Around this time every year, when our motivation for homeschooling begins to fizzle, I look back over the year to evaluate our success in our current homeschooling plan. I look at the year, without any biases, to see what worked, what needs tweaking and what needs to be scrapped altogether.
Since this year was the first official year of homeschooling for Baby Honeybee, we had a little more structure than the previous years when her learning was led by her interests. For Kindergarten, I had a plan that was inspired by Charlotte Mason. It was a good framework, but has evolved through the months to look slightly different from what I had envisioned.
This summer Baby Honeybee turns five. I’m not sure how she can be almost five years old, seeing how she was just a tiny baby yesterday. She’s magical. Like unicorns! That must be it.
Magical or not, she still demands an education. She pretends to not know how to spell or read, but I’m on to her.
Because this is the time of year I typically evaluate our curriculum to see what is working and what needs to be tossed to save our sanity, I’ve put together Baby Honeybee’s Kindergarten plan inspired by the Charlotte Mason method of teaching.
I love the way Charlotte Mason treated children as little people and didn’t squash their love of learning with textbooks and math drills. I also agree with her philosophy of a child’s need for outdoor exploring and activities that nurture a their natural curiosity.
Keeping that in mind, I have put together a plan for Baby Honeybee that will fit her personality and fit in also with our teaching Tween Bee and Teen Bee, who will be a senior next year.
Thunk. I just fell out of my chair.
College Bee graduates this August.
Thunk. I just died.
Ok, I’m not dead yet. I think I’ll go for a walk. I feel happy. I feel happy!! (Can anyone name that movie? If you can, we should be friends.)
We read to Baby Honeybee daily. To say she loves books doesn’t even come close to describe how she feels. She will chase down and harass us until we cave. It’s cute.
If you’re not familiar with the Charlotte Mason style of learning, living books are read aloud to younger children then they are asked to retell the story in their own words. This allows the child to organize the story in their heads and is the first step to learning reading comprehension skills
Some of the Read Alouds will include:
Leaves from a Child’s garden of Verses – Robert Louis Stevenson
Mother Goose’s Little Treasures – Iona Opie/Rosemary Wells
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present – Charlotte Zolotow
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
The Princess and the Pea – adapted by Janet Stevens
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny – Beatrix Potter
The World of Christopher Robin – A.A. Milne
The World of Pooh – A.A. Milne
The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams
Little House Series – Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Boxcar Children – Gertrude Chandler Warher
The Story of Dr. Doolittle – Hugh Lofting
The Story About Ping – Marjorie Flack
Beezus and Ramona – Beverly Cleary (along with other books by this author)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Judi Barrett
Least of All – Carol Purdy
Johnny Appleseed: Story of a Legend – Will Moses
This list is based on books we have or can check out from our local library. This is not a complete list by any means. It seems all my kids were born with the ability to persuade me into buying them books just about anywhere books are sold.
I’m a sucker for kids and animals and they all know it.
I made this binder for her this year to begin practicing her letters and numbers. I found some free printables online and slipped the pages into sheet protectors. With a dry-erase marker, she is able to reuse the worksheets. It stores easily and it was very inexpensive to make. As she masters writing her letters and numbers, the pages can be swapped out for copywork, drawing or math sheets.
History & Geography
Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia
We will use The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder to begin our journey of American history. We will sew (with lacing cards, plastic canvas and yarn), grow our own food, bake bread, make butter, raise livestock and live like pioneers. We attempt to do much of this anyway, but we are spoiled with the luxuries of indoor plumbing and electricity. I’m OK with that.
Practice writing numbers with dry-erase binder pages.
Learn Shapes – Attribute Blocks by Learning Horizons.
This is a set of shapes of varying size, color and thickness. With the shapes, children can sort and classify and learn how they are alike or different.
Counting games with marbles, cards and dominoes and dice games. Yahtzee anyone?
Sorting items (like buttons and coins).
We also have a set of Cuisenaire Rods that have been and will continue to be useful with counting, sorting and pattern sequences.
Science & Nature
Berenstain Bear’s Big Book of Science and Nature
Nature Journal – Observe and draw plants, birds, insects, clouds, weather. Basically we will spend time marveling at God’s creation.
Wonders of Science & Creatures of the Air and Sea – Reader’s Digest Pathfinders books
Magic School Bus books
My First Book About Space – Dinah L. Moche
Calendar & Clock
Learn days of the week and months. I plan on letting her pick out her own calendar at the dollar store so it will be special for her. I have no doubt it will have puppies and kitties on it.
For the clock, well, we will use a clock.
Building Healthy Habits
This seems like a natural time to implement a Chore Chart for structure so she knows what is expected of her daily. This will include tasks like: make bed, put away toys, feed Sam (her guinea pig), brush teeth, etc. This sounds great in theory. We shall see how it works.
Please and Thank You Book – Richard Scary. This is so people won’t think she’s being raised by wolves.
Learn about healthy eating habits.
Physical Fitness – Outdoor play
One of my goals for the year was to implement Spanish Immersion techniques to teach Baby Honeybee and Tween Bee and to reinforce what Teen Bee has been studying for the last two years. For me, I would like to be able to say more than “I have a dog”. It’s a bit awkward for others when that is my answer for every question asked. I’m a natural conversationalist. On opposite day.
This year, we implemented a study of three composers each year. So far, we have only studied Beethoven. As we wrap up our math and science curriculum in the spring, we will have more time for music history studies.
Not only will she be allowed to create her own masterpieces, but we will study three artists each year. Tween Bee and Teen Bee will study the artists in depth.
Last, but certainly not least:
Baby Honeybee and Tween Bee have the best Sunday School teacher we could have ever wanted. Not only is she kind and generous, but she has picked up on their learning styles and has been able to teach them while having fun. They love their Sunday School teacher and she loves them. When I have to fill in on the occasional Sunday, the girls grumble and groan. I feel the love.
We have numerous children’s bible story books from which to learn, but this year we will be putting more effort into scripture memorization. I have some ideas to incorporate this with art. Stay tuned.
So that’s our Kindergarten curriculum in a nutshell. The cost of this curriculum for us is zero dollars since we have all the resources available to us from the older kids.
Leave a comment and let me know if you have any thoughts or know of any resources that we shouldn’t be without in our homeschool. I’m all ears!