Tuesday, February 8, 2011

TTT: Kindergarten at Our House

Wendy is 4 years old, and we are doing some kindergarten-level things at home this year. If we had decided to enroll her in the local public school, she would start kindergarten this coming August, as the youngest in her class. Since we've decided to homeschool and she shows a lot of interest in learning and "doing school," we're jumping right in!

Here's what kindergarten looks like at our house. (Keep in mind that we don't do all of these things every day; we're pretty flexible with our schedule.)

1. Reading lesson. We're using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and Wendy loves it! We've only done 6 lessons so far and I can already see results. She is so ready to read!

2. Read-alouds. We read a lot. Wendy loves picture books and so do I - we have a bookshelf jam-packed with great choices. I've also started reading some longer books. We're almost finished with Little House in the Big Woods, and it has prompted some interesting conversations around our house!

3. Bible read-aloud. As a family, we're reading through the Bible this year. James and I have done it several times, but since David was born, it's been difficult. (That's a bit of an understatement.) We've started the habit again this year, and it's been great for us!

4. Writing practice. Wendy loves to write. I let her pick out a pretty blank book at McKay's, and she just writes and writes and writes. In fact, over the course of several days, she copied the text from, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus," into her blank book. See?

It says, "Hey, I've got an idea! Let's play Drive the Bus!"

5. Handwriting Without Tears. Okay, so we haven't actually started this program. But we will! Soon! With Wendy being so self-motivated to write, I want to go ahead and start teaching her how to write correctly. It's much better to learn things the right way the first time - breaking bad habits is hard!

6. Math practice. Wendy has been learning how to add numbers up to 10. Yesterday, I wrote out some simple sums for her and we sat down and figured them out, using raisins as manipulatives. She did a great job, once her tendency to jump ahead without doing the work was reined in. (I don't know who she got that tendency from. *ahem*)

7. Art/crafts. Most of our "art" time consists of coloring. I need to do a better job of having more involved projects at least once a week. Wendy loves to make things, and I want to help her explore her creative side.

8. Ballet/gymnastics/something. This is another thing that we haven't actually started yet. I keep intending to sign her up for something and then forgetting. I don't even know when sign-ups for that sort of thing happen. I need to do my research and get her involved!

9. Chores. Wendy doesn't have any set daily chores (that'll be changing soon), but rather she helps with whatever we're doing. Dishes, laundry, cleaning, and even cooking are all things she really enjoys helping with.

10. Play! Play, play, play, and play some more! Games, puzzles, baby dolls. Independent play and more structured activities. While Wendy is "ahead" in her learning, she is still just 4 years old. She needs plenty of playtime, plenty of exercise, and plenty of time to just be 4. I don't expect her to sit still for hours on end for schooling. Instead, we work for awhile and take a break, and then come back to work.

Whether you homeschool or not, what does kindergarten look like for your family?

For more great Top Ten Tuesday lists, visit Amanda at OhAmanda.com!

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Sarah said...

Stopping by from the HOP. Sounds like a good schedule. It's such a fun age. Enjoy this time.

Amber@ClassicHousewife said...

Well, first I have to clarify that Kindergarten looked A LOT different for the first one that it does right now for the 3rd one. ; )

For the oldest we spent 30 minutes to an hour. We did a lot of hands on crafts and learned math and reading along the way. Everything was centered around a letter and number of the week and corresponding crafts.

For my youngest, it's largely a lot of "whatever will hold his attention" while I work with the older two. He's given a lot of free reign right now, which is okay because he's an active hands-on kid and he's learning all kinds of things looking at books, drawing and playing with play-doh. I do involve him when I read the science or history lesson to the girls, and in that way, he's learning TONS more science and history (and about God) than the girls EVER did at that age!

That said, I've heard many good things about Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Handwriting Without Tears. The only thing I would add to your list (to go hand in hand with #10) is have fun! Learning should be enjoyable. She's still so young that like anything else, when they show signs of frustration, take a break and do something else for a while. Learning is not a race it's a life long journey. =)
Have fun!

RachelT said...

It looks like a good plan! When you get started with HWT you will love it! It was great for both of my kids and one has learned handwriting easily while it has been difficult for the other one. We use My Father's World and began homeschooling during Kindergarten for my oldest. We have fond memories of that time. Enjoy!

Kakie said...

This is a really great post full of ideas. Kids learn at their own pace and I say good for you for getting off to an early start. Her handwriting is amazing for her age. The time flies by so fast. Aren't they a blessing?

Nancy said...

Awww - so adorable! Thanks for sharing your list. My favorite is number 10 - play, play, play.

Ring true,

Carletta said...

Your kids are adorable!

Before my daughter could read and write, she would copy the text from picture books into her little notebook - sometimes spreading the project out over the course of a week until she finished the whole book.

I had never heard of a child doing that before, and I love that your daughter does it. I kept those little books my daughter used to write. So precious!

She still loves writing grocery lists and to do lists and notes for me. Enjoy this precious time with your little ones. Sounds like you are doing a great job!