Saturday, March 1, 2008

Kindergarten- Charlotte Mason Style

"Home the best Growing-ground for Young Children.––All the same, whatever be the advantages of Kindergarten or other schools for little children, the home schoolroom ought to be the best growing-ground for them." Home Education pg. 171

A look at a typical week in the life of a CM Kindergartner as examined by Charlotte Mason's Six Points (Home Education pgs. 178-179)

"(a) That the knowledge most valuable to the child is that which he gets with his own eyes and ears and fingers (under direction) in the open air."

Kindergarten is a continuation of all the activities that he started in our preschool program. It continues to be important that he experience the world using all of his senses in the great outdoors.

"(b) That the claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to encroach on the child's right to long hours daily for exercise and investigation."

We spend less that 4 hours a week on the types of activities that many associate with kindergarten work. It seems like a shocking small amount of time to spend on his education doesn't it? But that 4 hours a week over a course of a year he will complete our phonics program and be reading 2nd grade level books.....although he could easily start this at age 6 if it caused stress. He will complete a math program designed for 5 yo ....although he could easily start this math program next year and cover the material faster. Five years olds are usually ready for a bit more than previous years but it is foolish to think they need to spend hours a day satisfying that desire. The trick is to find that balance that satisfies his need to learn but is not a burden.

"Again, the child in the Kindergarten is set to such tasks only as he is competent to perform, and then, whatever he has to do, he is expected to do perfectly." Home Education. pg. 181

"(c) That the child should be taken daily, if possible, to scenes––moor or meadow, park, common, or shore––where he may find new things to examine, and so add to his store of real knowledge. That the child's observation should be directed to flower or boulder, bird or tree; that, in fact, he should be employed in gathering the common information which is the basis of scientific knowledge."

His observation on this excursion.....

"This pine cone is smaller than those from my pine tree and the needles are different from my pine tree. They are similar but different, why? "

My job is to find the answers to his questions, supply the names of these trees and not make it into a lecture that spoils the fun.

"(d) That play, vigorous healthful play, is, in its turn, fully as important as lessons, as regards both bodily health and brain-power."

I cannot imagine him spending the day sitting in a classroom. I wonder how many "naughty" boys are sitting in a classroom wishing they could just run and play a bit.

"(e) That the child, though under supervision, should be left much to himself––both that he may go to work in his own way on the ideas that he receives, and also that he may be the more open to natural influences. "

If you listen to a 5 year play you will hear them reenact all the stories that you have read to them. Choose wisely.....

"(f) That the happiness of the child is the condition of his progress; that his lessons should be joyous, and that occasions of friction in the schoolroom are greatly to be deprecated."

Kindergarten is the foundation of your child's future school years. Lessons should be enjoyable and not a burden-there is nothing that cannot be learned next year if it becomes a source of conflict so structure your day so you see lots of smiles. You will be thankful you did in the years to come.


Although not one of Charlotte Mason's Six Points, I notice that the 5th year is the year the habits that I work on with my children really become ... well...Habits. Requests that a few months ago would have resulted in a meltdown are now answered with a cheerful ," Yes, Ma'am." We still have more work to do but progress is being made...

"Education is the formation of habits." Home Education pg. 98


PocketsoftheFuture said...

What a beautiful, inspiring and instructive post. I love how you put together CM quotes with descriptions of what you do with your son along with photos of him living those quotes out.

I also have a 5 year old but he is the youngest of 6 and often riding their wind. At times he even pipes up with details for their narrations. It really takes a lot of focus, though, for me to carve out any time just for him.

Thank you for your grounded post about the sweet life with a 5 year old.


Connie said...

Thank you for taking the time to make this post on your blog. I use CM with my high schooler, but this will be the first year for a CM kindergarten. I felt overwhelmed and googled, "what does a CM kindergarten look like". I'm glad I found your post!