Yesterday I posted Alyssa’s Kindergarten Interview, so today it is Kylie’s turn. Kylie is definitely her own person and I love to see how individual she is. It’s interesting that a few of her answers are the same as last year’s interview, but not surprising, because she truly does love Prickles and Starper and rainbow is her favorite color 🙂
We are officially starting kindergarten homeschool on Tuesday, Sept. 1. This year will be a little more formal compared to last year when we just “did school” whenever the girls asked to. We are beginning the year using a daily folder, one for each kid, filled with the work they need to accomplish that day. After their lessons they can do the worksheets/crafts in whatever order they want to, and as slow or as fast as they like (as long as it is done well!) But before we begin I do want to share a little about each girl at the start of their kindergarten experience. Here is Alyssa’s Kindergarten Interview.
So basically I am just going to post once in a blue moon. You’ll just have to deal with that. Today I wanted to talk about the curriculum we have chosen for our girls this year. Age wise they should be in preschool, but they are ready for closer to kindergarten curriculum, we believe. Here is what we have picked!
We chose a combination of programs to try to give them a full range of learning activities. Happy Phonics has a lot of games and activities while Explode the Code is work books. We went with book 2 because the girls already have a knowledge of all the letters, capital and lowercase, the sounds they make, and how to blend letter sounds to make words. They also prefer to be more challenged than review old information.
Math: Math-U-See Primer
I am so excited to try Math-U-See. It is a multistory, mastery math program. There are manipulative blocks, work books, and a DVD instruction to basically help any type of learner. Being mastery based it does not correlate to a specific grade, more the complete understanding of each skill. The levels are named for letters in the Greek alphabet. We started with primer, which is the first level. It does not assume learners know anything and starts by introducing numbers 0-9. This will be review for the girls, and we may end up skipping forward a little bit. Not everything will be review though, which is why we selected this level. Here is what the book covers:
- Counting objects and developing numeracy
- Understanding place value
- Recognizing number names and symbols
- Reading and writing numerals
- Understanding addition and subtraction with concrete and representational models
- Understanding and writing the symbols +, – and =
- Addition and subtraction of select numbers
- Telling and writing time by hours and minutes
- Recognizing & drawing rectangles, squares, and circles
- Measuring length by repeating units
- Introducing halves and fourths
- Counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, and 100s
- Reading, writing & interpreting word problems
Science for the kids actually happens everywhere, from our garden and yard, to the Springs Preserve, to our kitchen, but these kits are fun little experiments for them to begin to learn some basic science skills. A favorite part for me of all the curriculums is that between Clifford, the blocks of Math-U-See, and the games of Happy Phonics most of their learning involves playing, which is so appropriate for this age.
Arts and Crafts is an easy one because my kids draw, paint, play with play dough, sidewalk chalk, etc. everyday at least. All of this is supplemented by the many, MANY books we check out from the library and own at home. And that’s it! That’s what we’ve picked for this year. I’ll try to post some updates along the way and let you know what we like or don’t like about all of the programs. We plan to start on the first Monday in September, but the girls have been seeing everything arrive in the mail and keep asking to start using it. I wonder how long this excitement will last, for all of us!
The girls received a subscription to Green Kid Crafts as part of their birthday present this year and the first box arrived yesterday. This morning we sat down after doing our daily calendar time and did the first craft.
Then it was time to pour it into each mold. They mostly did this themselves and did a great job.
Then we waited for them to cool. After about 1/2 hour we had our finished project!
I tried to convince them to save the other crafts for another day, but they were just too excited we had to do one more.
Fizzy Bath Balls
For this one we used baking soda, citric acid, one tea bag, coconut oil and an 1/8tsp water.
They helped stir all the ingredients together and then packed the mixture into easter egg halves for the mold.
The finished project for this one has to dry and harden overnight so we put them on a plate with a towel. They had a lot of fun and I think the girls will be really excited to use their new crafts the next time they take a bath.
