Monday, July 26, 2010

Homeschooling Your Kindergartener, Part One

So a few weeks ago, I strongly urged you to look into buying a curriculum from an accredited company if you were homeschooling for la primera vez and you had no experience teaching. I still stand by this, because if nothing else, you will get an idea what does and what doesn’t work for you and your child. This might also very well help you figure out how your child learns best.

But for those of you who are starting to homeschool your preschooler or kindergartener, you may be wondering, do I REALLY need to invest so much money in a curriculum?

To be honest, no. IF you are a teacher with experience and/or provided that you do your homework and find out not only what your child should be learning, but how. What your child needs to learn in preschool/kindergarten is pretty straightforward. But it is essential for all the other subjects soon to come.

During this time you are laying the groundwork for literacy, math, and even science. But your number one goal is to develop your child’s love of learning and to view learning as a stimulating, enriching process that is fun and rewarding.


Structuring Lessons

In the end these are the three things that determined how I structured my lessons:

• My child’s learning style

• The method I chose to follow

• My family’s daily schedule


Learning Styles

I’ve talked briefly about how children learn in different ways. Most are visual learners and do well with an image rich curriculum. Others are auditory learners who need to listen to directions and do better with a literature-based curriculum. And some are kinesthetic and learn best with hands-on activities. In addition to these three learning styles, some children need a lot of repetition and take a little time to absorb concepts, while others quickly catch on and need to move on to the next thing or they quickly get bored. But there are other ways as well. In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences. You can read more about them here to help you determine your child’s learning style.

There are many books and websites out there that discuss learning styles and how to teach effectively as a result. Check out this page in La Librería for several highly recommended titles. Once you know the way your child learns best, you can then plan your lessons accordingly.


Homeschooling Method

The method you choose to use to teach your child will have a huge impact on how your structure your day. A few are textbook oriented, but most are not. If you follow the Charlotte Mason method, there will be a LOT of reading involved, but if you prefer the Montessori style, you may be spending a lot of time using manipulatives. I teach my child using the Eclectic Approach, pulling from the methods that which I feel works best for us. Read more about the various methods here.


Your Family Schedule

If you work outside the home (or even in the home!) your work schedule will affect when you homeschool. And if your child participates in extra-curricular activities like sports, music, or art, you will have to schedule your class time around them. My daughter took music lessons one morning a week and art lessons at the local museum one afternoon a week, so our lessons worked around these times.

I think that most of us have an idea in our heads from our own childhood of what Kindergarten is supposed to be like: a bright classroom, filled with toys, blackboards and other educational tools that children attend from 8:30 am to 3 pm, five days a week.

But now that you are homeschooling your child, you should throw that idea out the window!! Your days can be as rigidly or loosely structured as what works best for you and your child. And it will be unique. Tomorrow I will share what worked for us our first year and how quickly it changed. But what works for me and my child, will not necessarily work for you and yours. We’ll also talk more about what to teach.


Con mucho cariño…

2 comments:

  1. We are going to start kindergarten work this school year since he is ready. But he will still be in Pre-K two days a week because he is December baby. Thanks for the great information! I can't wait to see how you schedule your school day because this is the part that I can not figure out. I am especially interested how you organize your time between the two languages.

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  2. Hey, Adriana!

    Well, I'm happy to share what has worked for my girl, but not sure the same schedule would work for my son (he also has another year of Pre-K). Remember, your child will ultimately dictate how you teach so that he will learn.

    It is a ridiculously long post. Should have split it, but there is so much to think about! And yes, I talk about second language learning.

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