New and trying to figure out what to do with my almost 5yo dd

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  • Ctaita

    Hello everyone,

    I’m going to be using SCM for the first time this year with my 4th and 1st graders; both boys.  However I have three younger children.  My almost 5yo daughter (October birthday and only girl) is begging me to do “school.”  She actively wants to sit down and write out letters, write her name, do letter games, etc.  She actually LOVES workbooks that her grandma sent and will sit and do them for fun. My boys were NOT like her at all. I didn’t start school with my them until they were at least 5, which means I wasn’t planning to start anything formal with her until next fall when she would almost be six.  Even when I did do school with the boys it was very laid back so she is throwing me for a loop. I also have never been a huge advocate for pushing academics when they are young.

    At this point though, I feel like if I don’t do something with her (beyond the games and things I already do) then it would be unfair (if that’s the right word) to her and her desire to learn.  We read out loud a ton, spend a ton of time outdoors and lead a pretty relaxing life for the most part.  I just don’t know what I should do with her so I am asking for suggestions. If you have any advice or tips on what I could use for her please let me know.  I am looking mainly for something to help her form letters since that is what she is the most interested in. And maybe a phonics program, but nothing too invasive since she is so young.  I just want to move at her pace.


    Thanks for any help or advice!


    My oldest was the same. All the CM sites say no formal lessons until 6 but he was chomping at the bit to learn to read, so I did Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with him and he has been an avid reader since then (age 4.5). You could also have her build letters with buttons, beads, or pipe cleaners, or trace letters in sand or fill a Ziploc bag with paint and have her draw the letters on that with her finger. When I was in kindergarten, I remember making collages for each letter using pictures of things that started with that letter (for example, I covered F with feathers and fabric). Would she like to do something like that? It’s a great way to use up old magazines. ;-)</p>


    Thanks for the input!  Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons might be perfect for her and I think I already own it which is a plus.

    As far as the other things, I do a lot of those hands o learning things with her and she just wants more.  She asks me to write her grocery lists all the time and then she will sit and copy the letters on to her own paper.  Which is super cute.  I have been thinking about handwriting without tears to use for her when she wants to do it, but I’m not a huge fan of their print style.

    The magazine idea is great, btw.  I’m going to do that with her.  I think she would love it!


    I was in the same situation – dd with October birthday who wanted to do school with big sis. I used a set of Rod and Staff preschool workbooks, and that did the trick for that workbook desire. Here’s a link. At the time I did these (early 2000s) the series was A – F. They’ve added a lot since then! You could really make these last, and the skills they teach are excellent, IMHO:

    When I started teaching her to read, I used Phonics Pathways. She was about 5.5 before I started her in this book, and it worked well for her. I found it easy to use. I had tried 100 Easy Lessons and wasn’t as fond of it, but I know I’m in the minority on that!


    Also, if you’re interested in doing art with her, you might look into the younger levels of Artistic Pursuits. There are three K-3 books, and those would work well for your boys’ ages, too.

    If you want to do music, I highly recommend this book and CD set:

    Also great: Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of the Animals, and any of the Classical Kids CDs.


    Can I make a suggestion or two?

    1. Have materials available for her in a bin. BUT don’t ever pull them out yourself. If she asks, go right ahead, but only on the days when she suggests it without prompting from you.

    2. The moment she is done with an activity just be done. Drop it. No “let’s just finish this page”. Remember she is little.

    3. Don’t replace her time in play both imaginative, messy, and outdoor with sit down school work. Even if she wants to spend lots of time sitting with workbooks or sit down school. She’s too young to know what is a healthy way to spend large quantities of her time. Just like you wouldn’t let her eat large amounts of sweets, guard against letting her spend too much time sitting down doing academics at such a young age.

    🙂 I do have some experience along the entire spectrum of readiness. Of the 9 going on 10 kids I’ve had later readiness, readiness at 6, and even a child who taught himself to read chapter books at age 3.5 without input from me.


    Check out Before Five in a Row, with great picture books to read aloud and activities to go with them.  RR has a preview and reviews.

    These letters can be traced with a finger or trace around with pencil and cut out.  Once cut out, you could glue items that start with that letter (buttons for b or yarn for y).  Or glue them to a page with a picture starting that letter that she colored.  You can also do lacing on them.  Or make dots in the lacing holes for her to connect with pencil to form letters.  They are available in both upper and lowercase.  It is a good option if you want to avoid workbooks for letters.


    My daughter was the same way. We, too, used Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons as well as the Rod & Staff Preschool workbook set.

    Like Tristan recommends, we only pulled them out when my daughter asked for them.


    Karen Smith

    Tristan gave you some great advice. Children are ready to start learning at different ages. You will not harm your daughter if you follow her lead with learning to read and write. Just make sure that you are not requiring her to do lessons, and are doing your best to keep the lessons short.

    You may be able to find more helpful advice from our blog articles on the topic of pre-school in our Learning Library.


    Thanks for all the advice everyone!  I really appreciate it!  Tristan, I think those are great bits of advice that I am definitely going to use.

    I’ll check out the rod and staff preschool books to see if those might be good for her also.

    I really appreciate you all!

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