Something big that I've been doing the last few weeks is trying to get Buddy started out in a good school. In Wausau, there is a free 4K program that runs half-days Monday through Friday. And Buddy is soooo excited to go to school, so I definitely wanted to take advantage of the program. Plus, hey! It's free! That should cut my daycare bill in half!
Then I started to visit the schools. And asked about the curriculum, what were the 3 areas they stressed the most during the year? What should they know by the end of the school year?
1) Reading readiness - can you recognize letters, understand that when they are put together they make words? Do you know what the front of a book looks like? The back?
2) Early math - can you count to 20? Recognize numbers 1-10 and start understanding composites of numbers? (23 means twenty-three, not two-three).
3) Social skills - can you get along with other children? Stand up for yourself? Tell your classmates how you feel and make changes to get along better with other children?
Ummmm, hi. My son, he can do all of this. Ok, he might need a little work on standing up for himself. But recognizing letters? My kiddo is reading. Not just pretending, not just memorizing books and parroting them back, he is actually reading. Counting to 20? My kid can count to 100. And mostly understands composites of numbers. He also loves fractions, addition, and subtraction.
I was terrified. I remember being in school and being so frustrated that I knew everything already and they wouldn't let me go on to new and exciting materials. As a young kid, if your desire to learn is stifled that could screw up your whole education. Kids who aren't challenged get frustrated, get naughty, and give up on school.
I'm sending Buddy to a private school. A Montessori. It's ridiculously expensive, costs more for half time than my old daycare cost for full time, but it's going to be worth it. They have a curriculum in place so he can learn up to 2 years above grade level without them even having to do anything special for him. He can just go, and learn as fast as he wants. Or, if I'm just being a crazy mama and my kid actually isn't that special, he can learn as slow as he wants. The curriculum is that flexible, that he will be able to go at his own speed. Whatever that turns out to be.