Monday, June 6, 2011

The Final Countdown

After five long years, kindergarten is finally coming to an end. I know that sounds weird to NOB folks, but kids here in Mexico start school EARLY. Max started at his present school when he was about 18 months old and he's just turned six, ready to graduate from Kinder 3 and start first grade at a new school next year. This week is final exam week (he has monthly exams, but these are the big ones) and we're heavy into study mode. I was a little panicked, but the kid actually knows his stuff, kind of blowing me away actually! Here's a look at some of what he has to know to ace is finals....

"Culture and investigations"- The White Book

From Mexican Independence in September to Father's Day in June, he must know all the major holidays and events and key players. Pancho Villa, the Three Kings, Christoper Columbus, Miguel Hidalgo, Day of the Dead, Mother's Day, he knows his stuff. (A real blessing for me as I prepare for my citizenship exam, I realize I know most of the answers based on our kindergarten investigations). He's also done research on the five senses, the anatomy of the eye, the ear and the tongue, he knows the difference between oviparous and viviparous animals and examples of each, and he's got a pretty good knowledge of insects and spiders.

"Mathematics"- The Red Book

Counting to 1000 by 1's, 2's, 5's and 10's. Writing all numbers as words. Addition and subtraction of three digit numbers and fractions. Roman numerals to 500. Telling time, counting money (pesos and US dollars, a bit of a grrr for me, I had to do Canadian money of my own accord), and simple graphs. Mental calculations and word problems (if Sally has two tacos and Manuel gives her three tacos, how many tacos does she have?)

"Spanish"- The Yellow Book

ABC's capital/small letters. Read fluently with comprehension questions. Take dictation of sentences and stories. Copying text. Verbs and creating sentences using verbs. Must be able to correctly use a dictionary. Interrogative and exclamatory sentences. The parts of a story. Creation of stories. (The letters and writing must be "perfect", makes me a bit crazy truth be told!)

"English"- The Blue Book

Pronouns. Opposites. Spelling of months, days, colours, numbers and means of communication. Vocabulary of farm animals and insects. ALL verbs (that's what it says in the book, though I am quite sure they didn't cover ALL the verbs, ahem, they have a list of 70 that they must know). Present continuous and the gerund. Translation of Spanish into English and English into Spanish. Reading, writing and conversations using all vocabulary learned in the year. (Ok, obviously this is super easy for Max being a native speaker, I'll admit to pushing a bit on our own and doing all the Spanish and Math work in English too).

"French"= The Pink Book

Counting to 50, all colours and shapes. The house, the rooms of the house and furniture. Things you find at a party (different types of food, balloons, toys, etc..) The members of the family. Items you find in school. Answering the questions "Qu'est ce que c'est?" with the response "C'est......". Weather terms. Emotions.Plants and animals. Clothing. Christmas vocabulary. "Ou est.....?" (Where is....?) and the answers "sur, sous, dans". Directions "en haut, en bas, a gauche, a droite". "Combien y a?" ("How many .....are there?"). "I like/don't like". Food vocabulary. Occupations.

And this is why I have a headache today. Multilingual studies of a bazillion different things with a six year old who rolls his eyes when I ask him a question and says "Duuuuuh, that's easssssssy." I think I'll just hand him his books, let him read through them and call it a day. I am starting to think he has a photographic memory (like his mom), so maybe it's a better way for him to study anyway rather than taskmaster mommy calling the shots. However these exams come out, I am super proud of him and excited for the new challenges ahead of us. (And totally terrified at the same time, the moment is soon coming when he'll know more than I do!)


Nancy said...

Wow. It sounds like he is a brilliant kid in a really fine school... with a mom who adds to what he gets in class.

I am so impressed, to be trilingual is going to be such a plus for him, especially after that article the other day in (I think) the New York Times.


Mic said...

I agree...MAX is a genius!!

Dr George Leddick said...

Wait, did you really study Spanish in English? Gee, even I can do that! I suppose they are saving some useful stuff for first grade, like how to roll one's eyes and be condescending while ordering in a French restaurant. At this pace he will be studying existentialism and physics in second grade, so I can see how you would worry about middle school. A noticeable curricular absence is the study of dinosaurs! How else could a little boy learn to label the monsters under his bed? I'm glad I went to school in Olden Times when there was less to learn and Pluto was still a planet.

ElleCancun said...


I was helping a friend of mines daughter the other day with her french homework, and I couldn't believe they have to learn all of these things!!!

Too smart for me these kids are I tell ya!!! LOL!!

Congrats on finishing kinder :)

KfromMichigan said...

You have a brilliant child! Congrats to Max! Keep up the good work.

Barb said...

Holy cow! I daresay he knows more than most high school graduates up here do.

CancunCanuck said...

Nancy- He's a bright kid in a good school, all the kids are doing the same stuff! I am so pleased that Max is really interested in languages, I wouldn't be surprised if he learns more.

Mic- Awww, all the kids must be geniuses then! :)

Dr. George- I know it sounds weird to study Spanish in English, but it's really covering language basics like structure. And culture and history. (I have a dinosaur app on my iPhone that he loves, haha!) And he can identify the fish we snorkel with. :)

Elle- Where are they studying French? Not all the schools here do, it's something I went looking for. And thanks for the congrats, I feel like I am graduating too, haha.

KfromMichigan- Yeah, I'll keep him. ;-)

Barb- He could probably give some high school grads a run for their money. :)

Linda said...

The United States could learn a few things from Mexico's curriculum!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Max is smarter than me!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what school is this? Seriously, when I have kids, they're going straight to that one! That's really impressive.

All that French sums up the five years of lessons I took in school. Seriously. And he's only six.



CancunCanuck said...

Linda- I really didn't know any kids back in Canada so had no idea how the curriculums compared. I asked a friend with a child the same age and was truly surprised to hear that the work they are doing here is more advanced than there. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to provide a great education for my son. :)

Gringation- Haha, smarter than I am too! :D

notinthepink- He goes to a tiny little kinder, not even one of the "famous" schools in town, we are very lucky! The directors of the school are from France so he is getting a good French education (after studying French in Canada all through school, this is a good refresher for me too!)

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