Is your current curriculum not working out? Are you looking for a first or a new curriculum for your new kindergartner? Stop right now.
Think back to your own kindergarten experience, if you went to school, and ask yourself these questions:
- Do you remember having your teacher read to you, or were you handed a book and told to read it?
- Were there lots of fun arts and crafts, or were you stuck with textbooks and workbooks?
- Did you get to run around, play and be goofy, or did you have to sit still for hours on end?
Our news feeds are full of articles and posts on how parents are upset that schools want children as young as 5 to sit still and listen. They appear shocked when a child can’t do this, and then advise having the poor kid tested for ADD/ADHD and medicated.
As kids, do you remember hearing about so many kids with diagnosed ADD/ADHD?
I don’t, and I think the schools are wrong many things, but especially with younger kids.
What’s different between then and now?
Like with many “modern” problems, I think it’s a combination of contributing factors.
First – Kids are expected to sit still in classrooms more than ever. How come? For more testing? So they can learn multiplication at the age of 6? Kids need to move – it’s not fair to expect adolescent or teen amounts of focus or activity levels from 5-6 year old kids. Schools are dead-wrong on this, in my opinion.
Second – Our society loves to label things. We especially love to label things that are different; so a kid who can’t sit still is going to be labeled even quicker. But labels are limiting in and of themselves. The minute you label a kid with something is the minute that they get placed in a box.
Third – Food/environment. Just think for a minute – are the foods we eat as healthy/wholesome as they were 30 years ago? Probably not when we need movies like Super-size Me to point out the obvious: “Fast food” needs the “s” removed from “Fast.” We’re not eating as healthfully as we used to because many people have stopped cooking. As the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Our mental and physical health suffers due to what we put in our bodies.
Fourth – Over-diagnosis. As mentioned in my first and second points, we love to label and kids are being expected to sit still too much. I honestly believe that in at least some of the cases of ADD/ADHD diagnosis, the contributing factors leading to the child’s mis-behavior in a school setting weren’t taken into consideration. Things that can be solved, like giving all kids (not just the wriggly ones) more time to play, or more hands-on activities, more art projects and the like.
So why does this matter to us?
After all… we homeschool so the kids can run around like maniacs whenever they need a break
It matters because many of us came from an institutional school setting, so our experiences were formed from that environment. We decide we’re going to homeschool our little ones, and because of that experience (and the fuzziness of kindergarten memories), we are terrified that we’ll let them down. So, instead of following our mommy-gut, we follow educational trends and start looking for curriculum. We have to have it accredited, and certified, and, and, and…
But I want you to stop worrying about what the neighbors will think if your kids are playing instead of studying. Stop worrying about whether your homeschooling friend will shame you into buying something. And definitely stop pushing your pre-schooler to be someone they’re not ready to be. Just let them be.
If you’re looking for something to buy, to help guide you along the kindergarten path – read. Read lots and lots of articles, magazines, books and blogs. Read about the experiences of other parents, read about child development. Read TO your little ones! After you’ve read and read some more, do lots of activities and hands-on crafts to help develop their fine-motor skills, and learn about the world.
Enjoy this time with your little ones. It is far too brief and you don’t want to miss a thing. Remember that life is learning, and the memories of learning to cook with mom or dad are just as valuable as the knowledge they gain from the experience. Fractions, ratios, temperature and more can all be learned with just cooking. Not to mention the wide variety of games available to us – from games for little ones to games for older kids, games are a terrific way to learn (be sure to subscribe to get our Winter GAMES issue). With that in mind, do you really need a curriculum for your kindergartner?
What else can your kindergartner learn through daily activities?