Post Kindergarten Review

The great, big, gignatic school post . . . if you aren't interested in homeschooling, skip . . . this is basically my school summary of Kindergarten, to print and put in Shannon's portfolio for her review.  Homeschooling is pretty easy in Florida- we have a choice of yearly testing (seems pointless in K, huh?) or portfolio review by a certified teacher.  Easy-peasy!  This year was such a good learning experience- and as I told a friend this week, mostly for me!  (lovely pictures from my Instagram account)

I learned . . .
*  to be disciplined and diligent each day.  I hear too often in the homeschooling world "oh you're tired?  take the day off!  Oh, you guys are sick?  Don't worry about it!  Oh you want to go do something fun?  Why not?"  And yeah, those are all legit at times . . .but if you do that every day, you'll never get school done!  Seriously, I could come up with a "reason" not to do school just about every day!!!  So instead, my philosophy was to push through. If she went to public school, I would expect her teacher darn well better be there most every day!  And so this teacher did too ;)

*  That the hard part of homeschooling (at this age) is NOT academic . . .it's behavioral!  I tell you what, there were plenty days it sure would have been tempting to let someone "else" discipline her all day!  And feed her lunch and entertain her!  But that's what God has asked me to do . . especially the training in character!  We had plenty of struggle days- working through obedience or attitude issues. And in the end, I'm glad we did.  I'm glad I can help her learn now, while she's young!

*  That it's hard work to make it a learning environment AND a fun one!  Hope to get better at this next year.

My goals for K were . . .
*  For Shannon to learn to read.

*  For her handwriting to improve and for her to know the alphabet easily enough to write.

*  Math foundations- numbers, etc.

My "philosophy" of sorts . . . 
*  Simple, quality vs quantity.  We did not do pages and pages of work each day, but rather simple, very well done work.  One very well written page verses many poorly done pages.

What we actually did . . .

Singapore Essentials A and B-  Loved these!  We flew through book A, which is what most people say their kids do.  Book B took longer and we did very slowly, sometimes one page per day (it's where they begin adding and subtracting).  We learned to use an abacus or manipulative to help visualize adding and subtracting.  Shannon learned to skip count 10s and 5s, we are still working on 2s.  She can easily count to 100 on her own.

Handwriting Without Tears book-  we worked slowly through this book, focusing on quality writing.  It may have been "too" easy but my hope was that we were making her foundation of neat handwriting VERY firm.  One day at the end, she wrote this page . . . and I was amazed at how nice and neat she wrote!

For practice, she writes notes on her own all the time and asks to "copy" things that I write.

100EZ Lessons- we finally finished this spring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Wow, that was a challenge . . .not sure if it was the book or the process of learning to read or a combination of both.  But by the time we were done, she was asking to read the lessons twice, she liked them so much.

Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading-  We started this after finishing 100EZ.  Actually we started around lesson 46.  I like the style of this much better already and when it's Forest's turn, we may skip 100EZ and try to start with this.  I like the short sentences it has the student read, Shannon seems to like the silly factor and the parent repetition seems very effective.  We'll just keep on with this through the summer and into next year.  Supposedly takes kids to a 4th grade level.

Explode the Code-  We started these workbooks in January.  Shannon has a love-hate relationship with these- doesn't mind the reading (seems fairly easy after some of the big words in 100EZ), but isn't always happy about the writing.  I consider this reading and handwriting in one, because I expect neat writing from her.  She likes the cute little pictures and often wants to color them.  We made it halfway through book 2 before our summer break.  Not sure that we will continue this after book 2 is done- trying to discern if this is something we need to work through for discipline sake or if it will exasperate us both.

Read Aloud-  What homeschool wouldn't be complete without these, right?  My kids love stories, so I gave up halfway through the year, trying to write down everything I read them! We worked our way through a lot of the books on the "Sonlight" Curriculum's list, as well as reading what we wanted.  We're up to book four in the Ramona Quimby series, by Shannon's request.  We did the library as able (a baby threw a few kinks in here), read zillions from around our house a million times and really got into our library's EBook system.  We have an amazing, amazing library system here, and the EBooks are almost unlimited.  We had a lot of fun picking out books and reading them on my ipad . . . well, except the one time Forest picked out a book and by the end I realized the story was all about  a boy who wanted to wear dresses and he finally found someone to tell him it was okay to be "who he truly was."  Um, okay.  Thankfully my kids were clueless.  Eeek!  I printed our list of books we read, for our home school review . . . and stopped the printer after page 19.  HA!

Some other favorites this year:
*  Secret Garden  (3/4 of the way through)
*  Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (on reading 3 or 4 of this . . .)
*  Charlotte's Web (read this several times already)
*  My Father's Dragon
*  100 Dresses (read several times and read it in two days they liked it so much)
*  Boxcar Children (they LOVED this and wanted bread & cheese for lunch!)
*  Jame's Herriot's Treasury for Children (will be a family favorite, my kids adore animals and especially the horse stories.  We love Scotland and the pictures take me back there every time)

Other Stuff
Bible-  We have read several different versions of Bible stories, watched some videos, etc.  This is just part of our day.
Memory-  We memorized verses for letters A through T, are working on our address, did the months of the year, days of week and some poems.
World-  We read a book about "Children of the World," quite often.  Also reading some amazing (FREE) PDF books from Voice of the Mayrters, called "Courageous Kids, " about kids in countries with persecution.  We did North Korea and the kids loved it- very well written.  Hope to continue this.  We have memorized contients, and use our globe a lot to talk about the world.  YouTube and the internet are my friend- we hear about a country and we look up videos to learn about it.
Science-  Hours outside, piles of nature books- easy peasy.
IPAD- We use the ipad weekly, we got the Hooked on Phonics app, which Shannon loves.  Also a handwriting one (mostly for Forest), Starfall of course and a few neat puzzle apps, to keep those minds sharp!


How cool you have a choice for reporting in! I grew up with standardized testing, but we'll have to do portfolios here in PA. It seems very overwhelming to me (I guess it's pretty strict here?!), but I have until 3rd grade to start reporting in.
I'm still learning the same things .. and man, behavioral issues is RIGHT ON!
Okay, can I just say that I want you to be MY homeschooling teacher?! I absolutely love everything you did! I am amazed at your smart girl wanting to read the stories twice (thinking of Landon wanting to do that makes me chuckle!) and her handwriting is amazing!! Landon loves the Explode the Code books so far. LOVE all the read alouds you do! We read a ton, but not as many chapter books, which I am planning on changing this year. This post was so inspiring! And I will have to check out "Courageous Kids."

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