It may come as a surprise to many to learn that kindergarten is a relatively recent invention and is not a necessary part of education in many cases. The decision of when to start formally schooling a child depends on the child’s readiness. Some children are ready at age 3 or 4 while others are not ready until much later. An early start in education does not necessarily equate to a higher intelligence or more advanced skills at a later age.
In our home, Delightful began begging to do school at age 3 when she saw that her older brother and sister were studying different materials. She wanted very badly to learn to read and write; however, she was not developmentally ready at that time. Instead, she learned her alphabet (upper and lowercase) and many of the sounds the letters made. She also enjoyed using Donna Young’s prewriting worksheets, coloring, painting, and counting different objects.
At age 4, Delightful showed all the signs of being ready to be able to learn to read, but the idea of blending sounds together had not yet clicked in her mind. We began using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons because it really emphasizes the skill of blending in its early lessons. By Lesson 8, Delightful could read the first two stories in the Christian Liberty Phonics Readers. However, even though Delightful has been progressing well with learning to read, we do not have a daily “school” routine for her. Learning right now is an adventure for Delightful that we do not want to quash with workbooks and daily lesson plans to get through. When she expresses an interest in a topic, we seize the opportunity as a teachable moment, and she has been growing in leaps and bounds with that approach.
Here are some links to articles on early education for your consideration:
Teaching Kindergarten from Classical Christian Homeschooling
Preschool from Creation Ministries International Homeschool Corner
Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School by Alison Gopnik
Here are some ideas for kindergartners or preschoolers who are ready and eager to learn:
- Learn the abc’s and their sounds. Phonics when ready.
- Practice counting objects up to 100
- Pre-writing and/or writing worksheets
- Learn to tell time
- Arts and Crafts — coloring, drawing, painting, cutting, pasting, sewing, stringing beads, etc.
- Nature Study
- Play outdoors and at the park
- Personal care and habits — dressing, brushing teeth, tying shoes, etc.
- Manners and obedience
- Work (chores) and service to others
- Personal information
- Learn concepts like opposites, rhyming, etc.
- Nursery rhymes and stories
- Bible stories and songs