Help me find a good fit for Kindergarten - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-11-2012, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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My oldest turned 5 last month so by September she will be 5 1/2 (at that time I will also have a 3 year old, a 1 year old and be 36 weeks pregnant). My husband has only "agreed" to "allow" me to home school as long as she stays up to the "standards" that are set by the school and stays at the level she would be at in school. Until now Ive done a pretty much follow her interest learning. We study when she wants to, do experiments when shes interested etc. I tried doing something more structured when she was around 2 1/2 and found myself feeling silly that I was trying to teach her things when she could barely potty on the toilet so I stopped and started following her lead.. Currently we do about 20-30 minutes a day, usually a alphabet work sheet and a numbers work sheet then a bunch of read a louds.


Now shes older my husband wants to know what Ill be doing next year and what books Ill be using (not challenging me so to say, just wants to know what he needs to order). Well, I have to many ideas and not enough knowledge of how they will work.



Math- Math-U-See, some small/cheap workbooks if she wants to do some extra.

Reading- 100 easy lessons supplemented with a program I found called Happy Phonics. It teaches Phonics through games. Tons of read alouds. My oldest has asked for a copy of My First Little House books so I'm going to get a set of those and we have a TON of books. Also, out house is a 5 minute walk from the library. I'm also thought about getting a copy of Explore the Code in case its needed. My husband has thought about getting a set of BOB books as well since hes heard a lot of good things about them. Honestly the more books for my kids the better, books are never unwelcomed in my house. If one of them doesn't read them another will or they will use the pictures to make up stories.

Writing- handwriting without tears, I also got her a journal to write/draw in (with help of course) since she asked for once since I keep one.

Science- I have a few experiment books, we explore any questions they have, read a lot out of the encyclopedia. I'm thinking of getting God Made World, for a text book (mainly for the pictures and it seems like an easy reading book for read-a-loud time, they LOVE science books), We also read a lot of Magic School bus *we will have to replace a couple of the ones we have, they are a little thread bare) and occasionally watch the movies. There are trails that go through our neighborhood that we could do nature walks on as well if the children want to. They love to bird watch and I thought about putting a bird feeder up to attract the birds so they can see different types.

Religion- reading scriptures as a family and talking about them more in depth the next day. Reinforcing what they learn at Sunday school and during family home evening on Mondays.

Music- I'm planning on attending a home school group that meets once a week, about 30 minutes of the meeting is dedicated to music. I'm also learning the keyboard so she sits next to me when I practice (not really learning but she loves it).

Art- I found a book called Discovering Great Artists that teaches about an artist and then gives you a project to do to try out their art medium. I thought it would be a great way to try different things. I also have a few Draw Write Now books that my oldest loves to try to use to draw different things. She has asked for me to teach her to sew and knit so I might try to work on those with her depending on time and her desire to (just cause she asked doesn't mean she will want to in the end).

German- I am relearning German and the girls are both very interested in the language so I thought about incorporating some of the simple words (please, thank you, bathroom etc) into our conversations, Not really full immersion (I couldn't even do that) but simple things since they are so interested in it.

History- Story of the World book 1 and the workbook, my oldest loves me reading to her out of this book. I have probably read it at least 2 times.

PE- My oldest wants to play tee ball and learn to swim. We live 100 feet from a huge park, have all the gear to practice tee ball, are planning on getting her a bike etc. Also, if its nice you won't find us inside :) We love to be outside, even if its outside reading or studying something random. When its yucky outside I have an indoor ball pit and play area that we can put up that the kids LOVE.

We have a home school group that meets weekly, story time at the library on Tuesday, a young explorers group at a nearby museum that we can go to once a month.. so a lot of things we can do if we so desire. Also, my daughter would like to join girl scouts so Im looking into that to see what the requirements are to do that. We just moved to were we are now so there is a lot of exploring to do and lots of new things to see.


What I thought about doing is having required subjects (math, reading, writing) that we do everyday and then setting up work boxes where she/they can pick 1-2 subjects they want to do that day. I don't want to spend more than 1-1 1/2 hours on "school work", preferably broken up throughout the day. I still want things at her own pace but shes begging to do more because she isn't being challenged ("mommy I already know this!" I swear shes 5 going on 15).


