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What ever happened to first grade being, well...I don't know...FIRST?!

 

I'm always a little baffled by how many homeschoolers seem to actually do PreK/Kindergarten...and obsess over it!!!

 

I don't know, in my mind, HS'ers just spend more time with their kids and engaging them by nature, so kids learn the "Bare bones basics" such as Shapes, colors, opposites, L-R reading, sequencing, same and different, expand their vocabulary and do fun activities that are good for their emotional, intellectual, and moral development...

 

To my mind, it's safe to assume that a healthy, normal 6yo or 7yo whose grown up in even a mildly engaging environment, even if they hadn't naturally assimilated typical Pre-K and K, skills could EASILY learn them in a month. 45 days tops...So, I just have to ask those who are doing or have done PreK/Kindergarten WHY they did it?

 

I'm not talking about advanced kids who are ripped and raring to go, the sort of kids who beg for work, or delayed kids whose parents may have felt needed extra stimulation to make the "jump" from [sTART] to [Point A] or anything...I mean typically kids, normal, healthy, children ALL OF WHOM are naturally bright...

 

Why waste money or time actually doing "PreSchool" "PreKindergarten" and "Kindergarten?" did your kids ask for it?

 

Are you the sort of person who unless you have "a program" nothing gets done?

 

Were you just trying to get your feet wet with HomeSchooling?

 

For those of us who have more than one child, if you did Kindergarten with the first child, did you feel it neccessary for the others?

 

 

To my mind, PreK and Kindergarten are more about "paper training" kids than anything.

 

It seems more logical to me to just start out slowly in Grades 1 and 2 than actually do 'workbooks' or 'programs' for PreSchool and Kindergarten...

 

 

Even if you have a child that age that wants to start school, why not start with a 1st grade workbook, and live a more engaging and stimulating lifestyle with your kids and cover the concepts from first grade?

 

Am I the only one who is put off/confused as to the point of this?

 

I have been lead to believe that in PS it is more of a cushion/safety net because kids come with all levels of abilities and skills, but is there really a need for PreSchool and Kindergarten in the HOMESCHOOL?

 

Edited to Add: CLEARLY this isn't a matter "socialization" or "adjustment" or anything since it's being taught in "home" by the parents....it IS Home school after all.

 

 

(You'll find me on this vein of conversation a lot, in the days to come.)

 

Not much to say accept I agree with you. I've never done earlier than 1st grade and my 15, 13 & 10 seem to be doing quite well. I guess it could all change with the next two except 5y old is already adding and 'gets' phonics and I've yet to do a thing with him. ever. so I'm thinking we'll stick to the same program. I could be mistaken but I think some feel unsure of themselves so for the sake of "being checked on" or finding themselves in a position of suddenly having to put their kids in ps, they go with that flow.

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I, too, agree. I like how WTM says that the point of K is to prepare your child for 1st grade work. It's so simple.

 

Our homeschooling before 1st grade is learning how to read (our kids are ready for this at K age), reading alouds, scripture and catechism memory work (from Sunday school), family Bible story reading, Suzuki violin (we start at age 5) - basically just being intentional with how we use our time from music to books to outside activities.

 

I've tried MFW's K program. It was sweet, but I scrapped it to go back to what we just normally do as a family.

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I'm more of a laid-back approach person. I'm not really stressing over my oldest's K year coming up, but she is the type that asks for reading lessons. She understood sounding out words, but teaching her the correct way to decode language was a different thing.

 

I've chosen to do the majority of K as Five in a Row because my littles can sit in and I won't fill like we have "holes" when we start 1st grade curriculum. We will be doing RS Math because I want to play the games. LOL

 

A lot of K, FOR ME, is testing the homeschooling thing, seeing how well I can cope with keeping up with the house, being a full-time student myself, AND homeschooling my oldest. I also am fully planning on taking bunny trails.

 

I haven't done anything formal for prek, though, and don't really have a plan to for my other kids either. She learned her colors, shapes, counting, letters, etc, all in natural form of life (either from me, observation, books, television, etc).

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I like using a program because it keeps me structured, and when I am structured, I feel sane. I also feel that it keeps the kids engaged and excited about learning. Maybe it is just my personality and because I get all anxious and crazy if we don't have a routine going on, and the kids kind of feed off of that. I am not a "go with the flow" kind of person, so I need a routine to get things done with them. We are doing lots of stuff they enjoy and they also have lots of time for free, creative play. But our days are so much happier and stress-free when we are following a plan. It seems that whenever I veer off the planned path, we have a really crazy and stress-filled day.

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Your assumptions are entirely wrong, something that you may discover when you actually have a child.

 

This is a vital period in a child's development. And while there are many ways to learn, including being in nature, a rich stimulating environment (or lack thereof) is something that can not be compensated for in 45 days.

 

Hopefully you gain wisdom on your journey towards parenthood.

 

Bill

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I actually think this is kind of a common misconception before you have kids. I know I thought even after having kids that you could just go really quickly through material - that my oldest would be reading in a few weeks.

 

This is absolutely NOT true for most kids. They cannot go from 0-60 on learning. It is baby steps rather than taking off running. Most kids need to explicitly be taught how to hold a pencil, where to start their letters, where to stop their letters, what numbers are, what they mean (that they symbolize something real), etc. This learning happens over YEARS, rather than days. Kids need lots of small amounts of learning for it to equal out into real gains. It is consistency that is key and Pre-K & K are just steps along that continuum that moves into what is thought of as more traditional school skills.

 

Spycar is right that Pre-K and K are crucial developmental times and I will be working even more with my 2nd rather than less (albeit in a game oriented fashion), now that I know what skills were needed for my 1st to be successful entering the primary grades.

