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The Activities Guide doesn't have a timeline. You should be fine just going at his pace. Have you taken a look at it? If I remember right, it says to start with practicing with quantities on the fingers and learning the 5+1 is 6, etc with the song. Then there are cards you can copy and print right from the book that are identifying the numbers 1-10, first with finger cards, then with abacus cards. I think that's the first game, so you should be able to play games right away. I think there were a few variations along those lines as far as games. Do you have the RS game cards and game manual? That set has more games, and I believe starts with things like ordering numbers, finding the missing number, and matching number cards to the number shown on the abacus. Or maybe that's in the Activities book. Well now I can't remember for sure.

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The Activities Guide doesn't have a timeline. You should be fine just going at his pace. Have you taken a look at it? If I remember right, it says to start with practicing with quantities on the fingers and learning the 5+1 is 6, etc with the song. Then there are cards you can copy and print right from the book that are identifying the numbers 1-10, first with finger cards, then with abacus cards. I think that's the first game, so you should be able to play games right away. I think there were a few variations along those lines as far as games. Do you have the RS game cards and game manual? That set has more games, and I believe starts with things like ordering numbers, finding the missing number, and matching number cards to the number shown on the abacus. Or maybe that's in the Activities book. Well now I can't remember for sure.

Well get it straight woman! I've been looking at the guide for a while. I think it'll do. I've seen the games, but I need to order them. :(

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Robby just turned six.  He knows surprisingly a lot of math (even without being able to say 13 or 14) with having not done a real curriculum consistently.  Take a look at the Math Mammoth recommendations for K:  http://www.mathmammoth.com/complete/kindergarten.php

We have a box of jumbo c-rods in our block/construction cabinet.  Playing with these along with other blocks is math play for little ones, I believe.  Even my two year old can tell how many small duplos to place on top of a larger one and how many square magnatiles she needs to build a cube (house), etc.  These are things just encountered through play.  Tuesday night is our family game night and we do traditional games like Go Fish and Checkers, but also lots of other games like Robot Turtles.  He has done xtramath, but I think he is about at his level until we do more double digit addition.  At four, I would just let him play more for math.  Oh, we also occasionally do the bedtimemath problem of the day.  He likes cartoons like Peg + Cat and Cyberchase on PBS.  These introduce a lot of math also.

For Phonics, Robby learned the first 26 from Leapfrog Letter Factory.  After we had watched the video for a while I "tested" him by having him play the game that was also on the disc.  He has learned some more phonics, but not much.  I haven't felt a lot of pressure to do this yet.  We do a lot of read alouds and audio books.

I might try to start doing the phonics game that Elizabeth posted:  http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Phonics/concentrationgam.html

I think you are doing great.

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4 year olds don't "need" to do school. Do you have some sort of "need" to do school with your 4 year old? Where does that come from?

Do you have realistic expectations? Children learn in ebbs and flows.  They peak and plateau.  They don't master the same amount of content at the same rate within subjects and from subject to subject.

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Robby just turned six. He knows surprisingly a lot of math (even without being able to say 13 or 14) with having not done a real curriculum consistently. Take a look at the Math Mammoth recommendations for K: http://www.mathmammoth.com/complete/kindergarten.php

We have a box of jumbo c-rods in our block/construction cabinet. Playing with these along with other blocks is math play for little ones, I believe. Even my two year old can tell how many small duplos to place on top of a larger one and how many square magnatiles she needs to build a cube (house), etc. These are things just encountered through play. Tuesday night is our family game night and we do traditional games like Go Fish and Checkers, but also lots of other games like Robot Turtles. He has done xtramath, but I think he is about at his level until we do more double digit addition. At four, I would just let him play more for math. Oh, we also occasionally do the bedtimemath problem of the day. He likes cartoons like Peg + Cat and Cyberchase on PBS. These introduce a lot of math also.

