Phoenix's First Day Of Kindergarten

Monday, January 12, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

Phoenix's 1st Day Of Kindergarten
It's finally here, the day Phoenix has been looking forward to for weeks. After half a year of homeschooled kindergarten, it's time for his first day of public school kindergarten. Supplies are ready. Backpack is by the front door. And... Wednesday night, we find out that the city has closed school due to the extremely cold weather. They were closed the second day too. So, what was supposed to be his first day of kindergarten became his first (and second) snow days instead! Though he was a bit sad, we certainly made the most of it. This will also make his new kindergarten start day a Monday, which seems like a perfect day to start.

Phoenix's 1st Actual Day Of Kindergarten
Phoenix's first day of Kindergarten went great. He was a little worried that he would miss me earlier in the day, and we had a sad/sweet moment together full of hugs, tears, and you'll-love-it-there promises. I could see that my little boy was scared that morning, so I assured him everything would be okay. Fast forward to a few hours later, he was so excited that he forgot to give me a hug and a kiss goodbye!  

Being away from Phoenix was certainly different. Our house was unusually quiet with just Ariana and myself. I was able to get started cooking on a fancy dinner and spend some girl time with Ariana as well.

When I picked up Phoenix from class, it was clear that he had an amazing time. I think he got more accomplished in 1 day than we did in an entire week, lol. They listened to stories, did a beginning sounds worksheet, did a dressing for winter craft, counted to 100 by 1s and 10s, went to the library, played a game on an iPad, and I'm sure even more I'll hear about as the day goes by!   

I am so glad we decided to give kindergarten a try this year. Kindergarten is a fun life experience that I'm glad he will not be missing out on. It feels good as a parent to allow him to have more independence and to develop his own little life, for a few hours a day. He's always been super-social, so I think the more people he is around, the better! I also feel good knowing that he'll be keeping up with other kids his age academically. When we homeschooled, it was more just go-with-the-flow. The structure of school seems like it will be a good thing for him to have. In fact, he just yelled from his bedroom that he's playing school right now. :)  

How We Ended Up Going From Homeschool To Public School Kindergarten
First day of kindergarten photos shouldn't be posted in January, and certainly shouldn't include snow. But, that's what happens when you start following your own advice. In the wise words of They Might Be Giants in Put It To The Test...

If there's a question bothering your brain
That you think you know how to explain
You need a test
Yeah, think up a test

If it's possible to prove it wrong
You're going to want to know before too long
You'll need a test

If somebody says they figured it out
And they're leaving any room for doubt
Come up with a test
Yeah, you need a test

Are you sure that that thing is true?
Or did someone just tell it to you?
Come up with a test

Test it out
Find a way to show what would happen
If you were incorrect
(Test it out)
A fact is just a fantasy
Unless it can be checked
Make a test
Test it out

If you want to know if it's the truth
Then, my friend, you are going to need proof
Come up with a test
Yeah, you need a test

Don't believe it 'cause they say it's so
If it's not true, you have a right to know
Put it to the test (put it to the test)
Yeah, test it out (put it to the test)
Yeah, put it to the test (put it to the test)
Put it to the test (put it to the test)

I've always encouraged Phoenix to figure out things on his own. If he think something is true, but doesn't know, he should test it out. And, at the same time, I've always just assumed homeschooling was the better option for him. Certainly an unfair assumption to make about something he's never done.

So, over this winter break, I've decided to follow my own advice and allow Phoenix to "test out" public school. The main reason I wanted to enroll Phoenix in school was so he could make more friends. He's very social, and despite being in a few local homeschooler groups, he never ended up developing a peer group. Homeschoolers his age in our area looking to meet up were few and far between. Often activities were 30-45 min away, which is just not practical in terms of having friends on a regular basis.

I had a few long talks over winter break with my husband, and though he liked homeschool, he was also willing to give public school a try. So, I put in a call to the school to register my son. He was registered immediately, and within a day was given the STAR Early Literacy test. Naturally, I was a bit worried as to how well he would perform since most of our homeschool has been very unstructured... what many would call unschooling.*

My jaw hit the floor when I got the test results and found out that despite having no formal kindergarten education, Phoenix tested in the 800s on the STAR Early Literacy test, which means he's reading what they expect a 2nd grader to be reading in January.  

*Yes, unschooling worked well for Phoenix, but it doesn't work this well for everyone.  Like everything, I suggest testing it out to see what works best for you.  

So... here Phoenix is, spending the first half of kindergarten being homeschooled and second half in public school. It certainly not a change I had ever anticipated, but I'm glad it's happening. More than anything, I'm hoping Phoenix will be able to make some great friends. As far as school goes, perhaps he will thrive even more learning through formal instruction in a classroom-based environment. Perhaps he won't. There's only one way to find out, and that's to test it out. 

Thank you so much for stopping by! What do you think about homeschooling for half a year & doing public school for half a year to compare the two? Feel free to leave a comment. :)
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