My youngest son will be 5 in about six weeks. He's on the borderline of the cutoff when parents investigating Kindergarten are actually encouraged to "hold back" their boys from starting school. However, Kindergarten readiness has nebulous benchmarks and they're mostly social. Academically, can he count to 20? Does he already recognize at least 18 letters? If so, he's going to spend his year re-learning it all over again anyway. Is he ready to write? Is he able to rhyme? If he's not that doesn't mean he's not ready for higher thinking. It could mean, like my children, that there are other things going on... such as ADHD or dyslexia. If he's not ready in one skill set should that determine he's not ready for any skill set? Obviously, my answer is, "no."
I'm not holding him back (and I hate that term). So, I'm currently considering what to do this year for my final Kindergarten student. I've already taught Kindergarten-aged students twice so you'd think that I could just pull out the old ideas and go with them. But, no. Each child is different and I have a natural propensity for reinventing the wheel.
My first little Kindergartener was a quick student. We were doing preschool activities at home and by the end of the year when my 4 year old was reading I discovered we had actually far surpassed the Kindergarten benchmarks. So, we moved straight into first grade. Was it my curriculum? Was it my advanced child? Was it the way I made learning fun? Who knows. But that child didn't actually have a kindergarten year.
My second little man spent his kindergarten year tagging along with his brother's learning activities. We did some Sing, Spell, Read and Write without the singing and some Math for the Hundredth Day (now out of print) activities and I read aloud to him. But as our months went on, his reading wasn't progressing (as it turns out, he's my dyslexic son) and I actually relabeled his Kindergarten year as Pre-Kindergarten. The next year he started in K and then mid-year, at his birthday, he had finished the entire Kindergarten Horizons Math and was thinking and reasoning at higher levels because he was present for his fourth grade brother's education. So I bumped him into first grade everything. His reading didn't develop until a couple years later, but he was ready to think more and Kindergarten seemed babyish to him.
It turns out, neither of my older sons ever actually did a formal year of Kindergarten. So, I'm contemplating what my "Final Four" should experience this year curriculum wise. A focus on nature? Literature extensions? A simple ride-along with HIS fourth grade brother's education? As I read the Kindergarten benchmarks found all over the web he is already halfway to meeting them. The most important thing is that he daily has some of my focused time and energy and he'll easily meet the rest.
What are you doing with your Kindergartener this year?