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It's been a while since I've been around and I apologize for what probably seem like dumb questions whenever I do post, but any advice or anecdote is appreciated.
I know it's not necessary for her age, but I'm leaning toward getting some kind of PreK or K curriculum for DD for the fall (she'd be starting PK4 in the fall if she were going to school). I need it to break myself in as much as to ease her into structured activities. It seems like she's sort of on the fence between the two categories though. She's got colors, shapes, 1-10, and alphabet down and has a fair amount of fine motor skill. She likes to write her name (incorrectly, but she's trying). Although some things she still uses improperly, like markers and ink stamps (she likes to make hand and fingerprints). Aside from some lessons in how to use school supplies, though, it seems phonics, reading, writing, and simple math are the next logical steps. But I can't tell if that'd be covered in a readiness program or an academic kindergarten program. Or if I should mix & match workbooks and manipulative materials. Some readiness stuff seems to be mostly things she already knows, and some kindergarten stuff looks almost beyond her grasp.
I know I could compile and/or make the materials myself, and cheaply, but I truly lack the experience to cover all the bases in a logical progression. So I'm wanting to go with something prepared, whether it's a true packaged curriculum or just a good set of workbooks from various publishers. I've visited the resource vault and looked at some of those phonics programs, and of course can't choose. A few look pretty promising. Especially the non-consumable stuff. Money is very much an object.
Is any of this making sense? Should I go for readiness, academic kindergarten, or both in case she transitions quickly?? And then, would it be better to get a completely packaged curriculum to sample that avenue, or to mix & match resources? Sorry this got long.
Married to a wonderful man
Mommy to DD, DS1, & DS2
Packaged curricula is wonderful if you're looking for ways to organize your thoughts, figure out how to organize your day, and such like that. However, the materials included are definitely things you can come up with yourself at a much cheaper or free rate. I'm the type who would rather buy something step-by-step while I'm in the "what the heck am I doing" phases. When money is an issue, though, you can't do that.
I would start with basics, because there is a LOT you can learn through play and reading books. Use things you already have around the house to teach math (count blocks or M&M's, introduce adding and subtracting by talking about everyday situations like "Mommy, Zoe, and Zane are eating breakfast... 1-2-3... if Zane goes to take a nap, how many will be left at the table? ... 1-2!"). Read together, and when you're reading, make sure you point to the words so she understands that words go from left to right and from top to bottom on a page. She'll start to pick up on high frequency words like "the" as well. You can get free phonics in a lot of places (Progressive Phonics, Starfall, etc.), but it's a little harder to find math. ... let me rephrase ... It's a little harder to find progressive math that isn't in worksheet form or that doesn't require an equal level of skill with the mouse (like computer games). This sort of thing might be fun if she's up for the challenge of using the mouse and spacebar at the same time. (There are also similar games for colors, subtraction, etc.) Starfall has a $35/yr paid site that includes a little bit of math. It could be fun. She'll already know some of the things on that site, but for $35/yr, it might be worth it. Another option is DVDs like Leapfrog. There are math and reading versions of that.
Ask yourself how much time you want her to spend doing things at a desk, computer, or TV. That'll help you decide on curriculum. Art will help teach creativity and development of fine motor skills (... and how to use supplies). You can find lots of free examples online. That should be really easy by googling "free easy crafts" or "free preschool crafts" or whatever.
Follow her lead. Teach her whatever the moment calls for. ... and there are no stupid questions around here unless I'm the one asking them.
Here is my vote for both... Although i'm not a fan of pushing academics to quickly, i am even more so not a fan not letting a child take off when they are ready.
That said DD will be in a k4 or pk program if i'd entertain the idea of public schooling. And after extensive searching on what to do for her i've decided on Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons, before five in a row (although she'd be fine with five in a row, i've decided on before since her younger brothers may enjoy the stories too also homeschool share has tons of projects to go with the book list for free), Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting, and later on in the year i'll add math you can see. We are also doing a gardening/ and canning the produce that counts as some science, and were awaiting our ants for our ant farm to show up in the mail too. i'll let her interest direct where we go from there. I also have trips planned to the area zoos and such that i know will take us on a week or two long adventure of checking out every animal book from the local library.
But I'm starting with reading phonics/ lit/ handwritting/ and math as basics.. and if she's not ready for whatever when we get to it. we'll hold off or skip it and come back later... that's the beauty of home schooling you can move at the childs pace, and follow interests.
I should also add we do art projects for things that they'd "learn" at public school.. DD cuts out coupons for me. i give her coloring pages while i'm cooking to keep her still for a bit. we run and hop around the backyard. For more ideas just google some preschool or kindergarten blogs and you'll get tons of ideas.. our latest thing is painting rocks, i didn't have anything for them to paint and a friend suggested rocks, so out to the drive way we went.
I have heard many people swear by Ruth Beechick's The Three R's which apparently has enough info to give you the confidence to teach and the knowledge/info to get your child from K to 3rd if you really wanted. Not at all what you'd be looking for if you want to do formal academics in K though. Might be worth looking up on Amazon though .. even if you just use it's guidance to give your LO what they need to make it into 1st grade.
We are in the same boat, My DD will be 4 in Aug and would be going into the schools system's pre-K. She is ready to learn to read and is wanting more and more math (it comes easy to her I think she gets it from me, I love math). So we are starting Kindergarten this fall and we are just taking it at her pace. If we have to spend two years doing K then that is fine because she is still young.
We are using:
Ordinary parents guide to teaching reading
Bible will be with her sister (not sure what we are using yet)
History, Geography, and science she'll do with her sister (if she wants to).
Momma to E-10yrs 11/03, S-7.5yrs 8/06, A-6yrs 3/08, J-4yrs 11/09, and K 2yrs 9/11