The Kindergarten Blues

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I’ve got the Kindergarten Blues. See, the big kids are 11 and 13 and we are studying Logic and Latin and writing persuasive essays and learning to use a microscope and all sorts of exciting things. I have been waiting and waiting and WAITING for this stage of life! I’m good at paper writing and editing and I’ve been dreaming for years of studying Latin along with my kids. This is the life I’ve always wanted…

And then there’s the little guy. He’s five and he’s living in a different world than his older siblings. And me? I am struggling big time to change gears and find things to do with him that are age appropriate and FUN. Because if we don’t establish in Kindergarten that learning can be fun, his entire educational journey could be a disaster (am I being too dramatic here? Probably.)

Math U See Primer!

He sits in on morning time with us each day, so he’s listening in on the things we do together, and I’ve scaled some of it to his level to make it work for him. He’s doing Math U See Primer and rocking it. And we are doing A Reason For Handwriting. He’s not ready for phonics. He had a fairly traumatic summer with all his medical stuff and he seems to have regressed a bit in letter recognition since then. So I am leaving that alone and we will try again after Christmas.  We try to go to as many local events as we can, because they cover all kinds of different learning experiences. We recently rode a historic steam engine and when to a motorcycle stunt show. And of course, we have Classical Conversations, which starts for us in a couple weeks (we start later than most).

Motorcycle Stunt Show

But he needs more FUN in his kindergarten life and I’m struggling to change gears and get back to that age level mindset again. I’m trying to come up with a list of ways to infuse more FUN into his school day and here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Spend more time at the library picking out books that are on topics that interest him (mostly numbers, cats, and dinosaurs!)
  • Actually read those books together when we get home (yes, this is a struggle in our house sometimes!)
  • Play card games. He’s really into War and I think it’s a great game for reinforcing greater than and less than concepts.
  • Kumon Workbooks. They were a huge hit when the big kids were small and I forgot all about them. They aren’t typical workbooks, they have a lot of tracing and cutting and gluing worksheets that are really fun.
  • Cooking together. He always wants to cook and I tend to tell him no because it’s faster and less messy if he doesn’t help. But I am working on being better about that.

As a Challenge Director, I am constantly telling Foundations families, “The memory work is enough!” And it is. It really is enough to form the foundations for junior high and high school. But it’s not enough to make them fall in love with learning, not on its own.  This has always been a struggle for me. I remember when my older son was five, he asked me, “When is school going to be fun?” Sigh. I’m not good at Kindergarten. I can rock eighth grade like you would not BELIEVE, but I stink at Kindergarten.

Not every phase and stage of home schooling is our best or favorite. But all of it is important and I think the best thing we can do is recognize the areas where we struggle and reach out and ask for help. It’s ok to ask for help–I’m so glad that the home school community is thriving and so helpful. We can get each other through the rough times and cheer each other on when life gets hard.

Kindergarten needs to be more than workbook pages (but some workbook pages are worthwhile!)

Do you have awesome Kindergarten ideas? Share links to your favorite blog posts in the commends, because this momma NEEDS them to cure her Kindergarten Blues!

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