I love the word: Kindergarten: Child's Garden.
It fills the mind with images of exploration and undirected play, of discovery and nature and delicious things to experience. Of character building and cuddles and fun.
My goal for kindergarten is to not do too much kindergarten. I appreciate and plan to employ Charlotte Mason's general education philosophy for this "Year 0" with all three of my children, carrying it over into this last sweet year of "pre-education" for my Lyddie.
My girl already reads; she learned to read last year and is now devouring book after book and I find myself having to slow her down since it is such a natural thing for her but I want her to really experience the books and not just wolf them down.
But still I get nervous and hear voices rattling around in my head that I am going to do it wrong or wonder how I'm going to have time to homeschool one, and then two, and then a couple years from now, all three girls when my life already feels so busy with just keeping up with things around the house and property. I am firm with those voices and keep reminding myself to major in the majors and keep the minor things in their places. The phrase "Major in the majors" has been bouncing around in my mind.
So I'm picking a few "majors" to include this next year in our life, majors that will enrich and hopefully not detract from my Lyddie's education.
- Family Math: I was given this book and have enjoyed perusing it and have created a simple math curriculum from the games and activities included that will lay what I believe to be an excellent foundation for concepts that we will encounter later in a more formal math curriculum. A few of the topics we'll cover in simple ways appropriate for a five year old are numbers and operations, measurement, logic and story problems, patterns and charts, probability, geometry and spatial concepts, estimation, and time and money. What I'm looking forward to is that these activities look like a lot of fun for all of us and I imagine we will return to them in the future regardless of our curriculum!
- Kitchen science (baking or other projects together, I may come up with a specific set of ideas to pull from)
- Music appreciation (mainly building classical music into our days in an intentional way)
- Beginning piano lessons with me once a week
- Poetry (just reading some and maybe a few simple poems or nursery rhymes naturally memorized)
- Handwriting Without Tears: since she is already writing, I have decided I want to address letter formation the correct way now before her incorrect letter formation is too firmly established. This resource looks simple and short, taking just minutes on the days I choose to build it into the plan.
- Nature study: a short time journaling/drawing and labeling outdoors together once a week
- Handiwork like knitting or cross stitch or sewing or some other crafting fun
- Mostly "majorly," I plan long hours out of doors as we already do but will continue to do; even in the cold months I am hoping we can spend some time outside even if we are bundled up. This will also include hikes or day trips to nearby destinations, I hope!
- Reading excellent books: we read a lot and I will focus on the books on the Ambleside Year 0 reading list, most of which we've already read and own but all bear repeated reading.
There you have it, my friends, a brief overview of a very simple kindergarten for under $50! I know it isn't much but I think it sounds just right for us and having a little plan mapped out for how I want this coming year to look brought me a lot of joy and excitement for the fun we have ahead in exploring the world together.