Monday, August 18, 2008

Kindergarten, part 2

Over two weeks ago I laid out the first half of Dale's kindergarten curriculum in this post about our character study. 'Character' as in 'how to be a godly, upstanding citizen' type thing, not as in 'a unique individual'.

Dale already has the 'unique individual' definition covered quite well, thankyouverymuch.

So, as promised, here is part two of what we are doing this year.


Dale is already reading quite well, so we are checking for gaps and laying some support beams with a fun phonics curriculum I found online. For free. I love free.

Brightly Beaming Resources offers the 36-week Sound-of-the-Week course. Each week is a new letter combination and suggested activities for the sound. (So far we've done "ck", "ee", and "sh"). This is a continuation of their Letter of the Week for preschoolers.

We spend time every day practicing writing (usually on a markerboard) the letters in our sound for the week.

Each week also includes a focus word with that sound, which we may or may not incorporate into another subject area. The first week, ck, was 'clock' so we worked on telling time for math that week. The second wee, ee, was 'tree', so for science/nature study we learned to identify certain trees.

We also read books (mostly from the library, of course) with our sound combo and the focus word. During 'tree' week we included
Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. Dale fell. in. love. with that poem! I grew rather fond of it, myself. :)


We are do-it-yourselfing for math this year. I'm sure in the next year or so I'll go with
Singapore Math or some other purchased curriculum. (I'm always open to suggestions if you have one you love.) :)

For this year I gathered kindergarten math standards from sites like
this one to make sure we are hitting pretty much what we should. I am a sucker for workbooks from dollar stores and Dale loves them, so it's a win-win.
Between our workbooks, our jar of 100 colored clothespins, and the Internet (printables and online math games) we are good to go! We officially cover one topic each week (telling time, shapes, addition, etc), but it's amazing how much math just comes up in daily life. Plus, a math website is a great compromise for when Dale is asking for some computer time. Who knows what he's picking up when I'm not looking? ;)


For science and social studies we take some cues from our character study of the week, and some from our sound of the week. Trees, for example.

In addition to that, we are also doing some
Five In a Row. Five in a Row (FIAR) takes a classic children's book (a living book) and takes something different from it each day for 5 days - Every week you spend one day each of social studies, science, Language, art, math, all related to the same book.

Sometimes we coordinate this with our character trait or our sound, but not always. For example, the first week of school, we read Make Way for Ducklings. The 'ck' sound was all through it, and the social studies section included a lesson on how attentive mother duck was in providing for and raising her ducklings. We got lucky on that one!

Anyway, for science we learned a few things about ducks. Social studies: Boston (I love
Google maps, by the way). Art: speed lines (to show an object is moving).

I love how FIAR exposes us to a variety of books and covers such a broad range of topics in each subject area. I am a big believer in simple exposure through the early years... no need for a little one to study something in depth unless it really strikes his fancy. :)


Whew. Does that cover everything? I guess there is handwriting. For now I am printing our memory verse for every week from this site and Dale traces a little bit each day. This week our verse is short so we are experimenting with him copying it instead of tracing. My idea here is practice, practice, practice. A little each day with me watching over him ought to eventually get us there. I want him to enjoy seeing what he can do with a pencil, and I remind myself often that he IS very young, so I am purposefully not putting a lot of pressure on handwriting right now. There will be time for that. Good habits and lots of practice.

Alrighty then. That's pretty much how we're filling our official sit-down school time every day. There is always learning done throughout the day (and *gasp!* on the weekends!) as the opportunity arises. Very often a question or subject comes up and we "jump on it" with a quick discussion or definition, usually followed up with a game, an internet search, a worksheet or craft. And if a new interest really takes off, we might even make a lapbook!

I just have to make sure I'm taking notes of the extra 'learning' so I can look back and see all we've covered!

So there you have it. The 3 R's plus some. ;)


Mommy said...

Wow, Amy! I think you have a gift for teaching or something. ;-)

I would of never been able to see all that you see in the different currics and pull them all together like that. You got talent girl! :)

Linda Jacobs said...

I agree! You are a natural teacher!

I might even try some of these ideas when my granddaughter comes to visit. She's such a sponge right now and loves reading and nature.

Thanks for posting all this!

momtofivekids said...

I had so much fun the year my oldest was in Kindergarten. This year I have 2 high school, 1 jr. high, a 3rd grader and pre-school! That sound of the week website looks great! has free printouts to make lapbooks to go along with FIAR. Your year looks wonderful. Have fun!

Michelle said...

These are the Texas public school standards by grade level. They might be helpful if you are worried about Dale missing anything. For the record though, I think he will hit everything he needs and more!!