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We did PreK and K because Ariel was just ready to learn, and it seemed like a waste to delay learning because she hadn't met a certain arbitrary age. It gave some structured time during the day, and since most of "school" focused on reading stories, basic math and reading and Spanish (which she asked to do because the neighbor kids spoke it) with some art and music, it was mostly fun. I started with a boxed program because I didn't know there was anything else out there, and over-thought her kindergarten (and probably first grade) year, but I've only got the one child and won't have the chance for a do-over with any younger siblings.

 

FYI, I don't consider the time nor the money "wasted" and I take offense to that term.

Edited by Aurelia
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Your assumptions are entirely wrong, something that you may discover when you actually have a child.

 

This is a vital period in a child's development. And while there are many ways to learn, including being in nature, a rich stimulating environment (or lack thereof) is something that can not be compensated for in 45 days.

 

Hopefully you gain wisdom on your journey towards parenthood.

 

Bill

 

 

Bill, have I ever told you I love you? :D

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The point of K, for me, is to get them reading and writing, so that they are ready for first grade work in first grade. I don't want to spend first grade teaching my kid to read if I don't have to (obviously, some kids aren't ready to read before first grade, so in that case, I'd have to wait anyway).

 

Now I don't do a structured full on curriculum. For preK, I don't really do much of anything. My oldest son taught himself to read. When he started K (in school), he was already reading and adding/subtracting/etc. He needed more writing experience, but that was really all he still needed for K level work. The problem though? I have had to go back and teach phonics that he skipped over. I've also had to go back and teach letter formation and correct some bad habits (that is not fun, btw).

 

My second child has done a little bit of preK type stuff - R&S preschool workbooks (they're gentle and easy), which taught cutting and pasting (something my oldest didn't know how to do before going to K), plus colors and numbers/counting (which he wasn't learning on his own like my oldest did... I specifically had to teach him those via the workbooks, but once we did them, he learned them quickly). Basics like colors/counting are helpful in everyday living, when you need to give your child directions to do something ("Bring me 2 blue cups."), and most kids will pick them up on their own during the preK years. Right now, we're working on learning to read, write letters, and do basic math. It's K level work that he's doing, but we're only doing it a few times a week, about 10 minutes a couple times a day. Very easy and gentle. I want to head off some of the issues that come with self-teaching. My kids are early readers, so waiting until 6 would mean they'd be self-teaching.

 

The structure to the day thing is also a good argument. Giving the kids (and mom) something structured to do is beneficial to a lot of families. I know we are certainly running smoother now that I'm homeschooling. I needed that forced structure. My kids do better with something to do too. Taking a break from school means everyone goes wild and crazy. :lol:

 

Now do I think you HAVE to do preK or K? Absolutely not. If you want to wait until 6 to start anything, that's a-ok! Nothing wrong with it. Some kids do better waiting until 6 anyway. Am I going to wait until 6? Nope. I've had to remediate bad handwriting habits and go back and teach phonics that should have been learned while reading (which affects spelling, and spelling affects confidence in writing). So since my kids tend to teach themselves stuff like that early, I want to be the one teaching them before they teach themselves. I also see benefits to reading early (they can learn so much more by just reading books themselves), so I like encouraging reading when they are ready, not making them wait until 6 if they're ready much earlier (as both of my oldest 2 have been).

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Because that is the whole point of homeschooling - doing what you think is best for your own kiddos. If starting at PreK/K is what you think is best, then great! If you think starting at 1st grade age (which is 6 years old in my state), then that's also great!

:iagree:Well said!!!!

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Your assumptions are entirely wrong, something that you may discover when you actually have a child.

 

This is a vital period in a child's development. And while there are many ways to learn, including being in nature, a rich stimulating environment (or lack thereof) is something that can not be compensated for in 45 days.

 

Hopefully you gain wisdom on your journey towards parenthood.

 

Bill

 

:iagree: Please read this with a very friendly tone, because that is how it is intended...but I have often observed that the "best" parents are those who do not have children. Then when they do, they get the sheepish grin that says, "oops...now I understand." Don't assume that because you were homeschooled and your mom did a great job with you that you will stress less about it when you have your own dear bundle. It's a whole other world, and everything is worth obsessing over if you think it will improve your child's situation or help him to be a success. "Don't knock it till you've tried it."

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I start teaching my kids how to read before kindergarten for the same reason I started potty training before age 3. Potty training at 3 (or later) is much faster than potty training at 1 1/2. However, if your child co-operates, you have to change a lot fewer messy diapers. Similarly, the sooner a child can read, the sooner she can entertain herself with books.

 

Also, I don't want my kids to develop bad habits that are hard to fix. When DD started scribbling letters all over the place, I knew it was time to take her into hand and teach her the proper way of forming her letters before the wrong techniques became ingrained. When DD wanted to learn to read, I made sure to teach her phonics before she developed incorrect ideas about letters and sounds.

 

Another benefit of starting young is that you can move more slowly and there is less pressure to show progress day-to-day. If your child is young, you don't worry when she doesn't get it yet. You just slow down or set it aside for a while. If your child is older, you get anxious that your child will fall behind, especially on skillls that build on each other.

Edited by Kuovonne
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Guest Dulcimeramy

I have learned not to tell moms to take the pre-K years casually.

 

I took those years casually, or so I thought. I did not use any formal curriculum for some of my children until they were age 5.5 or 6. I thought I wasn't homeschooling yet. I was just being a Mama. I did the things my own mother did with little ones, and I assumed that all mothers did those things.

 

Guess what? I was so wrong about that. I was actually homeschooling to the nth degree for ages 2-5 as my mother had done before me.

 

Most mothers don't do this anymore. They've never seen it, so they don't know how to joyfully, casually, and naturally weave learning into life for small children.

 

They don't read to their children several times throughout the day, get them out into the world and explain what is going on in terms of social studies, science, math, and geography, share cooking and other home activities that introduce math concepts, watch the clouds and rivers and talk about them, and did I mention reading....

 

mothers of today often do not do those things. They say they aren't going to start school until age 5 or 6 and they mean it. They tend to the physical and emotional needs of their children while neglecting curiosity and opportunity for lessons hidden in life's daily interactions.

