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Old 02-08-2008, 10:54 AM
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I originally posted this on the Education pages, but I think parents would have more wide-ranging experience here....

Are they starting 'serious' education too soon? I feel there is not enough lightness and play in Kindergarten, and too much pressure on academic results.

I just read this report BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Is five too soon to start school?

Finland, a global superstar in education terms, is consistently among the top performers. But it is also at the very bottom of the league in terms of the hours spent in the classroom. Finnish pupils start formal education at seven and then enjoy 11-week summer holidays - and they end up with the highest educational standards in Europe.

What do you think?

Can we help our young ones have more fun at school and take some of the stress off?
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:44 PM
Location: Lehigh Valley
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Originally Posted by southdown View Post
Can we help our young ones have more fun at school and take some of the stress off?
I would love that!

I have a son in first grade who is under so much stress each week trying to memorize math facts so he can be drilled on them on Friday - he has 3 seconds to tell the answer on the flashcard in order to advance up "math mountain"

I am not against them having to memorize these addition and subtraction facts, but what I do take issue with is the 3 minute time limit. It's not necessary and just puts undue stress on a bunch of 7 year olds.
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:36 PM
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I do think they there is too much emphasis on teaching to the test - face it, some kids just don't test well. Just so the schools can get their $. And I think they are teaching too much too fast sometimes. There is a reason why it is becoming more and more popular to leave boy children in particular, back a grade!
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:19 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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Our kids attened a private school where they believed that homework was unnecessary before 5th grade. they said that if the teacher cannot teach the subject in the school time, they are not teaching. they wanted the kids to like school and homework is too stressful in early years. It was a magnificient school, but alas too expensive.

We see too many parents pushing their kids into highly educational preschools. "you can never start too early" One lady showed us her daughter doing multiplication and speaking two added languages at age four. I wanted to be sick. That is a terrible thing to do to a kid (steal their childhood). Our kids all got to be children during their childhood and are now at or near the top of their classes in high school or Jr. high. so I guess all that early training that some of the other kids got did not do anything. I honesty believe that it is a psychosis that forces parents to think that their kids have to be Havard graduates at 14.

What is the rush? Do they really need to start the job that they will be doing for the next 40years as soon as possible? When are they going to have fun?
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:38 PM
Location: New York
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Good thread. I think kindergarten should be half days. My son will be going to kindergarten in the Fall and I have found out that he will be picked up by the bus at 7:30 a.m. and school doesn't let out until 3:30 p.m. I really am not enjoying the concept of him being away for 8 hours starting school for the first time. What happened to morning or afternoon kindergarten?? IF he has homework on top of that I will have to rethink the whole thing.

A lot of my friends home school where we live. We are in a remote area. He has socialization through my Moms' group and various activities we do with the Moms and kids outside of the group too. There are also home school groups out here, as well. I may seriously consider this option.

I think education needs to be overhauled in this country so that everyone can have a good education and not just the private schools. Just my one opinion.
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:48 PM
Location: Wake Forest
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I can only speak from my experience- my daughter is in 3rd grade now (and we have a whole host of problems) but when she was in kindy- she LOVED it. It isn't as structured as the older grades- most of their learning is from songs and coloring and play. She had homework most nights- which consisted of coloring a picture of some sort ( ie: color the squares green, color the triangles orange, etc), trace the letters with a crayon...pretty simple stuff that most kids that age like doing anyways.

Her birthday was near the cut off date, and we could have sent her a year earlier than we did, but decided to wait and she excelled!

It's such a fun time for them- but a lot of their attitude is going to be based on YOUR attitude. A lot of times, even if we think we're hiding it, we're really not- kids are smarter and more intuitive than we tend to think and they pick up on it!
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:30 PM
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
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I have a question, though--how does Finland compare to the United States, India, and China as far as education goes?
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Old 02-08-2008, 04:52 PM
Location: Bay Area
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When I lived in Ireland, children started school a year earlier with no ill effects. In fact, now that my kids are a bit older they are feeling really bored in the public school system.They feel that everything is "dumbed down". Homework is pretty much busy work and seems to be based on whatever state achievement test is given. When my children were in Ireland they were literally thrown into a Irish speaking school without any knowledge of this difficult language and were nearly fluent in 6 or so months. I think we need to challenge children more even if it means starting school earlier. I think we need to give children more credit and believe they can rise to higher standards. I'm distressed at how the whole flash card/rote memorization exercises are still used (at least in my children's public schools). I think it's all a waste of time to have to spell a word over and over when the child already knows it. I think that whole "No child left behind" is a waste of time and has done such a disservice to teachers. It's just so upsetting to see my children lose their interest in learning. Sorry for the rant!
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