I don't have a Kindergartener this year, which you may or may not know depending on how long you've been reading this blog. I decided to wait to tell you about our Charlotte Mason Kindergarten year until after it was over to see how it went first.
Thankfully, it was a success.
I chose to put together an informal Kindergarten for my daughter, using resources that I pieced together in order to give her a playful year that had a bit more structure than what we had been doing before. My husband requested that I had some sort of plan, and my little girl begged to go to Kindergarten with her peers.
An informal kindergarten seemed like a good solution. You can read more about my thoughts on Charlotte Mason Kindergarten here.
A Flexible Kindergarten Year
Since my plan was to have a sweet, playful year together, I was very flexible. Some of the resources we used changed after we moved to a new area. Our math shifted a little after Miss H turned six, and we discovered some new resources that were a wonderful fit. If I hadn't been flexible and willing to change my original plan, then it wouldn't have been informal, I suppose. When a resource stopped feeling playful, we moved on. When H requested more of a challenge, we moved on.
Now that I can see the year in the rear-view mirror, I wanted to share the resources that we loved in case you are planning an informal Kindergarten year, too.
I've used affiliate links to share what worked for us in our Charlotte Mason Kindergarten.
Miss H had been begging to do math for years. Since I didn't want to use a curriculum at first, I planned on using different math manipulatives to play with and learn from. Each week, I put different manipulatives into our basket. Some of these were:
- Pattern blocks
- Base 10 blocks
- Fat Brain Inchimals (which I've mentioned before!)
- Counting chips
- Unifix cubes
This was fun for a month or two, but soon she started craving even more. Thankfully, a wise mom recommended a book in the public domain for us:
This book was very helpful for developing Miss H's number sense. It is not a workbook, but focuses more on mental math. There were even some paper-folding exercises, that Miss H really enjoyed.
By the time we had fully explored to number 10, I felt that Miss H was read to move on. By this time, she had already turned six, so I chose to buy the math curriculum that I wanted to use our first year-
Wouldn't you know that as much as I've tried to protect my girl from the monotony of workbooks, in order to give her a rich and meaningful education, she ended up LOVING workbooks? She enjoyed completing the math workbook so much! I shared a little about my reasons for choosing Singapore Math here.
I started teaching Miss H to read last August, using the Reading Printable Packs in my shop. She really enjoyed the lessons, and had a good amount of words that she could decode when we were done. I then read simple, enjoyable books with her, like the Treadwell Readers and Frog and Toad, working on phonics patterns as the need arose. By her birthday in March, she was reading fluently. Note that you do NOT have to teach your 5-year-old how to read, but Miss H had been begging to learn for years.
Before our year started, I bought a set of McGuffey readers online, but we didn't enjoy them. I may jump into the second volume with Miss H this year.
For Bible, we continued reading our Egermeier's Bible Storybook that we started the year before. We also used Miss H's Awana's curriculum for scripture memory.
We bought Leading Little Ones to God, but found it pretty dry and repetitive. I think if it had been written with more examples rather than as a lecture, it would have worked better for us.
In March, we added The Homeschool Garden morning time plans. This was a great way to include all of the riches in our homeschool, as well as literature, scripture memory, and tea time. Honestly, if you are required by your state to teach Kindergarten, this would be a great option! It doesn't feel like a formal curriculum, but it covers much of what you would want/need to include in Kindergarten, except for reading instruction and math. We really enjoyed learning the hymns and folk songs. My three-year-old even participated, which of course made my heart sing!
Rooted Childhood is another resource that could probably suffice for your entire Kindergarten year. Each month of Rooted Childhood includes seven handicrafts, three recipes, stories, songs, and finger rhymes. This is the perfect amount of activities to do during the early years, and it's a sweet way to do "school" without really doing school 🙂 You can read more about this resource here.
We used Exploring Nature With Children half time for our informal Kindergarten. Instead of studying a new nature object each week, we began a new one every other week. We checked out books from the library, and read the poems included. Like the other resources mentioned, this one would be enough for an informal Kindergarten on its own. We're excited to start it again this year and study the items that we didn't do last year.
What About a Formal Kindergarten?
If you choose to do a formal Kindergarten with your child, no judgment here! Maybe your child will turn six after your local enrollment cut-off, you are required to have a formal Kindergarten, or you just WANT to. A resource to consider is the Kindergarten curriculum from Rebecca at A Humble Place. I have not used this curriculum, but have a dear friend who enjoyed it.
You have lots of options available should you choose to hold Kindergarten in your home. However, this time is precious! Loosen your grip on the to-do list, and hold tight to your growing child.