Best learning experiences for kindergarten age?

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Best learning experiences for kindergarten age?

  • Sally Cole

    Hi folks,

    I’m curious what you have observed to be the best learning experiences for the kindergarten age. Field trips? Formal classes out of the home? Curriculum with mom or dad? Project-based learning? Montessori lessons? What things just have clicked with your kids at that age?

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    • Ashley

      I have similar questions.  Right now I’m considering a Montessori charter school or homeschooling for my twins who will be Kindergartners this fall.  As far as homeschooling, I’ve no idea.  The internet has bombarded me with so many programs and curriculum that look good that I have no idea where to start.  (I guess I should be thankful for that.)  So thanks for the question Sally.

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      Mike Reid

      I’ve got a 2-year-old and I’m looking ahead to these years. (Today her Uncle Cheetah is coming over with his drum kit.)

      I’m just gonna tag the homeschooler @bkmarcus here, in case he gets a break from ISFLC to respond.

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        Ashley

        How’d the drums go?

         

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          Mike Reid

          Drums were awesome. She also really enjoyed the new hearing-protection earphones she got, and wore them while Daddy used the blender to make smoothies too. 🙂

          Also, she decided that Uncle Cheetah should turn into a gorilla during a tickle/tackle fest (which we call “rumpus”).

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      B.K. Marcus

      Quick comment from ISFLC (in a taping of STOSSEL).

      We looked at several Montessori schools. One was amazingly impressive. The others not so much.

      Something else I recommend: combining individual lessons with a club on the same subject. For us, it’s history club.

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      Sally Cole

      Thanks for the replies @dagne, @mikereid, and @bkmarcus. My oldest is 4 1/2, so I’ve still got some time to figure out how she learns the best. She did a Montessori school starting at three through to the end of December. We decided to stop sending her because she preferred being at home. Now, we have three shelves of Montessori stuff at home that she uses from time to time. For reading and writing, we’re on lesson five of Denise Eide’s Foundations. We take that really slowly, maybe one lesson every two weeks. For math, iPad apps seem to be the most appealing.

      I love the club idea. How old are the kids in history club?

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      B.K. Marcus

      It’s hard to age segregate any homeschool club beyond teens and younger-than-teens. Ours is the latter. Older kids help younger.

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      Christopher Perlaky

      Hi,

      My best educational experience, Kindergarten through elementary, was Montessori. Unfortunately, I had to attend a public high school since Montessori high schools are rare.  Before I share the benefits of my Montessori education, I would like to address a problem that parents new to Montessori are likely to miss. The name “Montessori” is not copyrighted.  Teachers and parents, who may be untrained in the Montessori Method, can buy Montessori Materials and put “Montessori” in the title of their school, but fail to be a proper Montessori school.  A real Montessori school will rely foremost on the Montessori Materials and use books as a supplement, as opposed to the reverse.

      As to my experience, Montessori was a daily exercise in libertarian anarcho-capitalism.  The Kindergarten level is concerned with practical life activities and mastering motor skills through sensorial materials.  As I child, I found the activities quite engaging.  Washing dishes in the classroom, for example, allowed me to feel comfortable in my home kitchen.  As a result, I was cooking meals for myself by the time I entered first grade.

      I didn’t realize it at the time, because the lessons were so subtle, but the Montessori Method grounded me in the concepts of private contracts, private property, and free association. I would have a Monday morning meeting with my teacher and we would formulate an agreed upon contract, a checklist of educational tasks which I would then perform over the course of the week. Any unfinished activities would carry over into the next week. The sensorial materials were accompanied by mats, which represented personal space for productive use — private property that no one was to violate. The multi-age classroom was an exercise in free association and peripheral learning.

      I’ll bring this to a close, because I could go on forever about the Montessori Method.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions regarding the Montessori method in the future. I wish those of you with children the best.

       

       

       

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        Dean Black

        @Christoper I would agree with you on the Montessori, we sent our 2 oldest kids through Montessori and if it is done the traditional way that Maria Montessori founded then it is awesome…Unfortunately there are a lot of so called Montessori programs that are not up to snuff…..

        With that said our youngest, 4 , and our 11 year old are homeschooled now and it is going beautifully…it is actually more unschooled because we have no structure in place by design…What they are interested in is what we work on…. I would highly recommend this approach as I feel it gives the kids the most freedom and where freedom is there is the most choice and this is how we want our kids to be when they are adults…

         

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      Sally Cole

      Wow, thanks @lostshaker for sharing your experience with Montessori. Reading that Montessori was “a daily exercise in libertarian anarcho-capitalism” from you is so great to hear. I’ve been learning about the Montessori Method since my oldest was about 6 months old (so for about 4 years). I started with a small album for the 0-18 month age and did the whole floor bed and feeding table type stuff, then as my oldest got closer to 3, I took KHT Montessori training and started setting my house up like a classroom. Right now, I’m making my way through all the Margaret Homfrey teacher training videos on YouTube, which are very detailed and inspiring (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8rB1_L0vhfo271i8Ehc6kkoeNFqknhNo).

