I mean, my kids turn five and they learn things, but I wouldn’t exactly call it kindergarten. It’s kind of weird to admit that, considering my degree from way back in the day is in Early Childhood Education, but there you have it. When it comes to kindergarten, I pretty much wing it.
I’m a very random combination of fly by the seat of my pants planner. I have a general idea of where we’re going, but there are many options of how to get there and I have been known to take the circuitous route every now and again.
When our oldest was four I started reading up on homeschooling, something I never even considered until the neighbor kids started going to preschool and I wanted to keep my little guy home. I attribute part of it to seeing how much he was learning at home and part of it to laziness because I couldn’t imagine driving him to 2 ½ hours of preschool with a 2 year old and a new baby.
It wasn’t always this way.
For kindergarten we read and play. I ditch the curriculum and let the kids sit in on as much of the older kids’ school as they want, which usually means lots of history and as much science as I can talk myself into teaching. (Here’s a two for one confession. Teaching science is not my specialty.)
I definitely felt the pressure to “do” kindergarten with my oldest. Homeschooling still felt like an experiment then, like family and friends were watching to make sure we did it right. Whatever right means. We loosely followed the Five in a Row curriculum because it incorporated our love of stories and reading with easy, hands on activities, but mostly we kept playing with the three and the one year old. And reading.
Wouldn’t you know it, my son learned so much and we had such fun and watching the relationship between my three kids grow was a gift.
I’ve gotten more and more laid back about kindergarten with each subsequent child. My first grader wanted to learn to read at age 4 because his brother and sister could and because he wanted to read the sports page. So he learned. I’m still not exactly sure how, but I attribute it to the tireless work of his big sister. He wasn’t a huge fan of writing, but he does love that sports page so I had him copy scores of his favorite teams. That love of sports also parlays into some pretty fun math problems. Learning? Yes. Planned curriculum? Nope. Not even close.
At this rate, who knows what’ll happen when our one-year-old is old enough for kindergarten? But I’m not worried about it because 5-year-olds are so little and there is so much time to learn and there is so much to learn through playing, reading, family hikes, making playdough, and all that fun stuff that most kindergartners (and this particular mama) just love!
There you have it. I’m a kindergarten drop-out. And my kids lived to tell the story. Fear not! They can read the story and do word problems about it, too.
DeNae vanWestrienen recently pulled up shop and moved from the suburbs of Minnesota to the mountains of Colorado with her husband and four kids. Her three Rs are Reading, wRiting, and Running. She writes about motherhood, the big love of Jesus, raising readers, and finding the lovely in the mundane over at Big Love, Epic Fail. Follow along there or join the crazy fun at your favorite social media site: Facebook, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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