For Phonics, Robby learned the first 26 from Leapfrog Letter Factory. After we had watched the video for a while I "tested" him by having him play the game that was also on the disc. He has learned some more phonics, but not much. I haven't felt a lot of pressure to do this yet. We do a lot of read alouds and audio books.

I might try to start doing the phonics game that Elizabeth posted: http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Phonics/concentrationgam.html

I think you are doing great.

He doesn't want math worksheets. I should of specified that. He only likes manipulatives, but boy that boy will write. He'll write letters to all grandparents in one sitting. I'm feeling much better about the AL Abacus after what Sarah said. I think that will get is through for a while.

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4 year olds don't "need" to do school. Do you have some sort of "need" to do school with your 4 year old? Where does that come from?

Do you have realistic expectations? Children learn in ebbs and flows. They peak and plateau. They don't master the same amount of content at the same rate within subjects and from subject to subject.

He needs structure and as he's taken an interest in reading and math concepts schoolish things worked their way into that structure. That's why I joined. My problem is that at this point he's learned enough to do things like spelling lists and a math curriculum. I don't want to tell him he has to sit and do work for 40 minutes, but I want to be consistent if we're going to start more serious topics. I don't know where the middle ground is.

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Why do you need to go formal? Structure =/= formal. Let him write what he wants (if he wants to), and be his dictionary. Pull out letter tiles and let him play with cvc words. But, a formal spelling program for a 4 yo is nuts.

I have had early learners and late bloomers. My 2 yo knows her phenomes and many math facts. She wants school time like her siblings and odds are she is going to end up with a gifted label in a few years if we decide to test her. Her "school" will continue to be mostly manipulatives for the next few years because it is developmentally inappropriate for most young children to spend time on bookwork. Even a 4 yo reading novels should do so at their leisure and not be doing a spelling program, imo.

Go read some of the Beechick early learning stuff if you want some ideas on great things to do with young children. Most importantly, make sure those gross and fine motor skills are fully developed.

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He doesn't want math worksheets. I should of specified that. He only likes manipulatives, but boy that boy will write. He'll write letters to all grandparents in one sitting. I'm feeling much better about the AL Abacus after what Sarah said. I think that will get is through for a while.

The Math Mammoth link is not to worksheets.  It is recommending the opposite of worksheets for young children and what skills the child should have before you would begin a typical first grade program.  I would not recommend a young child to do worksheets.  In fact, one of the many many reasons I am homeschooling is because I despise worksheets/busy work.  I like this from her recommendations:  "The teacher should keep it playful, supply measuring cups, scales, clocks, and coins to have around, and answer questions."

We purchased a set of plastic beakers for bathtime toys, for example. http://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Beaker-Set-Sizes-1000ml/dp/B004OA1VY6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433206040&sr=8-1&keywords=plastic+beaker

Robby is painting a color wheel clock for math this summer.  http://tinyrottenpeanuts.com/color-wheel-for-kids/

I want to have him build a scale like this one:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=328298613975402&set=a.302571739881423.1073741895.147639305374668&type=1&relevant_count=1&ref=nf

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You say John wants to change everything, but not much about what he wants. For my accelerated kid, I've involved her completely in deciding how to approach things. Usually, I start by asking her what she wants, then I find a couple options that fit that, describe them to her and let her choose.

Within that, we did do a formal spelling program at age 3-4. She specifically asked for it. We did phonics lessons at age 2; she demanded them. We started a pretty hefty round of academics at age 4 because she insisted. But there's been other things she has wanted to do very informally. And when she wanted to drop the spelling, we dropped it.

If you think John is able to make the decision to change things up, then involve him in the decisions about how to change them. What does he want to learn and how does he want to learn it? I've been regularly surprised at how well my daughter can choose an approach, then really work with the materials she has wanted.

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The Math Mammoth link is not to worksheets. It is recommending the opposite of worksheets for young children and what skills the child should have before you would begin a typical first grade program. I would not recommend a young child to do worksheets. In fact, one of the many many reasons I am homeschooling is because I despise worksheets/busy work. I like this from her recommendations: "The teacher should keep it playful, supply measuring cups, scales, clocks, and coins to have around, and answer questions."

