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Anyone using a Charlotte Mason inspired kindergarten year?


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I'm Intrigued by the theories of Charlotte Mason, but still like the ideas behind Classical education. I'm torn between the idea of doing too much and not enough for my daughters Kindergarten year.


From what I've read, Charlotte Mason was really laid back for schooling under age 6-7. I'd love to learn more. For those of you using Charlotte Mason ideas for Kindergarten, can you list how and what you teach? and any website links you are using for information on teaching kindergarten Charlotte mason style.

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We are using CM-inspired methods for kindergarten this year.


I would hasten to note that CM is basically classical. Just a slightly different approach in the earlier years than TWTM, from what I can tell. (Even the WTM approach in kindergarten is pretty lightweight.)


Mason seemed to believe that prior to 6 children mostly needed lots of fresh air....so we do that!


I teach kindergarten by doing math and reading everyday, for about 10 minutes each. I have done some handwriting, but I'm not convinced my son is ready for a lot of that. So we do a tiny bit, probably 3 days a week.


For reading I just use OPGTR with a whiteboard and markers. I really like this book; it's simple to use and very straightforward. We do one lesson PER WEEK (yes, per week--we go slowly, so there are no tears and no one feels overwhelmed). (ETA: he already knew his letter sounds, etc, so we fast-forwarded through all of that....I will go faster when need be, but try to keep it relatively slow--I just interject my own common sense into the book's pacing!)


For math I am working through the MUS primer, rejecting some parts, but next time around I will not even do that. I'll just do fun math--manipulatives, counting, etc. We do that, too, here. Next year we will be doing Miquon.


For handwriting I use lined paper and he copies my strokes. No program.


We fill out a calendar each day (numbering the days of the week). We've done some Bible memory work, as well as other memory work (like phone number, parents' names, address, birthday etc...)


We try to spend lots of time outside. My son asked to do science, so we do Elemental Science's Intro to Science 2-day a week program....it's super duper lightweight.


We read through a chapter book slowly. We read lots of picture books. We have lots of time to cook and do free play. Library visits. Museums, when we can wrangle the two year old. We do chores!!


Of tantamount importance in my mind is establishing a GOOD working relationship. So I focus on that, mostly. No stress on academics yet. My son is learning to read and understands basic math concepts and enjoys lots of topics/books...I'm satisfied.


We are members of a Classical Conversations community, so my son has one morning a week of 'classes' taught by a tutor. We are mostly doing this for the social and community-building aspects, although he does listen to the CDs, etc. I don't emphasize it much.


Ambleside Online, Charlotte Mason Help and Simply Charlotte Mason are my favorite sites for reading about how to implement this method!

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I think the two methods are very compatible, especially in the first years. TWTM has a very light kindergarten year and you might notice that SWB has not published a single resources that begins before first grade. I think you can easily lay the groundwork for a classical education through a very gentle CM-style K year. Do lots of read alouds of quality literature--mostly picture books but chapter books are great IF you dc are up for them. Sometimes ask for a narration ("tell me about the story"). In our family we have just developed a habit of my always asking the next day what the bedtime story was about (dh does bedtime).


Learn to read but, again, don't stress about it. You can do a very rigorous first grade year reading and scribing for your student.


Introduce math but don't stress about it. Singapore 1A (to use but one rigorous curriculum as an example) starts with counting. Just do real life math and maybe get some C-rods and watch educationunboxed.com.


Keep all the lessons very short. Ten minutes of reading, ten minutes of math. Then send them outside for "science".


I really believe the kindergarten year is (or should be) about introducing the concept of school to the child and helping the mom get a feel for a particular child's learning style. Establish a rhythm and set up the expectation that school is something you do every day.


If this is your kindergarten year, you will be perfectly primed to fully implement TWTM in grade 1. BUT, even if you choose to stay more CM-ish for a couple more years . . . I think that's fine. My oldest is only third grade so I can't speak with absolute authority but, for example, language arts: let's assume you want to do straight TWTM with all PHP resources. FLL3 reviews all material from 1 and 2. You could start "classical grammar" in third grade and be just fine. WWE is a rigorous program that many parents use behind grade-level. Many parents also agree that WWE 4 and WWS 4 are/will be optional years. Many also agree that the best year for beginning WWS is sixth grade. Beginning WWE 1 or 2 in grade three will allow you to do a rigorous classical writing program right on schedule.


If you are willy-nilly with your history for a few years doing lots of cozy read alouds on whatever interests you and just doing CM-style narrations and notebooks/lapbooks, you could STILL pull out SOTW in third or fourth grade and read through it quickly and then start TWTM four-year cycle again in fifth grade.


There's nothing wrong with doing a full-on TWTM curriculum from day one, but if that isn't your style, you will not be at all behind by doing a CM approach for a year or two or three. I think the two go very well together.

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