As a Kindergarten teacher, I saw a lot of students coming in with bad habits and lack of true understanding. It was my goal in this first year of "school" with Parker to provide a solid foundation in phonics and math, and start fostering a love for learning. Also, Parker is still 2 YEARS away from Kindergarten. He was three throughout most of it, but because his birthday is in September, he will be almost a whole year older than some of the kids in his grade. We had the time to start super basic and we will work up from there.
When I was testing incoming Kindergarten students, most of them knew the uppercase letters, but weren't very familiar with lowercase. Considering MOST of the letters they will read and write will be lowercase, I think it's pretty important to learn them right along with the uppercase. Not to mention, it is nearly impossible to teach someone to read when they have to first remember what the letter even is. There is no point in teaching the sound of the letters before they can identify ALL of them without any hesitation.
2 - To recognize his name and recite how it's spelled.
So much of school nowadays is giving the students a little bit of guidance and then telling them to do their best at spelling. Then you have to go back and correct all of their mistakes. Why not have students learn it the correct way the first time, instead of continually trying to break inadequate habits? (I could go on and on...I'll have to write a separate post about that in particular. There is a time and a place for it, but not before some beginning phonics rules). I didn't even teach Parker how to write his name by himself. He can recognize it when I write it, put the letters in the correct order, spell it out loud and find the letters in his name, but his little fingers can't hold a pencil correctly yet, so why push it? Which brings me to my next point.
3 - To develop age-appropriate fine-motor skills.
95% of my Kindergarten students were coming in to school holding their pencil incorrectly and writing their name in all capital letters. Do you know how hard it is to break children of those habits? For a majority, it took almost the entire school year for them to feel comfortable holding a pencil correctly and writing their name neatly. Parker's little hands need to learn how to manipulate things such as scissors, clips, magnets, markers, puzzles, paintbrushes, beads, puff balls, etc. before they can learn the fine art of holding a skinny pencil. Next year we will really focus on holding a pencil and writing correctly.
4 - To count to 50 without help.
Once a child catches on to the pattern of numbers, it's pretty easy for them to count all the way to 100. They just have to remember which group of 10 is next. Parker can go to 50 without help and then needs help remembering 70, 80 and 90.
5 - To recognize, identify and order numbers 0-15.
Just like it's important to know the upper and lowercase letters, I feel it's very important for children to easily recognize and identify 0-10 before trying to do any addition and subtraction. Hopefully we can avoid going "back to the basics" when we really get in to the meat of the subjects.
6 - To identify and finish simple patterns.
Patterns are everywhere. Once kids can identify and complete AB, ABB, and ABC patterns, they'll start noticing patterns in other aspects of life like their daily schedule, the stripes on their t-shirts, stop lights, rainbows, counting, etc etc.
7 - To develop beginning comprehension skills.
My reading and listening comprehension was pretty horrible before college. I would totally space out while reading or being read to. I could answer general questions about the characters and plot, but I couldn't really relate to the character or predict what might happen next, and I definitely did not enjoy reading. What changed everything was when my college professor told me to picture the story in my mind. Why hadn't I done that before? Ever since then, reading is a totally different experience. I am engulfed in the story, I even find myself wanting to pray for certain characters if I'm in the middle of a novel! All that being said, I want Parker to develop this skill before he is 18 years old. The easiest way to do this is by reading familiar stories with similar patterns and having him act-out or re-tell the story. The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, and The Three Billy Goats Gruff are a great place to start. After you read one or two, he could start to predict what would happen in the next one. Also, each of these stories has endless interpretations that you can read and compare/contrast. The best part is, it's so much fun!!
8 - To begin hiding God's Word in his heart.
When Jesus was being tempted in the desert for 40 days, he was constantly reciting scripture to battle and ultimately overcome temptation. As Parker grows and is faced with temptation, I want these verses to be engrained in his heart so he can resist the devil in the name of the Lord! (Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it).
9 - To begin fostering the lost art of "thinking."
I'm not interested in teaching Parker a ton of information and having him regurgitate it back to me. I want him to relate new information with his prior knowledge and gain an understanding of how things work together. I also want him to question and process the incoming information instead of just taking it at in as truth. That obviously happens more as he gets older, but for now I just want to nurture his imagination.
This is so fun for me to write about! God has laid a lot on my heart lately, and I'm waiting for his clear guidance as to what to do for schooling once Parker is school-age.