Okay, I admit it. My oldest starts Kindergarten this fall, and it makes me feel like a drooling, slack-jawed moron.

I've agonized over this for like six months now. First there was the question of where to send him. I have nothing against public schools - I myself am the product of one and, well, look how brilliantly I turned out.

*cricket, cricket*

Anyway, Colin's fairly advanced for his age. He can read and write, count by tens, and watches boring medical documentaries on YouTube like they're the latest Disney flick (he lectured Curtis yesterday about emphysema). But I checked out the Kindergarten curriculum for the public elementary he'd be going to, and it's all stuff he already knows. I don't want his first experience with school to be boring and slow-paced for him ... I want it to be exciting and enriching. I want his education to foster his love of learning. So we checked into a few private schools in the area. They seem better suited to him because they're generally more tailored to the individual student - but they're also pricey. Like, two-new-car-payments-worth pricey. Even the ones at the lower end of the cost spectrum are enough to make me cringe a little bit. I mean, forking over that kind of cash every year, how will I ever get my boob job?

(I'm kidding. Sort of.)

Not only am I not sure what to do, I'm not even sure about when to do it. I know there's a Kindergarten registration at every school, private or public ... but I figured it would take place, like, over the summer sometime. But then I see all these Facebook friends lately having statuses like, "Took Jimmy to Kindergarten roundup last night!" and "Just registered Sophie for school," and I'm all, "???"

Because ... already? It's like ... barely spring.

I hate to admit being this much of a bumbling idiot when it comes to school matters, but admitting it is the first step - right? How does everybody else seem to instinctively know what to do and when to do it, while I have to be slapped upside the head with a notification (via Facebook, no less)? 

Those of you with school-aged kids ... did you just know what to do when the time came? Did you go through any school-starting dilemmas? I need advice and stories!

Whoever said Kindergarten was easy has never sent a child there ...


  1. It's a big step when your first baby heads off to school! Our daughter is in first grade right now but when she entered kindergarten, she, too, was kind of ahead of the game. She was reading and writing, counting and all that jazz. We went with our church's private school because we had worked hard for the two years prior to pay off all of our debt so we could AFFORD it!

    I will say that even though she was ahead of the game academically, the social aspect of kindergarten was good for her. She had already had two years of preschool but there's something "different" about kindergarten. She loved it! And now in first grade, she's reading 2nd-3rd grade level books and working ahead of pace but she still loves it.

    As far as private vs. public, it's a matter of preference really. We have very good public schools in our town but we prefer our private, Catholic school for many reasons. And although the tuition sucks (let's just put it out there, okay--it bites to fork over that cash that could just as easily carry us away on a jet plane to a nice, private beach location for a two-week summer vacation), we look at it as an investment in something that is sure (we hope) to go UP in value.

    Give that boy a big snuggle and get on the horn to local schools, girl, before there's no room left and you have to resort to setting him up outside the schoolroom window and hoping he gleans something from whatever he can overhear inside.

  2. Ok, with my oldest he was pretty normal I guess- not sure what that really is actually LOL, but he knew the basics, ABC's, could write his name knew how to write some words. Well, the registration day came- which was listed in our paper, and we missed it! So we ended up going the first day of school, which apparently a lot of parents do. So they tested Dakota and ended up putting him in a multi age class. basically he was with k-2nd graders in "home room" then went to reading with one teacher, science math with another etc but these were kids that tested above average, he ended up excelling in multi age which I thought was great. He could read chapter books by the 1st grade and is awesome in math..of course he is 11 now and hates to read LOL. now Ethan my middle son went to pre-k at our local elementary school. he was already reading etc when he was in there- we knew of registration through them because of the pre-. This was a different school system than what Dakota had went to.. so, we show up for k screening and He tested the 2nd highest out of kids entering kindergarten, I knew this could be a problem because his attention span is like that of a worm, he would basically rather be busy all of the time, even if it is reading or doing work constantly, so I explained this to the k screener..she absolutely agreed and they placed him with a teacher that was best suited for his needs. I have also known kids to actually skip kindergarten and go straight to second grade. I think that would be ok, as long as its done early. we have a friend that her daughter skipped 5th and went straight to 6th and has been teased ever since- girls are mean you at that age it had to be hard on a maturity level etc. good luck! Let us know what you decide and sorry I just wrote a flippin book!

