Starting Kindy for Sade

'a' on your mouth
‘a’ on your mouth

My 5 1/2 year old Possum hasn’t until now showed much interest in letters.  A little in numbers.  But she is so much more the one who wants to play continuously, a total social butterfly.  I haven’t wanted to stop this need to play with starting academic work, unless it came more from her.  We do half homeschool, where my son attends a local Christian school, a day and half a week.  It is just wonderful.  Sade should have started Kindy this year.  But because she is an October child, she is 6 months younger than her peers and I didn’t want her exposed to the competitiveness of a class environment so early.  Izaac only started attending in Year 1, which gave him time to learn to read without hindrance or competitiveness.  You can read about that journey here.

Also, as a person who loves Montessori, I didn’t want my children to be sitting for such long extended time.

After many, many thoughts about the direction to start Sade in, I think we’ve found a good little balance to just start slowly.  She is happy to go off and play, once she has done a bit of school.  She only has to do a few of these activities a day and they are so short.

Sade can blend and hear any sound, but doesn’t recognise the letters.  I made little folders of pictures and building words, but I’ve realised we really need to go back to learning each letter and sorting first sounds.  So I’m busy colouring in some great picture that I found from

So, for my social butterfly this is our little schedule we’re starting with.

Figure 8
Figure of 8 writing

A bit of brain gym, to get the left-over-right reflex going.  To start our school time, I put a huge figure 8 on the window each week, which she needs to trace over a few times. I give her small pieces of oil pastels to work with, to help correct her grip.

This week, I’ll turn it into an infinity sign, sideways. Then we’ll work our morning through:

Our simple number game.
Our simple number game.

Number work – we’ve done Montessori odd and even numbers. I so love how this work makes it so simple in seeing these numbers.   Then I made up this game, for simple number recognition.  Even Izaac couldn’t resist to be left out.  I write 0 – 9 on the bottom edges of a little white board, in two different colours.  We use a 0 – 9 dice, each having a turn.

As we throw each number, we cross it off our list.  We then race to see who can cross off all their numbers first and we have to say the number we throw.20150318_101029

letter recognition
Sade has a letter on her head

Letter recognition.  I realise with Sade she really needs a lot of movement.  So I need to make our 3-period lessons into fun activities where she puts ‘a’ on her head, ‘b’ on her nose, etc.  Or Sade putting letters on one side of the room and me calling a letter that she needs to retrieve, seeing if it matches with what I have on the table (simple control of error).

She really struggles remembering these sounds.  I mainly think because the interest level is still so low.  But as mentions, she can work out any word being sounded out.

Rainbow letters

Rainbow letters:

I use our metal inset paper and carefully show Sade how to write each letter she is learning.  I bought the “Write without tears” book and adapted it using the jingles from it and other resources.  Because we are doing cursive first, I had to change these.  So for example with the ‘d’ we’ll say, “magic C, up like a helicopter, higher, down the pole and big smile”.

From the Karen Tyler albums I got the idea of the Rainbow letters.  The child selects say 5 pencils.  I show her how to write the letter, using our jingle and put a circle at the start spot.  Then she has to repeat these letters with her 5 pencils, over and over again.  Sade has always favoured her middle finger, pointing with it and she will hold her pencil with the middle finger protruding, resting the pencil on it.  So I will have to rethink her rainbow letter pencils, thinking to sharpen one cheap tri-pencil set I have down to a small size to work with.  Any suggestions????

Metal insets
Metal insets

Metal insets:  Look at my little girl going over her hand so beautifully.  This week I had my friends children over and got us all doing metal insets.  I was surprised to see that the 11 year old loved this work the most.  And we got to talk about angles.  We’re going to work through a lot more metal inset work, even with Izaac.  More on this later.

Write from the Start
Write from the Start

Write from the Start: I wrote about this quite a while ago.  Izaac is on book 8.  I found it did such amazing work for his perception, but he still needs loads more work. Sade isn’t too impressed with this work, but I’ve seen the amazing benefits already with Izaac, so we will persist.


wpid-20150325_101539.jpg At the moment, Sade needs to do the work that I request, but it will be interesting to see as I start giving her more choices, what work she will choose.




Starting a new year

We’re 7 weeks into our new year and it baffles me that one hasn’t got it altogether yet.

My area where we have work is still totally disorganised. I can’t have things open on shelves, or the 1 year old gets totally into them. I still have no rhythm for my little K girl.

Izaac has started his half homeschool journey with our gorgeous Christian school and the most beautiful teacher – and being challenged with where his peers are and how to combine our efforts.

It’s all felt a bit daunting this year – but if I remember, it feels daunting every year.  With the adding of our little Sade being 5 and also needing to join the official schooling day – I can just feel lost.  Even though I’ve studied the Muriel Dwyer – I still feel so lost and how to go forward, when both my kids didn’t have that GREAT interest in letters and numbers and feel compelled to WANT to read.  It’s quite daunting, when you know peers are being pushed if they too are not so interested, when their peers in traditional classrooms are joyfully loving finally learning.

Phew, what a blaaah!  But just so you know and can be however encouraged – sometimes we are just a mess and wading through this journey of teaching our children and trying to balance a joyful, non-pressured home and also where the peers are.

Just on Friday, poor Izaac (grade 2) was challenged in his writing class to write smaller, because this is what is expected for grade 3.  I was so grateful to have witnessed this and have a quiet chat to his teacher about what to do.  He only learnt to write last year, in his gorgeous cursive, which I’m so proud of.  But once again the pressure of peers comes along and trying to find the balance to manage it and how it weighs on ones shoulders.