•   Short “lessons” in the form of fun and games are appropriate; five to ten minutes of lessons in letter identification, phonics (initial sounds) or beginning writing; five to ten minutes of math games or learning how to write numbers, if, and only if, your child shows readiness and interest.

Signs Your Child is Not Ready for Kindergarten

     •   Your child seems immature in attention span, self-control, or speech.

     •   Your child won’t sit still for a story that lasts longer than five minutes.

     •   Your child resists all your efforts to establish a “preschool” routine and only wants to play all day.

     •   Your child complains when you spend one or two hours on a preschool routine; he says he “has no time to play” or asks, “How much longer till we’re done?”

     •   Your child shows no interest in learning his letters, numbers, and so on.

Remember: Even though your child is “of “kindergarten age,” he still may not be ready for kindergarten, especially if you plan on implementing a more rigorous, academic program. In fact, most kindergarteners are not ready for formal academic pursuits. A traditional kindergarten program, minus the academic emphasis, is most appropriate. Make your child’s kindergarten a “child’s garden”—somewhere north of preschool, somewhere south of first grade—a traditional and non-pressured program. Save most of the sit-down, formal academics for first grade and beyond.

Children who are homeschooled should never be put in the position of feeling academically pressured or feeling that they are failures. They should never be drilled to tears. We can make our curriculum ready for our children, instead of trying to make our children ready for the curriculum. I flunked kindergarten simply because I wasn’t ready for it. Your child doesn’t have to do the same. 

Susan Lemons and her husband have been married for 23 years, and have homeschooled their four children (ages 19, 15, 6 and 4) “from birth.” Susan has earned both Associate and Bachelor Degrees in Child Development, and serves the homeschooling community as a mentor, “first contact” for new homeschoolers, and conference speaker. You may contact her at mentormom@bak.rr.com if you have any questions about her column, or about preschool at home. Visit her blog at www.HSEBlogs.com/susan

This article was originally published in the Nov/Dec ’08 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Get more great homeschooling help by downloading our FREE report entitled “The Secret to Homeschooling Freedom” by visiting http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com/resources/report.htm