James is 5 and a half years old. Technically, he could have started Kindergarten this past fall, but for a variety of reasons we decided to wait on officially enrolling him with our co-op/umbrella school as a Kindergartener until this coming fall, when he will be 6. I hadn't really planned on doing any formal kindergarten work with him until then. We've done a bit of work informally on and off over the past couple of years, but it hasn't ever been consistent aside from him joining us for Tea Time.
But then, he taught himself how to write all his letters (using a dry-erase tracing book). He took the little bit of phonics and word-building work I had done with him and ran with it, and the next thing I knew he was reading Dr Seuss, and then just about anything he could get his hands on. And then he started inserting his own comments and opinions on the school books I was reading with Michelle.
It was time to kick it up a notch.
Ambleside Online doesn't offer an official kindergarten year, and Year 1 isn't meant to be started with a child younger than 6 years old. Those who need or want something for a kindergarten child usually end up cobbling together what is sometimes referred to as 'Year 0.5' – a transition between the informal preschool (Year 0) years and officially beginning Year 1. Here are the resources that we are using for our Year 0.5:
Reading: He reads aloud to me daily from the Treadwell Reading Literature readers or other appropriate-level books, such as the Little Bear series. As needed, we do a bit of word-building or word-visualization using letter tiles at the white-board.
Handwriting: He copies 1 short sentence from his reader, directly underneath a model.
Math: We are using MEP Year 1 very, very slowly, spending 2-3 days on each lesson, with heavy emphasis on the hands-on activities in the lesson plans.
Poetry (Daily): Mother Goose rhymes, Lavendar's Blue, Eric Carle's Animals, Animals
AND one of the following:
Literature: The Wonder Clock (Pyle)
History: Fifty Famous People (Baldwin)
Natural History: Among the Farmyard People (Pierson)
Geography: Highroads to Geography (Anonymous)
I am not yet asking for narrations from these readings, although sometimes we will talk about what he liked or didn't like about a story. Sometimes he offers a narration on his own. But we will wait until after his 6th birthday in June to really begin narration in earnest.
Notes: Total Time for all of this is 30-40 minutes per day, aiming for 4x per week. He also joins us for Tea Time which is another 30 minutes or so, and often for Drawing and Nature Journaling on the days we do those. Also, keep in mind that this is my plan for James, meeting him where he was at. Most students don't start kindergarten already having taught themselves how to read and write. J Typically, kindergarten students will just be beginning reading and handwriting instruction. See this very helpful blog series for hints on how to approach these subjects Charlotte Mason style.