We purchased a set of plastic beakers for bathtime toys, for example. http://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Beaker-Set-Sizes-1000ml/dp/B004OA1VY6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433206040&sr=8-1&keywords=plastic+beaker

Robby is painting a color wheel clock for math this summer. http://tinyrottenpeanuts.com/color-wheel-for-kids/

I want to have him build a scale like this one: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=328298613975402&set=a.302571739881423.1073741895.147639305374668&type=1&relevant_count=1&ref=nf

I'm sorry. I shouldn't have assumed. I looked at your link just now and he can do all of that. I want geoboards, geometric solids and pattern blocks.

You say John wants to change everything, but not much about what he wants. For my accelerated kid, I've involved her completely in deciding how to approach things. Usually, I start by asking her what she wants, then I find a couple options that fit that, describe them to her and let her choose.

Within that, we did do a formal spelling program at age 3-4. She specifically asked for it. We did phonics lessons at age 2; she demanded them. We started a pretty hefty round of academics at age 4 because she insisted. But there's been other things she has wanted to do very informally. And when she wanted to drop the spelling, we dropped it.

If you think John is able to make the decision to change things up, then involve him in the decisions about how to change them. What does he want to learn and how does he want to learn it? I've been regularly surprised at how well my daughter can choose an approach, then really work with the materials she has wanted.

I would not call him accelerated so much as curious, which is part of the issue. I believe going forward could be frustrating. He wants to write. I've decided that we're going to go forward with the spelling lists s-l-o-w-l-y. We can always stop and practice. I'm also going to do more structured art because I think it will help fill that need for pencil to paper work. He also picked the AL Abacus after turning his nose up at it several months ago. Thank you very much for that last paragraph. It's really made me think.
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Well get it straight woman! I've been looking at the guide for a while. I think it'll do. I've seen the games, but I need to order them. :(

Ha! Ok, ok, I just pulled out my Activities guide again. I've been meaning to pull it out again. I usually only look at it once every few months when it looks like he's ready for a new set of skills.

Yes, it includes games and cards for quantities, sequencing, finding the missing number, even and odds, and other beginning things. There are a few games mentioned for beginning addition and subtraction, but not nearly as much as in the actual games book. I don't think that will matter much for a while though, not until the math facts need to be drilled to memorization. FWIW, I got the games set discounted on a Black Friday sale. I can't remember how much, and I don't know if its commonly available that way, but you'd probably be fine waiting until then.

Was it Mep Reception you tried? I actually found that Mep Reception helped accomplish what RS was failing to do for my kid: adding and subtracting (within six in the program) by visualization. I had thought that was the whole point of RS, but maybe people were talking only about later in the program and with bigger numbers. It was the oral story problems in Mep R that helped with that. Perhaps you could read ahead and do some of the oral stuff without him ever knowing he's getting a math lesson.

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I'm sorry. I shouldn't have assumed. I looked at your link just now and he can do all of that. I want geoboards, geometric solids and pattern blocks.

I would not call him accelerated so much as curious, which is part of the issue. I believe going forward could be frustrating. He wants to write. I've decided that we're going to go forward with the spelling lists s-l-o-w-l-y. We can always stop and practice. I'm also going to do more structured art because I think it will help fill that need for pencil to paper work. He also picked the AL Abacus after turning his nose up at it several months ago. Thank you very much for that last paragraph. It's really made me think.

My son is an early writer as well. I bought a journal for him, the kind with a blank half on top and the bigger lines on bottom for new writers. Sometimes we will draw and then caption things in there from an Ed Emberley book (which I don't recommend). But mostly he will free draw or trace items. His favorite is tracing the shapes from his M&D USA map, and since the state names are printed right on the pieces he does the captions himself as well.

