As first grade is fast approaching and kindergarten is almost over, I wanted to share what we have been doing for kindergarten, and will continue for our 4 y/o Savannah as she moves up through the preschool years.
We started by reading most of the year 0 books on the Ambleside Online website. (I really wanted to introduce chapter books, so we have read aloud a lot of the “free reading” books off of the year 1 list also.) We have thoroughly enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie series. I didn’t know how well it would go over with our son, who doesn’t really like much to do with “girly” things, but before I knew it we had completed Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Praire, On the Banks of Plum Creek, and By the Shores of Silver Lake, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
We all too often not as we should, but prayerfully, strive to teach God’s commandments to our children daily. Building up their characters and filling their hearts with the knowledge of the Lord, and with that we also work daily to bring them up with love and respect for one another. (which goes well some days, and others we work a little harder.)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7.
Gradually we have established chores for both of them. For example: emptying the bathroom trash, lining the trash cans when they are empty, placing the silverware on the table (in the proper places) for meals, cleaning their bedrooms and making beds.
Nature walks have been a beautiful, fulfilling addition to our homeschooling routine. We have enjoyed overflowing creeks, curious bugs, pollen on our noses and lots of time on our backs listening to the chatter of nature. This has prepared a way for next year, when we jump into habitual nature journaling and in-depth studying of birds and flowers.
Last BUT not least of these has been playtime. Which is wondrous, exciting, imaginative, inventive, sweet… Playtime is where they can take bits of rope and pretend to be a cowboy or a rock climber. Baby dolls become little children that need to be dressed and given tea. A time when their beautiful imaginations come to life. I love what Susan Schaeffer Macaulay says in her book:
“There should be space, and lots of free time. Children need to be outdoors (for hours). They need to make noise, mess, and to have access to raw materials (old clothes for costumes, hats, tables to turn into camps, etc., etc.,). For The Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, page 23
This special time between preschool and first grade has been at times tricky, and I have often had to hold myself back from pushing Avery too hard. I have often wondered if he is where he “should be” according to the “standard”, but have found that his own curiosity and eager appetite for knowledge has almost brought him there and beyond. He and his younger sister CONSTANTLY amaze me with their facts and comprehension on numerous subjects. From why insects have 6 legs and spiders have 8, to going through skip counting for a couple of numbers and Avery astonishingly picking up on the pattern and finishing the sequence. The minds of children are eager to lap up almost anything we put in front of them. Charlotte Mason lists out 6 points in which to consider when following her method of educating.
“a) That the knowledge most valuable to the child is that which he gets with his own eyes and ears and fingers (under direction) in the open air.
b) That the claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to encroach on the child’s right to long hours daily for exercise and investigation.
c) That the child should be taken daily, if possible, to scenes- moor or meadow, park, common, or shore -where he may find new things to examine, and so add to his store of real knowledge. That the child’s observation should be directed to flower or boulder, bird or tree; that, in fact, he should be employed in gathering the common information which is the basis of scientific knowledge.
d) That play, vigorous healthful play, is, in its turn, fully as important as lessons, as regards both bodily health and brain-power.
e) That the child, though under supervision, should be left much to himself- both that he may go to work in his own way on the ideas he receives, and also that he may be the more open to natural influences.
f) That the happiness of the child is the condition of his progress; that his lessons should be joyous, and that occasions of friction in the schoolroom are greatly to be deprecated.” A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason, volume 6, pg 177,178.