 

Many young mothers that I know today are not providing their children with bookshelves, measuring cups, sandboxes, pattern blocks, or anything of the kind. They do provide television.

 

They are wasting time, and they'll never get it back.

 

So. Did I buy a homeschool curriculum for my little ones? No, I did not. I did buy books, toys, tools, zoo memberships, gas for the car, and some theory books to help me decide how I wanted to approach my child's education.

 

When young mothers ask me where to begin with their two-year-olds, I don't tell them that just being a good Mommy will be enough to prepare the child for learning. I don't dare, because my definition of "good Mommy" seems not to match the current definition.

 

If the hypothetical young mother doesn't understand what I say about a home culture of learning, having learned it from her own mother or in some other setting, I swiftly direct her to homeschool materials so she can have some tools that were not part of her own education.

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Because it's enjoyable for parent and child. Early childhood educational topics are lighthearted and interesting, anyone can do them, and it's a nice introduction to homeschooling. Learning at this age is easily integrated with every day life and conversation, and you can see the leaps and bounds of knowledge growth in your child.

 

I think that judging what other families do in this regard is a waste of time and energy personally. Some kids thrive in doing a little 'school program' each day, others don't need it. Neither one is a big sin in the scope of education and family life IMO.

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Formal K is about an hour a day sitting at a desk - even with a full and hearty curriculum. Am I pushing him too hard? Well, he doesn't seem to miss that hour that he used to spend watching Sesame Street. ;)

 

I have often observed that the "best" parents are those who do not have children. Then when they do, they get the sheepish grin that says, "oops...now I understand." Don't assume that because you were homeschooled and your mom did a great job with you that you will stress less about it when you have your own dear bundle. It's a whole other world, and everything is worth obsessing over if you think it will improve your child's situation or help him to be a success. "Don't knock it till you've tried it."

 

This is so true. Whenever I am unsure about a decision, I just ask myself, "What if he were someone else's kid?" and, suddenly, I am full of answers!

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Wow, I get the feeling that I have trampled a few toes with my Original post. :oops:. Sorry to all.

 

HOWEVER, I tried to be clear what sort of "concepts" and "materials" I was talking about. I'm NOT including Phonics or Reading, Counting or Math in that list or meaningful things that are actually academic. I said "bare bones basics" and mentioned "workbooks" for a reason. I don't see the point in buying a workbook/program to teach your kids about shapes, colors, opposites, "same as" etc...

 

Also, I firmly believe in early reading and math and I have to say that I absolutely adore the very idea of Doman :). In that it is a systematic, goal oriented, parent-child bonding, child respecting, gentle handed ideology/method and I'm leaning heavily towards trying it first chance I get. I also love that Doman teaches MEANINGFUL skills and information to children from very early on.

 

However for PreK and Kindergarten "skills" and "concepts" if you've been engaging your child, playing with your child, reading with your child, telling stories to your child, conversing with your child, scolding your child, exploring with your child, doing projects with your child, actively parenting and spending time with your child when you are in one anothers presence--then it seems mind boggling to me that the greater majority of NORMAL, HEALTHY 6 and 7yos will not have learned by osmisis and informal/impromptu lessons with mom and dad, things like their basic shapes, colors, words like "1st, 2nd,...last" Calendar type words (day, night, week, month, year, seasons), and what they mean. To compare and tell which item is bigger or smaller, to count to 10, 20 or higher.

 

Many of those same "bare bones" type skills are still taught/reviewed in the beginning of first grade ANYWAY, so I'm just curious why a lot of Home schoolers--especially those who engaged their kids in so many of the ways I specified above--seem to obsess, really, obsess over PreK/Kindergarten CURRICULUM (printed materials/program purchased by a publisher) that is focused on "bare bones" type topics.

 

Anyway, seeking an answer to these questions is why I asked. If you have a child who wanted to learn to read or learn more about science or God or history or knights or turtles or the world and you did something to feed that, fine. But t'was only a question...

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I have many reasons for teaching lessons to my pre-k students. These include -

 

1. My children thrive on routine.

 

2. My oldest has fine motor skills issues. Many of our pre-k lessons are designed to improve his fine motor skills. If we had waited until 1st grade to work on these skills, it would have been much harder for him to overcome the issues.

 

3. That same child taught himself to read by age 4.

 

4. My children love being read stories. They willingly sit on the sofa and listen to stories as long as I am willing to read. (They also bring books to me at other times.) They also love simple experiments.

 

5. What should I do with them? Sit them in from of the television for hours on end?

 

6. We are testing the waters for homeschooling. Lessons are part of our daily lives.

 

I can assure you that I have bright, inquisitive children who have plenty of time for free play. "Lessons," which include math, handwriting, and structured fine motor activities rarely take more than 30 minutes a day. Story times are scattered throughout the day. I also try to plan an additional activity. Today we made pizza - from scratch.

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They don't read to their children several times throughout the day

 

You know, this is something I've struggled with the last few years. When it was just my oldest or just him and a baby, we read ALL the time. Now, reading is near impossible. I have an almost 2 year old who gets jealous if the 4 year old is in my lap. My lap can't hold both of them that easily while still seeing the book. Plus the toddler doesn't actually want to read THAT book. He has 3 Sandra Boynton board books he will let me read to him (because he's at that age where reading must be quick), and I have them memorized. But reading to the 4 year old? Very difficult these days. My oldest is ok, because he can read himself. He reads all sorts of books. It's that poor 4 year old that needs more read aloud time, besides the audio books in the van.

 

Thank you for pointing something out that made me think! I need to throw in some read aloud to the 4 year old time during toddler's nap (now that 4 year old gets to stay up and "do school" instead of having quiet time).

 

Next year should be easier, when the toddler is pushing 3 and hopefully tolerating reading a bit easier (and is trained out of the jealousy over laps thing :glare:).

