Best Curriculum for a Six Year Old
From a dear local Mom:
“Hi Julie, I’m in Cincinnati and regularly follow your blog posts and was wondering how you structure homeschool so it will be fun? My son is six and we’re jumping back into school gradually (using your method of focusing on one thing at a time) but he’s already saying he hates school and sighs when I just bring out the little math book and ask that we only work on it for five minutes.
“I keep reading things about how to make school fun—you should use your imagination, go for walks, implement school in all sorts of ways, etc. but my brain doesn’t work like that and I’m not very creative. I like to sit down, go through a structured list, and check the things off that we need to do.
“As a result I feel like there’s a big divide between his learning style and my teaching style and I’m wondering how to get past that…. Do you have any thoughts or blog posts that you can direct me to as to how to bridge this gap? Do you run into parents that are able to find a happy medium without feeling like a failure every time their child complains? Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide. ” (Cincy Mom)
Hi Cincy Mom!
The best curriculum for a six year old is face paints and dress up clothes.
Read aloud to him.
Go to the art museum here. Use this post as a guide to how to enjoy art together.
Sign up for zoo passes and all fall, go once a week.
Visit the library every single week. Let him pick out story books, you pick out books, you create times to read together on the couch, you have poetry teatimes with him.
Count cracks in the sidewalk, blue houses, red cars, all the jellybeans he can hold in his two hands at once, cups of sugar to bake muffins.
Play with Playdoh—make all the lowercase letters of the alphabet. Now make all the uppercase. Say the sounds as you do and try to make every sound seem like an animal is saying it. Or every Star Wars character.
Buy Lego sets.
Take nature walks in the woods. Find a field guide and look for birds to match.
Jot down the incredibly cute things he says to you and read them back to him later in the day or to his dad in front of him.
Play with pencils and pens and crayons and white boards and paints. See what it feels like to write in big sloppy ways and small careful ways. Using a big paintbrush with water: write names on the hot concrete, and little messages as they vanish in the sun and read them to him. Make pictograms and see if he can guess your messages to him.
Put away the workbooks.
Put away the schedule.
Be with your son the same ways you have been since he was born. If you homeschool, get rid of “school” and focus on home. Add brownies.
Read as much as you can here.
If you want some support on how to make this journey, try our Jot It Down product. It will be the one thing that may save you from over-schooling at this tender age.
Let go. Relax. Trust. He’s so young. Be curious about the world in front of your son.
Hugs to you, conscientious Mama. You can do this.
so glad i read this today! my 6 and 5 year old are pretty burnt already and i need to be reminded that they’re still so young and need to learn through play.
This is brilliant! I am such a huge component for allowing young kids to learn on their own as we act as a guide. There will be PLENTY of time for books and workbooks later!
I couldn’t agree more. 🙂 Pinning this to my preschool and K board. I have a similar article with my ten favorate “curricula” for preschoolers here… http://www.examiner.com/article/free-curricula-every-subject-for-your-preschooler-it-s-not-what-you-think
Yes yes yes! And I love poetry tea time!
I want everyone to benefit from your wisdom. Sharing on my Free Range Learning fb page.
I have been homeschooling my 6-year-old for the last couple years and it has been a battle! Many tears, many times wanting to give up. I switched to Sonlight this year and he is embracing the curriculum more, but still fights me sometimes. I don’t know how long I will homeschool and I am open to putting him in private school when we can afford it. My fear is that if I let him just paint, color and explore all day that he would not easily assimilate into the classroom environment and may even be behind. Are my fears unfounded?
My kids assimilated into a school environment when they went in high school for the first time. I think this question is a bit like: “Shall I get my baby used to a bottle in case some day I die and I can’t breastfeed?” The answer I got from my midwife was: “Don’t undermine breastfeeding now against the possibility that bottles will be required later. If that day comes, your baby will adjust—he won’t starve.”
I thought that solid advice and I’d say the same thing to you about school.
When your child is ready for school (at whatever age), you will be there to support that transition and for that learning moment to happen. No school environment is difficult enough to adapt to that it’s worth undermining the lovely potential that home has to offer in the meantime.
Throw yourself into your homeschool—into love of learning now. When the day comes that you put your child in school, hopefully some of that passion and self-directed learning will come to shore up the school experience and create a truly rich learning environment for your child. 🙂
I love it! I have a six year old boy and I only figured this out after four years of homeschooling. My girls were ok when I was too structured but there was no way my son was going to sit still and play “school” 🙂
Great post. I am wondering how you would change this to address a 13 year old boy? That is if you would change it at all for an older boy…
Julie, you are right. I worry too much.
Katyrose, I would not change it a bit for a boy. This is exactly how we raised all five kids (three of which are boys).
They are just as excited about painting on the driveway, going to the art museum, and Legos as girls!
I’m doing this with my 11 and 8 year olds. Even though my 11 yr old ‘should’ be doing more by school standards, it’s the Jot it Down phase that I’m focussing on. Because it’s a lifestyle and that is the sinew that keeps us connected which in tern enriches their learning in ways school never could.
Having now a 5th and 7th grader, I can tell you with absolute confidence that Julie is 100% correct!! Don’t waste your time on any “curriculum.” We started off with Sonlight and ditched it within 3 weeks, but kept all the books and just enjoyed them on our own schedule. We did Cinderella Around the World with picture books in different cultures. We went to the zoo and played at the park a lot. We did our own version of museum time (I need to write a post somewhere about that, but it isn’t book related, so I don’t know where to write it). Anyway, we just enjoyed our time together and now that they are older and doing “real” school, I realize how important that time was. Just enjoy!! Start stressing (but only a little) about 3rd or 4th grade. 😉
The question of “What curriculum should I use for my preschooler/5-6 year old?” is SO common. Our society is practically brainwashed into thinking that learning doesn’t happen without a textbook or worksheets. Your list is great example of how to deschool yourself and your kids.
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