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Ha! Ok, ok, I just pulled out my Activities guide again. I've been meaning to pull it out again. I usually only look at it once every few months when it looks like he's ready for a new set of skills.

Yes, it includes games and cards for quantities, sequencing, finding the missing number, even and odds, and other beginning things. There are a few games mentioned for beginning addition and subtraction, but not nearly as much as in the actual games book. I don't think that will matter much for a while though, not until the math facts need to be drilled to memorization. FWIW, I got the games set discounted on a Black Friday sale. I can't remember how much, and I don't know if its commonly available that way, but you'd probably be fine waiting until then.

Was it Mep Reception you tried? I actually found that Mep Reception helped accomplish what RS was failing to do for my kid: adding and subtracting (within six in the program) by visualization. I had thought that was the whole point of RS, but maybe people were talking only about later in the program and with bigger numbers. It was the oral story problems in Mep R that helped with that. Perhaps you could read ahead and do some of the oral stuff without him ever knowing he's getting a math lesson.

It was reception. He doesn't like math worksheets. He likes manipulatives because I let him do whatever he wants. That's why the cuisionare rods were such a good fit.

I like your journal idea. He's turned his sketchbook into a journal, but the half blank pages/half lined paper sounds awesome for him.

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Phonics: He's *just* really mastered the first 26 phonograms so I think we'll start the spelling lists. It's OK to only do 3 words a week right? I don't want him to dislike it.

Math and phonics are my biggest concerns. I want him to able to progress, but I don't want to push him too quickly. What would you do?

UPDATE: We're doing RS games and going ahead with the spelling lists slowly, but I'll still take ideas.

Well, with Spalding, and presumably with Spalding lookalikes and spin-offs, you don't start spelling words until the dc have learned the first 45/54ish phonograms. So no, it isn't ok to do three words a week yet.

And truly, he is way too young for you to be "concerned" about math. Or reading, either. Really.

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For phonics/spelling stuff you might just want to practice sounding out words slowly, enunciating each sound, rather than formal spelling. And just do simple words as they pop up. Like "Oh here's your hat. Can you make the sounds for the word "hat." Oh, that's an h-a-t. What's another word that sounds like hat?"

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Well, with Spalding, and presumably with Spalding lookalikes and spin-offs, you don't start spelling words until the dc have learned the first 45/54ish phonograms. So no, it isn't ok to do three words a week yet.

And truly, he is way too young for you to be "concerned" about math. Or reading, either. Really.

I downloaded RLTL and I'm contemplating a switch. She starts spelling words after the first 26, but they're easier words.

For phonics/spelling stuff you might just want to practice sounding out words slowly, enunciating each sound, rather than formal spelling. And just do simple words as they pop up. Like "Oh here's your hat. Can you make the sounds for the word "hat." Oh, that's an h-a-t. What's another word that sounds like hat?"

He's spelling words like mushroom and violet on he fridge.

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He needs structure and as he's taken an interest in reading and math concepts schoolish things worked their way into that structure. That's why I joined. My problem is that at this point he's learned enough to do things like spelling lists and a math curriculum. I don't want to tell him he has to sit and do work for 40 minutes, but I want to be consistent if we're going to start more serious topics. I don't know where the middle ground is.

Structure doesn't necessarily mean formal academics. There are ways to create a structured order in your household without doing academics. You can create consistency through routine, teaching simple chores and planning your week. You don't have to worry about more serious topics now.  You're not in that stage of life yet. It's not all going to fall apart and he's not going to be a slacker because you didn't do formal academics now.  Don't let your worst fears or your imagination run away with you and interconnect every aspect of your life.

I know it's really easy to get excited about homeschooling and interpret every question they have about the world and words to mean "This child must need formal academics."  The percentage of children who need formal academics at 4 years old is incredibly small.  Waaaaay too many homeschoolers decide that because a child can sound out a few cvc words that they must be ready for phonics.  Are there kids like that?  Yes.  But not many.  Most that get lumped into that category (our culture puts tremendous pressure on parents to start academics too early) spend many times longer getting through phonics or basic math concepts or writing than the kids whose parents allowed their brains to grow and started later.  My middle didn't start learning to read until she was almost 8 and she could read fluently like an adult by the time she was 11.  She started college at 15.

