I Forgot Johnny Appleseed!
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I have wonderful memories from Kindergarten. My biggest concern when my son started Kindergarten was that he would miss out on all the great things from that magical first year of school. Still in the wonder years, everything is new and learning is so fun. I said this to a public high school teacher I met in a playground to which she replied, “Yeah, and then we send them to school and beat the fun out of them.” Whoa. No smile. No attempt at humor being made. Just matter of fact. One of the many confirmations I have gotten through these homeschooling years that we were doing the right thing.
Most new homeschool moms, MOST homeschool moms, deal with the nagging self-doubt of whether she is doing the right thing for her child. I finally had everything squared away. We were going to do this. We ARE doing this. This is going great.
Then, there was that morning at the end of September when I sat straight up in bed and yelped, “Oh no! I forgot Johnny Appleseed!”
How could I have forgotten Johnny Appleseed! Before the day was out, I had found a friend who was going to an apple orchard tour where there was a Johnny Appleseed feature and – well – I globbed on and made sure we were included.
Kindergarten is a time of exploring, learning about the world and gaining new skills. Having access to some of these resources will round out your year:
- Find a Homeschool co-op
- Visit Zoos and Museums
- Use the Library
- Go on Field trips
- Partner with like-minded moms
- Get outdoors
How to do it:
Find a Homeschool Co-op in your area. As homeschooling has grown in popularity, so have the academic and enrichment co-op opportunities. We found ours through the HSLDA and Homeschool World. My goals were just to get him used to being in a class, learn to take turns and learn some basic academics. He ended the year reading his own stories in front of his language class and being able to identify parts of a sentence! Pretty cool. Our classes: Language Arts color-coded grammar with Spell to Write and Read 70 basic phonogram flashcards, Draw Write Now, Art, Chorus
Zoos and Museums. I was surprised to find little zoos and museums here and there in our area. How do you find them? Check your library for museum passes for free entry, parking and just finding out what’s out there. Research your park district and chamber of commerce to find the obscure zoo, museum or other points of interest that are kid-friendly.
Local Library. Book lists, computer access for kids, books for learning to read, books for you to read aloud, toys, play area, library programs. I love my library! We didn’t do traditional preschool, but my son attended a 1-hour hands-on story and craft time at our library once a week. In the summer, they also provided a 2-week long kindergarten preparedness class that he could attend – free of charge! It was wonderful and gave me a little break.
Field Trips. Finding or forming a group of moms who are interested in taking field trips is a fabulous way to spend your child’s kindergarten year. In addition to zoos and museums, we were able to tour apple orchards, work a shift at Feed My Starving Children, learn how pottery was made, tour a honey bee farm, watch sheep be sheared, tour an 1850’s homestead, tour a corn mill, step back into the Wild West, attend a “Little House on the Prairie” one-room school house – so many things to do and see.
Partner with like-minded moms. Several of the moms I met at co-op and I formed a “social” co-op that met the first 3 Fridays of each month. The programming was loose and free-flowing and often just ended up as a time for the kids to play and the moms to share ideas. Our academic focus for the year was science which included nature walks, geocaching, and the occasional presentation from one of the moms.
Never be within doors when you can rightly be without. – Charlotte Mason
Get out of doors. Our social co-op implemented a “day of camping” that has continued each October. We go to the same Forest Preserve each year, move in to a pavilion that has a fireplace, keep a fire going all day, keep the charcoal on the grill going, keep a constant supply of hot water for warm drinks, pack in food and drinks for the the day, byo grilling foods, lawn games, pop-up tents for napping babies, binoculars, field journals, magnifying glasses, knitting, dominoes. It’s just such an excellent time to be out in God’s great creation and pretend we have to live off the land. This is a fantastic resource to guide you in getting out and letting nature inform you, from Charlotte Mason.