  3. Okay, I know exactly how you feel. I have 3 daughters, all semi-functioning teenagers and pre-teens. (Although the oldest just called from college last night. We gifted her with an Iphone on Sunday and last night, she dropped it and yes, broke it. So, I stress semi-functioning at this moment.) Anyhow, with my oldest, it drove me to distraction this not knowing. One of my biggest pet peeves was the fact that every school we attended, (my kids too went to private school until high school), there was just this general assumed sense of knowing.

    When I first sent my daughter to preschool, I just happened to call the preschool I was interested in on the DAY of registration. The receptionist told me I should run not walk to sign my child up because of the wait list. I had no idea. It seemed so early in the year for sign-ups.

    My advice is this: Make the phone calls asap. Get the dates. Most schools will have websites and calendars. First time parents have no idea and things have changed so much since we were young. When you do decide on a school and he begins attending, find a friend, a mom who's maybe already had a child in the school and then pick their brain. The private school we ended up in for the longest time, was our Catholic church's school. We attended the school since its inception, so with 3 girls, I was a seasoned pro. I loved doling out info to new families, because I remember how confusing the whole concept of school was to me. In fact, 3 years ago, I started a mentorship program at our school where old families were connected with new families from their first day. New families were encouraged to call their adopted family for any questions they might have. So far, so good.

    Good Luck!

  4. Oh Rita....I surprised you even have time to breath, how would you know all about everything else? DD is in Pre-K and we got that lovely little notice that registration will be the 22nd of April. She will have to take an "entrance" exam so they can place her closest with a teacher suited for her abilities (she too is above average) so you may check and see if your local "public" school has that.

  5. I hear you. My oldest is in second grade but I'm still not exactly sure how the process works. It is never too early to start looking at school and even fill out registrations for the ones you like. I remember the first time we looked for preschools for my oldest. I started looking in June for a spot in September. I found two schools with any openings. One person actually told me to not expect much because I was starting so late.

    The great thing about public school is you can enroll at any time, but I still recommend starting early. As in now. The school will tell you all their deadlines.

    I agree. It is very stressful. Who knew getting them out of the house would be such an ordeal?

  6. My Baby Girl starts kindergarten in the fall. I went to the school district website to find out when I needed to register her (April). We are going with public school becaust there is no way I can afford not too. I'm worried about her being bored to, but I'm hoping she gets sorted into the appropriate class early on.

  7. Be sure to look at the TEACHERS as well as just the school, etc.. my niece went to a public school, and like your son was already learning things before she went. The curriculum had a lot of stuff below her level, but her teacher was AMAZING at being sure she was engaged and helped her keep interest and doing things a little more difficult. She loves school now.

  8. I am in the same boat as you. Except all the private/magnet/charter schools had registration in JANURARY. Are you kidding me?

    We have to move to get my daughter into a decent school. Thank goodness she is only slightly above average or we would have to do the private school thing too :o)

  9. I went through this last year. Nolan turned 5 in August and I decided to keep him out an extra year. It was a lot of stress for me.

    My mom (a teacher for 25 years) said it is not the kids who are doing well that have problems in school. It is the low ones who struggle. If I were you I'd put him in public Kinder. If you don't like it, you can always change him in 1st to private. Kinder is not that big of a deal.

  10. My oldest is starting kindergarten in the fall too! It's crazy how early registration starts. A couple of years when preschool registration started I was so behind and felt like a moron. I seemed like EVERYONE knew what was going on and it was only me in the dark. So that is the only reason why I have been clued into kindergarten stuff. We did register him last week. I will add to what others have said - some public school do offer wonderful classes for students who are advanced.
    Good luck.

  11. Rita sweetie...exhale. You just show up. Done.

  12. I took my oldest for his last month. But, I only knew because 1. I'm a former teacher 2. I have friends w/older kids 3. The huge ass sign in front of the school that I drive past 4x a day and 4. the flyer that preschool sent home.

    Yes, it took all 4 of those things for me to realize it.

  13. my oldest starts kindergarten this fall, too. also. we have to register? carp.

  14. Kindergarten is the hardest- and don't even trick yourself into thinking it gets easier with the others because they seem just as hard (I only have one more to make the kindergarten journey). We've done public school- mainly because we like having heat and groceries- and it has been WONDERFUL. I was worried- but it has been great. Kindergarten is mainly social anyway..........he'll be fine! Love your blog by the way!