      I’m nowhere near being a fully trained, classroom teacher, but I’m close enough to use the Montessori Method at home with my own children. My daughter went to a local Montessori school from age 3 to 4 1/2, but began to make it really clear to us that she’d rather be home. I have every reason to believe the school was good, and her teacher was AMI trained with 30 years of classroom experience. It just didn’t end up being what she wanted.

      Now, I’m planning to double down on setting my house up like a classroom. Thanks for reinforcing with me that Montessori is a fantastic way to raise children in an atmosphere of liberty.

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        Christopher Perlaky

        Hi Sally,

        Thank you for the response and the youtube link.  I’ve begun to start watching those.  Your post also reminded me of another problem common to Montessori, which is the parents.  My former Montessori teachers expressed to me that many parents don’t take the time to understand the Montessori Method, focusing instead on short-term goals, such as a stepping stone into a prestigious high school that employs the traditional (authoritarian) method of education.  I’m delighted that you’re immersing yourself in the philosophy and avoiding common trappings.  I’m also impressed that you’re setting up your home like a Montessori classroom, which is no easy task.

        Your daughter’s experience has me thinking back to my own initiation. I had separation anxiety from my Mother when I first attended Montessori.  The anxiety lasted a week and my Mom was reluctant to leave when I was crying out to her. But the teacher, Mrs. Frasier who I considered a second Grandmother, encouraged her to step out, wait five minutes, and then check back on me from a window.  After five minutes, I was content with one of the many activities in the classroom. I contribute the anxiety to my brief educational experiences prior to arriving at Montessori.

        The only thing I credit public high school for as a learning opportunity is the contrasting style of teacher-centered authoritarianism versus the Montessori style of child-centered self-management. I vividly remember when it struck me that our current public school model is purposefully identical to our economic and political model.  From that point, I started exploring what an economic and political model of society would be like if it were based off of Montessori.  It took a few more years, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, and Murray Rothbard for me to finalize the connection.

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      B.K. Marcus

      @lostshaker, that was great!

      If you really feel you could go on and on about Monetessori, personal responsibility, and the ancap vision, let me encourage you to consider writing a Liberty.me article (or a series) on those subjects.

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        Christopher Perlaky

        Thank you, B.K. Marcus.  Writing a series of articles would be a good idea and I’m starting to organize that now.

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          B.K. Marcus

          Christopher, I think your most recent reply to Sally would be a great starting place for an article.

          BK

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      Dawn Hoff

      Hi

      The O.P. was how the best homeschoole experiences for at pre-schooler. I’m Danish and the Scandinavian tradition, children don’t start school untill 6-7 years of age. So up-untill then we just consider it parenting if they aren’t in kindergarden – and kindergarden is 99% play, and 1% school prep (more and more school prep these days, unfortunately). So my son was “naturally” unschooled untill he was 6 and well now we unschool, because I simply just could not imagine that he could learn more any other way.

      His daily life is very very free – up until he was 5 1/2 we lived in Denmark and we went to a playgroup once a week and a friends place once a week, we had neighbours who were also home with their kids and spent time with them almost every day on weekdays. Other than that we had an annual pass for the zoo (we lived close by), and went on as many field trips as we possibly could. His primary interests have always been animals, so we have been visiting Zoos all over Europe, Natural Parks, Dinosaur exhibitions, Museums for Natural History etc. etc. We have always bought him loads of book about animals, helped him find Documentaries about animals online etc. He is now 8 and knows more about animals than most grown ups.

      My daughter is 5 1/2 and she loves cooking, especially cakes (cup-cakes), and I help her bake as much as we possibly can. She loves to dance so she we practise at home and we are looking for a place for her to take dance lessons.

      Reading, Writing and Math comes in through games, conversations, computergames, and we also have workbooks which they can use as they want, plus games and reading books on the iPad.

      We now live in Spain, and this means that my kids are now trilingual – Danish, English and Spanish. We have a playgroup that we see once or twice a week, the kids want an annual pass for the local Zoo here, so we are looking into that again. My son is thinking of starting a lemonade stand, and I am negotiating with my daughter about raising rabbits.

      I personally think Montessori is great, and we have had Montessori toys in the childrens play-room. I don’t however want to limit myself or my children in any specific method – we can also take elements from Waldorf/Steiner, Freinet and use all of them. In the end the most important is to follow the child (which is – I think – the basis of Montessori).

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      Ashley

      Thank you so much for this thread Sally.  And thanks for your comments everybody.  I didn’t even know anything about Montessori methods, or any methods for that matter, until about a year ago.  That’s when I finally started to look into schooling and what we wanted to do with our boys.  My biggest concern of course is keeping the state off our backs if we do decide to homeschool.  I’ve been worried that a charter school won’t be what we are looking for just because they are still a state charter.  Nearby we have a few groups that offer a program you can attend once or twice a week in a lyceum type format that I am very interested in.  All I can say is that I wish less people would subscribe to the conveyor belt of US public ed, so that those like me might learn about other options before you feel like you’re already behind.  As for me, I’ve only started reading the Absorbent Mind, by Maria Montessori.  So personally, I would love to see somebody put together some articles on this topic.

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        Christopher Perlaky

        Ashley, I’m at the planning stages of a series of articles regarding the Montessori Method.  What general or specific aspects would you like addressed?

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