Let’s face it. Choosing a Kindergarten curriculum to fit your child isn’t easy. It’s especially hard to find something for a six year- old who would rather sit and make her fork and spoon talk to each other at the breakfast table than to sit and write and read. This is where we are in our season of life, and I know anyone who has a five or six-year old can relate. Now is the time to guide those beautiful imaginations in a way that will engage and create the desire to learn in their own unique way.
Lights, Camera, Action! Does your child like to sing, dance, and put on shows? If so, learn songs to teach the days of the week, months of the year, directions, continents, nouns, verbs, ect…. There are many resources out there to help you learn these. Make up dances to the songs. Singing and dancing is fun and it will help your child pay much more attention to the lesson.
Does your child like to act? Provide dress up clothes to wear for certain types of weather and encourage your child to give a meteorologist report every morning. Let them use puppets and other props to retell a story. Many times after we have read our focus story for the day, my Kindergartener will act out the story.
Learning Toys and the Library
Let the library help guide your Kindergarten curriculum. Go to the library once a week and let your child choose books that interest them. Does your child like fairy tales? Use fairy tales to study the differences between realism and fantasy. Study about wolves and compare how real wolves behave compared to wolves in fairy tales. You don’t need to purchase a reading curriculum to teach reading. I found an excellent website that provides picture books to teach a variety of skills.
Most of our seat work during the days involves hands on learning. I have a variety of learning toys and manipulatives that have been handed down to me or that I have purchased. Our math concepts are taught through puzzles, counting frogs, snap cubes, and linking chains.
Use play dough and letter stamps to practice spelling words. One of my kids’ favorite game is to play pizza shop. I will order a pizza with a certain word that needs to be spelled on it. They will create a pizza out of play dough and use the stamps to spell the words. They have so much fun playing that they forget they are also practicing their spelling!
First, children need to get outside everyday. They need to have as much free play as possible. Getting outside and playing will not only improve a child’s health, but it will also lengthen a child’s attention span. When you start to see your child fidget and not focusing on a task, that is your signal to get your child outside.
As your child begins playing, you will see they’ll connect their playing to what they’ve been learning. When we study about animals, my children will often pretend to be that animal. I’ve heard them time and time again use vocabulary words as they are playing together. Not only is getting outside to play a great stress reliever, but it also gives children the chance to apply what they have learned.
Want to make a concept stick? There is no better way to keep your child engaged than to do a project. Project learning lets your child explore real-life situations. This can be very much like role-playing. When we study about different states or countries we cut out suitcases made from construction paper. We draw pictures of items we would take to our destination. When we pretended to go to Mexico we brought our swimsuits and cowboy boots. When we went to Alaska we brought our parkas and snow boots. Then we lined up the chairs in the sitting room and pretended to board the airplane. The pilot would announce when we crossed over certain states and what kind of weather to expect.
Learning through play is the foundation for life-long learning. It is vital for children to have readiness skills and this can’t be learned through drill and kill methods. This is best achieved through a deep connection to the world around them. The best way for a 5 year old to connect is to question, explore, and create. We need more problem solvers in the world! Let’s give our children the opportunity by allowing them to begin now.
Christa Brown is a homeschooling mom of 3 young children. She began her journey in education 14 years ago in the public school system before making the jump to being a stay at home mom. She believes that instilling the love of learning, grit, and creativity are the building blocks of successful, happy people. She has opened up her home to other homeschooling children and you can follow their adventures at Little Log Cottage School.