Would it surprise you to know that I have read through the Mn Dept of Ed. standards for Kindergarten? You can find the K-12 standards here. I read them because I respect the hard work that has gone into putting them together and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
I thought I would write out the sequence we’ve gone through this year as Ethan has started to learn to read(we do more than handwriting and letter sounds for kindergarten, but this is the stuff I wanted to write out):
For the first 10 days-
Reinforcing recognition of alphabet letters. Lots of singing and games. Making sure to teach L M N O P all as separate letters and not” ellemenopee” and also testing letter recognition out of “order” so I can make sure it’s not just the order that Ethan has memorized.
After the first 10 days were done, we switched to our regular schedule which introduces a new letter every 6 days. During those 6 days, we do all kinds of fun activities around learning to write the letter and to remember the sound the letter makes. I don’t want to infringe on the copyright of the folks that wrote my curriculum, but in general, it’s handwriting, singing, cutting and pasting projects, flashcards, games and drawing. It sounds so simple when I write it out and, in some ways it is, but I wasn’t educated to be a kindergarten teacher and wouldn’t have necessarily though of some of these things on my own.
After 5 times through the cycle, we had learned enough consonants and vowels to start putting letter sounds together and to start beginning spelling. By lesson 9, there are story pages for the student to read.
We’ve made it through 16 of the 26 letter sounds and it’s starting to really click for Ethan and I. The reasoning behind the exercises makes more sense and I can really see how well it works. I have a video on our camera that showcases Ethan’s spelling skills, but I need help getting it off the camera and onto the computer. By the end of this school year, Ethan will be comfortable reading consonant-vowel- consonant words. He’ll be ready to move on to more vowel sounds.
For Math, we’ve used Math U See. The only problem I have run into is that Ethan’s math skills surpass his writing skills. He will know the answer, but he’s still working on learning to write the numbers. In those cases, I have him tell me what the answer is and I will model the number for him or let him choose the appropriate flashcard so he has it in front of him to copy onto his paper. Last week we worked on adding 10’s and this week, we’ll learn counting by 10’s.
I’ve had my recent moments of panic and doubt comparing to other kids, but I’ve been talked back down off the ledge! I don’t need to compare Ethan to other kids. We don’t have to see how quickly we can get through to the next thing because that doesn’t matter. When Ethan is 20, it wont matter that he learned to read or write at age 4 or 8 as long as he has mastery of each of the skills that he’s learning. It wont matter that he finished kindergarten math early or spent extra time on it. A lot of that stuff is just about bragging rights for parents (in my humble opinion 😉 ). I’m trying to keep in mind that understanding and mastery of each concept is the most important thing.
Also, when the local school district has a snow day, Ethan isn’t aware of that and we still do school 🙂