Counting to Kindergarten. Reflections, K Week 1

Week one of our second year homeschooling finished, which means that our first year of homeschooling is completed.  That doesn’t mean that our homeschool curriculum is completed, but that’s ok, we’ll just keep plugging at it.  Since we are only between pre-k and K, I don’t have to worry about meeting objectives and finishing up curriculums for the final paperwork and the like.  Probably, I won’t worry much about finishing those things up when I do have to, except for getting the paperwork in on time.

Plugging we are, though:  we got three days of official school work done this week around other things, and moved forward through most of our unit, which will be drawing to a close next week.  One of the activities we did was “Counting Kind Acts,” in which we counted the number of kind acts done in the book, and then she took a “Counting Walk,” in which she took and counted 100 steps.  I pulled out the 100-chart for this, as the curriculum wanted her to stop at multiples of ten, but she’s not yet up for counting by 2’s, 5’s, or 10’s.  But the chart was helpful, and she counted to 100 (though I think she took more than 100 steps along the way!).  She’s not a perfect counter to 100, but once she’s on the right multiple of ten, she has it down that it goes from 1-9 within it, aka 40 then 41-49, before getting snagged on which multiple comes next.

Then, for her school, she wanted to count backwards from 100, and I was game for helping her, but it proved too difficult, even with the chart (I don’t think she entirely knows how to read the chart), and the idea was scratched, being replaced with counting upwards from 0 again.

I was pretty impressed with her ability to count to 100 at all, and see it as a positive change from where we started last year.  As well, the fact that we were outside shows a change at all.  When we first began doing our homeschool last July, we had to be in the same exact spot every day or she couldn’t concentrate.  It had to be routine or she was too distracted – which was ok, as she was only four – but it proves a maturing to me that she can now concentrate in a different setting (actually one that she suggested).  I’m glad.

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My flower, which is creeping up to the wind-chime in the tree, that we observed after counting to 100.

Another sign of maturing through this year is that she will discuss things.  We discussed lots of things before we began homeschooling, and I mean ‘discuss’ as in a back and forth conversation – and her little brain could remember and come up with some amazing things!  BUT when it came to any discussing that was connected to the school work, she was out, especially if I had my parent guide before me.  She just wouldn’t do it, and if I tried to push/encourage it, she just let me answer my own questions, which I gently did.  But our current unit has a lot of discussing in it, and she has proven capable and willing to do it with the school work now.  She gave me some really thoughtful answers too!

In the counting theme, as I sat planning next week’s schedule the other night, I was looking at the calendars past in my big teacher’s planner, writing out the count of how many days we reached – 192!  It was interesting to me that in the first months, I’d write all these messages to myself in the Notes column:  return to such and such, revisit Unit 2 this or that, where we left off in Spanish.  After about 6 months, those totally disappeared, though the calendars became much more filled up.  Definitely what happened was that sticking to strict plans fell on the wayside and going with the flow took over.  I stopped worrying that things wouldn’t be covered, because they will be, everything gets covered about 6 times through elementary, I think.  (Just to make sure that it didn’t get lost in the cracks the first 4 times!)

How do I feel about that?  That’s an interesting question.  In one way, I really love writing and all the mechanics involved in it.  Sitting down and doing worksheets is fun for me.  It is really exciting to see Elizabeth on the cusp of reading, she told me yesterday morning that she made the word “No” with stickers on the race mat, just for fun.  Spelling ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ were things I can remember doing just before kindergarten, we had  a little song about it, and I felt so proud.  I see Elizabeth’s sticker words as a baby step into reading and writing, she knew how to put two and two together to make it with letter stickers.

Being said, force feeding reading isn’t fun for a kid.  Fun art projects that incorporate reading and writing are.  Being able to put thoughts to paper through someone else’s hand is fun.  Color is fun.  And opportunities abound every day to nourish reading and writing readiness, it’s just not possible to write it out in a planner beforehand, rather, you have to be ready to recognize the moments when they are before you, and jump on the opportunites.  Therefore, homeschooling has become a leap of faith.  I’m not messing my kid up.  I’m not missing anything.  It will all come, the right way.  It’s taking a deep breath and stepping into the darkness, unsure of what is ahead, but having been told previously that there is nothing in your way.

And it’s working.

Share your thoughts:  What are some ways that you’ve stepped back and seen changes in your child, right before your eyes.  How do you feel moving ahead with sometimes blind faith in homeschooling – and are you a strict planner or a go-with-the-flow kind of teacher parent?

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