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Old 02-12-2012, 03:33 PM   #1
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former kindergarten teacher seeking to hs needs some help/advice

So I taught kindergarten for four years and was great at it, it came very easy to me. Where I began teaching, we did not have a "curriculum" best school ever. We just did learning. It was amazing and magical and I loved it.
I taught with hands on math and experience and we used Guided Reading for teaching reading and Kid writing for writing.
Now I am overwhelmed with the prospect of preschool for my 3/4 year old. I know this sounds crazy, but I know how to teach kindergarten, but I am lost with teaching letters to a boy, forming that foundation is really hard for me. I am used to children coming to me with a bit of a foundation.
He knows the shape of his name and he knows that M is the beginning of his name, but he does not know the name of the letter.
I feel stressed because I feel like I should be good at this and I am not. I also don't know how to break down what my expectations for kindergarteners into what are reasonable expectations for a preschooler. I am used to having a grade card and a rubric of this is what I have to get my students to know. I can not find that for preschoolers. I know this is all a bit early. I just need a plan for preschool next year - I am a planner
We are also a bit different than most families. (we do not watch tv normally, occasionally the boys can see a mighty machine. We are also picky on what kinds of literature. We are also very picky and selective on toys they have
Most of the curriculum I have seen I do not like. Are there any former teachers out there who have a similar edu background as me (with guided reading, ect) and can share if they forged a curriculum.
Is it okay to forgo a curriculum in the early grades. Where can I find the expectations for each age other than breaking down state standards, which I do not want to do. I want a check list.
Thanks for any insight.

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Old 02-12-2012, 03:53 PM   #2
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Re: former kindergarten teacher seeking to hs needs some help/advice

I used to teach K and have done vpk (kindergarten readiness for 4-5yr olds). When I taught K most of the kids did not know all of their letters. So in a way both the vpk and K were similar to me. There was more of a curriculum teaching K. But in both jobs we intro'ed one letter each week and had weeks for 'review'. Meaning, we'd do like M, P, J, B then in week 5 review (just an example). I would suggest this but also do other letter activities aside from "letter of the week". In addition, we used a song for each letter, wrote the letter, and went over the sound every morning. Some letter activities I like doing: playdo letters (forming a letter out of playdo), putting magnetic or wooden small letters in a box of sand or rice and "fishing" them out either by hand or a makeshift pole (with magnet attached), writing letters in shaving cream, taking a piece of painters tape forming the letter and then painting over top--next day peeling the tape off to expose the letter...I could go on! The moral of the story with 3-5 yr olds is hands on everything, particularly with boys. I have found (this is not always the case but more often than not) that girls like to sit, draw, and color a lot more than boys. Boys like a mess. They love sticky hands and they will stand up for almost every activity, even if you beg them over and over to sit in a chair. They like action.

You can forgo the curriculum, though I wouldnt. If I were really set on homeschooling, I would try to find at least a reading curriculum and guide my plans around that. There are themes (usually centered around social studies) that you can also use. As for science and math I think those are a bit easier to find plans for online. I know here whenever schools are getting a new curriculum, teachers can sometimes keep the old ones. Id see if any teachers have any you could borrow or have. Wouldnt have to be fancy, just helps to have something you can plan around...more of a guide so you know what you have taught. Also-there are letters and concepts that are easier than others, you will want to do those first.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:20 PM   #3
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Re: former kindergarten teacher seeking to hs needs some help/advice

I like this series.
"What your kindergartener needs to know."
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/re...o+know&x=0&y=0

They also make what your preschooler needs to know, what your first grader needs to know, and so on.

Preschooler one is filled with colored illustration for literature section which makes this edition very lovely. (Litereture included are something like three little bears, gingerbread man, etc.

I decided to use this series as a base as far as what I'd like to teach in which grade when I go off curriculum.



Also, since you have some experience teaching and was successful, you might feel like you shoudl know more, and you should be able to do as you taught other kids, but each situations are different. like you said, you are trying to teach a child who is younger than the ones you taught in the past.

I'd say you can forget the curriculum/standard/structure etc if that is too stressful/overwhelming... just start somewhere. Then your inner teacher should wake up and help you figure things out and put everything together.

You can go from what do I want to teach him first...? What do i think he is ready to learn at this point.....?

