Homeschool #005 – Curriculum??

Tt turns 5 in January, so eager beaver me thinks “we’re homeschooling – why wait until September to “DO” Kindergarten?”. Why, indeed. Except what does that mean?

Today I was talking to an ex-K/gr.1 teacher and she revealed how amazingly low the bar is set for kids in Kindergarten. The goals have to be easy in order to be achieveable by everyone. SO, I figure I can’t do worse than almost nothing! It took a lot of pressure off.

Not that I was feeling like I have to be SUPERTEACHER for my boys, but I don’t want to miss something critical and as a result mess them up for life before Grade 1 (every beginning homeschooler’s nightmare I’m sure).

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Now the question is WHAT to do for Kindergarten.
Most of the kids in one HS group we go to are “unschooled”, meaning they blow where the wind takes them. No, not quite. They feed off their kids own interests, which creates REAL (?) learning through a personal desire to learn something. Or something like that. I totally buy it. Makes a ton of sense, and as I’ve seen from Tt’s “learning” so far, sounds like he’s already on the right path (see previous Blog and Blog), and I really just need to stay the heck out of the way as much as possible.

“The task of the teacher is to create an environment
in which the student can learn”  – John Holt

Another HS group we have met with largely use “curriculum” from what I’ve gathered so far. They gather materials from places? (so far I’ve found this one – Sonlight) and actually teach their children, or as they get older, let their children even teach themselves. Not to say the kids’ interests aren’t taken into account at any given moment.

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Let me just say that so far homeschooling mom’s (haven’t yet met a homeschooling Dad) are intimidatingly intelligent. I don’t think one has to be uber-intelligent in order to begin homeschooling, but definately after revisiting everything (of importance) you ever learned in school again and again for each kid, I’m sure you must end up real real smart. I’m excited to one day be a real real smart mom. With better grammar.

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For Tt, I’m sure pure unschooling would be ideal – he is already learning better WITHOUT my input than WITH. If I had kept trying to make him color in coloring books, what I thought he SHOULD be learning, his natural ability to draw wouldn’t have surfaced until much later, long after his creative abilities had been squished by yours truly. BUT, for Momma… well, I need structure in order to feel comfortably able to be spontaneous.

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So, off to research curriculum for Kindergarten. Yes, I’m aware of how odd that sounds. 5-yr olds should be doing nothing but playing, right?

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My plan (I have oh, so many plans) is to do an hour of curriculum each day, and spend the rest of our time “unschooling” and playing the heck out of life. For Kindergarten, I’ve realized all that “Curriculum” really means is read, read, read. Help Tt recognize the sounds of letters, and read. We’ve ordered some books from Sonlight focused on reading about Cultures Around the World. And we’ll keep practicing writing our letters and numbers with our “Activity” (not “Work”) sheets.

I’ll let ya know how it goes.

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3 Responses

  1. I am glad you are remembering to make Kindergarten FUN! Sonlight is expensive and not for everyone. If you have a good library around you, you might want to check out “Cathy Duffy’s Top 100” to read a bit more into what type of a homeschooler you are (unschooling being high on your list, but you might be surprised at what else rises to the top) and what type of kid you have on your hands. (If it isn’t at your library, probably one of the moms in the “curriculum” type HS group will have a copy you can borrow.)

    I homeschooled my oldest when she was 4/5 (turned 5 in Nov of the first year we started) with only two goals in mind – be able to sit still for 30 minutes & learn to read. In the spring, I went to the local parent’s meeting for incoming K’ers (as my daughter would have been in that class age-wise) for curiosity and to see what they would cover that year. I left feeling confident that my kid was ready for first grade. We’re in our third year HSing with her and I have another K’er this year. While it is different with #2 because of personalities and already doing stuff with child #1, we still focus in on FUN! FUN! FUN! Child #2 wanted to do cooking class, sewing, art, and “dress up” so we make sure to get those in each week.

    Good luck on your journey!

  2. A lot of parents use a mixed approach to homeschooling (some curriculum, some unschooling), and from what I’ve seen it works great! Every homeschooling experience is different, it’s all about finding something that works for you and your kids.

  3. MrsM : Yep – grey areas are usually where life happens, no?? Mixes of black/white, here/there, tomayto/tomahto. Now to convince Mr.5-yr old that SOME curriculum is a GOOD THING…

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