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Modifying K to be "less of a shock" for my 5yo boy?

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    Modifying K to be "less of a shock" for my 5yo boy?

    Hi! We are a family of 5 just starting out homeschooling with our oldest, who just turned 5. I have a few questions.

    Has anyone modified the K curriculum to be a little bit gentler or, perhaps, less writing? We have a 5-year-old boy that we were planning to start with level K in the fall, as I think he is very ready in some aspects that would make JrK too easy for him (knows all alphabet and sounds very well, is very interested in adding numbers, constantly talking about math and numbers and trying to figure out number problems), but K could be too much for him in the way of how long he'd have to sit and focus, and so much writing. So my husband and I are a bit concerned that we may be starting him out expecting too much/too intensely without easing him into it -- also the fact that it's our first time homeschooling so we are afraid of jumping in and overwhelming him and ourselves right at first. I dislike the idea of NOT staying on track (but realize I need to be flexible) and am interested to hear how some of you may have made entering into K a slow, gentle transition at first.... maybe by moving slower and making the school year extend several weeks longer and covering the material over a longer period of time? Or by just easing up on some areas until we are sure he's ready with it and we feel ready to tackle it all? I'm hesitant to "tweak" since it's my first time homeschooling. I also wonder if we're just seeing it as being overwhelming because of the suggested schedule (4 hours of schooling -- our son at this point is used to having a lot more free time than that even in the structure/routine we have in our home) and that it would probably really take less time, or because there are a lot of books but a little is done in each and a lot of it continues into 1st as well. Would LOVE to hear suggestions. Thanks so much.

    Also, we have also purchased Catholic Heritage Curricula to compare side-by-side, and we have heard of its reputation of being very easy and gentle for a first year of homeschooling. Just by looking it definitely has less to it and we wonder if we'd have to supplement it anyway, but the appeal is that it wouldn't overwhelm any of us. However, I just love, love Memoria Press and it seems so wonderful, thorough, and practical and purposeful. I hate to not use it and I have not heard of people saying it's "overwhelming" but I am just trying to be sure we are not getting in over our heads for this first year. Hope this wasn't a jumble and makes sense.
    Junior Member
    Last edited by MaryFebruary; 07-04-2014, 06:14 PM.
    DS 8
    DD 5
    DS 3
    DS 1

    modifying K

    The key to picking out your curriculum is figuring out where you want to end and what YOU think is important for your child to learn. MP and CHC each have their advantages. Look at the grades beyond kindergarten and see which is going down the path you see your family taking.
    For our family, while we use mostly MP materials, we still follow the curriculum and scheduling recommendations from The Latin-Centered Curriculum. Also, I add in materials from OLVS to bring more of our uniquely Catholic culture and beliefs into our studies.
    The easiest way to modify kindergarten is to work at the pace of the student. If you try to skip the writing portion of a grade package, you may hit a wall in the next grade where the expectations increase. You can move ahead in math without impacting the rest of your subjects. And kindergarten has never taken us four hours a day. More like two hours.

    dd 17
    ds 14
    ds 11
    ds 9
    dd 7
    ds 5
    dd 2



      I agree with Jude. The best way to maintain a rhythm that is good for your son is to work at a pace that is comfortable for him. You will not really know that until you get in and give it a try. You may be surprised at what he is capable of doing! Also, I was usually frustrated by thinking I had a complete program ready to go, only to find out we would finish the work in 45 min or so. Both I and my children would need more to do! With MP, we find the opposite to be true. We make sure to cover the core basics...reading, writing, and math....and then if we have time, we do the enrichment materials. If we don't have time, or interest is waning that day, we don't. There is still flexibility in that way, while still making the important progress of the core subjects.

      One last thing that I really appreciate about MP is this level of expectation they offer. Classical education, the way MP does it, challenges children (and parents!) to reach a level of education that is unmatched by today's standards. Who else structures an entire elementary curriculum around the study of Latin grammar? No one does this anymore! Yet it was the way everyone used to be taught, and what used to be required for a person to be considered educated! This is where Jude's comment about looking where you are headed comes in too...setting yourself out on the MP path now, makes all the years easier. We had to come here late with our older children, but I have a brand new Kindergartner this year, and I am so excited that she, and her two younger sisters will get MP right from the start!

      Blessings on your decisions...
      16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
      DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
      DS, 17
      DD, 15
      DD, 13
      DD, 11
      DD, 9
      DD, 7
      DS, 2


        Welcome, MaryFebruary!

        You've received great advice already from Jude and Sarah.

        What about this for a pacing suggestion: When you get the Lesson Plan, take the first five days and partition them into ten school days of work (perhaps doing ten days of math though, if he loves it). Then you start with gentle expectations and see where you go after that. I'm guessing it'll be easier than you think. If he's wanting more or you are getting done lightning fast you can roll to the next day's work.

        Since he's a boy and 5, you might schedule in some active playtime before schooling--like time on a trampoline or running around outside--before you ask him to be ready. Then set aside a little time, an hour perhaps, where you focus on the day's work. I'd have a one-on-one time planned with him for a few things (reading/math) and then the read-alouds, music, art, etc. can be for all the kids. That way they feel included. You might also have them each grab a book they'd like you to read aloud during that time. HSing is going to bring a new rhythm to your family; that was the hardest transition for me. I had to think of it as my job and not try to go about my normal SAHM activities. When I focused fully on them, the days improved greatly. I consider myself busy, at minimum, weekdays until after lunch. I even write it in on my calendar so my days show that I'm scheduled! It's a great reminder to me of my first focus.

        Hope this helps!
        Festina lentē,
        Jessica P

        2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
        DS 12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN - Headed to Hillsdale College next fall
        DD 10th • HLN, Latin online
        DD 7th • HLN & Home
        DS 4th • HLN & Home
        Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; Memoria College

        Teaching TFL and co-directing @
        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016


          Also, going slowly for the first month (or longer) and not paying too much attention to staying strictly in the pace of the schedule laid out in the plans could help.

          I frequently get my lesson plans separately so I can more easily delay certain subjects, substitute, or go more slowly or faster without too much flipping back and forth in the lesson plans. I love my separate plans. For each subject I just look at the next box and move on.

          another option to consider would be to look at the Level C in the Special Needs curriculum. The standard MP K is quite academic. This looks like it could be a gentle transition kindergarten. Many of the books are the ones used in the K curriculum ( if I remember correctly, the Numbers Books, classical phonics...). I'm trying to remember my catalog info. The website currently only gives specific detail up to level B. A child doesn't need to have any particular disabilities to use these levels. A wonderful beauty of hs is to match up child and curriculum where they fit best regardless of what the level is called.