Back home, Ben spent a year in a synthesized Pre-K/Kindergarten class. It was all day, every day, originally to our chagrin, but it turned out that he really enjoyed it. Because of his birthday falling in December, we asked that he be considered a Senior Kindergartener — knowing there was the possibility that he’d end up with JK results, which would help us decide what level he should progress to.
At the end of the year, we still didn’t have a really clear picture. He did well in class, enjoyed it, and his “report card” was positive (although I don’t think they’re allowed to write anything negative any more.) His teacher said his skills in all subjects were exactly appropriate for his age. But his age, in Canada at least, was still an awkward in-between: either ending up the oldest in a Kindergarten class, or the youngest in a first grade class.
We were inclined to put him in first grade. Then we moved here and found out that Kindergarten was half day — they do have full-day Kindergarten, but there’s a lottery to get into it, and we missed the lottery. That seemed less than ideal. However, his birthday excluded him from first grade without an opaque, expensive, and completely unfriendly evaluation — and the first grade class was full anyway.
So we decided to look into private Christian schools — of which there are plenty in this here Red State. We visited an awful cute little school that reminded me a lot of FCA (and cost just as much) who offered to evaluate him for first grade for free. Unfortunately, they’re a year ahead in math and they teach language using phonics. I’m a big fan of phonics, but Ben had never seen it before, and while he can probably handle 1st grade math, he’s definitely not ready to be in 2nd grade math. So that evaluation ended really quickly.
The Christian school also offers half day Kindergarten — although at a price. Between public school half day Kindergarten that will do basic math and more ridiculous “whole language” English, and private school half day Kindergarten that is more likely to keep him from total boredom, we’re leaning strongly toward forking out the cash for the cute little private school. The schedule works better as well, and will allow Nicole to have focused Abi and Eli time in the morning, and focused at-home learning time with Ben in the afternoon while Abi is at pre-school and Eli naps.
Fortunately, we lucked out with pre-school for Abi. She’s in an enriched Pre-K class, which should move her along nicely. Since her birthday is less contentious, it was easier to find a fit for her. However, if Ben gets a year of private school, so should Abi. I have to admit, I actually really like the idea. They’ll have chapel on Wednesdays, learn about creation as something God did, not a random series of accidents, learn how to find verses in their Bible… Of course we work on that at home, but having it as a part of their societal life… that might just be worth $4000 a year to us.