Kindergarten, Agent J Style

Home Kindergarten for Agent J looks a lot different than it did for Agent E

I had more of a "plan" for Agent E as far as separate topics, notes, a (homemade) curriculum, etc. As I mentioned in this post about our July adventures, Agent E was all over worksheets and plans and we're going to do this for school today kinds of things. Agent J? Eh. 

Give Julia some paper and pencils and books and building materials and art supplies and she is set for the day. She doesn't really want the same kind of structure that Eva did, and honestly I can't imagine her in a traditional kindergarten class room. (Okay; I can imagine it. I can imagine her either being bored out of her mind or in "trouble" every five minutes for not conforming.)

With Agent J we divide our work (I use that term loosely) into only two subjects: math and reading/writing. Of course, she's always around when I'm doing work with her sister, so she also garners quite a bit from what Agent E is working on, but we don't specifically work on, say, science or health or social studies.

We follow an extremely loose "curriculum" . . . if you could even call it that. Mostly she plays with her siblings and investigates whatever strikes her fancy. (If you're thinking this sounds too footloose and free, you may find this article about education in Finland interesting.)

Agent J, Star Kindergarten Student
For math, we pretty much do it when it comes up. For example, J likes to count when she plays catch. So, sometimes I'll ask her to count by 2's or 5's or 10's instead of by 1's. Or we'll do simple addition or fractions or patterns with Legos. 

For reading, we . . .  wait for it . . . read books. No phonics or circle this letter sound or practicing blends. We just pick up books and read them together. Agent J is one of those kids who went from recognizing a few words in print to making it through entire books in what seemed like a blink. Every library trip we try to get at least 10-12 new books specifically for her at her current reading level. She is just starting what I guess would be called early chapter books. Favorites so far include the Mr. Putter & Tabby series and Poppleton Pig and Friends, both by Cynthia Rylant. And, of course, Star Wars.

For writing, she practices (by choice) writing out her name, other words, random letters, etc. all the time. For a long time she would make letters like J and L backward (Agent E did the same thing) or write the letters all over the page instead of in a left-to-right order. She's starting to get a handle on that now and her printing is getting neater.

And that is how we do kindergarten with Agent J. In addition to "school stuff" she just finished up swimming lessons and goes to a gymnastics class once a week. We are looking forward to a relaxed, fun year.

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