We have been homeschooling Preschool for 6 months now. The decision to homeschool part time (they go to school the other part) came about when we were discussing what to do to prepare them for Kindergarten. My twins’ birthday is on the cut-off for starting school but school starts two weeks before their fifth birthday. So they will be four when they start Kindergarten. We had the choice to hold them back or send them on this fall. Homeschool gave us the opportunity to see whether or not they were ready for school.
It is now March and with 6 months of homeschooling lessons and preschool twice a week, we can officially make the decision on whether or not to start their school in the fall. Before I tell you what we have decided let me tell you about how they are doing in school.
We have completed 22 lessons at home. They have learned 19 new sight words along with other words that I have added to their reading list. Each week we start the lesson the same way and they are able to pick up their readers (never been seen) and read almost all of the words without assistance. Usually they ask for help with one word or two if they cannot identify it based on the picture support. The repetition of the lessons has helped them through the reading activities. At the end of each week I do a running record (a reading assessment to monitor their progress of reading that book) to see the percentage that they score on reading that book. They average between 95 and 100 percent each week. This is mastery levels for reading. So I consider that mastery for each reading lesson.
The sight words that they currently can read and identify in any texts are:
a at on the is on it no she he to I go and up you can am do did for my like look big but me not see why yes love oink pop cat dog Mommy Daddy Maggie Mason Bailey Brooke
In math they are able to count to 100. They can identify most numbers to 100. We are working on counting manipulatives to 50. They have mastered patterns and positional terms (based on Kindergarten standards). I have introduced adding and subtracting and thus far they are able to add or take away numbers from lower problems.
In writing, they are able to create words and sentences based on their phonemic awareness. They also will copy sentences that they see as part of our reading activities. Writing is their least favorite activity during the week but they know it’s one of mommy’s requirements. I’m hoping that their dislike for writing changes as they grow because writing can be a fun way to express themselves and grow their imagination.
All of this information is gathered from what I have taught them at home. I have also spoken with their teachers at their preschool to see their opinions on the girls’ readiness. Their teachers shared with me the following information.
Sitting and Listening skills
The girls are both able to sit amongst their peers and listen to stories, directions, etc… They both can raise their hands and wait to be called on to the best of their ability. I use “best of their ability” because a four year old only has attention span for about 3-4 minutes. So they are able to sit for about 3-4 minutes before they start to wiggle or get bored. This is normal for all children this age.
Math and Science Skills
The girls have been able to participate and complete all math and science skills that their teachers have given them. They participate in class activities and experiments. They show interest in both subject areas and come home to tell my husband and I about those activities.
Bailey has strong handwriting skills. She is able to color in the lines very nicely and enjoys writing her letters for her teachers. Brooke does not have as strong of handwriting skills. She tends to rush through her writing which ends up being messier than desired. Coloring is about the same as writing. This is a task we work on at home as well. If she slows down, she is able to complete the writing activities with little mistakes.
Both girls are reading very well. Their interest in reading is among the top of percentage of their classmates. They are reading in the top percent of their class as well.
After speaking with their teachers and having my own information regarding their readiness, we have decided that they are ready for Kindergarten in the fall. They will be the youngest in their classes and may face some challenges down the road because of that. However both girls love school and learning. They are also quick learners so we believe that holding them back a year would be a disadvantage for them.
Since I homeschooled them at the preschool level, the question has come up as to whether I continue to homeschool them through elementary. Being mom and teacher has been a difficult task for me. It’s been really hard to balance the roles. I am not sure if its the schedule we have or what but this has been a hard journey for us. I have to commend people that are able to homeschool their kids. Especially the ones that can homeschool with children different ages at home. Mason does not like to play independently while his sisters are home and often times causes issues during school time. I think this is my biggest balancing challenge, how to balance my one year old and teaching my four year olds. With all of these challenges, and distractions that have occurred during their school time, I think it’s best for them to attend school outside of the home for now. That way they get time focused on schooling and no little brother interuptions.
When Mason reaches preschool age, I do plan on homeschooling him part time for preschool the same that I have his sisters. He will be 4 1/2 when we start preschool because his birthday is in January. I’m hoping that this later time will allow him the maturity development he will need to make the progress that his sisters have been able to make. My hope is to prepare him the same way I have his sisters.