I am asking this question in regards to a friend. Maybe you will see her on here some day.
Pennsylvania’s compulsory school age is going to be lowered this fall from 8 to 6 years old. My friends oldest child is going to be 6 in May. She has been doing some kindergarten work with him this year, but he is struggling with writing his letters. She said he can write them on the white board, but struggling with pencil and paper. I told her to let him write them in sand, etc. and not focus too much on paper and pencil. Some of her son’s characteristics appear to me that he is a prime candidate for CM schooling. Since she will have to report to the school district what she will be doing this next school year, can someone give example of what that would look like doing CM method. I’ve given her some ideas, but I didn’t homeschool CM kindergarten, so I don’t know how to give her a full picture for the year. Any help is appreciated.
I have only homeschooled “kindergarten” using CM methods with my youngest two children (out of 6), only “discovering” CM’s methods about 6 years ago. May I suggest keeping it simple and vague? I write my objectives with lots of wiggle room….for example, she could put for writing something like: “Practice letters and building words using age appropriate materials.” This leaves room for what kind of materials she wants to use throughout the year. The school just wants to know that you have some kind of plan. She can use the white board, and maybe once a month (?) try paper and pencil, file away that paper, and by the end of the school year she will have nine or so samples that she can use in the portfolio that will show the progression of her child’s work. Then for first grade her objective could be for writing: “Continue practicing writing.” Even for a subject where I use a textbook (like in high school years), I don’t name the textbook, but put an “age appropriate text”….Hope this is helpful!
AnnPom – Thank you for your suggestion for writing. I know what you mean about keeping it vague in the objectives. Your suggestion for writing is good.
Could you tell how you covered other subjects. I know nature study could be for science. What about math and history. What kind of resources did you use? I read that some love MFW for K and Grade 1, but I know that would be a financial burden for my friend. Any suggestions for resources would be appreciated.
Honestly, for history, I had the youngest two children (at that kindergarten age) follow along with what my middle two children were doing at the time (9 and 11 then). And since this was before I had to report/”keep track” or write objectives for the youngest two, I can’t quite remember – lol! Sorry! But my suggestions would be, if your friend knew what she wanted to cover for history, say early American, she can read biographies, or historical fiction. SCM has some great suggestions that your friend could probably find at her library…she could even read one or two of the grade4-6 suggestions if she felt the content was appropriate for her child. I did read one Eggleston’s American history texts to these younger two, and had them alternate narrating. I have seen that just reading some good books, and simply narrating has been great! At that age, they enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie books, in particular Farmer Boy (we are rereading currently, about 3 years later, because they liked so much). Sometimes I gave them a plain piece of paper and asked them to draw something from the story….again if this is done 1 picture/ book or once a month, your friend will have “documentation” for her history portion of her portfolio. She could even have her child copy one word/name onto this picture.
For math, I had my youngers start with a public domain book, First Year in Number by Hoyt and Peet. We did most of the exercises orally, and had them practice writing number formation and identification. Also, I could print out extra pages – the ones in the beginning lend themselves well to coloring. This text is still one of my favorite beginning math books. I have used dried beans for manipulatives…but of course, there are a myriad of items that lend themselves to this that are around the house.
I find the suggestion, that so many others have made, of keeping things simple, especially in the beginning years, wise counsel. With my first two I did not, and thought I had to have a book/workbook for each subject…but one’s everyday talks about food choices, safe habits can easily be counted as “health”, for example, when logged down for the day.
AnnPom – Thank you so much. I’m sure this will be very helpful for my friend. I think a plan like this would be more enjoyable and less stressful, as she has an almost 4 yo, a 2 yo, and a newborn. Kindergarten should be fun:)
Sorry. I just noticed I forgot the ‘L’ in Pennsylvania:)
One other resource that I used for that age (sorry, I had forgotten!) was a series of thin workbooks from Rod and Staff that run about $3-4 a piece. They have a number of color, cut, paste, matching, letter discrimination, etc. exercises. I think I remember doing about 2-3 pages per week (so getting through about 2 workbooks/year)…although Rod and Staff doesn’t have their own website, there are other sites that should have these workbooks where your friend could look at samples to see if these would work for her. R & S call these “preschool” books, but they don’t carry kindergarten resources…I found them helpful for K and 1st grade.
Ah, yes, we, too had the same ages as your friend:)….
Interesting that you mentioned Rod & Staff. My friend is using those with her son. They are doing workbooks for 4/5. He is, I believe, on the third book.