Any help/ideas are really welcomed.. I don't want to do to much but I want her to have options and the ability to change if it doesn't work well for her. An added bonus is if she could do some of it with her sister. At least where we are setting up the school area will double for a play area so DS will be entertained biggrinbounce.gifAnother bonus is any ideas that can be put down whenever it loses their interest and picked up the next day (or a couple of days later). I seriously wont' fight at this age when it comes to schooling. Shes 5 not 15, in kindergarten not high school, I don't see the reason to fight with her about it.


Would it be bad if I started the "school year" in like June? Its hot as anything that time of the year and then we could do some before the baby gets here. I feel like if I start at the traditional time (September) we will just be getting started and have to stop for the birth and that would make it harder to start again.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#2 of 7 Old 02-12-2012, 02:57 AM
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I am wondering how being up to school standards will be evaluated?


I think you have already started ... but no reason not to start in June, that sounds good.  I do a 12 month school year which allows for flexibility and the shorter day.


Mine are 7 and 8 -- I seem to have settled this year on Getty-Dubay for writing, which teaches an italic style of print and leads into a particular style of cursive.  My suggestion is just pick a handwriting curriculum that you will go straight through with and wish I had thought of that sooner.  How much does HWT cost?  Not all kids need a lot of manipulatives to write clearly; you might want to try something cheap first.


Swim team is a great PE.  Most clubs will take a kid into the "team" program once they can confidently swim 25y in any stroke, and many have home school practice times also.  Competition is usually completely optional in the early years (or always optional -- but some clubs expect their advanced groups to compete).  One of mine enjoys the meets during the year and the other just enjoys summer league.


I have enjoyed Rosetta Stone very much for the kids.  My kids started at 5.25 and 6.5 respectively, Spanish.  They don't do the spelling part yet (they skip all lessons called Writing); only started studying spelling English words this year, but they are now in a Spanish program one morning a week in addition so they are getting some Spanish spelling there.  It seems expensive but if you consider that you are getting something like (verify first) 5 users and 3 installs then buying 5 levels of German for $600 becomes a bargain for a large family. 


I wouldn't worry too much about science and history yet except as you are doing -- things you can fit in easily. 



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#3 of 7 Old 02-12-2012, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
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He wants to do standardized tests in 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th then said there is no way he would allow the kids to home school through high school. Honestly he use to be super supportive but then his mother and grandpa told him how much they were against it and how I was going to mess up our children. Now hes not supportive, only reason he agreed to this is I brought it up that we had an agreement to home school even BEFORE we got married. I think he will relax a lot when he sees them learning and everyone enjoying themselves. I know hes really worried about me overworking myself as well, raising 3 (soon to be 4) children this young is a lot of work by itself.


For handwriting the only program I really know anything about is Handwriting without tears. One of my homeschooling friends recommended it to me when I told her my daughter was upset she couldn't write the alphabet. I don't know much about any other program. If there is a better one out there Im all ears. I just havent really looked. To start it up and get the program for both girls (they have a pre-K one teaching things like drawing shapes and smile faces) would be around 100.


Im hoping she likes swimming. She loves water so I think she will really pick up on it fast. I haven't taken her for lessons before since my husband has spent the last 3 summers either deployed or training in one country or another. Hes not suppose to be going anywhere this year so we are hoping to take all three children to swim classes. If they have a team and my oldest is interested in it then she is free to join once she is good enough.


Ill look into Rosetta Stone. I looked into it before a while ago but decided against it at the time (I didn't have time to concentrate, I know it sounds weird but I have more time now that I have 3 to do things then I had when I had 1 since she needed my undivided attention all the time)


Thanks! Ill look into the writing program you mentioned as well. I know my DH really wants them to learn cursive but I would like them to be able to print first.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#4 of 7 Old 02-12-2012, 01:02 PM
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I'm planning on using Sonlight P4/5 for my oldest's K year. I might add math Horizons K, but I am not sure b/c I want to hold off on workbooks until maybe 1st grade. I have looked at the Family Math books and might use that and Games for Math by Peggy Kaye to keep math fun. There is also an LA program with Sonlight you can add on with readers. I like Explode the Code, but again, just going to see if she is ready for the workbooks and if she can write her letters at that point since they need to be able to do that. I am going to start HWT pre-K in a few weeks. I really like HWT too. 


