Expat Teacher wants specifics. Why don't you folks go give him some? Other people had already mentioned some of the nonacademic benefits, but I thought he wanted some academic benefits as well. Here's part of my post:
But Expat asked: "WHAT do we teach?" Let's tell him. My older daughter just turned six and started "first grade". Here's what she's learning:
MATH - She's already finished a standard first grade math curriculum and is halfway through the first year of Singapore Math. Redundant I know, but we've got the time.
HANDWRITING - We finished the first-grade workbook last week and started the supplemental "Draw Write Now"
PEN-PAL WRITING - at least once a week.
JUMPSTART WORKBOOKS - She's halfway through the 2cnd grade workbook.
LITERATURE - We're read the Greek myths, folk tales and creation stories from around the world, most of the Golden Age of Children's Literature and started on Victorian poetry. Later this year we'll begin children's version of the Iliad, the Odyssey and other ancient literary works.
MEMORIZATION - a poem every other week and a list about once every other month. Want hear her tell you the ages of history, the names of the planets or "Now We Are Six"?
GRAMMAR - We're working on the parts of speach.
PHONICS - in depth
SPELLING - We'll finish the first grade spelling workbook next month.
PICTURE STUDY - using great paintings.
NATURE STUDY - using plants and most recently the monarch butterflies hatching out right under their window.
HISTORY - We've already covered the dinosaurs and worked our way up to the Neanderthals. When the heat breaks in a few weeks we'll be making cave paintings on the side of a shed and neolithic pottery. We'll be spending the first through fourth grades studying world history from start to finish. Then we'll do it again for another four years in more depth when they're older. By then they should be ready for the Great Books.
LIFE SCIENCES - Botany went all summer, from when we planted the seeds through picking the fruits. My six-year old also insisted on learning herbalism and can make a nice cup of fresh herb tea.
We'll start zoology next month and study animals in the order they evolved. Human biology will come after that, and knowing how interested my six year old is in that she will insist on giving it the most indepth study of all.
Earth Sciences and Astronomy will be next year, followed by a year of chemistry and another year of physics. By fifth grade they ought to be ready to start studying the "whys" behind those subjects.
LATIN - Okay, we haven't started it yet, but we'll begin right after we finish phonics which will coincide with studying Ancient Rome.
EFFICIENCY - We're through with all that before lunch.
RECESS - They don't have that at the local public school any more.
ARTS, CRAFTS & MUSIC - all afternoon long if she wants. Or whatever else she wants to explore. Recent interests include painting, drawing, crochet, piano, the recorder, beading, sewing, draping saris and veil-dancing.
SOCIALIZATION - That's what parks, playgrounds, Girl Scouts and other clubs are for.
In a few years we'll be adding logic, rhetoric, another foreign language and whatever else she wants to learn.
It would be better to ask would she NOT be learning in a first-grade class at the public school. What would she have to give up for the priviledge of getting out of bed at 5:00 and learning how to stand in line?
Did I mention she already reads at a fourth-grade level and can finish a chapter book in an afternoon? What could school give her besides boredom, frustration and a reason to act out?