What did you use/are using for Kindy year? My DD will be nearly 6 at that point and have a little brother who is 5 tagging along. We are Christians, so a curriculum with Bible would be great, but not necessary.
Thanks for any suggestions!
My boys did kindy at home last year. When were were doing things that looked like school, they were learning to read and math practice.
For learning to read, I checked out hooked on phonics from the library, created my own sight word games, and made sure to read a lot every day, as well as having lots of books around that they could pick up and "read" before they were really reading.
For math, we had lots of manipulatives. Pattern blocks, unifix cubes, judy clocks, dice, counting bears... you get the idea. We worked on one-to one correspondence, skip counting, simple addition and subtraction, building patterns, telling time, writing the numbers-- things like that.
we also had journals to practice writing, art supplies for painting and similar. You don't need a curriculum from a store to do kindergarten.
thanks for your input. maybe this is just an opinion, or rather HSing philosophy, but I've heard a lot of people say things like for preschool and K, kids don't need academics...but should really be free to play and the best thing to do is read lots, follow their lead in what their interested in, provide crafts, stuff like that....but then I wonder about the state "standards" or what they would be covering in PS--like what about music, art, PE, science objectives also? I'm all for letting my kids take the lead and am not interested in heavy academics by any means, just wondering about this so that if they do end up going to 1st grade PS they will have been exposed . any thoughts on that?
Since you're thinking about it, you could visit your state department of education website. They should have each grade level, including kindergarten, separated by subject. You will find a comprehensive list of what is expected that the child know before the end of that school year. I did that for kindergarten (not required in my state) and 1st grade.
Here's indiana's link. You'd go under "education Standards" and then select kindergarten. You should have something similar to that for your state-- google "department of education" and your state.
I personally decided to make learning to read my big push, with math basics an important second. My boys have a natural interest in science, so there's been plenty of that worked in, and we do spend some time on fine motor control, learning to write letters, numbers and such. But we didn't work (really work, mom-directed kind of work) much more than an hour or two each day. Their days are longer now, in regards to work, but still are nearer to half days than full days.
I am trying to keep up with what the ought to know by school standards, because I know that it will only be a few years that I get to do this, and I don't what a hard education transition.
I'd be happy to talk more, so feel free to send a message, too.
And for things like art, music, PE, computers-- not terribly important in kindergarten from an education point of view. If any is important to you as a family, work them in. My boys take art lessons in 6 week sessions about 3 times a year, piano lessons from a family member, and swim lessons at a nearby university occasionally throughout the year.
The kindergarten year is an intro to how school works. First, second, and sometimes 3rd grade are all about learning to read well. From there, students READ to LEARN. That is why reading is my main focus. Yes, I make math important, too. We love science, so we read a lot of science, and are getting a microscope for their birthday. If they get to watch something on TV, more often than not it's a NOVA program. So I know that school isn't all reading, but it's a very big part of what we do.
Sorry to serial post.
Sassafrassmom, here is where you get a taste of how widely homeschooling approaches can vary.
Miranda pointed this out, and I should clarify: she's right, this is what the schools do. As it is that important to education professionals that kids be reading really well by third grade, it's important to me that it happens. I spent 9 years of my life teaching, and I know what happens when the world shifts to read to learn for the kid that doesn't have it yet.
But I do think there was a mischaracterization of my methods. Since you asked about curriculum, that's where I directed my answer. But please remember, as I mentioned in my second post, I'm talking about an hour or so each day for kindergarten work. In my mind, the whole point of homeschooling is not doing "school at home". I didn't spend kindergarten year teaching the kids how school works either-- but for me, it is an introduction year, the point at which we start to get a bit more purposeful about things.
My daughter is 5 years old. She is in grade "Pre-Grammar: Pony". Yes, she made up the name of her grade, since she learns different subjects at different grade levels.
First, let me say I am not someone who values early reading. My plan was to teach my children to read when they asked me, because we read A LOT in our home. All day long, from when we awaken until we go to bed. She asked when she was four, and I used Mary Pecci's reading program, At Last!...
From that point on, I went crazy purchasing various curricula, at all points determined to keep her day (and her little sister's day) packed with cutting, pasting, nature walks, dancing, and merry-making.
Every time a new box arrived, she wanted to open it up and start right away. This is her way. I do not advocate it, nor do I expect her little sister to be anything like her.
I will give you a list of all the curricula we use; however, we do not use any of it as prescribed because our entire day would be filled with school, drills, and studying. Not my style at all. We learn throughout the day; however many days after I have worked in all the learning, my daughter will ask, "Mommy, when can we do some real school work?" I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely thrilled by this.
One example is spelling. Do I think it's necessary to teach a five year old spelling? NO WAY. If my five year old gets frustrated when she misspells words in letters to her pen pal and asks for me to teach her how to spell, then will I help teach her how to spell? Heck yes. If she wants to learn cursive NOW to make her letters look prettier? Then I jump as high as she wants.
Here is some of what we use (not on a daily basis--just as long as it holds my daughter's attention and helps maintain a harmonious home environment):
But again, it's not "the world" that shifts. It's school. And yes, if you're in school and you're not a fluent reader by 3rd grade, you're probably going to be in trouble, because the assumption underlying all the teaching from that point forth is that you can read -- so if you can't, you'll struggle both academically and emotionally.
If you're not in school, it really doesn't matter (unless there's an undiagnosed learning disability in the way that will continue to interfere with basic literacy skills) if you're a later reader. You and your parents can find you other ways to learn. There are plenty of them!
