The last several decades have seen a major change in how Americans educate their youngest children, most notably an explosion of tiny tots attending formal preschool outside the home. From all the major media outlets, parents hear, “Children must enter kindergarten ready to learn.” “Lack of readiness” is routinely blamed for poor achievement in American schools. So-called experts preach the acceptable path to follow: preschool is essential to prepare young learners by teaching necessary academic skills. Early education will foster socialization among peers. Children learn best in classes taught by teachers trained in early education, and toddlers are exposed to art, music, and physical education. They learn how to wait their turn and follow other simple rules of courtesy. They experience the diversity of modern America at an early age…
For many years, one of the most popular requests Seton received from our enrolled families was the creation of an educational program for pre-kindergarten children. Thanks to a number of providential meetings and collaborations, we are finally able to provide this much needed service to our families.
Most homeschooling families are more relaxed over the summer. Dad flips burgers on the grill and the kitchen stays clean when meals are taken at the picnic table. Many moms—like me—find they need to convert some lazy days into school time to finish up the previous year, but most shorten the school day. All of us, however, are wistfully aware that vacation is too short, and we are planning for the upcoming year. Parents of preschoolers are especially anticipating the new academic year, and wondering when exactly is the right time to start kindergarten.
Moving from the relaxed learning of the toddler years into a regular organized course of study is the goal of the primary years of education. More specific goals, like how well a student should be spelling at the end of first grade or when to introduce the five times table, can be found in Seton’s lesson plans, which is why it is such a good idea for even experienced home schoolers to read the lesson plans each new school year. Reviewing Seton’s educational goals helps parents to formulate their own plans. Once you understand where you are going, it is easier to see how you can inject some flexibility.
Parents often call our counselors and tell them that their boys don’t like to write. What many do not realize, unless they have several sons, is that most boys don’t like to write. Young boys don’t like to write because their fingers are not adept at writing small letters on a piece of paper, and they usually take a little longer than girls to develop a vocabulary and even develop speaking skills. Parents need to be patient with their sons whose brains are working fine, but writing skills come a little slower than parents want them.
We often receive phone calls from parents who ask about teaching English to their children in grades one through three. They wonder why we teach English when it is not being taught in most schools, or at least, is not being taught to any great extent. The parents wonder why it is necessary, or are there lessons which can be skipped because the concepts are too difficult for their young children.