Monday, November 24, 2014

Kindergarten Homeschool Plan

The following is my basic homeschool plan for Kindergarten. We plan on starting Kindergarten in January, even though my son won't quite be 4.5 because he is already doing most of this. We will start 1st grade whenever I feel he's "ready" (which might be 1-2 years, if necessary). 1st grade will look different because there will be slightly more "required".

My basic philosophy is that kids will learn what/when they want to learn, and they do tend to learn somewhat naturally. On the other hand, they also have to be shown/taught certain subjects to enable them to learn more efficiently and reach their full potential. Therefore, I have certain "required" subjects in "Kindergarten" and everything else I am either classifying as "optional" (in other words it does not have to be done on a certain day, but I would like to get to it at least a few times a month) or "fun" (not required at all, but still educational). For Kindergarten, I have very little required, quite a bit more optional, and even more fun. Because isn't that what Kindergarten should be about?

Required

  • Learning to read - I will allow my child to choose based on his preference between the book "Learn to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" (we are currently on lesson 40 in this book, but he doesn't ask for it as frequently) and what he calls his "words and such" which is Easy Peasy (allinonehomeschool.com). As he gets a bit more proficient in reading, I will also allow him to pick a book to read independently to someone.
  • Math - I have chosen Singapore Math Essentials for our basic curriculum. However, if he chooses to pick another option, I also have "The Complete Book of Numbers and Counting" Pre K - 1st Grade. I also have some math dry erase fact sheets for addition and subtraction that he can choose as he gets a little more practice/proficiency to help him learn his facts.
  • Handwriting practice (this may include Handwriting Without Tears, practicing writing his name, practice with different utensils/materials, etc.) This is a big struggle for him right now because he is so young and he has some sensory issues which means his fine motor skills need some work as well.
  • Bible - I haven't picked the exact method yet for teaching this. I want it to be fun and applicable, but I also want to teach him some of the main Bible stories. We may go back to reading stories from his children's Bible which he loved, but we haven't done in awhile, or we may start a new family devotion time, or some of both.

Optional

  • Science experiments (1-3 per week) - we have purchased the "Clifford" science experiments from the Young Explorer's Club and may move on to the "Magic School Bus" from the same company if we like it, or just come up with our own.
  • Read living books together - science, history, unit studies
  • Spanish - I don't think I will use any curriculum for this, because I took so much Spanish in middle and high school. I will just try to teach the basics as we are going along randomly. He can already count to 10 in Spanish so I will just mention other topics/words/phrases as he shows an interest.
  • Sign language - we love to watch sign language videos on YouTube, so I will continue to do this every so often.
  • Arts and crafts - I will plan some type of art/craft at least once a week, but it's not his (or my) favorite type of learning, so we will probably keep it simple and minimal.
  • Culture - I would love to introduce him to poetry, famous artists, classical music. This will probably happen through unit studies, maybe one per week.
  • Music/songs - he loves to sing, but will generally not participate until he knows a song completely. We will continue to watch YouTube video songs and rhymes until he gets more comfortable singing on his own.
  • Exercise - we love to take walks, swim/play in the pool, and he has a new kids yoga video. He also has taken soccer and swimming lessons, and I'm considering karate and gymnastics lessons. I plan to put him in no more than 1 structured activity at a time.
  • Math/science/history/Bible games, activities, or unit studies - randomly whenever we feel like it.

Fun

  • Playdoh
  • Free art or craft
  • Lego's, Lincoln Logs, blocks
  • Drawing, painting, or coloring
  • Puzzles
  • Cuisenaire rods
  • Unifix cubes
  • Pattern blocks
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Nature walks or visiting the park/playground
  • Pretend/dress up/act like an animal
  • Reading together (his choice of books)
  • Stringing/beading/lacing
  • Scissors and cutting practice
  • Sensory activities and/or therapy
  • Kinetic sand
  • TV shows and computer games (PBS Kids)
  • Free play (for him this is usually anything with wheels - trains, cars, etc)
I haven't yet purchased all of the "fun" toys and games, but that's what Christmas is for this year! 

I did want to mention, when I say "required" I don't plan on forcing him to sit down screaming while he works on his handwriting. I've found it works best to say what I want him to do and he can decide (somewhat) when to do it. For instance, if I've said it's time to work on his reading and he doesn't want to, that's fine, but he won't get privileges (TV time, computer games) until he finishes his required school work. This is what is known in various circles as "Grandma's Rule" and it does work!

What's your curriculum like for Kindergarten? Are you homeschooling or looking for educational activities for your child after school or during the summer? Feel free to post a comment about it!
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