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With my oldest girls, I used K for teaching them to read (other than reading library books together) and that was basically it.

 

With my third, now "in" Kindergarten, I haven't started teaching him to read yet - he wasn't ready in September. I plan to start next month.

 

For us, Kindergarten is for learning to read and an opportune time to help them learn to listen better, sit for a while longer (still working on that with #3 - he IS a boy LOL), and help/nudge them to look forward to school.

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Like you, I am a 2nd generation homeschooler. Like you, I started out thinking early childhood education was best done casually, simply reading to the child, doing the usual puzzles and toys together, playing and interacting together. And in truth, I do much of this still.

 

HOWEVER. Once I reached child number 2, he was clamoring for Mommy's attention all of the time. He wanted to "do school like Dotchua" before he could pronounce Joshua's name. Now, with child number 3, the 20 month old child is stealing pencils right and left, eating crayons, leaving all the caps off the markers, and plopping himself and a board book on Mommy's lap in the middle of history read aloud time.

 

I am going to be doing a bit of "formal" (loosely meant, naturally!) preschool once he's three, out of simple self-defense! The boy MUST be given direction or there will be nothing but chaos in his wake.

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One thing that I think is worth keeping in mind that that at least where I live, most children start preschool at 2, are in preschool five mornings a week at 3, are in full-day preK at 4, and are off to K for full days at 5. In that social context, it has been very important for my son to be able to say that he is 'in school' too. Personally, I don't see our 'school time' as necessarily being that much more educational than all of the other things he does all day -- playing, reading, etc. -- but when people ask him where he goes to school he tells them that he is homeschooling, and when they ask him what he is learning he tells them about what we do in our 'school time.' Regardless of what it means educationally, it means a lot to him personally.

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Many of those same "bare bones" type skills are still taught/reviewed in the beginning of first grade ANYWAY, so I'm just curious why a lot of Home schoolers--especially those who engaged their kids in so many of the ways I specified above--seem to obsess, really, obsess over PreK/Kindergarten CURRICULUM (printed materials/program purchased by a publisher) that is focused on "bare bones" type topics.

 

 

I don't recall seeing people obsessing over curriculum to teach colors/shapes/etc.? :confused: Usually people are looking at curriculum to help them get things like arts and crafts in that they wouldn't normally do, or give them good reading ideas. For example, someone who uses HOD's preK or K programs might be wanting some structure to make sure they are DOING something and getting that reading and art and such in. I will tell you, I don't do arts and crafts with my kids unless I have some structured reason to do so. I avoid arts and crafts like the plague. Too messy! The set up, the clean up, the trying to keep children from doing "art" on the wrong thing. Totally hate it.

 

Most of the obsessing I usually see is for math and reading/phonics programs. I can't recall a single thread where someone was frantic... "Help me choose a curriculum to teach Johnny his colors!"

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I didn't do much for my oldest. For my 7yo my only goal was to teach him to focus and complete tasks with a good attitude. We didn't use anything formal.

 

For my 4 yo (will be 5 next year), I plan to do Webster's Speller for reading/spelling and combine Miquon and MEP "R" for math. About 10 minutes per subject. I'm trying to do FIAR to, but all three boys enjoy that so it isn't just for my coming 5yo. I might toss in some ideas from the google book Kindergarten at Home, but I'm not sure yet - that will depend on if I find a job.

 

The reason I've planned something for him is so that he gets some "mom" time. I want to do something constructive with just him, and to focus on his character development and work ethic. (He also needs to develop the ability to sit and focus.)

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Part of why I'm planning to do pre-K/K stuff is because I think it will be fun for me. I'm bored sometimes and like to have something organized to do with my daughter. And because I'm not pressuring her and she has fun, I think it's totally fine. I just bought several of those Scholastic books from the $1 deal that teach exactly the things you were talking about (big/little, cutting, etc.) I know for a fact I can teach these things and probably will without the workbooks. But I think my daughter will have fun, and I'll have fun feeling like a real teacher. It's good practice for me before I dive in to this unknown world of being a homeschooler.

 

From what I can tell, most curriculum just organize things that most people would say are good to do anyway, but they give a plan and an outline to make sure they are getting done. For instance, I wouldn't ever have played Vivaldi once a day if it weren't for Ambleside online, but now my 2 year old asks every day to "listen baldi!"

 

I will do Pre-K/K because I think it will be fun for both of us. At the very least I will teach reading and math to the best of their abilities, and I am not concerned that it will ruin them in any way.

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Why waste money or time actually doing "PreSchool" "PreKindergarten" and "Kindergarten?" did your kids ask for it?

Luke did ask for it. He felt left out watching his big brother and sister do school work and wanted some of his own.

Are you the sort of person who unless you have "a program" nothing gets done?

I'm not sure what you mean. Is this assuming that us doing K means that I have bought a pre-packaged curriculum? We do workbook stuff. We make crafts and color. We use play do and ptL it's warm enough to start kicking him back outside for "science."

Were you just trying to get your feet wet with HomeSchooling?

No.

For those of us who have more than one child, if you did Kindergarten with the first child, did you feel it neccessary for the others?

No. I did Pre-K stuff with dd, but found it made K in ps much harder, because she was too far ahead. With older ds I did nothing. Now, with youngest and the wide world of hsing opening up infront of me, as well as his desire, teaching him to read seemed like a good barometer for me to see if I was ready to hs a child all the way.

 

To my mind, PreK and Kindergarten are more about "paper training" kids than anything.

We prefer him to use the potty.

It seems more logical to me to just start out slowly in Grades 1 and 2 than actually do 'workbooks' or 'programs' for PreSchool and Kindergarten...

Well, that's the beauty of hsing ;) I don't have to follow someone else's logic and they don't have to follow mine :D

 

Even if you have a child that age that wants to start school, why not start with a 1st grade workbook, and live a more engaging and stimulating lifestyle with your kids and cover the concepts from first grade?

