I Let My Kindergartner Skip School

Jeanne Sager

kindergarten classroomParents, get ready to shake your heads and cluck. I'm considering keeping my kid home from kindergarten now and again -- with absolutely no health reason at all.

But, gasp, she might miss out on her education?

It's true, the National Education Association can't say enough about full-day kindergarten and why it's better for kids. And teachers, of course -- because, um, it guarantees more of them have jobs and, oh yeah, it gives the teachers flexibility and allows them to tackle more during a day.

And then there's the age old "well, it worked for us."

Yes, I went to full-day kindergarten. And I don't seem to have been irreperably harmed by it.

She gets a good night sleep, gets a good breakfast, a good lunch and a mid-afternoon rest time. But when the bus pulls up to the drop-off point, my child is slumped against the window, nearly passed out.

She's already come home with two bugs -- one of which forced me to keep her home to rest and fight a fever. I had to take a day off work at a particularly stressful point for me, but it was worth it to see her smiling at 4:30 in the afternoon, her eyes once again a bright blue instead of glassy.

Kindergarten is whipping her 5-year-old behind.

And according to my state, it's not even necessary. Kindergarten is not mandatory in New York State. If I wanted to send her to daycare for the year, the state would even allow me to write the cost off my income taxes.

I wouldn't go that far. I'm a staunch advocate of getting kids as much education as possible, and I'm decidedly pro-public schools. Starting her off on the right foot is my number one priority, and this kid loves her some school.

Fist pump!

But I'm already seeing the way it wears on her. She's both physically and mentally exhausted by day's end. Her stamina will improve, but it's hardly the best example of how the next 13 years will be.

While people stress out about how their kids will handle high school, I'm biting off what I can chew -- making sure she doesn't learn to "hate school" at this age. So I'm debating a break now and again.

As long as kindergarten isn't mandatory, is that wrong?


Image via © iStock.com/AVAVA

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