The thing I like about Sonlight is that it is literature based, my kids love to be read to and we can do that together, and they have an instructor's guide you can follow and all the work is done for you. My kids are also close in age, and I like the idea of them sharing the core books that the Sonlight programs offer. Also, they are really great quality choices. 


If you feel as though you must show your DH that you are keeping up with the PS standards, you could download a sample of your county's standards and scope and sequence and just check off things as you go. 

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#5 of 7 Old 02-13-2012, 05:50 PM
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I never did a 'writing program'.  DS just picked up writing as we went along.

If you go to your states education website you will see the grade standards, and probably be amazed at what they are.   Basically google 'Maine Department of Education, Kindergarten standards'  or wherever you are.  Keep in mind, each state has their own standards so if you move around alot this is going to vary year to year.

Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed  crochetsmilie.gif homeschool.gif  reading.gif  modifiedartist.gif

Seeking zen in 2014.  Working on journaling and finding peace this year.  Spending my free time taking J to swimteam

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#6 of 7 Old 02-13-2012, 08:09 PM
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We're starting now with DS as he already reads at a 2nd grade level and is obsessed with "doing school". At the moment we are limiting it to Math, Writing (very beginning stages), Spanish, and Reading (not really formally though, we just read to him and he reads to us). In total we are spending about one 20-30 minute block and then two 15 minute blocks on everything and always stopping if he gets tired at all (he thinks it's all fabulously fun). We are planning to be classical homeschoolers but I'm determined not to get carried away until 1st grade. Here's our plan for this fall:


Math: Right Start (we are on book A right now and he's blowing through it so we'll be doing book B this fall and then probably move to Singapore)


Reading: Continuing with reading to him and him reading to us. Throw some more challenging books in there for him to read to improve his skills


Writing: Handwriting Without Tears (we just started this but I'm not certain he's ready so we may back off and start again this fall)


Science: Work our way through Foundations of Scientific Understanding with the goal of completing the book by Fall 2013


Foreign Language: Rosetta Stone for now and then late this fall (after we move) we will bring in a tutor. We are looking at moving to southern Texas so we consider fluency for all of us to be a top priority.


Art, Music, etc.: Not doing these formally, just fun stuff as a family. Will worry about this more in 1st grade and beyond.


I'm seriously thinking like an 60-90 or so a day for everything and probably broken up into chunks throughout the day. While DH and I are very academically minded, kindergarten is awfully young to go crazy so I'm holding back :)

Mama to DS (6/07) h20homebirth.gif, DD (6/09) h20homebirth.gif, and DD (07/12) homebirth.jpg..

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#7 of 7 Old 02-14-2012, 03:09 PM
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I have a tentative plan for kindergarten, some of which we are starting now since dd (nearly 5) seems to be ready.  Keep in mind, of course, that this is my first real attempt to plan a school year outside of our VERY flexible preschool year this year :)


Math-Right Start Math Level A.  We are starting this now.  I printed out the first 4 or 5 lessons from the samples online and she really enjoys it so we will purchase the whole thing


Reading-BOB books.  We have the beginner set and are starting to work through them now. 


Writing-She likes to copy words out of the BOB books plus write family/friends' names on drawings, etc. We are not doing anything formal since she does plenty of this on her own. 


Science-We have a few experiment books from the library that we choose things from-I'll get the names for you if you are interested. We try to do mostly nature-based stuff at this age, so nothing super formal.


Social Studies-We plan on using Five in a Row in the fall, which looks like it contains a good amount of work in other cultures, etc. and we'll build on this. Also includes science/math/art suggestions for books, as well as cooking in a separate volume.


Spanish-I'm hoping to get Sonrisas Spanish program, but regardless I will be incorporating some Spanish vocabulary-she knows a few words now and I just point out colors/words in books, etc.


Art/Music-Nothing formal. Lots of crafting, free painting, coloring for art.  Lots of dancing, singing, and free access to musical instruments for music. She is asking to do violin lessons like her big sis, so I might rent her a little violin and teach her something myself (I played for a long time). 


What am I missing?! Again, we will be starting most of this now, so her "preschool" year got a little abbreviated since we were needing a little more structure.  This seems like a lot written out, but really we only spend maybe 30-45 minutes spread out throughout the day on any kind of instruction and even that is mostly reading/games.  I am loving reading other's plans for K, so helpful!

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