Don't buy into the mindset that if you don't start formal academics your accelerated child will wilt and wither on the vine.  Let them read, explore, play, tinker, and enjoy childhood.  Childhood is really short.

At whatever point you decide to do formal phonics Phonics Pathways in incredibly simple, efficient and thorough.  Reading Pathways goes with it and does a great job of building fluency.

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They may need fun game to play that include some basic math or logic skills.

That's what I wanted to do, but I wasn't sure how to accomplish it. Sarah really helped me figure that out.

I had a kid who went from reading nothing at all to reading fluently like an adult between the ages of 4 and her 5th birthday. I never had to review or repeat anything-she just go it right away.  That didn't mean she needed spelling lists, it meant she needed time to read voraciously.  So we let her.  She didn't need spelling at all.  She read so much and was so visual a learner that she knew when a word didn't look right and could correct it on her own. Formal spelling would've been ridiculous in her situation.

Structure doesn't necessarily mean formal academics. There are ways to create a structured order in your household without doing academics. You can create consistency through routine, teaching simple chores and planning your week. You don't have to worry about more serious topics now.  You're not in that stage of life yet. It's not all going to fall apart and he's not going to be a slacker because you didn't do formal academics now.  Don't let your worst fears or your imagination run away with you and interconnect every aspect of your life. We've done routine since he was little, but when he was 2 he wanted to learn to read, so phonics became a part of that routine and eventually math manipulatives joined in with the phonics and we called it school.

Don't buy into the mindset that if you don't start formal academics your accelerated child will wilt and wither on the vine.  Let them read, explore, play, tinker, and enjoy childhood.  Childhood is really short.

At whatever point you decide to do formal phonics Phonics Pathways in incredibly simple, efficient and thorough.  Reading Pathways goes with it and does a great job of building fluency. We did about 3/4 of Phonics Pathways and I decided to use an OG program when he lost interest. He loves SWR and the salt tray, but I downloaded Reading Lessons Through Literature (OG) and I think I like that better. It looks more gentle.

At this point I'm planning on RS games and maybe one RLTL word a day. It won't be time consuming and it will give him what he wants. I'm also planning on more structured art to give more pencil to paper time.

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To clarify, I'm not child centered in my parenting.  I attachment parent, so I'm very attuned to a child's needs,  but I think I know better what my kids need than they do when it comes to many different things.  I make the decisions about their education for quite a while.  The amount of input they give increases over time, but  I'm in the driver's seat because I'm more knowledgeable and experienced about what's appropriate when.  So, if my 2 year old told me they wanted to read, I wouldn't interpret that as needing to begin phonics instruction.  I would say, "When you're older I'll teach you to read.  Is there a book you'd like me to read now?" Then I'd read whatever they handed me. If they wanted more reading aloud than I could possibly do (and I do a lot of reading aloud K-12) I'd have plenty of book recordings on hand.

I wouldn't interpret wanting to count a lot or asking about numbers to mean it's time for a math curriculum.  I'd just answer the questions asked and not worry about it beyond that and I had a very mathy kid at that age.  We played quality kid games and by the time she was 7 or 8 should hold her own in adult strategy games with my husband.

When they ask to write I just show them how to write each letter the same way each time (to develop muscle memory) and the kids could write or copy whatever they wanted as they chose or not.  It wasn't a subject until they were school aged.

I don't think 4 year olds need structured art. They need art supplies and time to do as they please with those supplies.  They need wonderful children's books with a variety of different kinds of art in them for inspiration.  They don't need structure in that.

