I am not a fan of making young kids study. I'd rather entice them to study by preparing a place which ignites curiosity and allows for exploration.
However, sometimes that is not an option.
The school system in Japan has a lot of testing. Some of the tests are easy or for placement purposes. Others are seen as making or breaking a child's future. There are tests to get into schools at every level (Kinder, Elm. Jr. High, Sr. High, College) and there are ways to get around the testing. One way is to get into an "escalator" school which will move a child up through the levels without requiring reapplying and retesting at each level. These schools are usually private/parochial and can be challenging to enter. They can also be expensive. However, sometimes God opens a door and it is up to us to walk in that direction.
For the past few weeks we've been working with Zilla to prepare him for his first ever test. It includes reading, writing, math and critical thing components. There is also a body movement section from what I'm told.
I've never been a fan of cram schools but trying to figure out what to study with him and how to study it has given me an understanding of why so many families pay for/trust a cram school to see them through the exam process. There are books and example tests you can buy but even those don't come cheap.
I don't know for sure, at this point, what school he will go to next year. However, I do know that my husband will need to be home more to help with homework and Mega gets jealous of Zilla having homework so I need to prepare more work for her so she will leave him alone long enough for him to study!