I have been doing lots and lots of research in my quest to decide what type of curriculum I am going to use for Abby as we *officially* start Kindergarten this coming year.
I have read books and surfed websites and talked to lots of homeschooling moms and if there is one common theme that I am hearing it’s this: For Kindergarten, don’t stress the curriculum. So many of the moms I spoke with said that they bought a boxed curriculum only to end up really not liking it for one reason or another. One of the beauties of this homeschool thing is that you can tailor the lessons to the child – to their needs, their specific learning style and the speed at which they absorb the information.
After much prayer and research, I’ve decided to pull together my own curriculum – Here’s how I plan to do it:
1. Research academic standards for Kindergarten and first grade. What is expected of Kindergartners when they start the year? What do teachers expect them to know and master by the end of that year? What things should they know upon entering first grade? (Another wonderful thing about this is that I am pulling these readiness/ milestone lists from many different sources. I am not just tied to the MNPS standards – I am looking at lists from many school systems from across the country and even in other countries as well as getting information from private schools.)
2. Using the Milestones above, I will find activities that are designed to teach those skills.
3. I will find assessments designed to test the skills we are teaching.
4. Incorporate “Field Trips” that will teach and reinforce the skills and concepts learned. (We’re very fortunate to have a great network of homeschooling families right in our neighborhood, through church, and other local connections.)
This is a little more time consuming than just buying a boxed curriculum but I believe it will actually give us MORE freedom. Since I will have many different activities designed to teach various skills, I will be able to learn more intimately what kinds of things my children respond to. That will help me to better understand their learning styles and will give us a great start.
Things we are already doing:
- Reading, reading, reading. I have mentioned more than once that Abby LOVES the Little House Books. Lots of imaginary play comes out of these books and her vocabulary has grown tremendously.
- Occasional lesson plans from the 5 in a Row series.
- Cutting, tracing, drawing, painting, using chopsticks, making paper dolls, coloring, play-doh. Lots of activities to develop fine motor skills.
- Imaginary Play -(The kids put on “shows” for us each night ! Hilarious!)
- Recitation – We are exercising our brains by memorizing Bible Verses, Prayers, and songs.
- At bedtime, Bruce or I read aloud to her from “The Story Of The World” and we’ll be doing some selected lessons from the workbook.
- Abby works on reading skills for some period each day – 5 minutes or 3o – whatever she’s in the mood for. We’re not pushing it but I see that she’s starting to be interested and so I am making time for that. We’ve been using the Cat In The Hat (and other Dr. Seuss Books) and also The Bob Books (on loan from our local library).
- Enjoying the ride. Abby asks everyday to do school. That’s exciting.
I get more psyched about this path with each passing day but one of the reasons I’m writing this down is so that I can come get a booster shot of that excitement on the days when my resolve will undoubtedly wane. I am under no delusion that this is going to be easy or fun all the time but I am under conviction that it is right for us and that I will be given the grace and wisdom to do an excellent job in educating my children at home.