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He might like to play Decimal Street with you. You need unit blocks (we got plain yellow ones on Amazon), a whiteboard/marker/eraser, four pieces of paper (preferably different colors, which should be labeled Thousands, Hundreds, Tens, and Ones), and (before playing the first time) the Decimal Street Math-U-See clip that's on YouTube.

You take turns saying, writing, and making with the blocks the number you're thinking of. DS loved saying a number and having me write it while he built it, or building it and having me try to change what I was writing on the whiteboard as fast as he could move the blocks around.

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To clarify, I'm not child centered in my parenting.  I attachment parent, so I'm very attuned to a child's needs,  but I think I know better what my kids need than they do when it comes to many different things.  I make the decisions about their education for quite a while.  The amount of input they give increases over time, but  I'm in the driver's seat because I'm more knowledgeable and experienced about what's appropriate when.  So, if my 2 year old told me they wanted to read, I wouldn't interpret that as needing to begin phonics instruction.  I would say, "When you're older I'll teach you to read.  Is there a book you'd like me to read now?" Then I'd read whatever they handed me. If they wanted more reading aloud than I could possibly do (and I do a lot of reading aloud K-12) I'd have plenty of book recordings on hand.

I wouldn't interpret wanting to count a lot or asking about numbers to mean it's time for a math curriculum.  I'd just answer the questions asked and not worry about it beyond that and I had a very mathy kid at that age.  We played quality kid games and by the time she was 7 or 8 should hold her own in adult strategy games with my husband.

When they ask to write I just show them how to write each letter the same way each time (to develop muscle memory) and the kids could write or copy whatever they wanted as they chose or not.  It wasn't a subject until they were school aged.

I don't think 4 year olds need structured art. They need art supplies and time to do as they please with those supplies.  They need wonderful children's books with a variety of different kinds of art in them for inspiration.  They don't need structure in that. By structured art I meant a set time every day with art supplies. We do activities from How To Teach Art To Children randomly, but I think having him sit every day with a pencil and some guidance which he can choose whether or not to follow would make him really happy. It also wouldn't be as dependent on skill or knowledge the way that a spelling list would. Unfortunately every time I set him down to do art he just writes.

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No 4 year old needs a set time every day with art supplies.  If he just wants to write let him do so as he likes. He can write, scribble, play pick his nose, or whatever for how ever long he likes.  He chunks of free time to do what he likes at 4 years old. If he asks you how to write a letter or word, just write it for him to copy as he likes. If he does, OK.  If he doesn't, OK.   Don't grade it or critique it for assign him anything in particular.  Just answer the question asked and then let it go.

When I asked about your childhood, I meant do you have any memories of just playing with what you liked when you liked in the preschool years? People who don't do school at home don't give 4 year olds spelling lists. They don't feel the need to have a 4 year old articulate "why" he doesn't want to play with c-rods anymore.  They just let the child not play with c-rods and they don't let it bother them. They don't fret about pacing, or keeping a child's interest in academics. The don't consider it "unfortunate" that a child would choose to write rather than craft at a certain time of day.

The single most common mistake veteran homeschoolers say they make, and have been saying they make for about 3 decades now, is pushing academics too soon.  There's no reason to be concerned about progress in anything academic with a 4 year old.  Not at all.

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I think two things are at play here - an eagerness to start this ubercool journey, and a fear that if you lack structure now it will cause issues later.

There is a reason that the veterans with teen or grown kids are telling you to forget formal academics and play.  Those sweet years are gone in a flash, and soon you are arguing with a teen about Algebra which really does need to be done.

If you let the four year old be four and do four year old things, it will not cause him to not cooperate when he is 14.  These things are in no way related.  My most cooperative child became very uncooperative when he hit adolescence.  My stubborn kid at four is still stubborn at 12.  He will be stubborn at 22.  I know this because I am stubborn at 48.  :D

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No 4 year old needs a set time every day with art supplies.  If he just wants to write let him do so as he likes. He can write, scribble, play pick his nose, or whatever for how ever long he likes.  He chunks of free time to do what he likes at 4 years old. If he asks you how to write a letter or word, just write it for him to copy as he likes. If he does, OK.  If he doesn't, OK.   Don't grade it or critique it for assign him anything in particular.  Just answer the question asked and then let it go. He does like writing instruction and often requests it. That's what I'm trying to offer him.

