Kindergarten

AVIOD AN IDENTIFY CRISIS BY AVIODING THE WORDS, “YOU ARE SO SMART.”  RATHER, TELL THEM, “YOU ARE SUCH A HARD WORKER!”

CHALLENGING OUR KINDERGARTNER

We homeschooling mamas thrive on our super powers of accomplishing above and beyond most others, being the queens of harnessing/organizing chaos, and we LOVE filling our little sponges to the brim to partake in the joy of light bulb switches flipping on.  This can have us ‘challenging’ our kindergartners to do more and more…and more……..and more with the thought that as long as they can do more they must not have met their point of proper challenge.

What it really means is that YOU are a fantastic playmate!  Your child may read early or walk early or do maths early or potty train early.   At K level it is far too early to label your child ‘advanced’, and chances are that if you do, they will hit their wall at some point, lose their identity, and shut down to some degree.  Read the full article

Every K student should be all over the board in their abilities making your goals simple and clear.  Continue their joy of learning by exploring, mastering, moving forward, repeat.

There are many side jobs and yay-I-finally-got-to-that jobs and those that shove their way into our days.  Don’t make advancing lessons and inflating egos creep on to your list.  It truly takes a watchful eye not to fall prey to this.  It is so heady and appealing.

You want to model living a full yet joy filled relaxed life that allows you to expectantly go each and every time you hear, “Mom, come see this!”   Let me note that by ‘relaxed’ I do not mean that you will have time to sit around eating bon bons; simply that you will allow yourself to lay down your stress of being perfect and guiding your child toward the same.

If your child is a natural speller who thrives on competition, working toward a Spelling Bee competition would be a good thing.  On the flip side, working toward a Spelling Bee competition because you think that is what every good homeschooler does would be a negative thing.

Even as an unschooler, it takes dedication to discern and decide what will fill each day.  From modeling moods, actions, reactions to planning learning, engaging in silliness, attending to chores, teaching character, there can be little room for sit down lessons.  At the Kindergarten level this is great because more than 15 to 45 minutes is wasted time.  *recall that most of birth to 7 learning is done in action rather than at a seat which is not limited to 15-45 minutes!

Catch your breath.  I am not advocating anything less than the ideal home education that fits your family.  What I am suggesting is that lessons not reign supreme at the cost of all else.    Remember the Bible story of Mary and Martha?  Who made the better choice?  It was so counter-intuitive.  So counter-cultural.  And yet, it was the proper One Thing for that moment.

Accomplishment, worksheet worship, textbook consumption can inflate our pride while robbing our joys.  It gently nudges our hearts as being out of order, somehow wrong.  Can you trust that in choosing a non-traditional day of learning has value?  That kindergarten can be woven fully into fun and games and life?  Can we agree that in an ideal world all of life would be learning and all learning has value.

Trust that your wisdom to discern between a wasted day and a different day.  Our world teaches us that having a satisfying paper trail to follow equates to learning while simply learning what is at hand or what comes next/naturally might not truly exist and certainly won’t last.   Search deeply and nail down the fact that the joy of releasing your plan of what must be each day to what might be each day has greater value than worksheet worship and hours at a chair or piles of completed workbooks.

YEAR ‘ROUND HOMESCHOOLING

Kindergarten is the perfect time to homeschool year ’round.  You will discover the natural ebb and flow of learning within our days.  3.5 days per week allows for naps, nursing, healthy meal prep/enjoyment, babies, pregnancy, trips, interruptions, ….life- large and lovely and messy!

You might be a homeschooler if you love controlling your universe…. but it is not always good for marriage, children, family, personal stress, rest, joy, etc. and definitely is not good for learning.  Year ’round schedules allow for us to relax our daily control knowing that we have time to spare.

Here are some of the beauties found in year ’round schooling:

  • Be open to adventure and opportunity as they knock.  Our children will learn so much about being flexible, laying down anxiety, embracing life in all it’s colors and glory.
  • Be open to not knowing or planning all of your days.  Begin talking about possible adventures with your spouse, children, friends and see what comes forth–and go with it.
  • Know that what needs to get done will get done.  You will no more allow your child’s education to fall by the wayside than you would allow them to swim in the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim or being at their side.  It’s not the homeschool way- it would be that far side of the curve–bedlam.  Nobody signs on for that.
  • Be open to change from within.  End each day with praise and start each day with possibility releasing your day into His hands for His glory.
  • Rest and know that you are enough with no need to move mountains in a day.  They will move one shovel full at a time as you take pleasure in your days with focus on embracing fully that One Thing.

Advanced Learners

“This year we are doing first grade, but the public school would have him starting Kindergarten.  He/She is just too advanced to hold back.”

Don’t hold any child back academically.  Rather keep him in the proper grade for his ‘future self’.  Don’t dumb down his work.  Rather keep him/her at level whether it be above or below grade.  Many K’s are doing 1st-grade work, but come 3rd or 4th (or sometimes 9th) it becomes too difficult and they totally lose their self-worth as being ‘so smart’.

DON’T IDENTIFY YOUR STUDENT AS BEING SMART, AS IN, “YOU ARE SO SMART!”   RATHER, TELL THEM, “YOU ARE SUCH A HARD WORKER!”

  • Label him the proper grade per age (we do this for kids who are behind grade level as well)
  • Teach at the level he is (above, at, behind grade level)
  • Tell him what a hard worker he is (but not that he is ‘so smart’)
  • Understand that he is, and will continue to, ‘play’ school until age 7, 8, or 9
  • Be a fun playmate!
  • Teach diligence
  • Teach precept upon precept; concept upon concept
  • Remember that you are igniting a fire not filling a pail

When it becomes real and no longer play is when you want to make sure there are no emotional wobbles due to being in a higher grade level, being labeled smart, losing the pride you reflect on your advanced student.

Never keep him at full speed/challenged/at potential, but rather move forward as he sets the tone with .  Imagine if your husband said, “You are such a great wife that I expect you to work at your very best Top Notch day in and day out.”  Exhausting.  Overwhelming.  Draining.

Usually, a child will continue to be ahead in some subjects and fall behind in others as the years go along.  Completing all subjects of a specific grade level does not give validation nor credence to work well done/enjoyed/inspiring.  It is simply checked off on a list.

A year of practicing math is a year of math- even if only a portion of the workbook was covered.  You will complete the rest of it next year (or over the summer if you school year ‘round- such a lovely and relaxing approach to schooling!)  Being able to move slowly (or faster) is one of the joyful freedoms of home school!

We have always made age 6 our K year.  My husband teaches in a college prep high school with tons of really bright kids who have been pushed ahead.  They are able to compete in the classroom, but not on the playing field or leadership as their bodies and emotions are still at the proper age.  It is nice to graduate men who are more mature than their peers…and we have loved having the extra year with them!