Many of my friends have children who are marching off to Junior Kindergarten for the first time this week. In my province, JK starts at age 4, or 3 1/2 if your birthday is in the fall.
My oldest daughter went to JK, but we pulled her out for grade 1 and have been homeschooling ever since. My youngest daughter never went to school at all.
That being said, I spend a lot of time in my daughter's JK and SK years volunteering in the classroom. And I can tell you one thing. Kindergarten does absolutely nothing to get a child ready academically, unless that child is from a family that is subpar.
A number of my friends want their little boys to start this year, because they need to get ready for grade 1. I'm sorry, but that's nuts. First, they don't really learn anything in kindergarten except how to sit in a circle, wait in a line, and put up your hand to go to the bathroom. All of these things you learn just as well in Sunday School. In fact, you can tell the kids who go to Sunday School when you're sitting in a kindergarten classroom.
The "academic" stuff is really no different than what a good mother does with her kids at home, except that it's not nearly as effective. When my kids were 3 1/2 they knew all their letters, what sounds those letters made, all their numbers, basic addition, and patterning. They knew that because we went to the library twice a week, we read together, we did crafts, and we spent a lot of time counting things.
It's not rocket science. You do not have to be a kindergarten teacher to teach your kids these things.
And the kids who came from families with no schedule, with no stability, and with no consistent role model were hellions, if you'll excuse me using that word. Did they learn anything academically? Perhaps. Studies show that kindergarten really is most beneficial for this group.
But for most of your kids, whose parents do talk to them and play with them, kindergarten is negligible. And most kids would learn more academically being home and talking with Mommy.
That's not to say you shouldn't send your child to kindergarten. It's just to say that you shouldn't feel guilty if you don't, and you shouldn't have this romantic view of kindergarten as if it is some sort of magical place that can convey knowledge onto your child which you are not capable of delivering. It's just not true.
So relax. You're still the best teacher your child will ever have, and take the time with them while you still have them. Don't let them go too soon!
About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.