Well, my four-year-old is not ready for first grade work. Rather than struggle and fuss over work that is above his abilities, we thought we'd start as his level.

 

Granted. I do tend to just sit him in a corner to stare blanking at the wall between workbook pages, but.................... Okay, sarcasm off. Do you really think that parents that 'do school' with their pre-K/K age dc are not engaging their children?

Am I the only one who is put off/confused as to the point of this?

Nope, this thread has me totally put off.

I have been lead to believe that in PS it is more of a cushion/safety net because kids come with all levels of abilities and skills, but is there really a need for PreSchool and Kindergarten in the HOMESCHOOL?

Aren't we blessed that homeschooling allows the individual parents to make that decision!

Edited to Add: CLEARLY this isn't a matter "socialization" or "adjustment" or anything since it's being taught in "home" by the parents....it IS Home school after all.

Really?!? You're now dragging "socialization" into this?!?

 

:lol:

 

Wow.

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Your assumptions are entirely wrong, something that you may discover when you actually have a child.

 

This is a vital period in a child's development. And while there are many ways to learn, including being in nature, a rich stimulating environment (or lack thereof) is something that can not be compensated for in 45 days.

 

Hopefully you gain wisdom on your journey towards parenthood.

 

Bill

 

:iagree:

This.

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This is a vital period in a child's development. And while there are many ways to learn, including being in nature, a rich stimulating environment (or lack thereof) is something that can not be compensated for in 45 days.

 

 

I read the OP completely differently. I thought it clearly stated that she was speaking to *homeschoolers* and thus had an underlying presumption of a rich, stimulating environment.

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PK isn't necessary for many kids. Ideally a PK would spend a bulk of the day in free play activities. While that can be accomplished with a little structured schooling, structured schooling at that age isn't necessary. In a educationally rich environment a child will learn things like colors, shapes, the alphabet, numbers, and more through play.

 

Kindergarten, IMO, is necessary to a degree. Getting the basics of reading and math started is beneficial. The extra stuff is just a lot of fun. Kindergarten certainly isn't the time to drown a child in sit-down-at-the-table work.

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Guest RecumbentHeart
I have learned not to tell moms to take the pre-K years casually.

 

I took those years casually, or so I thought. I did not use any formal curriculum for some of my children until they were age 5.5 or 6. I thought I wasn't homeschooling yet. I was just being a Mama. I did the things my own mother did with little ones, and I assumed that all mothers did those things.

 

Guess what? I was so wrong about that. I was actually homeschooling to the nth degree for ages 2-5 as my mother had done before me.

 

Most mothers don't do this anymore. They've never seen it, so they don't know how to joyfully, casually, and naturally weave learning into life for small children.

 

They don't read to their children several times throughout the day, get them out into the world and explain what is going on in terms of social studies, science, math, and geography, share cooking and other home activities that introduce math concepts, watch the clouds and rivers and talk about them, and did I mention reading....

 

mothers of today often do not do those things. They say they aren't going to start school until age 5 or 6 and they mean it. They tend to the physical and emotional needs of their children while neglecting curiosity and opportunity for lessons hidden in life's daily interactions.

 

Many young mothers that I know today are not providing their children with bookshelves, measuring cups, sandboxes, pattern blocks, or anything of the kind. They do provide television.

 

They are wasting time, and they'll never get it back.

 

So. Did I buy a homeschool curriculum for my little ones? No, I did not. I did buy books, toys, tools, zoo memberships, gas for the car, and some theory books to help me decide how I wanted to approach my child's education.

 

When young mothers ask me where to begin with their two-year-olds, I don't tell them that just being a good Mommy will be enough to prepare the child for learning. I don't dare, because my definition of "good Mommy" seems not to match the current definition.

 

If the hypothetical young mother doesn't understand what I say about a home culture of learning, having learned it from her own mother or in some other setting, I swiftly direct her to homeschool materials so she can have some tools that were not part of her own education.

 

This is why I use a structured program. I don't know that I'll need it with the younger ones once I've got experience under my belt but for now it's helping me get done some things that I wouldn't have thought of myself that are enriching my child's days (even our relationship) so that they're nothing like mine were with a completely passive and frequently absent mother.

 

Also, this time is a transition time for me as I get exercised in the discipline of regular, consistent school. Even if my child could start that suddenly at 6 or 7 years old, I couldn't. We're both exercising our school muscles before the State starts expecting things of us.

 

eta: Now that I think about it, I guess I have already learned a lot about "Just being a good mommy" as my young ones that aren't anywhere near K already know most of what is taught in a K curriculum through completely informal and even unintentional means.

Edited by RecumbentHeart
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I took those years casually, or so I thought. I did not use any formal curriculum for some of my children until they were age 5.5 or 6. I thought I wasn't homeschooling yet. I was just being a Mama. I did the things my own mother did with little ones, and I assumed that all mothers did those things.

 

Guess what? I was so wrong about that. I was actually homeschooling to the nth degree for ages 2-5 as my mother had done before me.

 

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

What someone means by "no schooling before 5 or 6 " can sound different depending on the audience, and also mean very different things. The things I do with my young children, without calling it school or being part of a curriculum, are very intentional.

 

Another comment on the OP, though, is that once you have children and have mom friends with young children, you will discover that kindergarten in any school is no longer just learning shapes, colors, and counting to 10. A lot more is expected of kindergarteners in the past 10-15 years in public schools.

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Are there a lot of people stressing over pre-K and K curriculums for their kids? I see a fair number of people discussing programs, but more out of interest/excitement than stress or worry. Some people just find curriculum and new tools fun and they like to exchange ideas with others. Some also realize that they may not be able to homeschool forever so its very important to keep up with PS peers. For instance we just found out that we might be moving overseas during my son's first grade year and he would have the option to attend an international school for free - I don't know if I want to do it, but I don't want the option closed off just because we didn't work on the basics that other kids get in Kindergarten.