From what I was told, he is able to do the activities in the books. His problem is with writing his letters in the book. I told her to let him write them on the white board, sand, etc. And just have him practice a few in the book and let it go. I said to let him do the other activities in the book if he’s not having trouble with those. I also told her it’s okay if he doesn’t get all the books finished in one year.
I’m encouraging her and her husband to just teach their son where he is and not worry about grade level. That is something I struggled with, having a child who has struggled since the beginning. I wish I would have had information like this when my daughter was young. A lot of tears would have been avoided. Because of the mistakes I made, I want to help them make choices that will help them all enjoy homeschooling.CrystalParticipant
Just wanted to chime in. AnnPom mentioned the Rod and Staff workbooks, my youngest just loved those books. So fun. I also just love to recommend a resource called Turning Back the Pages of Time. It is a very thin little pamphlet really that lists American History living books for elementary ages. They are chronological, separated by era and age group. This is about $5 brand new, and you can easily get most of the books from the library. It has plenty of book options, but not so many as to be overwhelming. If one book isnt available there are always 2-3 others to substitute. We loved this. Add a homemade timeline and make your own narration pages – find a coloring picture online and transcribe your childs oral narration. History done. Rays Arithmetic is free online, or even a Walmart kinder workbook would be sufficient with manipulative to play with. Do just enough of the workbook pages to have the documentation you need. For my boys writing included lots of tracing, rather than forming letters on their own. My youngest enjoyed Delightful Reading, I really appreciated building words with tiles rather than forcing writing too soon. If budget is an issue I would highly recommend spending whatever is available on a gentle reading program, for me that was the most important to do well. Math, history and science is pretty simple that young, but reading is so foundational to a good, enjoyable education.
Psreitmom – Yes, I totally agree meeting the child where he is, instead of “grade levels”….this, I too, wish I had a better grip on when I first started homeschooling. I, too, have had my share of mistakes. I have a “3rd” grader who is just now consistently reading 3-letter words….this I’m thankful for! But I know if I had pushed her through to where she “should” be by grade it would not have been advantageous. From my own experience with boys (I have three) that, generally speaking, “later is better” as far as fine motor skills, and reading.
Crystal – I used Delightful Reading too, and liked the tiles and word family use/recognition. Because I had a second child using parts of Delightful Reading, I bought (at a yard sale) scrabble letter cubes to have on hand.
Have a wonderful evening!
Thank you both! I shared some of this information with my friend today. I’m sure it will be very helpful for her in planning for the fall and writing a list of objectives. Maybe she will join us on here sometime:)Tamara BellModerator
I encourage you to read through and ask your friend to read through our Prek-K guide on our website. If those ideas are utilized, your friend’s son will have a wonderful kindergarten year that follows Charlotte’s method in the early years.
Tamara – Thank you! I watched the Delightful Reading video. I will share that with my friend. Looks like an excellent resource for her son. I wish I would have known about this when my daughter was starting out.AllisonParticipant
does your friend know of the ask pauline website? there’s a link on the main page to homeschool portfolios that may help give her a general idea to PAs requirements and set her mind at ease if she feels her son isn’t hitting the marks she thinks he should be. Portfolios no longer need to be submitted to the district, just the person doing the evaluation so even if she was able to touch base with an evaluator or two local to her, that should help point her in the right direction.
Allison – Thank you for the advice. I am a PA homeschool mom, so I am aware of what’s needed for the district. I told my friend I would help her get her affidavit and objectives ready for the district. Also, my friend and I attend the same church. My evaluator attends with us as well. But, she is not taking on any new families. She’s been in it for years and is retirement age:) It bothered me though that my evaluator would tell my friend that her son needed to be able to do ‘XYZ’ by this age or that grade. My daughter is 16 with learning disabilities and is working on a remedial level. There has never been a problem. She said as long as there is progress, that is what matters. So, I was surprised that she told my friend what she did.
I gave my friend the link to the conversation with Sonya and Karen Smith…Charlotte Mason With Boys. My friend’s son is learning his letters, just maybe not as quick as some his age. He will be 6 in May. She said she would keep him in kindergarten next year because of where he is. She’s looking into some other resources, but he is making some progress. He’s just an active boy who has trouble being still for long. He just seems to be learning a little slower than what it appears his almost 4 yo sister will. So, I’m encouraging her to look into CM educating for him. (short lessons, hands-on, etc) I recommended the book CM Companion by Karen Andreola to help her understand CM methods a little better. I think her son would do great with it.
And, yes, I am glad we do not have to take portfolios to the district any longer:)
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