Friday, June 4, 2010

Our Choice for Curriculum for Toddlers, Preschool, and Kindergarten -- Part 1

A few days ago one of my bestest friends in the world gave me a call and told me that I should put my "curriculum" on my blog. She is beginning to research and explore the different ways of homeschooling and was interested in what I had done in the beginning. Now, let me start off by saying I am in no way an expert. I have however poured hundreds of hours into researching homeschooling and between my husband and I we have come up with a "plan." We decided many years ago (almost 8) that we would definitely be homeschooling and then we decided that the form of homeschooling that best fit us and what we would like to accomplish would be classical homeschooling. Now, this type of homeschooling is not the plug-n-play type of homeschooling. And I in no means think there is anything wrong with those types or any types of homeschooling. I think it is between you and your spouse and God and based on your children and what you know you can handle and do. I believe that all people (and I do mean ALL) can homeschool. I do not think we give ourselves enough credit sometimes. So remember, this is only one idea for homeschooling - the classical style - and this is the way we have implemented it. But please do not give up on the idea of homeschooling because this might sound too difficult or to teacher-driven or to random. Research all your possibilities first and seek God and let Him lead you and your family on His path for your schooling.

Now I have digressed. Back to the reason for this post. I will start off with our initial plan for kindergarten. As a preface, let me tell you that at the time we started homeschooling our now 6.5 year old, Arianna, that Stephen and I were helping some families we knew with specified and full-curriculum tutoring. By that, I mean that some of the children we had coming to our house came every day and we "taught" them all their school work and then they went home and did their required assignments or homework. Others came on a specific day or time and we worked with them with things like Latin, Logic or Math. So we had a houseful when Arianna was yet a toddler/preschooler and Audrie was a baby. But, with all the other kids schooling Ari felt left out and wanted to "do school" too. And from there her desire to learn has not slowed.

So when she was 3ish we began with a very simple version of school. We started with Kumon Books that you can get at Barnes and Noble. When we started they did not have the mini books that they have now that you can begin using with children who are at least 2 and they did not have the flash cards. Their book collection has grown over the years also, but that has just added to the resources we now have access to. We started with the basic skills ones of My Book of Coloring, My Book of Easy Mazes, and My First Book of Tracing. These three books coupled with our phonics curriculum was what we did for school at the 2-3 age. We have continued to use the Kumon books with Audrie and I plan to use them also with Seanan when he gets old enough. Some of the books we did not use, but I'll go into that in another post. So if you are interested in beginning homeschooling and don't think you can do it - check these books out. They are simple, you can accomplish them in a very limited amount of time and it gets your children ready for other things, not just school. For instance, the maze books that Arianna has done (which she has accomplished all the ones they have as of yet) has helped her with her logic skills.

The other big "school book" we used was The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. As I said earlier we were tutoring some other children in our home. Well, one of the children was having trouble reading. So after we talked with the child and his parents, we decided that we would start back at the beginning to help with his reading skills. To make it easier for the child, I asked if it would be easier if they would "teach" Arianna as I was teaching them. They agreed and so Arianna was being taught by another, older child. She loved that part of school. Now, I will say we did start a bit early, at least that is what people told us. But, I never pushed. Ari had her days and moments when she did not want to "read." So we would end the lesson early or redo the lesson the next day or just give it some time. But we stayed the course. Once Arianna read her first book on her own, she was hooked. From that point we just took the lessons one day at a time. The "lesson" never took more than 15 minutes. And it was one of the simplest things to do. I feel very proud to know that I was the one who helped teach my child to read.

In the next post I will go into more detail of what a typical day would look like and then continue with our curriculum for K4 and K5.


Sherri said...

I picked up the Kumon books over the weekend and they are a hit! Petra loves them. I really like the coloring one because it helps her focus on a small area. The mazes are also great and I'm sure will be a big hit. We also bought her two minis - stickers and folding. The stickers book is a too easy for her (would have worked better if I had started it right after she turned 2), but she loves stickers so I felt like we should get it. And the folding one is a little too hard for her, but she loves to try and help me fold laundry and really wants to learn to fold ... so that was probably a very good pick.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful choice homeschooling/homepreschooling is, and what a blessing to the entire family!
Since you and your friends are researching different methods, I hope you will visit my blog.
I believe the foundations of the preschool years are the 4R's: Relationship (with God and family), Routine, Readiness, and Reading aloud.

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