Thursday, January 16, 2014

At What Age Should a Child go to School?

I read an article recently (and no I can't find it again to save my life) that outlined a European study.  You see, in Europe, the age for starting compulsory education ranges from four to seven.  There is a movement to standardize this age across the nations, so a study was commissioned to determine what the best age would be.

And the study decided that compulsory education should start in all of Europe at age 8.  Based solely on academic and performance reasons. 

This assumes that the child would stay at home with their mother or father or other attentive caregiver who was already educated and could afford to spend time with their children every day, caring for them and educating them at home.  (So I understand that it's not for every situation, but it was what the study claimed was the ideal case.)

But the study found no reason that the parents could not effectively teach all the material learned in school up to that age at home, through a play-based environment.

Additionally, the later that children start a formal education up to age 8, the more joy they retain in their schooling.  The late beginners didn't fall behind the students that started earlier, and they actually liked school more.

I liked this article.  It articulated a lot of the things that I felt about homeschooling but never bothered to flesh out into real thoughts and words.

The main reason that we didn't send Connor to kindergarten when he was five was because he wasn't interested in going.  I was going to be at home with Lex, and he wanted to be with us.  I felt like he would learn more where he was happy and comfortable, and I knew that I was capable of providing him with a good kindergarten education.

Also, Connor has a late June birthday.  The year that he would have started school, he would have been just five years old, and one of the youngest in his class.  I wasn't thrilled with the idea of holding his education back until he was six, either, because he was already mastering kindergarten skills.  I felt like homeschooling was a good way to balance his learning with the fact that he wasn't ready to be away from home every day at his  young age.  I figured that by the time that he was ready to go to school, he would be caught up with everyone socially and academically.  (Actually, I hoped that he would be a little ahead academically in case there was an adjustment period when he finally did go to school.)

We reassessed the idea of homeschooling for first grade, and he still wasn't interested in going to school.  So we decided to continue homeschooling.  We will continue to homeschool until he wants to go to school.  I don't know when that will be.

I do know that he is intending to go to high school when the time comes.  Middle school?  That's a fuzzy concept for him, so we'll see when we get there.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I'm with ya sister! We, too, are evaluating each year. I wouldn't say that her desire is the only factor, but certainly part of the equation. On the flip side, there have been times when she has talked about going to school and we talk about why...what she thinks she is missing or wants to be part of. So far, it's been a desire to ride a school bus, have a lunch box and have recess. All things we can duplicate lickety split.