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Peaceful Learning… the early years.

March 28, 2013

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Someone recently asked me, “After all these kids…How do you like to teach Kindergarten?  What works and what hasn’t?”

That is a good question.  It made me think.  I am sorry in advance if this doesn’t seem complete enough for you.  Please ask any questions and I can go into further detail.  The bottom line is I don’t do a ton of conventional “teaching” for kindergarten.  After all these kids I have turned the conventional idea of teaching way…way down on the lower grades.  Umm… it was just a giant buzz kill… and I am not trying to have fights with tiny people over learning to read…or crush folks who are trying to learn how to learn.

So here goes…

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We work a bunch with sounds… not actual letter names. Sometimes that drives my husband nuts when Zim doesn’t know the letter is called a “Q” … but he does know it is a “quah”. But he gets over it because Zim spoke Spanish before he spoke English and there was a time where a toddly little red headed Zim would say palota and munecha instead of ball or doll.

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The best …and I mean THE BEST books I have found for building a foundation for reading is…

*Montessori Letter Work by Bobby and June George.
*Get Ready for the Code by Nancy Hall.
* Magnatab Board.. which he traces using the magnetic pen and then he retraces with is finger saying the letters sound.
* He practices the sounds in the book with their sandpaper letters. He traces the rough letters and repeats the sounds of the letters maybe a total of twice a day. It is also worth mentioning he has had speech issues and this has helped tremendously.
* In this house there is never a shortage of folks reading books… often he will just cuddle up and listen to whatever stories are unraveling. The stack of seasonable books is always changed out by me. We have Winter and Snow booklists, Lent and Spring Book lists, Gardening and Spring Nature Study Book lists… an extensive Beach Book list here and here , an Autumn Nature Study booklist and of course an Advent Book List. I am always changing these out and each child has their favorites.

For Math… he works with dice and a few printable worksheets from time to time. Games like playing war and playing Birdopoly with his brothers help to make math applicable.

 For logic and strategy, he is an avid No Stress Chess player and has been for a year or so. I still have no idea about chess but all of the children are experts… and I am okay with that. Fast fact about me…I pretty much hate board games…and puzzles.

We Nature study nearly every day… through walks, through living on a farm… we have bird feeders and bird books…gardens and chores which draw everyone into the warmth or chills of nature.

 For music and other things he practices his guitar every day… and drums maybe once a week. Painting for him is more like once a month…it’s not something he seeks out…and I am okay with that.

So hopefully you can understand…When I say we don’t teach in the conventional way… it in no way means his education isn’t full and overflowing. His days are full and so have all the kindergartners before him. Like little blueberries we fold them into our learning without squishing the life out of them.

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~Please feel free to ask me any questions…if there are any.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2013 2:28 pm

    Like little blueberries… we don’t squish them~
    you have the key to success~ God works best in that frame
    we have been there, done it so close to the same and all three have grown up loving life and thriving in creativity, blessing others and seeking God’s will for each day. Artists, musicians, farriers, teachers, engineers,builders… but mostly… joyous blessed kids always seeking to bring life to those around them

  2. March 28, 2013 10:30 pm

    I love that, “like blueberries we fold them into our learning Without squashing the life out of them. ( yes we can rob the joy of learning if we aren’t careful!) love everything you listed and then some. ( use handwriting without tears- only purchased what I could used and found other things to add. Like buying a chalkboard at hobby lobby instead of from the company. Anyow, I’m in love with HWT look it up! You won’t be sorry) praying you are having a blessed Holy Week.

    • March 29, 2013 7:38 am

      ohhh smart thinking!
      I have looked into handwriting without tears… but the truth of the matter, lol..is none of my kids dislike handwriting..they all pretty much love it…so I had never looked into that curriculum. Actually my kids home schooled so long they rarely gave me fits about much of anything…oh but when they did! not a good day in this house, lol.
      T

  3. March 29, 2013 2:48 am

    T, this is a really interesting post for me to read from the perspective of being an Early Years teacher in the UK, where children start school at 5 (same age as your Kindergarten, right?) and sadly all too often the focus is on formalised learning, rather than what our Early Years curriculum advocates, which is learning through play and real life experiences. The more I see of people who homeschool, the more the idea appeals to me – it deeply saddens me to see how many children don’t thrive in education because assessment and targets so easily become the focus for the teacher, which totally squashes creativity. From the glimpse into your life that you provide here, it looks like your children have so many wonderful opportunities to learn in a way that encourages them to thrive, simply from the environment and heart attitudes you provide them with. Thanks for sharing : )

    • March 29, 2013 7:42 am

      We have plenty of teachers in our family…and in our small community. The striving to meet the tests and quotas of grades is certainly deterring for us. I am not worried about my kids intellectually as all of them have nationally tested very high or in the very highest bracket (required by law every other year of homeschooling). My main concern in any type of schooling is that you are acquiring a certain lifestyle…regardless of private , public , montessori, waldorf, christian ,catholic or homeschool. Especially in a house this big… the education style becomes your living style… so we are careful to only bring in things which will complement and add to what and who we are as a family.
      T

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