Before a child enters school (even home school), there are many skills they should acquire. It is imperative that we, as parents, help them grow and develop in 5 basic areas: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Social. Often we see that our kids are ready in one of the elements (for example mental academics) and we are tempted to rush ahead (overlooking the fact that they may not be ready in one or more of the other areas). I, for one, was guilty of this! Take a look at the following characteristics:
(As stated by Ruth Beechick)
Experiencing love, security, discipline, joy and worship
Beginning to develop awareness and concepts of God, Jesus, and other basic Christian realities
Developing attitudes toward God, Jesus, church, self, Bible.
Beginning to develop concepts of right and wrong
(This and the following are taken from information provided by Children’s Neurological Services)
Good health practices (toilet habits, care of nose and mouth, hand washing).
Ability to handle outer clothing (zip zippers, tie shoes, button buttons).
Good muscular coordination—not clumsy.
Ability to listen to a story or give attention for a short period of time;
Ability to speak in a moderate voice;
Ability to use scissors, pencils, and crayons;
Ability to not cry when slightly hurt or frustrated
Ability to not become angry without cause
Ability to accept criticism, opposition or defeat
Ability to take turns, accept praise given to others, give praise.
Ability to express himself/herself
Ability to see a simple task through to the finish
Ability to describe in words what he sees
Ability to show interest in music and stories
Ability to follow simple oral directions
Ability to explore and find out about things
A good oral vocabulary
Ability to work well in a group
Ability to take care of school materials
Ability to respect the rights of others
Ability to not interrupt others
Ability to stand up for his/her own rights and not be dependent on others.
In home schooling it is also imperative that the child sees his/her parent as the authority, and that the child respects this authority. If your child has not reached this point, he/she will not be ready to start learning from you. If this is an issue for one or more of your children, I would recommend reading: Parenting with Love and Logic and The Strong-Willed Child.
School Readiness Checklist
The following information was excerpted from material provided by the CERC.
Just as children develop at different rates physically, they also mature mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually at different rates than other children the same age. Pushing a child ahead of what he is developmentally ready for can lead to frustration (for both child and parent/teacher), as well as failure. Not performing well or failing in the early years of school can have a negative affect on your child’s attitude toward school in the future.
The following checklist is a guide to help you develop your child’s readiness. It is not all-inclusive. Also, just teaching your child how to correctly answer the specific questions does not change his/her overall growth or readiness.
Growth and Age: Yes No
1. Will your child be 5 years and 6 months or older when he begins kindergarten? ____ ___
2. Is your child at or above the following norms or averages in weight and heights?
Boys: Weight 40 lbs., Height 43 in.; Girls: Weight 37 lbs., Height 42 in. ____ ____
3. Can strangers (who speak the same language) easily understand your child’s speech?____ ____
General Activity Related to Growth:
4. Can your child pay attention to a short story when it is read and answer simple
questions about it? ____ ____
5. Can your child draw a picture, beyond a simple scribble? ____ ____
6. Can your child tie a knot, zip or button a coat? ____ ____
7. Can your child walk backward for a distance of 5-6 ft.? ____ ____
8. Can your child stand on one foot for 5-10 seconds? ____ ____
9. Can your child alternate feet walking down stairs? ____ ____
10. Can your child walk a straight line? ____ ____
11. Can your child tell his right hand from the left? ____ ____
12. Can your child use a knife for spreading jam or butter? Can he cut paper with
scissors? Can he tear a large sheet of paper into small pieces or shapes? ____ ____
13. Can your child take care of his toilet needs by himself? ____ ____
14. Can your child travel alone in the neighborhood (2 blocks) to the store, school,
playground, or a friend’s home? (*adjust this for where you live) ____ ____
15. Can your child be away from you for at least 3 hours without feeling upset? ____ ____
16. Can your child cross a residential street safely? ____ ____
17. Can your child repeat a series of four numbers without practice, such as responding
to “Say after me 6-1-7-4”? ____ ____
18. Can your child repeat an 8 to 10 word sentence if you it once, such as “The boy
ran all the way home from the store?” ¬¬¬____ ____
19. Can your child remember instructions and carry out two or three simple errands or
tasks in the home after being told once? (Ex. “Pick up your book” or “Close the door.” ____ ____
Understanding: Yes No
20. Can your child tell you the meaning of simple words like bicycle, apple, gun, shoe,
hammer, water, shirt, horse? ____ ____
21. Can your child count four objects? ____ ____
22. Can your child supply the last word to all of the following statement?
Mother is a woman; Father is a ____.
A fire is hot; an ice cube is____.
A plane goes fast; a turtle goes____. ____ ____
23. Can your child put together a simple puzzle of 6 pieces? ____ ____
24. Can your child tell what parts are missing if you draw a stick picture of a person and
leave out a leg and an arm? ____ ____
25. Can your child draw or copy a square? Name a cross, square, and a circle? ____ ____
26. Can your child tell you how many feet he has? ____ ____
27. Can your child tell you how many ears a dog has? ____ ____
28. Can your child tell you which goes faster, a motor scooter or bike? ____ ____
29. Can your child tell you what or where meat comes from? ____ ____
30. Can your child tell you what things are made of, such as cars, chairs, or shoes? ____ ____
31. Can your child tell you what a key is for? ____ ____
32. Can your child tell you what his eyes and ears are used for? ____ ____
33. Can your child tell you in what way a sweater, shoe and hat are the same? ____ ____
Attitudes and Interests:
34. Do you have books, magazines, and newspapers in your home that your child looks at? ____ ____
35. Is your child unafraid of going to school? (If home schooling—is he showing interest?) ____ ____
36. Does your child ask often when he will go to school (or start school)? ____ ____
37. Does your child pretend to read? ____ ____
38. Have you attempted to create in your child the idea of looking forward to school
experiences? ____ ____
In addition to the above checklist, you should get a list from the school (or look at a sample of the Kindergarten curriculum you are interested in using) and familiarize yourself with the skills that will be taught in kindergarten. A basic understanding of numbers and sounds is extremely important for success in school.
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