Second in some random planning posts...
Ahh, Kindergarten, can't you just smell the box of fresh new 64 Crayola Crayons?? Sean-Paul has actually been breaking in his box over the summer as he received his very first box on his 5th birthday, way back when. How did he get to be five already, I ask you??
Kindergarten is truly one of my favorite years to home educate as everything is a first for the little person on the receiving end. All the lovely noble ideas and right ways of thinking will be new for my Sean-Paul, or at least mostly new.
He was too little to remember Seamus' Kindergarten year so did not really absorb much in an active way. I know his little brain synopses have been crackling away at lightning speed ever since he was born, and since we are a bit seasoned in the home educating realm, I know that he has indeed been learning all along the way, as did the others.
But this year we will make it official, albeit gentle. My intent is for his learning atmosphere to be like a warm hug. (I'm up for that challenge, cause I think we could all benefit from warm hugs throughout our learning adventures :)
Here's a look at some of the materials we will be using, knowing that the head mistress (that would be moi) reserves the right to make any necessary changes and scrap all plans of the day to head to the beach if need be....but I digress. Here is my list of some goodies, and this is how I like to use them with my K-er. (They may look alot like what you do too :)
~ The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist: A gem I acquired at the same time I purchased my Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist. Violet memorized her first poetry selections from this cherished tome and all the other children so far have followed suit. Many of the Kindergarten choices are by Robert Louis Stevenson, a familiar friend in our family when it comes to poetry. I will not require Sean-Paul to memorize or recite any poems unless he desires to, but he will hear beautiful poetry and prose, a little each day.
~ Golden Children's Bible: Another mainstay in our home. I like to begin our day with Bible stories. Older children can narrate afterwards and my K-er can draw a picture to include into a nice self-illustrated set of bible stories by year's end.
~ A Child's Book of Art (DK books): This lovely oversized book was part of the Sonlight Pre-K book package I purchased several years ago. It has been a faithful friend on our shelves ever since and always enjoyed when opened. For Sean-Paul, I'll pick a few pictures each week to look at and admire with him. I'm excited to hear his descriptions, his likes and dislikes as it comes with a wide range of art and artists for all ages.
~ Little Stories for Little Folks (Level 1, CHC): I have used this program successfully with each child thus far and it's been such fun teaching them all to read. I don't mean to sound flip, but this has been the case in our home and my opinion is that when it comes to learning to read, why re-invent the wheel?? We'll see how Sean-Paul likes it...
~ Pink & Blue Reading Series (see some examples at Montessori for Everyone): This correlates nicely with our beginning reading material (see above) and the hands-on elements of Montessori really "gel" with my boys. *I should note here that a Moveable Alphabet comes in handy as well, a necessary manipulative in our home school :)
~ Montessori Math Materials (here is a lovely article on Montessori Math): The main thing I can stress here is that I wish I would have started my older two with Montessori math materials when they were in Kindergarten, such a huge learning curve it covers with a wide range of learning styles. For a small investment, your children can really benefit from these early learning math materials. More information here. Nice summary here. If you are interested in exactly which materials I use and how I use them with my children, please don't hesitate to email me with your questions.
~ Nature Stories (including, but not limited to many of the Burgess Big Book of Animal Stories and the Burgess Bird Book): One of the joys of early learning is getting to read all these great books again with a new person. Of our favorites are the nature lore and stories from authors such as Jim Arnosky, Thomas Burgess, Arabella Buckley, and so many more. These are enjoyed over and over again by all. The component of being in touch with all living creatures and plants that surround us daily is part of the Charlotte Mason method that I adore. We already have our prime bird watching set up with feeders just off the schoolroom and our yard has surprised us with many creatures and critters we never expected to see. This will keep Sean-Paul quite busy in the afternoons and I'm hoping to sit and sketch with him daily as we discover nature around us.
~ Blank Sketchbook: (for the above nature sketching)
Okay, these are really the main "curriculum" items I have pulled for this year, or at least the beginning term. This general list does not include the many and varied picture books, saints stories, or all-inclusive read alouds we will include, but I thought maybe my post was getting pretty long just for Kindergarten, for goodness sakes, lol! I do keep at the forefront of my thinking this list of attainments for a child of six, of which mine is not, yet...
And just in case you're in a panic-stricken situation about what to do for Kindergarten, consider these wise words from Charlotte Mason's Volume 1, pg 196: "Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things, and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sittng indoors at a little round table while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of coloured paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower-pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experiences."
That pretty much sums it up for me in terms of what my role is for my little Kindergartner, he's going to do just fine :)
I welcome any and all comments and questions, see you soon...