I am interested in beginning SCM with my daughter this year. She is reading fluently but will be exactly 5.5 in August. I was thinking that we should start with the Kindergarten year but it looks like most of that is for pre-readers. Now I am not sure what to do. Should I begin with year 1?
Where to begin?(6 posts) (5 voices)
Have you seen this chart?
My DS was technically a kindergartener last year but because he was reading I did all Yr 1 work with him. It worked well for us because we were able to do lots of family subjects that way.
During reading I had him read aloud from a book that appealed to him. In the beginning of the year we were doing easy readers, including McGuffey readers. By the end of the year, though, he was reading some science books that interested him and the chapter book My Father's Dragon.
Hope that helps some.
I would ditto what jawgee said - just replace the beginning reading lessons with continuing to read from books on an appropriate level. My dd was an early reader also and this is what we did. I would encourage you to have her read out loud to you several times a week, however, just so you can keep an eye on her progress and correct any problem areas you might see (skipping words, mispronounced words, etc.)
I opted to wait on starting 'Year One' in full, even though my dd was reading. We've been using this year as an introductory year, so to speak. We are reading and narrating from Aesop's Fables to get used to the idea of narration, we are reading history stories such as 50 Famous Stories and Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans (rather than starting with the in-depth history modules), reading nature books and doing nature study. We do do poetry, music, and art study as outlined on the curriculum guide, read alouds from good literature, and Bible as a family in addition to the 'basics' on her level of ability (math, copywork, reading, spelling,etc.) I guess all this to say that you can do as much of the 'year 1' stuff as you feel your dd is ready for, but be careful to introduce things slowly and gently so as not to overwhelm her since she is on the younger end of the scale. I love this idea that I came across in the book "When CHildren Love to Learn" - The goal of 'first grade' is to feed a child's love of learning. This is my rule of of thumb with my young children (6, 4, 2) and I find it very helpful - am I feeding their love of learning, or overwhelming them with too much (albeit good stuff!) too soon.
Here is what has worked for us in a similar situation.
DD will turn 7 in September, and we have just finished 'Grade 1'. She was reading fluently by age 4.5, books like Charlotte's Web. I didn't want to push the materials, content-wise, though, because I don't want to run into a problem later when the materials become more mature faster than she is ready. I used some of the year one materials, but there are so many options, that we have extended many of them for two years. We have basically had a 22 month long 'year one'. There are many things to learn other than just learning to read, so we have been busy.
During her Kindergarten year, when she had just turned 5, we started with 50 Famous Stories and Aesop's fables to introduce and practice narration during the first year. Since we didn't need to work on learning to read, I made the focus of this year learning to narrate. I took this slowly. CM doesn't recommend this formal work until age 6, but DD was looking for more challenge, so we started early, but gently. We are still using Aesop, one fable a week, which is now her opportunity to read silently and then narrate. Everything else we have done read aloud, because although she can read the books herself, I want to instill good habits of attention and develop the skill of narration.
Last year we also read lots of picture book versions of fairy tales. The language use is more advanced than many picture books, but they are less overwhelming than books with multiple chapters. The pictures also helped in the narration process, meaning that she could remember more details than from a book with no pictures. It was a good stepping stone. For science we started the Burgess Bird and Burgess Animal books, and have continued those this past year. We have used many of the SCM suggestions for literature, and also added in several more books that we already owned.
This past year (so grade 1, our second year of 'school'), we started a focus on Ancient History, similar to SCM's module one, although we substituted a bit for what we had available. We added 106 Days of Creation to our Burgess Bird and Animal books. We have continued reading lots of good literature, some as read alouds, some as free reading (that she reads on her own). She also chooses her own books from the library. Some are twaddle-ish, but I know she is reading lots of good material as well, so I allow her freedom to choose the 'extras' (with approval for content of course.) She reads A LOT!
Now we are starting 'grade 2' this week (schooling year round). I'm going to start gradually transferring some of the reading to her to do independently. She reads incredibly fast when reading her own books, so we will work on slowing down and reading carefully in order to be able to narrate. I expect this to be the main focus for most of grade 2 (when many other children are still refining their reading skills.)
Of course, we have also done all the other subjects - copywork, artist and composer studies, nature study, etc., but those are just continuous, regardless of age or grade.
I keep reminding myself that my job is to keep up with my kids, but not push them. I try to take it easy and gently, give them opportunities to show me what they can do, but if I find a point where it becomes overwhelming or frustrating, I slow down or back off.
And now I get to do it all over again with my DS, who just turned 5 and is also already reading. Kindergarten starts tomorrow! (Today is a holiday in Canada.)
Enjoy the journey!
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