Jun 27, 2012

Report Cards in Kindergarten?!

After 5 months at school in kindergarten (aka ‘Prep’), Maddy came home with her first report card.  Between our little bit of ad-hoc interest-led style of home-schooling while we were away, and now being a part of the public state education system, albeit following the International Baccalaureat philosophy of learning, we were keen to read how she’s officially doing.  And the results shocked us quite a bit. 

(Disclaimer:  This isn't meant to be a boring I'm-bragging-about-how-great-my-kid-is post, but merely another chapter in our ongoing *experiment* as parents.  So if you chose to continue reading, which I hope you do, please keep this in mind!) 

Firstly, we were quite surprised by how comprehensive and formal it was, especially for a first-ever report in kindergarten.  They even assigned letter grades in 10 different areas, as well as a continuum indicating where your child is at this point in time, relative to where kindergarten kids should be.  And because we have a Multi-Age structure in our school, the continuum also extends to show Grades 1 and 2.

We were very pleased to learn how much she had progressed in five short months.  While Maths and Reading are still her strong points, her writing and spelling have nearly caught up to that too, all of which anyway have surpassed our unofficial ‘goal’ of staying in tune with other Grade 1’s (because that’s where she would have been this year had we not gone away) while we were away.

But interestingly, in areas of music, sport, French and art, she is actually closer to where she should be (ie for Kindergarten students).  When we thought about this some more, it really shouldn’t have been any surprise.

While we were traveling, we spent a lot of time swimming, but not really doing any other ‘sport’ such as throwing and kicking balls.  Ditto for music—neither of us are particularly musical.  Art was limited to collage work and drawing.  We didn’t take up French either. 

But I guess what’s become really evident to me with this report is that ‘school’ is more than just the three R’s. It is equally important in a good education to explore and develop your athletic and musical abilities, not to mention being able to get along with others, speak in front of a group, and listen to other points of views.

I’m sure there are great parents out there who can achieve this with home-schooling, but I don’t think I could and that’s ok.  Many traveling families with school-aged kids tend to home-school, out of necessity but in many cases, by choice too.  In fact, home-schooling is becoming a bit of a trend lately I think, and it is not solely for travellers or those who live remotely anymore either.  Concerns about larger class sizes, student engagement and in particular bullying, further fuel this trend.

It’s evident that we stay put and let school have its influence on her with our supervision and support. I’m just so glad that it looks like our school can help her become a well-rounded learner.

The rest of the report also went on to offer statements in terms of her ‘Behaviour’ and ‘Effort’.  The glowing comments that she received in these areas, coupled with statements that applauded her on her independence, maturity, friendliness and confidence really made us proud of her.  I know our travels had a strong influence on this result, coupled with her delayed start. However it’s being in an environment with her peers and nurturing teachers which is really bringing it to the forefront.

It’s about all the parts coming together to make a whole.  So far, it seems we’re off to a great start.


  1. An interesting read. I am a trained teacher (albiet secondary) and don't think I could ever home school my kids. I think that a school offers such a wider range of activities and cultural involvement that I could ever do. We also don't realise until our children start school is that school is quite a different place to when we were there (which I should know after 15 years of teaching but was still surprised when my kids started at primary school!) with all sorts of oppotunities to develop skills that we might struggle to provide ourselves.

    1. I'm with you there--I think it would be a real challange to be able to offer a diverse range of activities and cultural involvement. Do-able, mind you with the great resources available to home-schoolers out there these days, but luckily we have a good school nearby. Might be a different story if that wasn't an option.

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by our site :)

  2. As a teacher, I also agree that school gives a good foundation to any childs development, however academic progress is much to do with maturity and can be taken to a higher level at any time with focus and good teaching. However the life experience that travel brings is next to none, a vision that will never be forgotten, unlike times tables etc...

    1. You're right Scott, I think travel brings an unique perspective and opportunity that is unmatchable to a purely textbook environment. However, times tables are important too--it's all about achieving the right balance I think.

      Thanks for your comment :)