Monday, January 27, 2014

Homeschool Review: Kindergarten Stories and Morning Talks

written and compiled by Sara E. Wiltse

We used this book when First Daughter was in kindergarten (2012-2013). I find it hard to believe I neglected to review it for the blog. Though I purchased this book for kindergarten, my son who was in third grade, also often listened to the stories.

This book is a reproduction of a kindergarten curriculum for a classroom in the 1890s with the addition of a lot of period-appropriate illustrations and photographs. For September through June, it provides four weekly lessons (sometimes five) of object lessons, seasonal lessons, stories of virtue, faith and morals, and other sweet stories little ones love.

Because it was originally published in the 1890s, the explanations of how things are made are not up-to-date, but, if you are so inclined, it is easy enough to find out how things are made today. I appreciated the descriptions of the older methods as they often were easier to understand and explain to young children. Even though, for example, cotton cloth is no longer made in exactly the same way, there is value in understanding how something is cultivated, processed, and delivered in a way that children rarely glimpse in today's world. My children especially enjoyed learning ten ways a cow was used. I also appreciated the impetus to provide the children with real objects to hold and manipulate, like a cotton boll (which I never did find) and granite, while we listened to stories together.

We did not use all of the stories in the book. Though designed for a weekly lesson, I found them too long to read in one sitting and would instead choose one or two of the selections each week. When we read through this book next year, I think I might use more of it but spread it over two or three days a week. I had to adjust the seasonal lessons as well, as we start school rather early in August for the autumn lessons of September and finish long before the June lessons would be reached.

If you are just beginning with a kindergarten student, this book would be an excellent source for your kindergarten curriculum. In fact, I would discourage a new homeschooler from using much more.

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