Kindergarten Refresher

Yesterday I stumbled onto these emails that I wrote when Victoria was in kindergarten and Anna was three/four about what we used for a “curriculum.”  Lately I have been feeling guilty for not doing more with Jack (who just finished his K year) and I thought it would be a good incentive for me to step it up a bit with him.  It is so hard balancing the educational needs of 4 different ages!  I think sometimes I try to do too much, too — so many art activities and hands on projects and special projects and one-on-one time — and then I burn out and we all go play on the computer.  🙂  Anyway, it was fun to go down memory lane and it gave me a push towards stepping it up (with all of the kids) again.

I don’t know if you want an answer from a non-curriculum standpoint but I’ll share what we “used” for Victoria, who would be in K this year.

Writing: signing art, writing out holiday cards, making up grocery lists, writing poems & letters to grandma, using magnadoodle, tracing dotted letters that I wrote, dollar tree workbooks, printouts from the net

Reading: reading books, playing letter sound games, treasure hunts (I’ll post instructions), magnadoodle, sight word games, sounding out words together, talking about words and how they work, dollar tree workbooks, reading comics with daddy, reading signs and such on walks together, a shareware monkey reading game

Math: collecting and counting money, cuisenaire rods, mama-made worksheets, playing with calculator, abacus, rulers, protractors, measuring tapes, pom pom math, word problems while driving (usually made up involving favorite characters, etc.), cheap workbooks, computer printouts

History: books, talk, shows on Discovery, etc., Magic Treehouse series

Science: playing with magnets (many types including marbles, clear colored dots, circle ones on a stick that repel/attract….), magnifying glasses, gardening and plant experiments (forcing bulbs, growing seeds, celery in colored water, weeds in various circumstances, burying veggie scraps), chemistry kits, snow experiments (using salt, sand, sugar, hot and cold water….), Discovery Channel shows, many science and body books, Animal Doctor computer game, Dino digging computer game, experimenting outside, nature walks, bird watching, science experiments via email and web sites

Art: Daily art activities with a variety of mediums (too many to list)

Kindness Curriculum book
Art for Children books
various science experiments for children books
nature studies books
Learn at Home K (used VERY rarely– I’d flip through to find an idea and  then we’d do that)
Skills lists (I’d see what she’d cover in K and then design something on the subject)
PBS shows:
ZOOM (science)
Cyberchase (math)
Between the Lions (reading)
Liberty Kids (American history) (occasionally)
many field trips

The biggest thing we use is talks. We talk about everything and I use a lot of analogies. We had this great conversation about bees protecting the hive and American wars once, how the bees must really be dedicated to the queen and the colony to be willing to die to protect it and how soldiers did the same. When we talked about the Revolutionary War I put it in a lot of kid perspectives with the colonists saying you’re not the boss of me and this isn’t fair and that isn’t fair and so on.

And another post about a typical kindergarten day…

Our kitchen was covered with wheat flour, gobs of packing tape and popcorn by the end of the day today. LOL We had kind of a lazy day but a nice one.

I get out the Kindness Curriculum every week or so and we always sit in a circle and do the love song and say something nice we’ve done for someone. My girls love this ritual way more than I’d have guessed. Then I just flip through till I find something that fits the day.  Today in the chapter on gentleness they had an activity of just playing with a couple of scoops of flour on a sheet of colored paper and putting out a bunch of tools. They played for a LONG time with it. I gave them cups, plastic silverware, cookie cutters and a few other tools to experiment with it. Of course they ended up flour covered and the floor and tablecloth did as well, but I expected as much.

Later on we had popcorn, which somehow ended up on the floor when I came up to check my mail and nurse Jack to sleep. To make clean-up more fun, I gave them strips of Priority Mail packing tape to stick to the popcorn, but we just ended up with balls of tape with the popcorn.  Snort.

I ended up getting really sleepy and took a nap on the couch with Jack on top of me and the girls next to me watching PBS and reading books.  Even the cat climbed up on me. Daryl came home to this strange modern art floor mess and a pile of people on the couch.   🙂   Poor thing, he ended up sweeping it up himself.  It’s good for him to clean once in a while.  <VBG>

Oh, and we were reading books and one of them was “There was an old lady who swallowed a bat” that has a Halloween theme. We decided to make up our own story, so we spent quite some time dreaming it up while I rocked Jack to sleep. Victoria wrote it out (spelling practice) while Annalee wrote up a story of her own about apples (letter practice) so I was spelling in two directions at once at them (okay, next is TH for you, Victoria, Anna, apple starts with a….).

Our finished story is pretty good! Victoria started the illustrations and they’re so cute. We’re going to bind it and make a real book and I’ll take a few pics.

We’ve been doing our altered books together side by side after the two little ones are asleep at night. I have to take pictures of Victoria’s latest pages. They are amazing!!!!!!! And Annalee did coloring pages last night that she embellished with all sorts of designs and added features that I want to put in a gallery.  <VBG>  I told the girls what we have is more like artschool than homeschool.   😉

Anyway, it was a messy, lazy, odd kind of day but I figure they learned things accidentally all over the place. And most important, it was cozy and fun.


One thought on “Kindergarten Refresher

  1. I bet that is fun to go back and read through things 🙂 I think your doing a fine job with Jack, not only does he learn from you but from his big sisters! That is sometimes the funniest and easiest way for my kids to learn lol!


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