Friday, August 6, 2010

KINDERGARTEN - A FULL YEAR

I'm terribly excited about homeschooling kindergarten this year! It will be a year full of wonder and exploration. My little 4-year-old is like a little sponge, just waiting to soak up whatever comes her way. She is already a budding reader, so I will have my plate full keeping her busy and progressing. Here is our curriculum for the year!

LANGUAGE ARTS: As mentioned HERE in my previous fifth grade planning post, a Charlotte Mason approach will be our method here. We will be using First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind along with English for the Thoughtful Child.
This will be a very "warm and cozy" type of lesson/dialouge. This will consist of snuggling together on the couch reading aloud some wonderful classic literature, such as Mary Poppins, Charlotte's Web, Peter Rabbit, The Railway Children, The Trumpet of the Swan, Winnie-The-Pooh, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Velveteen Rabbit, Pollyanna, Little House on the Prarie, Brambly Hedge Series, The Wind in the Willows and more. Not always the full story, sometimes just clips from these great works. Reading these great works of literature at a young age sets them up for a lifetime of excellent reading and writing - and not filling their minds with "twaddle" (as CM calls it) - those mind-numbing simplistic children's books. This will lead into Narration - a critical part of CM methods. This is simply a "telling back" of what mom just read. It is assimilating information and retelling it. You will listen closely if you know you are going to be retelling what you just heard! This is a learning process of being able to narrate back the main ideas, without retelling every detail of the story - a critical component of writing, mental processing, and a general life skill. Narration is a powerful learning tool. CM tells us that perfect attention and absolute recollection is an asset to employer, teacher, and the nation. She says adults read and forget but her students "have the powers of perfect recollection and just application because they have read with attention and concentration and have in every case reproduced what they read in narration." Knowing that much of our learning is through reading - this is a very important skill to possess. This can ensure a lifetime of a love of learning.

This time will also including plenty of memorization time including sweet little poems and nursery rhymes. We will also be doing some "picture narration" - closely studying a beautiful piece of artwork (included in the book), working on paying close attention to detail, and narrating back what is happening in the picture - a wonderfully sweet way to begin the art of storytelling and basic writing skills.

These are some of my Boo's FAVORITE things to do! She loves for me to read a short clip to her - say for 10 minutes, and then answer questions about what she just heard, and then retell the story in her own words. Or studying a beautiful piece of art of a child busy at play and retelling the scene. This time will also include copywork - in which she will "copy" a short sentence from the story that was just read to her to work on exact execution of her letters - while seeing how sentences are formed along with naturally grasping grammar and punctuation as she sees it occuring in real sentences. She also enjoys doing some worksheets from Explode the Code - a simple and basic phonics program.

We have so many wonderful books in store ready to begin our journey to becoming a fluent reader. We will be using the ever classic Bob Books - as well as some beginning readers from her favorite website Starfall. Reading from Amish Pathway Readers, Grade 1. Some classics like Dick and Jane and of course Dr. Seuss. We will also continue with the readers from Sing, Spell, Read and Write - which we did this summer.

MATH: For math we are continuing to work through Horizons Kindergarten that she started last year. And we will also enjoy having casual math thinking discussions using Family Math. Inchimals by Fat Brain Toys will be a fun math learning resource along with our 100 number board and the 1-100 Activity Book along with it. Playing with our Number Balance is always fun!
HANDWRITING: We love using A Reason for Handwriting for making special pages, but most of her handwriting practice will come into play doing copywork from our dictation and narration exercises.

GEOGRAPHY: Beginning Geography is what we will use here, along with our very fun Geopuzzles and our Geography Songs memorization CD. Of course, locating places on the map where our history lessons have occurred will also be in order.
BIBLE: Leading Little Ones to God will be the focus for this age - along with The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos (excellent!) as well as the other Bible activities we will be doing with Banana. ABC Bible Memory Verse Songs will be added to our rotating list of CDs that we listen to for scripture memory. ART: Well - this will happen every single day!! My little Boo loves to create and always has several little projects in process at her art desk. We will have some structed art time using How to Teach Art to Children, along with The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas. Having access to a well-supplied art desk is critical for her at this age.

SCIENCE: There is so much to explore at this age, that I really feel no formal science instruction is needed in kindergarten. Science is surrounding them and they are just soaking it up. We will be spending plenty of time outdoors investigating God's world, and using fun kits such at the Backyard Explorer Leaf Collecting Album, and My Nature Journal will be a great addition. For those days that the weather pushes us indoors - we can explore science with some fun kits such as Blast of Color, and Test Tube Discoveries, as well as BrainBox Nature - this is such a fun learning tool/game that we have it in several different themes!
HISTORY: History learning will happen alongside her big sister using The Story of the World, Volume 2, From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance . This will be simply listening to the story read-aloud while playing with something educational such as Pattern Play or Imaginets or Pattern Blocks - or something silly such as Thinking Putty! Keeping little hands busy while listening to stories can be beneficial when it comes to keeping those "wigglies" under control. Boo will have coloring sheets or activities that go along with the time period being studied. Using simple narration and dictation will happen here too. We have so much in store for this year - too much to even blog about! But in all my careful planning - I have had to stop and remember that these aren't MY kids that I have the blessing to be teaching - they are God's kids. I need to prayerfully consider every step of my planning, and put this completely in His hands.
If you're starting your new school year depending on your own abilities, be careful. Only the Lord can show you those things that will make your homeschooling truly successful. As you depend on the Holy Spirit, you will not only discover wisdom to teach, but you'll also have your eyes opened to see all that God desires for your family. "Unto thee I lift up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God" (Psalm 123:1-2a).

Lord, forgive me for my foolish pride that fails to acknowledge You as Lord. Open my eyes to see Your plans for our family this homeschool year and teach me to constantly depend on You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Not Back to School Blog Hop

2 comments:

Bon said...

Hi! Visiting from Angie's... I've really enjoyed exploring some of the links you've provided in your post. Lot's of helpful information. Thank you!

Nana said...

You and Steph can certainly spend a lot of time researching and organizing. SOunds great. I am glad all I have to do is what she tells me needs to be done. This is way to deep for me. Ha. I am looking forward to it but glad I don't have to do all the prep. I am preping for snacks and recess and all that good stuff. I like the snuggling and reading to him part too.