 

I think its important to realize that even most people who are doing a full-on pre-K or K program are not doing it for hours every day. I favor a more relaxed plan myself, but don't see the harm in doing a formal curriculum if the kids are enjoying it. I like the previous poster's comment about doing "intentional activities" - that's exactly what it is for us. Not forced, not curriculum based, but there is some thought behind it and something we are building towards.

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I think this is a generational thing for the most part. I've noticed that a lot of long-time homeschoolers are extremely laissez-faire about pre-k and k. Whereas the majority of Gen Y (or tail-end of Gen X like me) homeschoolers I know seem to prefer a more academically-oriented pre-k & k.

 

I prefer "hands-on" materials to workbooks in the early years, but I definitely do work on the 3 R's starting whenever the child shows readiness (3 3/4 for my oldest, 4 1/2 for my 2nd).

 

If a "better late than early" approach is what you prefer, go for it. Just kindly refrain from looking down your nose at those of us who prefer to get an earlier start :)

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Ah. Bill. You read my mind.

 

Wow, I get the feeling that I have trampled a few toes with my Original post. :oops:. Sorry to all.

 

HOWEVER, I tried to be clear what sort of "concepts" and "materials" I was talking about. I'm NOT including Phonics or Reading, Counting or Math in that list or meaningful things that are actually academic. I said "bare bones basics" and mentioned "workbooks" for a reason. I don't see the point in buying a workbook/program to teach your kids about shapes, colors, opposites, "same as" etc...

 

Also, I firmly believe in early reading and math and I have to say that I absolutely adore the very idea of Doman :). In that it is a systematic, goal oriented, parent-child bonding, child respecting, gentle handed ideology/method and I'm leaning heavily towards trying it first chance I get. I also love that Doman teaches MEANINGFUL skills and information to children from very early on.

 

However for PreK and Kindergarten "skills" and "concepts" if you've been engaging your child, playing with your child, reading with your child, telling stories to your child, conversing with your child, scolding your child, exploring with your child, doing projects with your child, actively parenting and spending time with your child when you are in one anothers presence--then it seems mind boggling to me that the greater majority of NORMAL, HEALTHY 6 and 7yos will not have learned by osmisis and informal/impromptu lessons with mom and dad, things like their basic shapes, colors, words like "1st, 2nd,...last" Calendar type words (day, night, week, month, year, seasons), and what they mean. To compare and tell which item is bigger or smaller, to count to 10, 20 or higher.

 

Many of those same "bare bones" type skills are still taught/reviewed in the beginning of first grade ANYWAY, so I'm just curious why a lot of Home schoolers--especially those who engaged their kids in so many of the ways I specified above--seem to obsess, really, obsess over PreK/Kindergarten CURRICULUM (printed materials/program purchased by a publisher) that is focused on "bare bones" type topics.

 

Anyway, seeking an answer to these questions is why I asked. If you have a child who wanted to learn to read or learn more about science or God or history or knights or turtles or the world and you did something to feed that, fine. But t'was only a question...

 

Why, the bolded seems to describe most pre-packaged Pre-K & K programs, actually. :)

There are many factors. From what I've seen here, most kids DO want to "do school" if they have any siblings to model. I got my MFW K for dd for next year while her big sister is schooling, and she's asked to use it twice already today. Patience, young one.:lol:

In addition, when your child starts asking to learn about a few key areas, it's sensible to want to make sure your child is learning evenly--for example, my K-er dd could do upper elementary science but couldn't write. That's not fair to her, and meant she couldn't fully participate in any science curriculum that interested her (until I found BFSU but by then she could write anyway).

Dd needed stimulation. Playing all day bored her, and when she was bored she acted out & caused mischief. If I really made her think every day, she was MUCH better behaved & happier.

I stink at routine. I stink at schedules. I stink at consistency. I am much more likely to stick to a healthy routine if someone else makes me do it (aka, pre-packaged schedule.)

I don't "do" art naturally. I don't "do" kid crafts. It takes a big effort for me to even let the girls paint. If a schedule says today we're painting rocks to look like bugs, fabulous. I never would have come up with that myself.

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I'm always a little baffled by how many homeschoolers seem to actually do PreK/Kindergarten...and obsess over it!!!

 

We don't all obsess. :) Sometimes it is mere enthusiasm. ;)

 

I just have to ask those who are doing or have done PreK/Kindergarten WHY they did it?

 

Sit on your hands now, so you don't pull your hair out; but I wish I'd started six months sooner. Dd responds really well to that focused, sit down time and our relationship is much better when we are doing it. Providing, of course, she is in the mood. She put herself on holidays over the Christmas period, but almost always she is delighted to do it. More times than I was happy to oblige, she was wanting to put in 8 hour days! Before you start wondering who to call for child protection services in Australia, her "work" was jigsaw puzzles. ;) And more, and more, and more jigsaw puzzles. :glare:

 

Why waste money or time actually doing "PreSchool" "PreKindergarten" and "Kindergarten?" did your kids ask for it?

 

Hang on! Since when is buying books a waste of money? :svengo:

Sometimes she asks, sometimes I suggest it and she perkily says "ok!"

 

Are you the sort of person who unless you have "a program" nothing gets done?

 

We don't use a boxed program. We use my eclectic mix of stuff that is probably exactly the same as what everyone who doesn't do school with their pre-schoolers does. I like the idea of FIAR, but I'm acquainted enough with reality to know I don't have that sort of child, lol. For us, if we don't have that "school" time, nothing gets done, because dd and I are both introverts and would be quite content to go our own way for nearly every hour of the day. Obviously that sort of thing would do damage, even if she didn't notice it.

 

Were you just trying to get your feet wet with HomeSchooling?

 

I think it's good to have the habit. "Work" was one of the first words we were sure to teach dd, mainly so she'd accept that Dad has to go off to work and no, she can't go too. It was pretty natural for her to own the word and have her own work to do that wasn't to be interrupted, whether that was me suggesting school that her brother shouldn't interrupt, or her telling us not to interrupt when she was organising the pantry or some such little kiddie thing.

