The Sad State of Kindergarten

Getting into the Antioch charter schools requires winning the lottery. We were lucky #21 for ACA II. If we hadn’t gotten into ACA II, Jackson would have gone to the elementary school closest to us. There, they split up kids based on “ethnicity” – that is, they want an equal number of English and non-English speaking kids in each class.

We got Jackson’s kindergarten enrollment info from the not-charter school. This is how it read:


Please practice the following with your child now and during the summer to help prepare him/her to be ready for Kindergarten.

  • What is your name?
  • Please write it
  • How old are you?
  • Count as high as you can
  • Know these colors: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, and gray
  • Name these shapes: Circle, square, triangle, rectangle, diamond, oval
  • Name the letters
  • Extra practice on these letters: A C L M D J k r t s B e G H
  • Number recognition (0-10)
  • Teach your child to grip their pencil correctly.

Jackson has known his full name since he was at least 3. He’s been able to write it, albeit a little backwards, for more than a year. He’s known his age since he was 2. He can also tell you how much older or younger any other child is in relation to his age.

Jack can count to 999. We did it once on a car trip. He can also count by 10s and 100s. He gets confused by 1000. He goes from 999 to 1,000,000.

As for his colors, he started learning them before he was 18 months old. He learned his colors from the garbage cans. Jackson was obsessed with garbage, and we used to follow the garbage truck every Thursday, all over the neighborhood. The cans are blue, green, and brown, so we started with those. Then we moved on to the houses and plants. When he started preschool, the director pointed out a work that the younger kids did to learn their colors. Jack – who was not quite 2-1/2 at the time – said, “I know my colors!” Miss Ramona said, “You do? What color am I wearing?” Jackson replied, “Purple.” Miss Ramona was impressed. She said a lot of kids didn’t know purple.

As for shapes, he began learning them around age 2, and had them down by age 3. He even knows 3D shapes. I love Montessori!

Jackson has been able to recognize letters since he was 18 months old. He didn’t get really solid on them until about age 3 though. I don’t know when he started to recognize numbers. He’s always been better with them than with letters.

Yeah, I think Jackson would be bored out of his skull in typical Kindergarten. But what’s sad is, there are kids who don’t know any of this. They couldn’t recognize their names if they saw them (which Jackson could do by age 3). They don’t know the “harder” colors, like gray. They don’t know their alphabet. I just found out that Kindergarten isn’t mandatory in CA, so some kids go into 1st grade without knowing any of this.


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