When I asked about your childhood, I meant do you have any memories of just playing with what you liked when you liked in the preschool years? I know. What I meant was that there was no play or school at 4. I just sat in a room by myself with no furniture and no stuff until I was 7. People who don't do school at home don't give 4 year olds spelling lists. They don't feel the need to have a 4 year old articulate "why" he doesn't want to play with c-rods anymore.  They just let the child not play with c-rods and they don't let it bother them. They don't fret about pacing, or keeping a child's interest in academics. The don't consider it "unfortunate" that a child would choose to write rather than craft at a certain time of day. I'm not concerned about pacing or falling behind at all. I do like him to exercise his brain every day, and the c-rods offered that. I can't think of anything else that versatile to replace them though.

The single most common mistake veteran homeschoolers say they make, and have been saying they make for about 3 decades now, is pushing academics too soon.  There's no reason to be concerned about progress in anything academic with a 4 year old.  Not at all.

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When he says he wants to learn writing, does he mean handwriting perhaps? Can he already form letters properly? Perhaps you could get him a couple of Kumon books at whatever level he's at and give him free access. There are books for manuscript and cursive letters, then words, then sentences. Or maybe he'd like Draw Write Now if he can form letters.

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When he says he wants to learn writing, does he mean handwriting perhaps? Can he already form letters properly? Perhaps you could get him a couple of Kumon books at whatever level he's at and give him free access. There are books for manuscript and cursive letters, then words, then sentences. Or maybe he'd like Draw Write Now if he can form letters.

He wants to make words and he writes letters to his grandparents. I downloaded RLTL with the handwriting practice. This way he can practice his phonograms and simple words as much as he likes without too much instruction being pushed on him.

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Have you tried self hardening clay for art time? I'd be very surprised if a four year old wasn't interested in clay! I know Joanns carries it.

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I downloaded RLTL and I'm contemplating a switch. She starts spelling words after the first 26, but they're easier words.

He's spelling words like mushroom and violet on he fridge.

By "easier," you mean short-vowel words (mostly). Spalding and its look-alikes teach simple words, too, but they use long and short vowels, which is far more useful. Waiting until the dc know twice as many phonograms gives them twice as many tools to work with, KWIM?

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Have you tried self hardening clay for art time? I'd be very surprised if a four year old wasn't interested in clay! I know Joanns carries it.

He does love clay. The reason I would want to let him draw is to satisfy his desire for pencil to paper time.

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By "easier," you mean short-vowel words (mostly). Spalding and its look-alikes teach simple words, too, but they use long and short vowels, which is far more useful. Waiting until the dc know twice as many phonograms gives them twice as many tools to work with, KWIM?

I agree. The only thing is that he wants to write now. I don't have it with me to look at the words because I'm in the car. Sorry. I think using the phonogram writing practice will be a good in between for him.

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OK, I tried.  I give up.

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OK, I tried.  I give up.

I'm sorry. I respect your opinion and am grateful for your thoughts.

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I'm just starting my "formal" homeschool journey with my 5 yr old. I can't really offer advice about homeschool yet since I've only done an informal PK at home.

You mentioned "figuring out the mom thing"... What does your free play/unstructured play with your son look like? What do you do to just spend time together?

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Okay, I shouldn't be in this thread, as my oldest isn't quite 5 and we don't do formal (or at least, nothing formal imo). But I am going to say this, if DSalmost5 doesn't want to play with c-rods, we don't. And that doesn't worry/bother me yet. He is clearly learning some math concepts just from living life (c-rods and other things).

So if my DS said he didn't want to play with them anymore, I'd shelve them for a while. And I wouldn't stress about finding a replacement yet. He'd just have to play with the blocks or the legos or any of the other bazillion toys around here.