 

For those of us who have more than one child, if you did Kindergarten with the first child, did you feel it neccessary for the others?

 

I imagine ds will be like most other people's subsequent kids and want to "do school" because that's what everyone else is doing. That's what we'd be doing now if dd thought running off with her textas or puzzle pieces was an appropriate way of conducting school. :lol:

 

It seems more logical to me to just start out slowly in Grades 1 and 2 than actually do 'workbooks' or 'programs' for PreSchool and Kindergarten...

 

As far as I can tell, the only kids doing workbooks at that age are the ones who insist. The closest my kid has to a workbook is a colouring book :lol: We are only doing K4 though, and will do K5. For all I know she will be doing workbooks then, but I'd be surprised.

 

Even if you have a child that age that wants to start school, why not start with a 1st grade workbook, and live a more engaging and stimulating lifestyle with your kids and cover the concepts from first grade?

 

Coz kids can be interested in "school" long before they are ready for real school. In most cases, we are probably all doing the same stuff, but a bunch of us call it "school" for the sake of convenience, and the rest think it's dumb to call normal stuff like colouring and counting school, so don't.

 

For K3, which started when dd was 2 3/4, "school" was jigsaw puzzles, Auslan or animal documentaries and stories, nature study, with the occasional bit of drawing, painting, gluing, cutting or colouring when one of us felt like it.

 

For K4, which started a few weeks ago, dd being 3 3/4, "school" is more art focused and less puzzle focused, because she wants it to be. So art, puzzles, Auslan, music and nature dvds, nature study, counting, shape and colour recognition. Stories, of course, but I'm introducing more non-fiction now since she's showing an interest. Oh, and we have bought some musical instruments suitable for very small kids. I'd love to do kindermusik classes with them, but that's not possible this year, so we're mucking around at home with it.

 

I hope that makes us sound less like hyperschooling maniacs? :lol:

 

Rosie

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WowI tried to be clear what sort of "concepts" and "materials" I was talking about. I'm NOT including Phonics or Reading, Counting or Math in that list or meaningful things that are actually academic. I said "bare bones basics" and mentioned "workbooks" for a reason. I don't see the point in buying a workbook/program to teach your kids about shapes, colors, opposites, "same as" etc...

 

It's possible you have some misconceptions about pre-K curricula. I don't believe I've ever seen, let alone seen others even discussing on this board, a curriculum that teaches things like shapes and colors and calendars and what you are referring to as "bare bones." The only curricula I've seen discussed are on your list of allowed academics - phonics, math, etc.

 

FWIW, counting and ordinal numbers are part of math. At some point, some kids tend to count naturally, with little prompting, once they've been exposed even the tiniest bit - but maybe not all do this. (Personally, for that age-group, I greatly prefer manipulatives to workbooks for math, but at a certain level, even in pre-K, eventually a piece of paper with a number on it works it's way in. FYI, there are curricula that use a manipulative approach for this age group.) However, while I'm no fan of workbooks for pre-K, or even much for K, I would urge you to consider that the subjects you may feel you need a workbook-ish curriculum for, or not, may not be the same as another homeschooler's situation. Just something to keep in mind ;). There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

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Because preschoolers are AWESOME and preschool activities are FUN! When else do you get to paint 3 days a week, cut playdoh snakes daily, play "real life" Farmer in the Dell for 3-days straight, sing silly kid songs and dance like a fool?! Yes, my kid likes to sit down for 20 minutes FIRST thing in the morning to work on ETC but the boy knows that first we work, then we play all day!!! I just try to have engaging activities and materials available for them and they are free to do as they wish. And I would never "make" a preschooler "do school" but when you have one who is ready, and ASKING for schoolwork--then you provide for your child's need. Simple as that!!! :)

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Why do K at all? There are practical/legal considerations.

 

Well, in the UK a 5yo has to be in "school"/receiving formal education, in the classroom or at home. The LA (local authority) is usually not sympathetic to homeschoolers anyway. You may be forced to send your children to PS if you can't somehow show your children are doing some kind of school work at home! In addition to concerns about the LA many children want to do "school", especially if they have older siblings or friends. How can you stop them?

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I haven't read all the responses, but for one, kindergarten is a requirement in many states. With my dd, she loved the idea of school, so starting at 3 we had "school" a few times a week. It was all play based. We called it school, but it was puzzles and games. In the end she learned all her letters, sounds, and how to read cvc words, all by playing. Ds is not interested, but when he asks, I oblige. Next year for ds will not be optional. To me, pre-k is important, mostly so you don't waste time in K, but again it is all play-based. Also, I think the structure is important for them and me. K here does not look like K in most schools. We play, we read, worksheets are few and far between. We keep it light and fun, but she is reading and doing first grade math. Also, brain development is an interesting thing, parts of the brain that develop language, specifically foreign language, have synapses that close, some at two, some at five. I want to take advantage of the time they have where learning language is "easiest".

 

ETA: having read the remainder of the posts, I also believe there might be a misconception about what pre-k/k curriculum includes. Shapes, colors, basic counting? My lo's know all that at 2 with no formal teaching involved. ds learned all of that completely on his own, dd needed some help, but all just part of "life." Pre-K/K curr is more about learning to read and read well, basic math, letter formation, and lots of crafts and reading. I admit, I am one that schedules preschool to make sure all that happens.

Edited by ByGrace3
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Someday, you will have an active, energetic, lively, curious four-year-old in the house demanding to be entertained all day every day.

 

Then you will understand why people do structured learning activities with children of this age. Really.

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We use Memoria Press K because my daughter demanded something structured and it's fun.

 

Maybe the OP is thinking of those studies that show that European students (Finnish?) begin school later (7) and lead the world with their test scores. Was it the Finns who don't teach kids to read until they're 7 or 8 and they learn in a few months? Possibly the OP was referring to this practice. The Finns also don't have the same distractions we have here (extra curriculars).

