After several months of planning, researching, stalling, etc, etc, we finally took the plunge. I figured if we didn’t just go ahead and do it, I’d be planning Kindergarten for the next 3 years. An 8-year-old doing kindergarten.
We’re going to take 2 years to do Kindergarten. This way he’ll begin first grade when he’s 6, which is just right. I’m not happy delaying K another year, because I know he’s ready. By doing it for 2 years I will have more time to plan and purchase materials for first grade. First grade, I’ve realised, is going to be very expensive; much more so than second through fourth grades. This will also allow us to take things slowly and give him more time to play and grow and mature before first grade. We can focus on one or two things at a time, which for some reason I didn’t feel I could do before. I think with having 2 years, I don’t feel so pressured to ‘do it all at once.’
We’re starting off slow. He told me a few days ago that he wants to learn to read, so that’s our main focus. I got out Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, read the intro, looked over the first lesson (I was already fairly familiar with it all from when I borrowed a copy from the library in America a few months back…just refreshing my memory). And ’cause, see, I’m one of those people who has to study something inside out, upside down, and from every angle before I do it. I’m one of those people who actually reads the instructions through to the end before even opening the packet of screws. I then hilight the important bits, review it all, then think about it. I wait a while, read everything I can find online, then review the instructions again…then I begin. That’s me.
In my defence, there was some important info in the intro and a lot of good advice (I’ve starred certain sections and made notes inside the cover…I’ve also made notations at certain lessons to ‘see p….’) I like to be prepared.
Yes, I’m exaggerating slightly. But only a little.
Anyway, we did it, along with the written exercises. Donna Young has worksheets for the written exercises to this book. See here. He didn’t really enjoy this. I know a lot of people skip the written exercises, but I felt they were important because they’re there, not to practice handwriting, but to reinforce the lesson. You’re supposed to be saying the phoneme as you write. So, I’m thinking of using a slate and chalk next time. He may enjoy that more. (And it will save me 5 sheets of printing every week) He enjoyed the lesson itself, especially the ‘say it fast’ bit.
We listened to classical music while he did arts and crafts. He made a birthday card for his auntie who turned 30 yesterday.
For narration, I read him one chapter of an abridgement of The Wind in the Willows. He managed to retell the chapter in about 5 or 6 sentences, so I was very happy with that.
We did lots of read-alouds, as we always do. We do picture books during the day, and read a chapter or two from Matilda at night. One of our favourite read-alouds right now is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. That is such a great story.
We also have a weather chart that we fill in each day. It’s dry-erase and has a section for the date and season. There are little boxes at the bottom with 12 different types of weather. Stiggy puts a little ‘X’ in each relevent box. They’re pictoral as well, so he can do it himself.
We’ve got a dry-erase calendar to list our activities. I told him what we’re got coming up this week. (Pottery painting, PE, and football [soccer])
I also took his photo and talked to him a bit about why we’re homeschooling instead of going to school. He filled in a few pages of a little Homeschool Memory Book. He enjoyed writing out his favourite things. I only planned for him to do one page (don’t want to burn him out on writing), but he insisted on doing several.
After all that, he changed into his Darth Vader costume and proceeded to bring the cat to the dark side. (And, yes, he went to his auntie’s party dressed that way. NO ONE messed with us as we were walking there.)
At bedtime, Stiggy was asking to do his next reading lesson. I almost got the book out to do it, but I decided to hold off. I don’t want to do too many lessons too quickly. And this way he’ll be excited to get started this morning.
So that was our first day. It was great.
Homeschooling is fantastic. Right now Stiggy is working on his memory book while listening to an audio version of ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and other Dr. Seuss stories. He’s reciting along with it, humming to the music, and just enjoying himself.
The slate and chalk thing was a success. He did make a little complaint during his reading lesson. He was finding one of the tasks a bit boring. I eplained the importance of it and that it only takes a minute. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. Overall, he enjoyed it and did well.