Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kindergarten at Our House

At this time of the year, I'm always particularly excited to be homeschooling. As millions of Moms get ready to send their children back to school, I remember how blessed I am to be able to homeschool: to have an extraordinarily supportive husband, to have the financial means to stay at home, to have so many amazing materials with which to teach my kids about just about everything. Last year we decided to take more of a 'year-round' approach to school, so here at our house, we've cracked lots of books since May.

Before you start feeling sorry for those poor Dennis kids and their whip-cracking Mamma, let me just say that the point of year-round school, for us, is to be able to have a more relaxed approach all year and still get in our required 180 days of school. Today, for example, the two oldest are enjoying a day at the lake with friends, and #3 has the special treat of having a friend over to play after going to her pool. The 3 littles and I went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and played: a rare treat around here. Speaking of Chick-Fil-A, is there anything worse than coming off of a sugar high after drinking one (okay, two) of their lemonades? Those things are lethal.)

I certainly don't consider myself any kind of homeschooling expert. However, as I enter my eighth year teaching my kids at home, I guess I'm not a novice, either. I always enjoy hearing what others do in their homeschools and what works for them, so I'll be posting a bit about our approach with each of our children in the next few weeks. So let me begin by sharing what we do for Kindergarten. It's really very simple. Our main, priority, number-one academic goal for this year is to get the child reading. If that goal is accomplished by May, then I feel that the year has been a success. I've used the same phonics book to teach my oldest three to read, as you can probably tell by the condition of the poor thing. I paid $32.95 for it at Mardel, and I'd recommend it to anyone. Rowan and I have been sitting on the couch for about 15-20 minutes a day and going through a page or two. Then, when we progress to the point of reading simple three-letter words, I pull out our Bob Books, which is always very exciting for the child: Mommy, I read a real book!

So our pattern becomes 1)work through a couple of pages in the phonics book, and 2)have the child read a book (or part of a book) to me aloud. I find that this part (hearing them read aloud) is really great for working with the child on intonation and expression.

So, that's it for 'formal' kindergarten. Of course, we do lots of drawing and singing and swinging on swings and dress ups and blocks and character training and bible time and games. But that's just normal life. Must we call it 'school'? :)


Anne said...

Perhaps when my children are a little closer to school age, I could come over and observe? :) But maybe that would be too big of a distraction...either way, I'm eager to hear (& hopefully learn) your tricks, as well as other home school moms', of teaching their kids. Funny how the thought isn't as scary to me as it was BEFORE I had kids. ;) Happy schooling!!!

Jenia said...

I have to say I am a bit envious of the flexibility of your school! So glad you had a nice flexible day today, we had fun with Lily!

Duct Tape Chronicles said...

Hi Candice, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. It is fun to hear from other home-schooling mamas of lots of littles. I'm sure I could learn a few things from you. :)

steph said...

Hi, Candice! We are enjoying the Dennis Chronicles! We've been homeschooling for six years and just love it - so wonderful to "be" with our kids and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have to admit that I like our summer break so we can visit all the grandparents and take a much needed rest. We are starting back to school this week! Yikes! Yes, it's early, but we wanted to have our 180 days finished before the end of May - in case Sam gets to go back to the National Spelling Bee in D.C. We are not quite as flexible this year as in past years, since the kids are moving into the higher grades. But, I must admit I love learning new things right along with them!

Anonymous said...


I really love you blog, mum of 8 here in New Zealand. Thanks for sharing!

Teena said...

This is our 19th yr. I left my oldest dd at college on Tuesday. I miss her... we all do.

God is faithful... time goes so very fast. Grab hold of the moment.

We are very laid back.... enjoyed reading.

Dana said...

We are now on the 180 day schedule, versus the "keeping track of hours" that we did in our last home. I am looking forward to trying something a little different. I am going to try to line up our school days with Stan's semesters, but we will need some more days than that.