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When it comes to Kindergarten, we keep it pretty chill around here. 5yr olds are really more into playing and having fun rather than hardcore book work. My goal as a home schooling mom is to encourage a love of learning in my child rather than ensuring certain lessons are learned.
(To see my thoughts on home school “styles”, unschooling and how I feel children learn, check this post out.)
I wanted to ease into schoolwork and keep it lighthearted. I chose things that were interactive and fun but packed a punch. We’ll pair these more formal lessons with unit studies of our favorite things, lots of field trips, and tucking in learning anyway we can. (Did you know you can learn fractions from baking a cake?? AND you get a yummy cake out of it!)
With that in mind, we are keeping it to around 3 days per week of actual lesson work and then from there only doing 3-4 subjects per day. Also, making sure that one of those subjects each day is art of some sort – drawing, coloring, painting or a craft. I believe that art is one of the most important aspects of early learning.
What We Are Using
I wanted to share with you all of the things I purchased for this year. We’ll most likely add to it as the year progresses and as I come across new things. I have my eye on some beautiful nature based curriculums that we’ll probably try out next year and I’ll be sure to give my thoughts on those in another post. As we add things this year, I’ll update this post too!
I know everyone has a reading program that they swear by – and there are so many wonderful ones out there! – but I have seriously fallen in love with this one from Dash Into Learning! I think I love the artwork the most. Its so whimsical and fun. Aside from that, though, the framework is incredible. My 5yr old was reading the first day. She picked it up immediately! And each day she has very easily picked up the next lesson. She just recently finished her first book and nailed it! Dash Into Learning just released their second series so I went ahead and purchased it so we can move into it when the time comes.
As I mentioned, I feel art is one of the most important things to do in Kindergarten. So many things are learned through art. I decided to invest in quality, natural items for our art supplies. My favorite being this Natural Earth Paint set – made entirely of natural materials (no synthetic colors!) – and it paints BEAUTIFULLY. I highly recommend. (this is the “petite” set that we got just to try. I’ll order the full set next time.) I also purchased this Camden Rose Cherry Wood Four Jar Paint Holder to really add depth and beauty to our art time. Its everything I could hope and more!
We still have a huge box of Crayola crayons that she can use anytime but I wanted something different for school time. I invested in these Honey Sticks and Eco-Kids crayons and we have really enjoyed them. (I like them both but I think I prefer the Eco-Kids) They are made entirely of natural materials (again, no synthetics!) and they feel so warm and wonderful in hand. They color well too!
We are keeping math simple. Our primary focus now is basic addition and creating a firm foundation for how math works. I bought some math cubes and flashcards and we will use them to get a good visual on exactly how 2+2=4. Two blocks plus two blocks equal four blocks! As we master addition, we will use these some blocks to see how this works with subtraction, multiplication and division. The blocks can also be used for other things like being cubes and find the area of things too (as we get into higher grades.)
I also purchased this little learning clock and its probably her favorite lesson already! She’s been really interested in telling time and she’s picking it up fast. We can either start with a written time and she finds it on the face or we can start with a time on the face and have her write it out. This will be a short lived lesson and once she masters it, we’ll move on, but I think learning to read an analog clock is important!
I picked this little book up on a whim, but we already love it! The Human Body Activity Book For Kids lays out some really great foundational info about the body and I even learned a few things! Like, did you know that children grow more in the spring than any other year? I sure didn’t know that! We also spend a TON of time talking about how foods make us strong and healthy, how staying active keeps us healthy and how our body works in general. Those day-to-day conversations are often more impactful than what is found in a book.
To be fair, we sort of live and breathe science and biology at our house! We are always catching frogs, reading books about horses, rescuing insects and looking for cloud shapes. I splurged on the Julia Rothman Collection so we can have this beautiful collection of information at our disposal at all times. The lovely illustrations and simple diagrams are perfect for adding to our current topic. Buying it as the collection was cheaper than the three books individually and it includes some framable prints!
Aside from these things, we have the incredible World Wide Web at our disposal. We have a library with books of every topic at our disposal. And these two things combined with my daughter’s never ending curiosity sets us up for success. All I have to do is follow her interests. So for example, she’s really into frogs right now, so we can pick up a few books on frogs, look frogs up in our Julia Rothman books, color pictures of frogs and spend an afternoon (or several!) catching and releasing frogs. We can discuss what they eat, where they live, their life cycles and how they contribute to the world. And then when we get through that, I’m sure something else will catch her eye and we’ll go down that path too!