Monday, April 25, 2016

Valor - Official Kindergarten

      Valor is a delicious bundle of cuteness and technicality. LOL He curls up on the dog bed and falls asleep with her during late family movies. He notices water puddles at the gas station and asks how they got there, because the cars don't drip on the lines between parking spots and it hasn't rained lately. He's sweet, helpful, and an "old soul" sort of kid. He hero worships Honor on a regular basis and will jump into any big kid activity he can. Toys and activities aimed at his age have never interested him much, and he prefers to play older kids.

     We treated the current school year like it was kindergarten, academically. In this homeschool that means working on phonics, handwriting, and some gentle math. He's thrived with this slow, gentle pace. His birthday is the precise day of the grade cut-off in this area, so we could really go either way, but we've decided to "red shirt" him for now and call this coming year his Official Kindergarten year. Socially he is just not in the same place as the average rising first grader and needs some time to mature. I watched some Tiger scouts this week (1st graders) and it really confirmed that we'd made the right decision. He's just not there yet. He'll start kindergarten right around his sixth birthday.

    At homeschool, of course, this doesn't change anything. We're going to hand him the book he's ready for without caring what number is on the cover. He's an emerging reader, writes well, and is turning into a sturdy little math student. So here's The Plan for this coming school year.

Phonics and Reading

  • continue Sing, Spell, Read, & Write level 1 (also covers handwriting)
  • follow that with Sing, Spell, Read, & Write level 2 if it seems like he needs it
  • BOB Books collection 2 and 3
  • finish Christian Liberty Press kindergarten readers
  • Kindergarten Favorites literature from Veritas Press when he seems ready to leave the phonics readers behind and start real books, First Favorites is already on the shelf if he gets that far
  • daily read alouds from Mom, family bedtime stories, living in a reading culture family


    Slow and steady instruction seems to work best with him, with lots of review and hands on practice.  Rod and Staff math 1 has been a perfect fit this year, but their book 2 will have too much writing and not enough meat for him. It's the only level of their math I don't care for. It stretches the math out too long and beats it into the ground. The older kids did every problem of every lesson in 1 and 3, but we skipped whole swaths of 2. I don't want to buy all five workbooks again just to barely use them. He is not ready for the more aggressive Horizons 1 however. So I'm going to put a few options on his shelf and mostly let him pick which one we'll do each day.  We'll have lots of direct mom teaching time and hands on work.
  • Dr. Wright's Kitchen Table Math volume 1
  • Foundations of Mathematics from Math U See (old, out of print, covers 1st and 2nd grade math)
  • Gattegno Mathematics 1 with Cuisenaire Rods (considering Mathematics Made Meaningful, but I think we'll have plenty to keep him occupied for a year)
  • math sticks, 1s/10s/100s blocks, and whatever other random math manipulatives we find in the school closet (perks of being the baby of the family)
  • blank paper


  • Early Reader's Bible by Beers, to read to Mom
  • The Book of Life volume one, to read to him


     Only one of these resources at a time. Valor can choose the order.
  • Legends and Leagues story book and workbook (Veritas Press)
  • Geography and Map Activities workbook (Rand McNally)
  • Children Just Like Me
  • Children Just Like Me: Celebrations
  • Passport to the World
  • select Childcraft volumes like holidays around the world, landmarks, and such


     Again, only one of these at a time. Valor can choose the order.
  • The Goops - Yes, I know, science?! But it's a family tradition to do The Goops in K or 1st, and it's the best block to stick it in. We have a full color hard copy of the story, and I'll print coordinating pages from the free book (Google Books) full scale for coloring pages. 
  • My First Encyclopedia of the Human Body (With Scholastic paper craft books if he's interested.)
  • Getting to Know Nature's Children nonfiction book series on various animals
  • Seed Babies

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