Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kindergarten

So, this year I have two kindergarteners. Sort of. I thought it would work out nicely to have Zahana and Rohan working together like Miah and Larkin work together. But Zahana and Rohan are not Miah and Larkin. They are not on the same level, even if we call them both kindergarteners. Even though I didn't formally or officially (or really at all) do school stuff with Zahana last year, she's really more like first grade level. Technically, with her November birthday, she's supposed to be in kindergarten this year. But she taught herself to read already, and her math skills are increasing rapidly each day. In her activities outside of home, sometimes she goes with the kindergarteners and sometimes with the first graders, just depending on the activity and where her friends are.
Rohan, on the other hand, is technically (since his birthday falls on the cut off date) supposed to be in kindergarten this year, and that's what he's registered as. But really, he could probably benefit from another year or half-year of preschool play. In his outside activities, sometimes he's with kindergarteners, sometimes with preschoolers. I'm so glad I don't have to stuff either of my children into a mold they don't fit into. I can give Zahana what she needs and give Rohan what he needs. Still, that means more figuring-out-how-to-do-it-all for me, which can be stressful, but usually, I just see it as a challenge, something to stretch me. Something to make me think, be creative, and not get lazy. And also to fall back on the advice that I like to give: it's kindergarten; don't make it too rigorous or boring. Let the kids have fun and love learning. Don't burn them out the first year! Yeah, well . . . saying it is one thing. Doing it is another. But I have learned from past mistakes with the other kids. I have seen how kids develop when they are ready. They really do! I have to reread articles like this one, and just keep going little by little, day by day.
Here's a few snapshots from our "kindergarten" days. Or whatever you want to call it. :)
Making numbers from playdough.


Ordering number cards.


Dot-to-dots.


Sister love.


Writing in salt.




Working with Montessori beads to learn place value.


Made up science experiments.




And last week's geography lesson: Liberia.
Playing Queah. You can see our flag poster in the background - found it at Wally World.


Paper people.


Animal collage.


Making jollof rice.




My happy helper.


Mmm! Watermelon!


Rohan is working on learning to count, recognize and write numbers and letters, and say the alphabet. He is doing well in his Language Lessons and especially loves listening to the poems. He also really likes looking at books and being read to. I am reading through the kindergarten booklist from Ambleside Online. Right now, they are loving the original Winnie-the-Pooh stories. I'm using Dr. Wright's Kitchen Table Math: Book 1 for both kids, each at his own pace.
Zahana is learning to tell time, all about place value and reading 2- and 3-digit numbers, addition, subtraction, and writing numbers. She reads to me and does Language Lessons volume 3. She recently finished Life of Fred: Cats, but we're taking a break from that right now.
So that's what kindergarten looks like for us. Today. It will, undoubtedly, change. I'll keep you posted.

5 comments:

  1. I think it's a great idea to just go with where the kids are; no matter what their "grade level". It doesn't help with all the planning required to do that, but it does take the pressure off. By the way, you've got a great looking kindergarten class! :)

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  2. I am totally in agreement with you Sarah!

    Last year Dylan was ready to start working on maths but he was not ready to learn to read. So he started on maths and worked on phonics a little...but this year he was totally ready to begin reading, and he is enjoying it. I hate to think of little kids in the public system who *have* to either hold back on a subject, or rush when they are not ready. Another reason why I LOVE homeschooling!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lovely pictures! :)

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  3. Great post! I needed to be reminded of this very thing: meeting them where they are. Thank you.
    I am wondering, do you plan week by week or day to day inspiration, or what? I am struggling with the "planning" area for home educating different grade/skill levels (while caring for and nursing a toddler yikes! Haha!) Any advice ?

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  4. i feel like I'm just learning this myself. My first two are pretty much on the same level. This year, I added two more levels and a baby! So getting to everything is a challenge.
    As far as planning goes, i have done different things over the years. Right now I like spacing things out instead of trying to do all subjects everyday or even every week. For example, we did science for a couple months, pretty much every day. Now we are doing history. My older two can do a lot independently, so I can focus on dividing my time more between the younger two. I have kind of a basic plan for what I want to happen for about half a year at a time: geometry this month, origami math next month, etc. Then when it gets closer to time, I plan more in detail. I used to not want to use any type of workbooks or preplanned curriculum but have decided it's OK to let someone else do that planning for me, so i can just say here: do one page each day.

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  5. I love the pictures of baby Elowen and your very creative ideas for the kindergarten age! Miss you, Sarah.
    xo
    Annika

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