 2012, 11:20:56 PM

What is the name of your math CD?  Maybe my kids would enjoy it too.