  15. I felt the same way. I asked around... alot. I watched the local newspaper too. My oldest's Kidnergarten teacher (public school) was great about adding challenging things for my son & 2 others in his class (We jokingly called it the smart kids club).

  16. Hayden has been in kindergarten for almost a year now and I still have no idea what the hell I am doing or what is going on.

  17. Hmmm . . . I think it's just kind of a "learn as you go" thing. There was no other choice for us other than the public school system, so that eliminated a lot of decisions. Maybe you can call the schools in your area to inquire about registration deadlines?

  18. I just did what Tommy's preschool told me to do.

    They told me to go to Kindergarten Roundup so I did.

    I'm still confused on most school matters though.

  19. Been there, done that! I'm of course referring to being totally clueless about Kindergarten matters. When my son started Kindergarten two years ago I almost registered him too late. School starts in September, right?? Nope, not ours. It's a year-round school with four different tracks and three of those tracks started school the week after I was turning in the papers! Guess which track we're in? Yeah, not one of those. I also didn't know about all the medical stuff and records that were needed. Our pediatrician's nurse just handed me a form and told me to turn it in when we registered.

    I'm a little more prepared for my daughter starting K this fall. :-)

  20. So we are about to complete kindergarten. Yay! I was kinda OCD about the whole thing because I wanted Jonah to have the best experience possible with the most opportunities. So I researched like mad. In the end, our local public school ended up being fantastic so that's where I sent him. I did notice that Jonah knew much of the curriculum before he started. He was adding, subtracting, and reading all before starting. However, at his kindy the classroom is set up so that the kids get common lessons as well stations for various subjects where their individual needs are catered to. This has really worked well for Jonah. He is excelling and loves school. He is reading at a 2nd grade level, has finished the entire kindy "take home" series (each book is taken home, mastered and then read to the teacher - there are 50) and now gets library books. We're actually reading the Percy Jackson series right now. The same holds true for other subjects he excelled in from the get go. And where he lacked (writing & drawing - hates both), he received attention and encouragement and really was able to improve those skills.

    Also, for as much academic stuff as he does in kindergarten, the social aspect is so, so important. He's always been a social kid. And now he really gets to express that with his peers. Interacting with kids his own age has only made him more empathetic, outgoing and fun. He amazes me each and every day.

    As for me, I knew when kindergarten registration was because I had a file folder full of bookmarks about school which I obsessively checked. Jonah registered in February with kindergarten starting in August. His orientation was in June I think.

    I was more nervous than the kid about kindergarten. This was a child who spent very minimal time in pre-school and was otherwise home with a parent or grandparent. He's pretty mom/dad dependent and isn't happy without one of us around. He also spent the 6 months prior to school telling anyone who asked him about it, "I hate kindergarten" (and because I am *that* mom I made him say "I don't know how I feel about kindergarten" since he had no basis for "hating" it... lol). But you know what? No tears. Not one. He loved it from the second he got there. It has been an amazing experience. And I am so, so proud of how he has grown and developed and of the love he has for school.

    Colin will do great no matter where you send him. Because YOU are his mom. Our own involvement and enthusiasm about school is such a huge factor in how our children feel about the experience.

  21. Call around about registration now so you don't miss it, and ask if they place the kids with teachers who are best suited to them. Sign him up for the best school you can possibly afford, and be enthusiastic and positive about preparing him for it. And don't let him see you cry when you take him that first day. ;o) You didn't see me, did you?! XXXOOO

  22. WOW....yeah...Lorelli is starting this year also when we move to New York. If you remember, I wanted to do home school. Jennifer disagrees. She thinks Lorelli needs public school. We are going to try it out. She is quite ahead of the kids. She knows sign language. She knows some spanish. She speaks well. I just...I don't know. I am leery. But when Jennifer and I went to the local public school we found out that registration is in May and Jennifer bought our tickets to fly out there for it. YIKES!!! I can't believe it is already here. I will cry on your shoulder and you can cry on mine.

  23. As a kindergarten teacher and a mom I will say are over thinking it. Most parents think their child will be bored, but honestly, I have rarely met a kid who was sooooo advanced that they were not challenged. The standards published are the BARE MINIMUMS that a child is expected to master by the end of the year. Most programs go well beyond the minimum.

    Many parents stress away their child's Kindergarten year instead of enjoying it.

    And yes, most programs (just like preschool) register in the spring. That is how they know how many teachers they will need when school starts :)


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