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As I mentioned last week when I wrote about the beginning of my son’s third grade year, we’ll also be starting my daughter’s kindergarten year the week after Labor Day as well. She will be turning six in January, so we’ll begin really before Charlotte Mason recommended any kind of formal education, however, this kindergarten curriculum is not what I’d consider “formal” education. It’s about twenty to twenty-five minutes per day of me reading to her (no narrations required), doing some counting activities and games, and finishing with a few words of copywork (and no formal reading lessons). I’m looking forward to it as way to include her more in our school time and she’s excited about having her very own “school” after having watched her big brother do it for the last three years. She has even said she wants to narrate this year, but we’ll see how often that happens. 🙂
With my son’s kindergarten three years ago, it felt like a nice way to ease into homeschooling and gauge whether or not it was really for us. In some ways, I feel like I’m doing something similar with C as kindergarten is not required in Colorado, so I don’t feel as much pressure as I otherwise might. In this way, I can ease into homeschooling two kids instead of just the one I’ve been teaching the last three years. The kindergarten curriculum is forgiving enough that I don’t think it will be much of a shock for any of us to be adding just a few short readings to our days, but I’m thankful that we have an entire year to try it out!
We won’t be deviating much from the curriculum as I wrote it, but there are a few areas where we’ll take things very slowly as I’ve written about today.
When we went through B’s kindergarten year, I used Edward Eggleston’s Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans per recommendations I had seen in various places for an Ambleside Online Year 0.5. While the book was okay, there were aspects of it I didn’t care for, so I decided to look into Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin as another one of his books is listed in history for Ambleside Online Year 1. I preferred this one as the stories, in my opinion, were better written and I liked the fact that it included people from all over the world rather than just the United States. So this will be a change for C from what I did with B and I’m interested to see how she responds to the stories.
This will also be a slight change from what I did with B. The Irish Twins will be the same, but instead of Children Just Like Me, we read The Seven Little Sisters Who Live on the Round Ball that Floats in the Air, which had aspects that I liked and aspects that I really didn’t like, in particular the chapter on Africa. I debated keeping this in the curriculum as I really loved how it was written, but decided instead to go with Children Just Like Me as I appreciated that it offered kids a view of other children their age living in very different places without the outdated and somewhat racist opinions injected in it.
Thornton Burgess is a huge favorite in our house and C has already been introduced to all of the Old Mother West Wind characters through other books, so I know this will be a hit for her. If you haven’t looked into these books for your elementary-aged-and-younger kids, I highly recommend them!
When I read Seed Babies with B, we did not grow beans along with the story, which is something I plan to do with C this time around. I think this will go well with the cultivated crops activities I’ll be doing with B for the first term of third grade.
As with B, we won’t find a specific square foot in the back yard to observe as I feel like both kids are pretty good at observing the changes in the backyard. I still think this book is a great one even if you don’t have a specific spot as it offers up ideas for things to observe outside pretty much anywhere and has beautiful illustrations.
C has been exposed to Winnie-the-Pooh and Beatrix Potter since she was born, so this won’t be new material for her. In fact, she can actually quote several parts of the stories from memory, but I know she enjoys them so I’m looking forward to reading through them with her rather than it being on an audiobook.
I doubt she remembers much of The Children’s Book of Virtues when I read it with B during his kindergarten year, so I’m thankful this one is also in the curriculum as it feels like something new for her.
I love this poetry book as it’s a great one to have around for reference and poetry reading as the kids get older. I did a slightly different list with B, but either way, I also love that we’re sampling a wide variety of poets throughout the year.
This is one area where I’m still a little uncertain. While MEP Reception is extremely gentle and not particularly structured, it’s more structured than anything she has ever done before so we’re going to take this very slowly. I want her to be prepared for RightStart Level B in year 1, which is what I did with B, and I feel like MEP Reception is a great way to lead into that, but I also don’t want to push her at this age, so this will be an experiment. I will just follow her lead.
Art will be a subject that is combined for both kids in co-op and during Morning Time. For the first term, we’ll be learning about Claude Monet and the following works:
- Terrace at Saint-Adresse (1866)
- Boulevard des Capucines (1873-74)
- Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son (1875)
- Fishing Boats (1883)
- Rouen Cathedral (1892)
- Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge (1899)
I won’t expect picture study narrations from C this year unless she wants to join in (which she often does).
For composer study, we’ll be learning about Claude Debussy during our time in co-op and the watching a performance of one of his pieces twice a week during Morning Time. Folksong and hymns will also be introduced during co-op and then sung alternating days during the week in Morning Time.
- The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children by Suzanne Gross and Sally Fallon Morell
- The Artful Year by Jean Van’t Hul
I’m going to try my best to have all of these planned in advance and the kindergarten curriculum does list the supplies needed each week in the weekly schedules, so I really don’t have an excuse for not being prepared. Both kids would enjoy doing these activities, so I know I really need to make this a priority.
This is another area where I’m not sure how it will go. C enjoys copying words from books and other things around the house, but B was far more proficient at it when he was her age. Copywork is really about working on handwriting and letter formation in the beginning and I did see a huge improvement in B’s penmanship after the end of his kindergarten year, so I’m hopeful the same will be true of C. However, again, since we’re starting when she’s 5, this is another area where I plan to go slowly and maybe only a few words each day for her to copy rather than two lines of text as I did with B when he started at 6.
Whereas with B I had somewhat of an idea of where he was with things like writing and math, C is a bit more of a mystery so it’ll be interesting to see how we both handle this year!