Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Homeschooling Your Kindergartener, Part Three


So I’ve decided what method I’m using (I think) and now I’m ready to start but my biggest question is: What exactly do I teach?


Now, you can make it as simple or as complicated as you want, but complicated doesn’t necessarily mean better. Your child is only 4 or 5, maybe 6, and can easily get overwhelmed with too much information. Your method of choice should provide you with some sort of guidelines. I think it is safe to say that the main topics to concentrate on are:

• Letter recognition
• Phonics (or letter sounds)
• Beginning reading (simple words & sight words)
• Number recognition (1-20)
• Color recognition
• Shape recognition
• Patterns
• Matching/Sorting
• Five senses
• Weather/Seasons

Many children are already ahead of the game, especially if parents have been actively helping them to learn these key concepts. If so, it is a great idea to review these at the beginning of the year to build up your child’s self-confidence.

You might also consider creating/finding lessons on one or more of the following:


SCIENCE


• The earth
• The solar system
• How plants grow
• Living vs. non-living
• Animal classification (mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, fish, etc.)
• Habitats (desert, ocean, mountains, rain forest)
• Water cycle


MATH

• Simple addition and subtraction (single digits)
• Money
• Time
• Fractions
• Counting by 2’s
• Double digit addition and subtraction


HISTORY/SOCIAL STUDIES

• Occupations
• City vs. country
• Presidents
• Holidays
• Cultural traditions


GEOGRAPHY

• The United States
• The seven continents
• Your heritage country

These lessons don’t have to be complicated. The goal is to simply introduce these subjects so that later, when they are covered more in-depth, your child can say, “Hey, I already know something about this!” (or “¡Ah, sí! Ya sé algo de esto.”) which, again, helps with self-confidence and to create a positive opinion of learning.


Easy resources for Kindergarten core subjects and beyond…

There is a movement that promotes the value of a core curriculum. The idea is that this core curriculum is a uniform body of knowledge that all students should know at each grade level. I think they are a good reference, but that it all depends on your child and we should let them develop at their own pace with our guidance. Here are several easy resources that discuss or cover the core subjects of a quality Kindergarten curriculum:


Brain Quest

The Brain Quest Workbooks are available both in La Librería and at most local bookstores. They touch briefly on the main subjects from Pre-K through grade 7. The also have some fun question-and-answer sets for early childhood development. The downside is that they do not have materials available in Spanish as of yet. So if you are homeschooling in Spanish only, you will have to translate the directions (but chances are your children couldn’t read them anyway, so you’d be there to help.) I have already visited their site and suggested they create a Spanish line. You can do the same here.


The Core Knowledge Series Books

I LOVE these books. I just got my copy of What Your First Grader Needs to Know. It is great and I’m looking forward to using a lot of the material this coming year. The book itself is divided up by subject: Language & Literature, History & Geography, Visual Arts, Music, Math and Science. It was not originally written for homeschoolers per se, but rather as a supplement for parents wanting to get more active in their children’s education. This series is a byproduct of the Core Knowledge Foundation whose mission is to improve our national education system through the creation of a specific guidelines that promote a sound foundation and which builds upon itself. In other words, it is sequential and each grade builds upon the knowledge that was learned in the previous grade. I am still learning about it, but if you would like to read more, check out their Homeschooling Network site.


Con mucho cariño…

2 comments:

  1. I love those "What Your xyz Grader Needs to Know"! I can always open to a section and do something with the kids from that (and feel like we did something "real").

    Your posts are great! I keep learning a ton!

    As for our Language Challenge 101 - Rainer and I purchased the Destinos books for us. I am so excited! It also reminds me of what it is like to be a kid learning something new - what a GREAT lesson for us homeschooling parents. ;-)

    Corey

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  2. Good for you! Had not heard about Destinos. I am using La Clase Divertida. Was a little leery at first, but my kids love it and are learning, so there you go!

    ~Monica

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