Kindergarten – the plan – again – more fleshed out — core only

Can you tell this is on my mind a lot?  🙂 

I have been putting some more time into this; here is an updated look at our kindy plans for the core subjects; still not done (as you shall see, but almost there) this should be the last up-date before it is ‘finalized’.  🙂  Again, I am amazed when I see it all written out here – it looks like so much more than it really is going to be.  I plan very little table work and lots of reading and doing. 

We are planning on only 4 core subjects; the very foundation we feel necessary for the rest of their education and their lives: ASL, Reading, Math and Bible / Faith.  We will touch on ‘other subjects’, of course, but with much less direction or dedication and no real goals to accomplish save the creating of hooks and opportunities for experience. 

READING / PHONICS

I own Phonics Pathways: Clear Steps to Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling and need to get into reading it to see how to use it best.  I reviewed: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and I did not like it.  I know many love it, but I was not a fan of the fact they write out the words differently than standard text.  It generally looked complex.  So I am still seeking our ‘phonics / reading foundation’.  I have a ton of fun workbooks pages for us, and games and so on – but I need a good spine.  Still looking. 

After Big Brother is reading, and his handwriting is more manageable, I intend for us to go though the Explore the Code series.  I want the boys to have a strong mastery of phonics, for spelling as well as reading.  However, Big Brother’s abilities are beyond his fine motor control so I am saving them for later because I feel the handwriting necessary would frustrate him.  For now, I want him to experience the joy of reading, not the frustration of spelling.  I plan, and we shall see if that changes, to work all the books in the series to reinforce phonics before we embark on any spelling program.  we feel their foundation in phonic and reading skills can never be ‘too strong’ and plan to spend a great deal of time on it, for years, to ensure mastery of this foundation. 

I plan to start with these and just see how he does; he may not be ready for them (me reading, him thinking) but I think we’ll give it a try; if he is not ready, back to the cabinet they go until he is.

As a tie in to ASL we will be mastering our ASL alphabet.  At this point the boys, not even Big, really have the fine motor for ‘making’ the signs correctly so we’ll focus on identifying them.  I am going to make flash cards and mix with our text alphabet flash cards.  We can match them to their text letter, we can put them in alphabetical order, we can use them in place of the text cards for games like “starts with a ____” and more. 

MATH / NUMBERS

At the start of the fall semester the gifted program teacher at the elementary school is going to do a skills assessment with all kindy kids; the reason we want to dual enroll.  That will point of strengths and weaknesses and give us more direction.  Our biggest goal for Math is to HAVE FUN.

First:  I have chosen to use:  Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP)  as our spine.  It is a free program, and I can follow though it – adding more activities as the boys (Big mainly) need or want.  I have a binder of practice sheets covering so many topics, but lack direction as to introduction the concepts or ordering the approach.  I plan to start with MEP and if it is a total flop, or if we need more of a core (I doubt I have so many supplementary worksheets and can get so many more on line for free) I am leaning towards Horizons math program.  My main concern with Horizons (or Ray’s Arithmetic – I think looks really really cool — and Classic Curriculum Arithmetic Workbooks or Making Math Meaningful  which i also seriously looked at) is that I am so unsure of the correct level to buy.  I look at the Kindy level and so much of it is stuff that honestly Little Brother is working on and Big has long mastered – big vs small, the names of the shapes and so on; it seems way too easy, but the next level up seems a bit much.  I know there is a natural progression to math, despite the fact I do not instinctively feel it to lead the boys though is, and I feel that keeping to that natural progression is the best approach to building a rock solid foundation.  Thus I am concerned with the possibility of ‘stumbling’ and creating undue frustration or confusion; mistakes that shall take a lot of extra time, emotional stress and effort on all our parts to over come.  In reality Big is likely at the end of the kindy year in math; so using MEP should allow me to determine more accurately his level so if we need to move on to a different program I’ll know what level to start him at.   

