I’m not a big fan of all-day kindergarten. So, my kindergarten is only a half-day. Another thing about my kindergarten is that it is fun. First grade is soon enough to buckle down for the ‘real work.’
When I started homeschooling my oldest, she was too young to go to the public school’s version of kindergarten. Her birthday is past the cut-off date in our state. Mandatory schooling isn’t required until the child reaches the age of 7, so there were no paperwork requirements at that age, either. This left open a whole world of possibilities for us.
I sat down with my husband and we set up two goals for Child #1’s kindergarten year.
1) Child #1 would learn to read (or at least attempt it).
2) Child #1 would learn to sit still for 30 minutes.
That was it. I asked Child #1 what type of things she would like to do. She chose art, “building class,” and cooking class. I added math to the list and we called it a full schedule. Building class was mostly playing with blocks in ways that taught stability, color patterns, design, and shape recognition. Art was hit-or-miss. Math mostly ended up being counting coins. Cooking class was a huge hit because we mostly baked stuff. Yummy desserts, usually. She also requested “tying shoes” class, but she caught on in two sessions, so that didn’t last long.
When Child #1 started first grade, she complained frequently that she wanted to go back to kindergarten! Kindergarten was MORE FUN. This year, with Child #2 in my version of kindergarten, she has her chance. She gets to do all of her younger sibling’s electives also.
This year’s kindergarten electives are art, “dress up class,” cooking class, and sewing class. Add “learning to read” and math and you have a full schedule.
In order to make sure art happens on a regular basis, I purchased Art With a Purpose (Artpac 1). Child #1 and Child #2 each have a packet (at less than $10 each, this was a great buy) and would like to do art more than just once per week.
Dress up class is a combination of theatre (based on something we are reading in history (Story of the World I)) and a game (Charades, for example). Sometimes, it will be literature – dress up and tell us a story based on what/who you are dressed like.
I purchased a couple of ‘learn to sew’ books and we will see how they do with those. There is much excitement about this topic, but the suggested age range is higher than both children right now. We will see what they are capable of sitting still for.
By the way, when spring of my eldest child’s first year rolled around, I went to the local public school’s parent information night for incoming kindergartners. I wanted to see if I had covered what I needed to in order to “pass” my child onto first grade. I left feeling satisfied that we had covered what we needed to cover. Should my child have had to enter first grade at the local public school that fall (which, due to her age, she would not have been allowed to do), she would have been academically ready.