Kindergarten in NOT the time for seatwork!
Keep this thought firmly in the front of your mind and apply it to
every decision you make in terms of curriculum. I think there is no
easier way to squelch a child's natural love of learning than to buy a
pre-packaged, pre-digested, one-size-fits-all curriculum. BORING! For
the primary years (as in the others) it is essential that you "guide"
their learning not force-feed it to them. If
you "accomplish" one thing (and I hate to use that word in relation to
children) during the years before formal study begins, let it
of Habit. Teach them how to take care of themselves and their
belongings on a daily basis.
Look for signs of
reading-readiness but don't stress over when your child learns to read.
Gently remind family and friends that you would rather your child "love
reading" than hate it. No better way to kill that love than to force
them into a phonics program before they are ready! On the other hand,
strike while the iron is hot! If your child ASKS to learn how to read,
write or spell at an early age by all means - teach them. We keep our
lessons short unless they WANT to keep going! Otherwise I limit each
lesson to 20 minutes or less.
Have art materials available for
everyday use. Clean-up is their job incidentally, not yours.
Train them to clean up - teach them every step of the way.
Make Nature Study part of every
day. As Miss Mason said, don't be inside when you can be
outside! Teach your children to observe and record (through
drawings, informal narrations, etc.) while having fun.
Spend time each day on the sofa,
bed or floor. Don't underestimate the educational benefits of
snuggle-time! This is the perfect time for a picture book or other
read-aloud. Enjoy each other!
Provide them with a 3 ring binder
so that they may place each day's "school work" inside it.
A rubber stamp with the day's date on it saves Mom even more time and
what kid doesn't love rubber stamps?
Involve them in daily household
chores. Train them thoroughly for a job before you expect
it to be done independently! Reinforce their hard work with plenty of
pats on the back, "Look, Daddy's!" and whatever form of reward
system your family uses.
Monday: Living Math~Copywork~Reading~Bible Study
Tuesday: Living Math~Copywork~Reading~Nature Study~Bible Study
Wednesday: Living Math~Copywork~Reading~First Language Lessons~
Thursday: Living Math~Copywork~Reading~Bible Study
Friday: Living Math~Copywork~Narrations (they like to illustrate them before
placing in their notebooks!) ~Bible Study
*Note: though not listed, read-alouds of poetry and living history books are
part of each day as well as art & music appreciation. It is also importnat to note that we allow our children to spend a large aprt of their day playing. In these days we live in, one can't simply turn them loose outside and say "Have fun!" so much of their play takes place inside. We also enjoy the pool at the local YMCA, nature hikes, playing basketball, riding bikes, and catching lightening bugs in the summertime. :-) When they are not outside playing with supervision they are inside.
Technically I encourage "masterly inactivity" as Charlotte endorsed. Practically speaking -- not enough of their "free time" is spent in fruitful endeavors.
It is an area we are working on though! :-)
Hopefully the following will clarify what exactly some of our "subjects" consist of.
We all participate in our Living Math studies. Basically we read together a living math book, practicing or exploring the concepts contained within it. Sometimes this mean making cookies and counting, measureing, sorting, sometimes it means stacking up canned goods all over the living room floor as we learn to count by fives.
The kids do a Scripture verse daily, illustrating or sometimes coloring a corresponding coloring page if I have found one to go with it. :-)
Our Joshua (6) reads to himself for this hour though he does take frequent breaks and reads many picture books throughout that hour. For Abby, this hour is spent with 15 minutes of reading lessons which is her "Just Phonics" notebook. Then the remaining time just enjoying our current library selections. Sometimes I include an audio book for them to read along with. Our family read-aloud time comes right after afternoon chores during teatime. This is part of our "schoolwork".
History & Geography:
We study history chornologically, planning on repeating the cycle every 4 years. This year (our second cycle) we are studying the America's and early Rennaisance period. We use living books to flesh it out and "Story of The World II" for our spine. For each person/subject we choose a corresponding country/continent/ocean to add to our Book of Centuries. I have found the internet to be invaluable for coloring pages for Abby & Joshua to do, while Austin draws his maps himself. For Joshua & Abby (K & 1st) they listen as Austin reads aloud a chapter from "Story of the World II". They color or draw a picture for their Book of Centuries then take turns narrating the reading back to me. I write it along the bottom of their coloring page/drawing. Some of Joshua's are getting rather long (and good!) so I do sometimes type his and print it out, he then cuts it and glues it into place.
First Language Lessons:
I like this little manual - it really teaches narration and has lots of teacher information/tips as well. It would be good if I only used it as a teaching resource, but it serves our family well using it once a week as outlined. It is simple enough that we all do the lessons together.
More often than not, during the winter this means watching out the window for new birds at our feeders! When the weather is more comfortable, we take hikes and explore nearby parks and woods for interesting "nature stuff". When we are done we return home and make an entry for our Nature Journals. Sometimes we bring home specimens, and we hardly ever draw in the feild. With Luke (not quite 3) we just aren't able to sit in one spot that long without getting up! :-) Our Nature Journals do include found items such as feathers, interesting grass blades, pressed flowers, etc.
Art & Music Appreciation:
As I outlined on the Music & Art page, we don't TEACH these subjects. At least not in the formal sense. I rotate fine art prints from different painters which hang around the house. We listen to classical music during silent reading and nap times daily.
Right now, this is a "masterly activity". I don't assign it, and don't log it as school - it's just something the kids do. For instance, Abby asked to learn to crochet so she practices that in her free time. The boys are always making or building something - right now they are building snow forts complete with snow furntiture! Before the snow they read and tried things from The American Boys Handibook.
Available in May 2004!
Again, our own little manual written after many years of frustration trying to find "just the right" math program. I firmly believe that math should be taught during the primary years using concrete materials: counters, beans, buttons, etc. It is not until these concrete math facts are firmly established that more abstract mathematical reasoning skills can be learned. Click here for more on THIS soapbox! LOL
This is available for pre-purchase NOW and I expect this first printing to sell out quickly. We have many pre-orders already! It really IS all you will need for teaching math in the first 4 years of learning. Honest! To pre-order, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will notify you of their arrival and ship promptly upon payment.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
How to Teach Your Dyslexic Child to Read: A Proven Method for Parents and Teachers
Strong Start in Language: Grades K-3 (Three R's Ser.)
Home Start in Reading
The Child's Story Bible
Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent
Bible Animals (Bible Discovery Collection)
Action Bible Songs
A Child's Book of Miracles
A Child's Book of Parables
My Granny's Purse
James Herriot's Treasury for Children
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
I Spy Little Animals
The Autism Social Skills Picture Book
The Carrot Seed
Young Naturalist's Handbook: Insect-lo-pedia
One Hundred Hungry Ants
Travels of Babar
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Time for Bed
Goodnight Moon Board Book
Night of the Moonjellies
A Pair of Red Clogs
Very Last First Time
Rag Coat, The
Katy and the Big Snow
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
The Story About Ping
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Blueberries for Sal (Picture Puffins)
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Teacher Training Materials