Secondly:  Calendar – this is an area I am still unsure of.  I am going to start by making them a wall calendar and then see how much work Big really needs.  I hope to find a CD with some cute song to help us. 

Third:  I am going to be purchasing Family Math for Young Children: Comparing  I have reviewed it from the local Library and it is great; tons of activities and games.  I also looked at the next book Family Math (Equals Series)  but it is beyond us at this point.  I like it a lot and will undoubtedly add it to our collection in a year or two (or I guess sooner if Big explodes in his abilities, math seems to be an area of gift for him) but not right now.  I still need to check out Dr. Wright’s Kitchen Table and review it and see if it fits our needs now or later, or if I like it at all.  The idea are not earth shattering, but I am not the most creative mom out there and Family Math offers a lot of games and fun ‘out of the box’ daily math experiences. 

Also; given that we, as a family, want the foundation of the boys education – in all areas – to always be reading, literate and books I have been spending a good amount of time reading about Living Math on and we will be trying to incorporate as much ‘math reading’ into program as possible.  For example I located a book list Children’s Literature for Use in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom – a 16 page document.  We’ll be reading our math a lot.  This serves two purposes; I want the boys to understand that math is not just ‘math problems’ on a page and also I want them to experience books in all areas of their life. 

I am defiantly going to invest in some Cuisine rods, pattern blocks and some unfix blocks; no matter what math spine we choose to go with.  I want the versatile manipulative and plan to acquire some activity books to go with the manipulative beyond our math spine – we value giving the boys multiple ways to think and look at things.  Math is not just counting and getting the correct sum (the way I learned it) and I want to be sure we are exploring many aspects of mathematical thinking and reasoning, in games and fun for now, to “stretch” their little minds while they are still young and elastic.  I am also planning on this CD Skip Counting

Our biggest goals are FUN, a sound foundation and trying to take as many approaches as possible (reading, thinking, simply math, thinking about the why …) so I am so thinking: 

BIBLE / ASL

We are reading though: Super Heroes Bible that Big Brother got for Christmas

I have 1001 ways to Introduce the Bible to your Children and I am considering hov to best use it.  An Book of the Bible a week?  Not sure yet. 

I shall be providing more coloring sheets and hands busy activities during Bible reading time.  I have picked out have been searching for coloring sheets related to many Bible stories, even the lesser known ones, so the boys have a hands-on activity for while I read. 

CHC  has several coloring e-books I am going to get the boys.  Like Coloring with the Psalms.

Secondly, and this is a tie into ASL our 2nd language (and our ASL foundation activity), I want to start working on memory verses with them.  Starting with:  Sign & Say: Bible Verses for Children there is a second volume also.  ASL shall need more work than that alone, more new vocabulary, but the Bible Memory verses will be limited to these until mastered. 

 

Stay tuned….. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Kindergarten – the plan – again – more fleshed out — core only

  1. Crystal

    I like the idea of starting out really easy for math to be honest. K12 did that. It starts with colors, big/small over/under stuff, then got into patterns, then counting, then basic addition, basic subtraction, then more difficult stuff like estimating, the calendar/days of the week/months of the year, then skip counting by 2, 5, 10, etc. I think it is nice to start out small- it gives them confidence. I was annoyed to start out so easy at first, but now I am glad we had to. We are well into 1st grade math now (about 1/3 way through)and there are days we struggle a bit. She still has the confidence to try hard to learn the more difficult stuff. If we would have started out with all new stuff she didn’t know, I am not sure she would have the confidence that she could do the work/she may give up. There are really cute songs out there- I hope you can find it online, for learning the days of the week and the months of the year. Both of my kids learned them at pre-school, and it makde the kindy math so easy when we did those things. I love hearing my 3 year old sing those songs.

    • you make a good point, I plan to start at the start of MPE — because like i talk about — i understand there IS a progression even if i can’t ‘find’ it myself.

  2. You have written a very good article, focusing more on the education of little children. Education could be one of the greatest gift you could give to your child. 🙂 Keep on writing great articles. Best Regard!!!

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