FWIW, here's what life looks like around here these days. (3 kids: almost 5, 3, and almost 2). We get up and usually snuggle and read a little before eating breakfast. Then they complete their morning 5 chores (get dressed, brush teeth etc...). When I am ready, we do "spot time" (so called because I sing "it's time to find a spot, it's time to find a spot..."). It's really morning prayer with a few fingerplays/action rhymes/action songs before and after.

I do the fingerplays and stuff at this time mostly to add a little extra motor skills practice to our day. (Our oldest struggles with motor planning and articulation.) We also do those randomly throughout the day.

Once spot time (and honestly, that can take as little as 5-10 minutes), the rest of the day is free play/living life.

We do a lot of phonics and math that take about 30 seconds at a time, but adds up over time. So if one is looking for a hat I'll say "Hat. I hear the /h/. sound at the beginning. Can anyone remember what letter makes that sound? What about the sound at the end?" It's easy and requires no prep. Or for math "how many yellow things can you find in the time it takes me to sing the alphabet? Go!"

We do go to storytime once or twice a week. And we read aloud before siesta time and bedtime for at least 15 minutes (often 30-45), in addition to whenever they ask.

I am always amazed at what my kids have learned without me really doing anything. Since this is working for us for now, we will keep at it.

Again, in your shoes, I'd shelve c-rods for a while and just play. Build a fort, build with blocks, play go fish, whatever. I hope you are able to find a routine/plan that works for you.

ETA: changed a word so the sentence made sense

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Our day (roughly):

7-8: Breakfast, baths, teeth

9-10: He helps prep dinner, rotate laundry and do various chores

10-11: Phonogram practice, copywork, c-rod play, magic school bus, mickey in Spanish

11-1: Free play* (Magnatiles, music, art, legos, outside play)

2-3: Nap

3-4: Structured play (puzzles, messy art)

4-6: Snacks, hike (not a 2 hour hike, but that's from beginning to get ready to the time we settle down back home)

6-7: Dinner, pick up

*That two hours of free play is stressful to him. He needs me to tell him what to do. I tried breaking it up into one hour segments, but he became increasingly stressed at the second break. I've actually moved my workout to that time and he works out with me.

This is why I'm asking for structured things to fill his brain and use up time. Schooly things have been the most relaxing thing for him to do (aside from hiking). They've also been his most requested thing to do. He asks for school 7 days a week and will ask for it in place of a hike when it's raining.

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*That two hours of free play is stressful to him. He needs me to tell him what to do. I tried breaking it up into one hour segments, but he became increasingly stressed at the second break. I've actually moved my workout to that time and he works out with me.

This sounds like anxiety to me.  Is he anxious?  Most kids don't need so much structure to feel secure.

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This sounds like anxiety to me.  Is he anxious?  Most kids don't need so much structure to feel secure.

No. Extremely energetic. He's a trouble maker too, but not intentionally so. He has his father's ADHD tendencies and brilliance combined with my gigantic size and creativity.

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Here's what's I do to encourage my 5 & 3 year old to entertain themselves when they struggle...

We do...

busy bags (ideas on pinterest)

simple sensory bin activities (ideas on pinterest)

pretend play (you could also do a version of pretend to be an elephant, lion, etc cue cards). Daniel Tiger, the tv show, is great for showing how to pretend as well as great songs about learning proper behavior. The Magic Moves electronic wand is awesome to encourage movement when you can't get outside.

sticker books (some that have specific placement like an activity book & sometimes they just stick stickers in their sticker notebooks).

I have a busy box with things like... Lacing cards, counting bears/beads to string on laces (great for patterns), wiki sticks, etc

My personal opinion (take it or leave it... You know your child best)... I would incorporate time (or more focus... Or lack there of depending on how you look at it) for him to figure out how to entertain himself. That is where true confidence comes from. All children need to be able to play on their own or life will be a struggle.

Good luck!

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