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Published: Monday, February 24, 2014, 10:32 a.m.

Afterschooling saves money, increases quality time with child

For those of you wondering about my family's kindergarten dilemma, here's what we decided to do.

Next year my daughter will attend free, half-day kindergarten, but I will work with her extensively in the afternoon (the technical term for this is Afterschooling). This will not only save $3,600, but also provide my daughter with extensive one-on-one instruction that she would most likely not receive in a classroom full of 22 tired five-year-olds.

Here's my complete Afterschooling Plan for Half-Day kindergarten.

In our neighborhood, if you take out all of the minutes from lunch and recess, full-day kindergarten means 5 hours and 15 minutes of school per day. Half-day kindergarten is 2 hours and 25 minutes. (Please note: I don't mean to be dismissive of the importance of recess. Children learn a lot on the playground.)

I'm fairly confident I'll be able to add 2 hours and 50 minutes a day of learning to my daughter's day through books, math, cooking and science projects. An added bonus is that this will be quality time with my daughter.

But parents with children in full-day kindergarten should take heart. All of the research I've read says that full-day kindergarten makes a big difference. That's why I'm glad that by 2017, full-day kindergarten will be a free option for every family in Washington.

Story tags » Education & SchoolsFamily

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