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    5 Ways to Supplement Kindergarten at Home

    Kindergarten at home

    Eva has started her Kindergarten school program and we’re off to a pretty good start. Her allergy and asthma plan is in place, she’s already made some new friends, and she’s still waking up looking forward to school. In fact, the only thing I’m a little concerned about is the actual school part.

    Here’s the thing about Kindergarten: in theory, Kindergarten students are still at the age where they need to be playing more than they need to be learning (at least according to Finland and all of their happy kids) so it shouldn’t matter that Eva is a little bit ahead of what they’ve been doing in school. She’s learning social skills and having fun.

    Except…

    It’s a year, you know? A whole year. And with the homeschool stuff we were doing, she’s more than a little bit ahead. I don’t think she’s gifted or special or anything but we’ve been working forward and she’s picked up momentum with her reading and her math and all that. I don’t want to stop doing homeschool with her and I don’t want to intentionally stall out at the same level just so she doesn’t get much farther than where her class is. I understand not wanting to push her forward too fast but is holding back really any better?

    The best solution seems to be to let her work through programs where she can advance (or not) depending on where she is with each subject. Here are 10 that we’ve tried and liked so far:

    Hooked on Phonics – Classroom Edition

    We finished this reading program this past summer and Eva enjoyed all of the games and simple books. I’m disappointed that it didn’t continue beyond the basics, but once Eva was done she has been able to read all of our picture books (although she’s still sounding out and taking her time). Little note – you probably want to sit with your child while they’re using this app because it is possible to just mindlessly push buttons and let the app read the books to you instead of doing the work.

    Todo Math

    The best math app on the iPad! There is a fee if you want to open up all of the games but it starts at really early levels and lets you work your way up. Both Calvin and Eva use this one all the time.

    Starfall

    This is probably the best set of online Kindergarten games that we’ve used, although you have to pay a yearly fee for it. The games are less cheesy than ABC Mouse and less distracting than PBS Kids, which are the big two that everyone we know uses, and there are more subjects and levels available in Starfall than we’ve seen with a lot of other online programs. Also, if you happen to be doing a school or partial school program, there’s a chance that your classroom has purchased a membership and you can get a login from your child’s teachers. There seems to be special pricing for educators. We aren’t currently using Starfall but we’ll probably get back into it soon.

    Brain Quest Workbooks (K and 1st grade) 

    We’ve used a TON of workbooks and for the most part they are a waste of time (in my opinion) because they tend to be too structured to adapt to each individual learner. That being said, the best progressive workbooks are the Brain Quest series. They aren’t dumbed down, they follow a path that makes sense, and they’re affordable. That being said, I’m not exactly sure how they line up to grade level because Eva was able to finish the first grade book and it didn’t seem all that much harder than the Kindergarten one.

    The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud

    While not strictly a curriculum, we’re working through this book with the goal of getting Eva to read the whole thing aloud over the course of this year. We started a month ago and do at least a little bit every day and I let Eva decide if she wants to finish the stories or interrupt them to read something else after she’s done a bit. She was intimidated at first but it’s been fun to have her realize that this giant book is just filled with stories that she can totally conquer on her own. I’m planning on having a little celebration for her when we’re finally finished!

    Anything I missed? Anything anyone else is using?

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