I agree that you should find your own state’s requirements. My province has the complete ‘program of study’ online, so anyone can look up exactly what will be taught in any subject and any grade. I was shocked to really look and see how simple the beginning grades are in most subject areas. (And I’m a trained teacher.) Kindergarten is primarily about getting to know how school works, how to pay attention, how to get along with others, how to follow rules. Throw in some basic reading and math skills, and that’s it. And in a homeschool environment, even the basic reading and math is unnecessary at age 5. Things that you might spend months working on in kindergarten (phonics, etc.) can usually be learned in days or weeks at age 6.
Those ‘end of school’ tests will be looking at what the student has learned in the upper grades. They won’t be checking to see what was ‘missed’ in kindergarten or grade one.
At this age, just go with what your child is interested in. They learn so quickly when they are ready. My DS5 was interested in money a few weeks ago, so he asked DD7 to show him what the coins were. She identified all the coins, and told him what they were worth. She gave a few examples of counting by 5s and 10s to count the money. Then they spent the rest of the day quizzing each other. “If I have 1 quarter, 2 dimes and a nickel, how much do I have?” etc. He came up with the right answer everytime. I had spent several weeks ‘teaching’ this skill to my DD back in kindergarten, (before I learned to relax more!) but DS mastered it in a day, without any input from me, just because he wanted to know.
As for structure, CM can be very structured (starting in grade 1). We know exactly what we are doing each day. Starting next year for grade 1, you can follow the SCM curriculum guide – http://simplycharlottemason.com/planning/scmguide/ – as exactly as you like. Or, a curriculum like Ambleside Online also has the books listed and weekly assignments laid out. There are other options as well. You just have to get all the books, and then follow. Or, once you are comfortable, you can make adjustments to meet your own child’s needs. The books don’t all arrive together in a box, but the structure is there.
Enjoy the journey!
As a fellow product of public school…let’s just be honest that public schools boast a lot of learning being done…but the sad truth is it does more to kill the natural love for learning. I graduated with honors, in the top 10 percent of my class from a large public high school- and I don’t know anything about history. Somehow, I passed tests! Text books look “official”, but they lack the personal connection that is made when we use living books- what CM has taught us to use in our home schools. You don’t know math very well. I have to believe that if you had been homeschooled, someone would have stopped and waited with you until you got the concept that hung you up and then you could have moved forward successfully (this happened with a friend’s son who now is doing great in his college math classes).
I too get a little “freaked out” about having to create the structure for my kids’ school. I sometimes wish we were just opening a box and had it all laid out for us…but we’ve gone that route before and it too was killing my kids’ natural love for learning. Real books are the way to go. Real experiences area real learning- inside or outside the home.
Give yourself grace to grow in this area of homeschooling. You’re new at this and it will take some time to get settled in. You have a kindergartener- relax!! You have a lot of years to get the swing of this!meg28Participant
Ok first of all you ladies are AWESOME!!! I was just getting really overwhelmed with all my reading and allowing myself to go down all the proverbial “rabbit holes” that one can online once you start clicking away on the links. I have now gotten through a chunk of Sonyas transition to homeschooling and feel like I have a good schedule to start with for my Kindergartener (once we give it a try this week we see what truly works) and i have some activities to keep my almost 3 yr old busy while we do the stuff that really requires my kindergartener’s focus……who knows what the almost 1 yr old will be getting into! Ha!!! Also AngieG, nail on the head, I graduated high school with a 3.875 GPA with AP classes and college with a 4.0 making Dean’s and Chancellors list my junior and senior year but still feel like I had a lackluster education and I went to “great schools”! So My worry comes from the stigma of homeschooling and that if she somehow doesn’t pass the state tests in the years to come it will be my fault for homeschooling her and not doing it to the state’s standards KWIM?
I now see and understand the structure CM has but I am now understanding that the structure is really determined by me and that is not something I am used to especially when it comes to schooling, I am used to following the rules/structure someone else has already determined, but I don’t want my child being taught for the test. I want her to actually learn something and retain for the sake and love of learning. I have relaxed a bit and have eased up a bit on myself. The decision to pull her out of school just happened so fast I didn’t give myself a transition period and held myself to unrealistic expectations, hence the mini freak out! So as AngieG said I am giving myself some grace and we are going to take kindergarten in stride, but don’t think I won’t be back with questions……..cause I will!!!
Oh and my husband has really taken the CM style and ran with it as a former Eagle Scout, he is all over the nature study and outdoor life skills!!!! Today they went for a hike with their compass and made a hand made bow and arrow from branches in our yard!!!!! Not sure who had more fun!
Thanks again ladies!!!!!AngieGParticipant
“I am used to following the rules/structure someone else has already determined”
That is a big part of the public education system- to be programmed. Blind followers. I want myself and my kids to think outside the box.
As a Christian, I think a tactic of the adversary is to get us to second guess and doubt our abilities. You’ll do great- you clearly care so much for your daughter’s education. Nobody will care and give it as much thought as you will! Personally, it helps me to read statistics about how bad public schools are! I checked out this book from the library: “Dumbing us down : the hidden curriculum of compulsory schooling” by John Taylor Gatto.
Having your husband’s encouragement will really help you get through the times when you think you might be off track! Sounds like you’re already doing wonderfully with nature study! 🙂 Have fun in the early grades!!
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