Friday, May 02, 2008

Kindergarten curriculum

Many aspiring home schoolers are eager to begin the "home school process". They jump into phonics and rigidity far before their children are able or willing. (I was one of them!) From experience, I do know that it can only create frustration for the mother and child, especially if she has her hands full with younger children.  I don't have much advice in the way of homeschooling a high schooler, but I think I do have experience enough to advise a beginning home schooler

There is not much to kindergarten curriculum. Generally, I keep the "lessons" at 15 minutes--of phonics and math. That is it. We do a lot of read-alouds, and a lot of talking about things. I then keep in mind this wonderful quote from Susan Schaeffer Macauley's book For The Children's Sake:
Get a few really good books, and read them together aloud. Set aside a good regular chunk of time. This will be one of the most rewarding and stimulating relationships in your life. Guess what? If you have the courage to be honest, that youngster's comments and questions are really going to make you think hard. You can throw away all the manuals. That child has an awful lot to teach you. Your mind is probably in a worse state than his. After reading together, go to a really nice place outside for a couple of hours at least. Don't rush. Turn a rock over and watch the beetles run away. Throw rocks in the stream and slide down a hill.
Talk together. You'll find yourself enjoying it!
It isn't all hard as the experts make out.

Ah. Doesn't that just help you breathe better? It's like saying to a new mom: All your baby needs is you. Simple common sense.

I want to direct you to a lovely blog I just discovered: High Desert Home.
Susan has a wonderful series going on called "An Inspiring Home for Learning". I have savoured every post and word she has written about this. It confirms what I am doing, and inspires me in the process.
You can see the first post here.

Holly also has some good thoughts on home schooling kindergarten age children. She begins here.
Happy Home Schooling! No, really.


Rain said...

Thank you! I REALLY needed a reminder this morning.


TheNormalMiddle said...

I was once a K teacher in public and private schools, and then I homeschooled my daughter in K-2nd grade (she is returning to public school next year because I have to go back to work for financial reasons).

Anyhow, K in the schools is HIGHLY overdone and too much push too soon, in my "educated" opinion.

K should be relaxed, fun, and exciting. It should be more about getting a child EXCITED about learning and getting them to WANT to learn and discover.

I tell folks all the time ditch the curriculum for K and read, play, do art, take nature walks, do field trips, explore, play, read some more....

If you really want to spend some $$$ invest in quality art supplies, a good membership to a zoo/aquarium/museum, and some really good living books.

Do not buy a phonics curriculum or canned K program. Blah.

Prairie Chick said...

I couldn't agree more! I had such an "academic" mindset with our first dd from the time she turned 4 (August birthday), she did great, and we had fun with it, but with #2 things are so different. She was born in Feb, so was already 4 and 3/4s before we started any pre-school type learning. I couldn't believe how I would teach her a "little" (consonant and short vowel sounds) and she basically taught herself all the vowel and consonant digraphs and now at the age of 6 reads A.A. Milne to herself. Wow. I'm all for waiting and taking things easy now with all of them, our son will start pre-school this year and he will be 4 and 3/4's as well.

laurel said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am going to start homeschooling my son in the fall, and I have received similar advice from my mother (she homeschooled all five of us). Hearing advice such as this is what made me decide to homeschool. I just couldn't bear the thought of sitting at the table, with two younger children running around, trying to teach math. Turning over rocks and counting THAT I can do! :)

Jodi said...

Hi Andrea!

I've been reading your blog for a couple weeks now, and I really enjoyed this post. I'm planning to write something on my own blog which touches somewhere near this issue, and was wondering if I could link to this post?

Thanks for your insight!


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Andrea!

I agree so much with your thoughts on Kindergarten!

Sarah said...

I'm doing some preschool at home and have found, very quickly, through experience that every word you said is right on. We talk about five letters, learn to recognize them, practice writing them, say their sounds and that's it. Then we do the same with five numbers, shapes, or colors. The rest of our time is is spent in make believe, book reading, playdough and other crafts. It feels really relaxed and that feels good! There's plenty of time for structure in later years right. Thanks for the encouraging post.

Stacy said...

I recently found that blog (High Desert Home), too! (Tonia, right?) ~smile~
I have been enjoying her posts there, too. And I, too, have been encouraged in that it confirms what we're already doing.

I'm so glad you posted this. I began this year with a stack of books and plans for the next 36 weeks stretched before me.

And here we are, several months later, and I've done only 8 weeks of said planned school, but I am blissfully happy about it. We've so enjoyed reading, talking, working around the house together, and playing. So... just life together, really. (Once I got past the feeling-guilty-for-not-checking-off-my-TO-DO-list.)


Susan L said...

Andrea, I love this! What a lovely, refreshing point of view. And the Susan Schaeffer Macaulay passage is so nice. For the Children's Sake has always (from the 1980s til now) been my favorite homeschooling book.


Christine said...

So true! I'm getting ready to begin K with Maddy next year and will just be doing what you've described. Such and blessing to just be with them and let them soak up the basics while living and loving!

Anonymous said...

This describes our homeschool for K...long breakfasts together, cuddling, small home routines and most importantly nurturing their HEARTS, HABITS AND HOME LIFE.

It's my calling to have them outside as much as I can. I give them time to be by themselves for much quiet imaginative play while the babies sleep.

I love how Charlotte Mason says mothers should take great pains to secure "quiet growing growing time" for their childrens' early years. I also think often of how our Lord would have us treat the "first fruits"...the early years are very special.

I also love exposing them to only the best writings; immersion will facilitate excellent vocabulary, usage and grammar! Love from, Mary Brooke

laura said...

thank you for the reminder. bethany is my only homeschooler right now (the others are mere babies) and we are enjoying Kinder. with an abreviated Sonlight curriculum. She is loving it- but I will probably not start my middle child until she is 6 with the curriculum- i'm doing some BFIAR with Sarah Jane. I love the early childhood years. And i remember in college saying, "i'll NEVER teach preschool or kinder." how the Lord has changed me through my children!

L.L. Barkat said...

Happy. Homeschooling. Two words that go together well in my mind. :)

Goodlikeamedicine said...

Andrea - thank you for this!!! You are talking to me! :)