The kids birthdays are only 20 days apart, so this year I opted to schedule their annual checkups all together. The girls usually insist on going with Wyatt in case he is scared and needs his big sisters anyways, so this basically saved me a whole trip. In the past he hasn’t really “needed” them, but when I took him to get his pictures taken he would not even go into the room until his sisters got there, so for now I appreciate their help. Russell took the morning off to help so it was a whole family affair. I scheduled the appointment for as early as possible to help minimize the wait time. My policy is when flying or going to the doctor the earlier the better! Less chance for things to get thrown off.
The girls got weighed, measured and had their blood pressure taken. I missed all of that because I was with Wyatt trying to get his height and weight. He was not having any part of it and I actually had to step out of the room because he kept jumping off the scale towards me. Even if I was not near him! As soon as he was done he stopped crying and we all went back to the room. The girls each made a trip to go pee and then the doctor was there. Pretty short wait this morning. Wyatt went first since he was the trouble maker and I had to hold him down, while Russell held his head, while the doctor checked him out. He was not interested in helping at all. The doctor said afterwards “any kid that can put up a fight like that must be pretty healthy.”
Kylie went next and demonstrated for the doctor how she could balance on one foot. Other questions he asked were “Can she identify at least four colors?” “Can she stack blocks at least five high?” “Can she draw a circle?” “Can she draw a stick figure with at least three body parts?” The answers were all yes, and actually the questions made me sad. Other than kids with physical or mental disabilities or delays, I really just ache thinking that there are four year olds who can’t name at least four colors. Anyways, Kylie was not shy and did everything the doctor asked her to do, and talked to him as well. We were curious what the little light he used to look in their ears was called. An otoscope. We were right about what to call the tool they use to bump the knee. A reflex hammer. And we learned about the light he used to look at their eyes (different than the ears) called an ophthalmoscope. Russell and I love using the correct terms for things with the kids any chance we can, so this was great to learn. Alyssa went through the same routine and was really brave and helpful as well. No shots were needed and our doctor, who I really like, was supportive when we told him he were going to homeschool. I asked if we should be concerned about childhood illness that they wouldn’t be exposed to by not going to school and he very casually said “They will still be around other kids. They will be exposed just fine.” I love not feeling like I ever have to defend our decisions to our doctor. He was also very supportive when we chose not to circumcise Wyatt.
The only other thing that happened was that he heard a heart murmur in both girls. He didn’t seem concerned at all and told us heart murmurs are extremely common in kids and they often there is nothing wrong. He is referring us to a pediatric cardiologist just to have it checked out to be sure. Kylie saw a cardiologist once when she was about two months old because she had a PDA that wasn’t closed when she was born. At that time everything looked great and we haven’t had to go back since. I am not especially concerned, but it will be nice to know everything is 100% with them soon.
If you are my friend on Facebook, you may have already figured this out, but we have decided to home school our kids. This is not a forever decision and we may change our minds in the future as circumstances change, but for right now this is what we think is the best thing for our family.
There are many factors in our decision, but the greatest one is that we truly feel like home schooling will give them the most positive experience to nurture their own inquisitive desires. We want them to grow up with a love of learning, rather than the ability to memorize facts for a single test, only to forget it quickly after.
I grew up in the public school system all my life and while I don’t think I ever had a truly negative experience, there wasn’t much I can say was overwhelmingly positive either. I was fortunate enough to be in an Art Academy in high school that let me focus on the more creative side to many things, but I will confess that is wasn’t until I was in college that I really learned some things that I now consider to basic foundations. I did have some really great and passionate teachers along the way, and I am sure I had my moments that I was less than receptive to what they had to teach me, so I am not trying to blame anyone for my situation. I do feel that practicing some principles like unschooling and child-led learning I will be able to encourage and show our kids just how much cool stuff there is out there to learn.
If you are trying to make a decision about what school option is best for your family, I’d like to recommend the book Many Voices, Many Choices: Choosing Your Child’s Education by Yvonna Graham. She discuses the many options out there and the pros and cons of each.