As I said above, my kids were all solid readers very early. But my eldest dd's best friend was a late reader. In 3rd grade her world did not shift to read to learn. In third grade she was listening to audiobooks and memorizing reams of Norse and Greek mythology virtually word for word, a skill that gave her a huge leg up as a teen when she got involved in theatre and had hundreds of lines to memorize. In third grade she was learning the vet's tricks of recognizing and intervening in problematic lambings. She was learning to speak French fluently. She was listening to a novel a week in English or French read by her parents. She was a rapidly advancing violin student who was also achieving at high levels in dance, gymnastics and choral singing. She was learning herbal lore, environmental sustainability, helping manage a huge vegetable garden, riding horses, could trouble-shoot a malfunctioning diesel generator, explain what square roots were, expound at length on the life of J.S. Bach and the tensions on the local political scene ... well, I could go on, but the point is that she was learning like crazy even though she really couldn't read a word.
About a year and a half later, at age 10, she suddenly began reading. Within weeks she and my dd, who had been reading fluently for 6 years already, were reading the same YA novels and sharing them back and forth. And anyone observing them would have had a very difficult time indeed deciding which one of them was "better educated." They were both well-informed, insightful, passionately curious erudite young girls.
thank you for all your replies and viewpoints...I think this is all what I am really after. right now I am trying to learn all I can about HSing, and it is often more about the paradigm shift from a "schooled" mindset to the one of having the freedom to determine what my kids' education will be about based on our family values, their interests, etc...Maybe what I am looking for is someone to tell me it's OK to not followed a prescribed list of do's and don'ts...or to tell me that yes, that is important to do. But, I see maybe it's about what's best for each family. If your kids will enter PS, than preparing them for the "school environment" maybe is best....if not, who says you need to do XYZ? I am trying to provide a structured environment for our days to come to help my sanity as well, LOL...I find doing set things each day helps me to feel an order to our day, and I like that since I am home with 3 little ones 4 and under. Our hope/goal has always been to HS the early years as least...maybe longer...and so though I do want them to be prepared if they make the switch to PS, I also don't want to just do what others are doing at school at home. so, hope this is making sense. I am looking for what people do with their 5,6 yr olds...and what has worked, etc...maybe this is going to vary widely though, I am learning.
We have really been enjoying using Sonlight this year for K (with a tag along slightly younger sibling). We also have Hooked on Phonics for reading, but we don't use it systematically. DD just reads the books when she wants to practice reading. She did about 5 or 10 of the lessons in the beginning because she was interested in learning to read, but they didn't click with how we do life. It does seem to be a good, very systematic phonics program.
I am 85% sure I will use sonlight again next year. Things I like:
It has good books that are interesting.
It has a ciricculum that is not significantly "behind" what the local kids are doing if we do go the school route sometime.
It has a nice Bible verse CD.
Also, essentially, it makes my planning pretty easy. Someone has picked a ton of good books for me, and figured out how long it will take to get through a year's worth of them. I like to pick and choose and figure out everything that seems awesome and neat, but I have decided to use that stuff as my extras. I use the sonlight as my basic "I can prove we learned useful things this week" thing, and it doesn't take long to do.
We happen to have the sonlight science K and the learning to read K (I think it is called language arts K) too - I got this from another homeschooler that was done with it. We have used them on a weekly basis and are going to finish them too. They have been interesting. I will probably do a different science next year, but not because the sonlight was bad, but because I have found one that I am really interested in using and that seems like an approach I really value. The language arts - I'm not sure. The books for the next sonlight level seem like ones that DD would enjoy, so we might do that.
HTH. I did a lot of exploring and thinking when trying to decide what to do. I like the charlotte mason approach. I like to keep learning fresh and fun. Oh, and I also chose to be a part of a group that meets mornings once a week for 3 terms for the kids to have classroom time with a teacher. I don't personally see a lot of academic value in that class, but I do see value in my DD developing relationships with peers, learning how a classroom works (because I do not have set plans to homeschool forever), and having a wider circle of friends/support.
I started out with Sonlight, but it ended up not being a very good fit for us. Taking a more eclectic approach works well for our family. I really love a lot of things about Charlotte Mason so I try to incorporate her philosophy into our every day. We are using Explode the Code as a phonics program and while I find it repetitive (we'll skip a few pages here and there) I really like it. We're using Singapore Math and my DS likes that too (he says math is his favorite). We do read out of SOTW and read-aloud junkie DS gets a huge kick out of the stories. Everything else kind of falls into place with LOTS of reading, bringing home a substantial pile of library books every week, playing outdoors, and answering as many, "But why, Mom?" questions as I can.
That said, I have a Sonlight K core with Readers 1 and a lot of the accompanying books that we're not using. :hint hint:
We are using Explode the Code too. It is good. DD HATES the writing, even though it is totally minimal, so we don't do it as diligently as I had thought we would. I've got a new goal for the new year to do 8-10 pages a week. We'll see... :)
The K language arts is very basic - it's learning letters for the first 10 weeks or so, and very very short little books (probably like BOB books, I haven't read them) for the rest.
thanks for this tip! I have been looking at Sonlight a lot, and I think it would be a great fit but am a little concerned about the price. ouch! seems a bit much esp. later on down the road. And lava mama, I may be pm'ing you once I figure out what we would need. I think we'd be starting with P 4/5 but possibly using some of the other subjects K level. Can I ask Sonlight users your thoughts on Handwriting w/o tears, Singapore Math and Sonlight's LA program?