This summer, I shared with you that we had made the decision to homeschool Remmy for kindergarten. That crazy post is right here. We are a couple months in, and since there seemed to be interest in our progress, I thought I’d give a little update.
This first month was a little rough. I had purchased a highly recommend curriculum (one I had used as a child in private school), and we painstakingly went through page by page, until I realized that we were both bored. As a beginner reader, Remmy doesn’t need to spend an entire lesson on what the letter b sounds like. I polled some homeschooling veterans and they all had the same advice – ditch it and find something new.
Look at her cute little thinky face! LOOK AT IT!
We changed the curriculum, and it’s been so much better. Every morning, we start the day off cleaning together which has quickly become one of my favorite moments of the day. The house is empty and quiet, and it’s just me and Remmy, wiping down counters and tidying up the living room and kitchen while listening to soft music. It’s a lovely way to start our morning, and I’m enjoying our quiet one-on-one time together. After clean-up, we work on phonics, writing, and math, and then that’s it for super-serious sit-down-at-a-table work. Some other stuff we do:
– We belong to a homeschooling co-op. One afternoon a week, Remmy, Sophie, Minnie, and I head over to the co-op and take two classes. Sophie’s first class goes through a story and a lesson. Remmy’s first class focuses on science. After the first class, they each have a fine arts class. It’s fantastic to 1) chat with other homeschooling parents, 2) give the girls some time with other kids, 3) have Remmy learn something from someone who is not me.
– Remmy plays with LEGOS. If you have a kid who does not like school, seriously, get him/her some LEGOS. They’re great for working fine motor skills (needed for writing!), math, following instructions… there are probably a host of other benefit that I don’t know because I’m not an expert. We bought this starter set, and we love it.
– We utilize technology. Remmy’s aunts bought her a Kindle Fire (this one) for her birthday. At first I was like whaaa nooo that’s too extravagant for a 5 year old and shouldn’t we get her to like paper or something first??, but it’s been a phenomenal tool. Remmy plays some educational games (like Math Bingo) and also watches documentaries on them.
Documentaries and the homeschooling co-op are as extensive as we’re getting when it comes to Science class for now. Remmy probably watches two or three documentaries a week, and she *loves* them. They’re not kid-centric at all; no flashing colors or cartoons… I honestly do not get it. She’s enthralled by listening to a British man speak in monotone… The butterfly then emerges from the cocoon… ZZZzzz. Obviously, Remmy is slightly more mature than I am. Ahem.
– We do a lot of art. I use “art” loosely, but Remmy pretty much has free rein on Play-Doh, stickers, markers, crayons, paper, scissors, as long as she cleans up after herself. It took one incident of “Sorry, you left Play-Doh crumbled on the floor, now it’s dried-up and gross and totally going in the garbage” to cement the rule, but it’s cemented.
– We read often (some historical fiction, in there, if you’re wondering where the History is at), but not often enough. She can read many books by herself. I should be reading more to her, absolutely. If we have a ‘helper’ over for the afternoon (sometimes I pick up 13 year old girl from school and she hangs out with us for the afternoon), she has reading time with Remmy and Sophie, and it’s great. Remmy will also often listen to an audiobook while doing art.
– She does a lot of independent play. I mean, for as serious as we all make kindergarten out to be, I have to realize that Remmy is still a five year old, and a lot of her learning comes from being a curious five year old taking it all in. :)
Is it hard? Yeah, sometimes it’s hard. I happened to take on a little more work at the same time, so honestly, the easiest thing would be for me to send her to school and have one fewer child home during the day. However, our time together is really sweet and beneficial, IMO, so we’re going to see the year out. [Edit: JK, update here.]
How’s she doing? Honestly, amazing. Remmy is currently reading and doing math at a solid first-grade reading level. She writes well, although she struggles more with writing lowercase letters than uppercase letters, and some of her numbers are backwards (5s and 3s, for example). Remmy loves reading, loves being read to, and enjoys any sort of play-learning. I feel really blessed to be able to spend this year with her. Ultimately, I’m cool with taking a relaxed approach to kindergarten, as I really want to cultivate a love of learning instead of forcing her to sit and write letters on worksheets until we both pass out from boredom. :)