Kindergarten and Young Children
My name is **** and I wrote before last summer. You told me to teach my 5 year old to love to learn. We are spending a lot of time outside. I am not very good at naming trees and plants, but I am trying. I have tried to do some solar system teaching. I am having difficulty figuring out where to start. I really appreciated the letter you sent before and any help you could give now I know would help again.
I am using [a book] for reading and writing, phonics and spelling. It is working but it seems to be a little above her. The spelling mostly. I do not really have a math program, I can’t figure out what to do. I am using some preschool material I had left over. I have [work books] but She does not seem interested in doing much written work. I do not want to push her, but I do not want her to fall behind either. Thanks again for the help.
It is difficult to know whether to advance a child or hold back a little. That is the job of a home schooling mom. Charlotte Mason wants us to challenge their minds and spend as much time as necessary in finding the materials that will create that love of learning. Charlotte knew that was difficult but she held to that. Moms need to look and look and look trying their best to find the good stuff and the age appropriate stuff. It is a task but you’ll be rewarded when you watch her learning true retainable knowledge.
Let me caution you about her age. I know you do not want her falling behind but at five years old she is not fully responsible for very much book work at all. I do not know what I may have said to you last year but if Charlotte Mason were raising her she would have her outside and you are doing that. She would have her learning the names of plants and you are aware of that. She would have her look at the constellations and you know of that. Early reading skills can be introduced with the view of love of learning (combined with challenging material) all done in a delicate and child friendly manner.
When she is six years old you can start to work and challenge her more. At that age she will learn to read and she’ll learn to narrate (tell back) things that she has learned. You will read out-loud to her a lot and you’ll want to keep taking her outside. I think a well rounded six year old education looks a lot like a well rounded sixteen year old education. She could enjoy classical music, trips to the museum, looking at fine art from a book on the couch too, working with paint and clay and colored pencils. She could take a class in dance or gymnastics, she might want to learn knitting. All of these fun, broad, mind opening and healthy occupations combined with math and alphabet writing.
As to these specific work books you have mentioned I am not familiar with them enough to comment and I don’t really have a favorite math program to recommend. I counsel you to keep looking, your eyes always alert, because even the K-Marts & Target stores have math workbooks. If you are always aware and looking you will find acceptable and enjoyable math materials.
To end, please don’t worry about her lack of interest at this precious young age. She’s still very young and don’t trouble yourself or doubt yourself if she doesn’t want to do any book work at all. When she turns six then you can begin, in a gentle and gradual manner to bring the interesting book work into her life and if she is involved with the outdoors and she has good habits and a healthy interest in the world around her she will be a learner and she will develop that love for learning.
Thanks for writing,