Eeeek! Kindergarten!

Research on what to do come kindergarten time is freaking me out. I’m appalled at how aggressive kindergarten is, both academically and socially.

Research shows kids shouldn’t be forced to read until second grade, and that countries who begin reading instruction at age eight have a 100% literacy rate. Could be correlation, but it could be that waiting helps more children learn. That homework and formal instruction in kindergarten are counter-productive. But public schools aren’t listening. Maybe they can’t, given how many layers of legislation governments pile on the how, why, what, and when of teaching.

I want play-based kindergarten. I don’t want formal reading education until second grade (that’s what public school was when I was a kid) or homework until middle school.

I want choices.

But paying a high price for the kind of schools we went to as children versus public subsidized pressure cookers for small children isn’t really a choice. A five-year-old who is struck by fits of noise, movement, and lack of focus isn’t disordered. They’re normal.

Why isn’t there an option for elementary school that honors a child’s developmental needs? Why doesn’t my area have charter schools that are trying out ideas based on research rather than legislation? Why is there no play-based option for kindergarten? Why am I not thinking seriously about homeschooling or unschooling when that makes more sense than cramming 20 five-year-olds into small chairs and insisting that they sit still for hours on end? How can I disagree with the way government runs schools without sounding like I believe science is a theory?