I can’t help it. Every few weeks (or days) I start dithering about the Engineer’s schooling. Because he’s officially a kindergartener now. Because he’s not doing “school” stuff, like worksheets, handwriting practice, or sight words.
I’m my own worst enemy.
I feel a sudden rush of panic: order some curriculum! I’m ruining him for life! Quick, let’s drill on phonics, do some math flash cards. We need to do letters of the week like “normal” kindergarteners!
And then I breathe. Then I remember I don’t have a “normal” kindergartener.
I have a kindergartener who wants to learn about the Great Wall of China one day, and spends time communing with sea lions the next. I live with a kid who thinks that watching videos about cool stuff is the most fun thing ever! We are raising a 5-year-old who lives and breathes learning. But not worksheets. Never that boring stuff.
Sure, he doesn’t know how to read yet (or so I think: he guesses really well.) His handwriting is fair to normal for his age considering his fine motor issues a year ago. He strongly resists any sort of formal math study, but he understands the concept of 0. And negative numbers.
When we first started thinking homeschooling I panicked, because I know deep in my bones that standardized testing just will. not. work. So how could I provide the “proof of progress” that my state requires? They allow a qualified evaluator to interview, review work, and submit a letter about the progress.
Trying to keep records for the evaluation has helped with my panic moments. When I sit and write down all the school stuff we did it looks like more than it initially seemed. For this week:
Tuesday: field trip to DC.
- toured the botanical gardens
- named local butterflies
- correctly identified the Washington Monument
- reinforced traffic safety lessons (and discussed why the electronic pedestrian signs were white instead of green. He thinks they should be green, because green means go, duh! besides, the hand indicating stop is red, right?)
- visited the Natural History museum:
- toured the butterfly exhibit, insect exhibit, oceans exhibit, and dinosaur exhibit. Correctly identified the T-Rex skeleton.
Wednesday: school day
- challenge game (block patterns)
- lesson on 2D and 3D shapes, differences, and names
- pop quiz on cube, pyramid, sphere, and cylinder shapes
- discussion detailing the difference between Evolution, Creationism and Intelligent Design (he’s pretty sure there are people living on Saturn that caused life on Earth)
- learning videos: windup robots (art installation) Mandarin ducklings jumping out of their nest in a tree, giant rubber duck art installation
Thursday: school day
- world landmark cards, identifying and asking questions
- Great Wall of China: mapped it, learned about it, TED video about history of it
- videos: Shanghai spring festival, Chinese popcorn cannon, Ellora Caves (India) robot car that drives on walls
- built different marble tracks using blocks, household items, and hotwheels track, including tunnels and aqueducts
- challenge game (block patterns)
Friday: field trip to the National Zoo
- observed sea lions for 20 minutes, interacted with one
- observed the prairie dogs, pointed out one eating, discussion on PD food
- visited the reptile house
- visited the tidal pool, discussed what tidal pools were
- visited the Amazon house, correctly identified a school of fish as neon tetras
- found and shared the tarantula cage with family, identified tarantula
- observed different fresh water fish and different types of swimming
- out-of-the-blue social discussion on why the family unit isn’t always mommy + daddy, but sometimes 2 mommies or 2 daddies.
I’m just going to carry on and let him decide what to learn. It’s kindergarten, right? Do-over for first grade if we have to, no worries. He’s already finished most kindergarten goals anyway.
In the meantime, don’t looked shocked if my kindergartener points out a cumulonimbus cloud in the sky. Because he’s like that. And I love him for it.