If you enjoy making lesson plans/schedules, you can start by making a very rough one. i.e. this week, I'd like to teach him how to write letter L,I, and E... and so on, but of course, you do not have to follow it 100%. Pick up where he did not finish next week.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by back2home View Post
Is it okay to forgo a curriculum in the early grades.
I was nervous when it was time to start homeschooling my ODD, so I went to the hslda.org website and looked at the law for my state. By law I did not have to formally begin homeschooling her until she was 6. SO, for preschool and Kindergarten we just kind of did what we had been doing. Life was our school. We made our bed in the morning; her and her younger sister swept under the table after breakfast, we played with blocks, put together puzzles, played starfall on the computer and read books 2 times a day. We played outside, visited the nursing home and sang songs, painted and colored pictured, sang more songs and read more books. Sometimes we worked in workbooks, sometimes we worked on her handwriting ( handwriting without tears for preschool was good). She started reading on her own when she was 5. Now that she is 6, she does formal homeschool, and we have added more book work, but still are doing the other things that we always did before. I think preschool curriculms are largely a waste of money because most four year olds are not ready to sit and listen and write. My honest opinion is that 3 & 4 year olds don't do well with that type of activity - but they can learn. They beauty of homeschool is that it can be whatever they need where they are.
It is ok to forgo a curriculm and do whatever works for your kids as long as it is legal in your state. They are your kids - do what you feel is best for them, GL! Homeschooling is a challenge and a joy.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:44 PM   #5
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Re: former kindergarten teacher seeking to hs needs some help/advice

I realized after writing all of this I think the reason I am stressing more is that my husband is a pastor and our church has a preschool attached to it and the parishioners are starting to question why our son is not in the 3 year old classroom (because as they say - he needs to be in school doing formal learning or he will be behind). My inner teacher does not agree with 3 year olds needing formal learning. In fact I struggled with some of the things my kindergarteners had to learn.
When I tell them we are homeschooling they usually go off of the deep end. I am so glad that I realized this is what is driving me to feel like we need something formal.
Thanks for some of the thoughts I really liked focusing on what is he ready to learn now and not forcing it because of parishioners. Thanks everyone.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:53 PM   #6
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Re: former kindergarten teacher seeking to hs needs some help/advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by back2home View Post
I realized after writing all of this I think the reason I am stressing more is that my husband is a pastor and our church has a preschool attached to it and the parishioners are starting to question why our son is not in the 3 year old classroom (because as they say - he needs to be in school doing formal learning or he will be behind). My inner teacher does not agree with 3 year olds needing formal learning. In fact I struggled with some of the things my kindergarteners had to learn.
When I tell them we are homeschooling they usually go off of the deep end. I am so glad that I realized this is what is driving me to feel like we need something formal.
Thanks for some of the thoughts I really liked focusing on what is he ready to learn now and not forcing it because of parishioners. Thanks everyone.
At 3, I think everything needs to be fun...formal or informal....I dont think it matters. The most important thing is that kids go into K (or first) feeling like they are smart and excited to learn. Dont let anyone pressure you. Do what you think is right.
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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Re: former kindergarten teacher seeking to hs needs some help/advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by back2home View Post
I realized after writing all of this I think the reason I am stressing more is that my husband is a pastor and our church has a preschool attached to it and the parishioners are starting to question why our son is not in the 3 year old classroom (because as they say - he needs to be in school doing formal learning or he will be behind). My inner teacher does not agree with 3 year olds needing formal learning. In fact I struggled with some of the things my kindergarteners had to learn.
When I tell them we are homeschooling they usually go off of the deep end. I am so glad that I realized this is what is driving me to feel like we need something formal.
Thanks for some of the thoughts I really liked focusing on what is he ready to learn now and not forcing it because of parishioners. Thanks everyone.
Smart lady, you are. (No, I'm not Yoda. )

And yes, like you said, "formal learning" does not necessary equal student will not be behind. It's not one size fit all world. Who says your child receive more or less qulity education from home complare to school? Many ppl seem to think public education (formal structured learning one size fits all = better quality education), but that is totally not true. Sometimes, it might be, and sometimes it is not. It depends on the teacher and home-school educator. But most of the time though, I think people who decide to homeschool intend to provide the best education possible for their own chidlren anyways and end up providing a pretty good educaiton as a result. (not to say none of the public school teacher do the same, I know there are plenty of great teachers out there too).

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