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Many of those same "bare bones" type skills are still taught/reviewed in the beginning of first grade ANYWAY,

 

It takes more than one time to learn something, especially for young children. The fact that the skills are reviewed in the beginning of first grade has little to do with it.

 

This all reminds me of the conversations we have had here over the years about teaching home ec or health. Some always jeer at those who need a curriculum to do that, and some have no idea how to go about it without the help of a curriculum. Some people can naturally teach their dc all they need to know through daily life in pre-K and K, some would like more help.

 

Anyway, there are the handful of uptight homeschoolers who are overdoing Pre-K and K becasue they are uptight, and there are a few with 4 yos who are rushing it so that they can be "official homeschoolers" complete with homeschool group leadership and a blog telling others how to homeschool K-12 ;) :D, but most people using a curriculum are just looking for a nice, structured way to accomplish the necessary skills.

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I think this is a generational thing for the most part. I've noticed that a lot of long-time homeschoolers are extremely laissez-faire about pre-k and k. Whereas the majority of Gen Y (or tail-end of Gen X like me) homeschoolers I know seem to prefer a more academically-oriented pre-k & k.

 

I think some of that is a practical matter, too. I was more relaxed with my third, but because he was the third (and I don't think it was a good thing, just a necessity.) And now that I have a high schooler... a pre-k in our house would be on his own. :D

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I read the OP completely differently. I thought it clearly stated that she was speaking to *homeschoolers* and thus had an underlying presumption of a rich, stimulating environment.

 

You are exactly right. Thats exactly the presumption that I have about *homeschoolers*. I just felt a PreSchool curriculum that teaches those 'barebones' topics and skills was redundant in that situation, and not worth doing. In my heart, it makes more sense to just go to the 1st and 2nd grade grade and spread it out if need be.

 

I can honestly say that I never looked too deeply into Home School Preschool Curriculums, so I will apologize because I think its clear that I made a sweeping generalization based on the few HS PreSchool/Kindergarten Curriculum and the TONS of Preschool skills workbooks and "activity books" that I see in Borders, Walmart, KMart, Target, and Teacher Supply Stores...

 

I know that My Fathers World does a PreSchool that starts with what I consider 'barebones' skills but it does it in a much more hands on way than a workbook. However, its still not teaching much to a child who lives in a very engaging environment and whose parents live a life style that is filled with intentionally enriching, educational activities.

 

To me, PreSchool workbooks are a bit of a waste of time. (Not yours per se, the childs.) As someone was kind enough to remind us, early learning is very important, so I guess I felt that training kids to focus on a paper that is filled with 'pointless' or 'fluff' learning is unfair to them.

 

Teaching them to read, do math or any SUBJECT is one thing, having them 'fill in the pages' of workbooks of worksheets on stuff that they KNOW, is there any benefit to it?

 

Isn't it a detrimental to train a child with 'easy' and 'pointless' work that they just breeze through? What happens when you come to more trying skills?

Naturally children with a more amicable and confident spirit will at least give it a try, but it seems like many kids would flip.

 

Does giving children 'easy, non-challenging' work the beginning stages defeat the purpose of having the learn how to work with page and pen?

 

I've always wondered if children weren't annoyed by PreSchool/PreK "workbooks" all the time. I guess the majority of responders on this board wouldn't know. :).

 

However, I think some posters were right. "Being a good, involved [parent]" doesn't exactly mean what it used to, (or else, it doesn't mean what I always took it to mean...)

 

I'm sorry to everyone who was offended. I guess my original question was roughly worded or crudely put and the fault was mine. I didn't mean to insult anyone.

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There is no point.

 

"Prekindergarten" is a term used by daycare providers--and public schools, and it's trickled down to private schools and homeschoolers, as well--to make parents feel less guilty about leaving their dc with complete strangers every day. And it makes stay-at-home mothers feel as if there is truly some educational value about dropping off their dc even though they don't need to.

 

We didn't do "kindergarten" in our home. My dc learned stuff. They learned more stuff each year as they matured. What more does there need to be?

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To me, PreSchool workbooks are a bit of a waste of time. (Not yours per se, the childs.) As someone was kind enough to remind us, early learning is very important, so I guess I felt that training kids to focus on a paper that is filled with 'pointless' or 'fluff' learning is unfair to them.

I advocate for my dc. Thank you, we don't need another advocate.

Teaching them to read, do math or any SUBJECT is one thing, having them 'fill in the pages' of workbooks of worksheets on stuff that they KNOW, is there any benefit to it?

Yes. Practice makes perfect. As to your opinion of what is or is not a subject... this falls back under the 'beauty of homeschooling.'

Isn't it a detrimental to train a child with 'easy' and 'pointless' work that they just breeze through? What happens when you come to more trying skills?

Easy and pointless are, again, your opinions. Ime, writing one letter over and over can seem very pointless. The end result, an ability to create uniform letters with ease, is in my opinion, worth it.

Naturally children with a more amicable and confident spirit will at least give it a try, but it seems like many kids would flip.

 

Does giving children 'easy, non-challenging' work the beginning stages defeat the purpose of having the learn how to work with page and pen?

For us, it IS work with page and pen.

I've always wondered if children weren't annoyed by PreSchool/PreK "workbooks" all the time. I guess the majority of responders on this board wouldn't know. :).

Ime, it depends on the child (back to the "beauty of homeschooling").

However, I think some posters were right. "Being a good, involved [parent]" doesn't exactly mean what it used to, (or else, it doesn't mean what I always took it to mean...)

 

I'm sorry to everyone who was offended. I guess my original question was roughly worded or crudely put and the fault was mine. I didn't mean to insult anyone.

It's the presumptions and assumptions. Saying things like 'defeat the purpose' or 'pointless' or 'unfair to them' or 'wasting time' in regard to someone else's curriculum choices is going to crush toes.

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