Five-year-olds are full of JOY! Have you ever watched a 5-year-old chase bubbles floating through the air? Or, watched as they crowd in with delight to see a kitten or a tiny puppy? They didn’t have to sit there and think about how they felt at that moment. In other words, they didn’t “decide” to feel delighted or full of glee, they just were naturally “filled” and, “living in the moment.” Much like me whenever someone gives me a bright, musical, dancing, lighted Christmas decoration!
I believe that God created us, fully functioning, full of wonder and curiosity. Many of you will agree with me I am sure. But, then what happens to that as we start our journey of education? Do we have JOY as we face each day? And, what kind of JOY am I talking about anyway? I can tell you that I get a great deal of joy out of a white chocolate mocha and some chocolates! What kind of joy do you want for your five-year-old as he starts Kindergarten? What kind of JOY do you want to show your child? Come along with me and experience the Joy-Filled Learning Method.
At one time you had to decide if you were going to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers for your baby. Well, you will have to make a decision about Kindergarten too. Just like I do not personally judge if you choose a specific way to diaper your baby, there is no judgment over which way you choose to “do kindergarten.” Some people are passionate about cloth diapers, but for some reason, they are not able to do so. Some people want to home educate their children but for one or more reasons are not able. There is no judgment. But, you still have choices. Your children are naturally curious and full of life; why not provide him a Joy-Filled Learning Kindergarten?
My husband used to tease and say “it’s a party every day” when I would tell him what our day of homeschooling consisted of! What did he see? He saw that we were happy and having fun! My passion for having fun has really never gone away. My passion includes leading others to experience being JOY-filled! Sometimes our kids would say they “didn’t do school” today. Although we were “doing school” at the kitchen table, coloring the landscapes of Russia while listening to Tchaikovsky on cassettes! Yes, I am from “back then.” I would introduce the topics by reading them a book, “Another Celebrated Dancing Bear” from part of our “Five in a Row” curriculum. Using different voices, hand gestures, and volume, they would lie under a blanket on the couch or the floor snuggled with one of the dogs. The setting was Russia. We would place a bear on Russia, on the globe. They never even knew they were learning because they were having fun. They were learning about Authors, Illustrators, famous musicians, rich vocabulary like “architecture,” Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and “composers.” While coloring, we take note of colors and patterns and shapes that are unique to Russian architecture. Even the dancing bear is full of JOY! So we dance too! (I take care to lead them in brain-training, cross-body movements.) All the while, their casual conversations were not “shushed” or cut off as unimportant. We had much face-to-face interaction. Remember that? I believe that is a necessity with this age group. In my kinder class, the littles will be with me, on the floor, on a wonderfully big carpet and bean bags, interacting face to face with me, interacting with good stories and with the other children. Shoes are optional.
Before you begin to think that I do not want to show students the “non-joy-filled” instances of life, let me explain. In this particular book “Celebrated Dancing Bear,” the children learn about the meaning of “discontent,” “being overwhelmed” and not having control over tears coming. They learn about being happy for someone else, even while being sad. They will see these soft-hearted characters “living” their life. What did I want my kids to glean from that? How about Christian character? I believe that God’s ways are the only perfect ways! Can these joy-filled littles, become caring, compassionate, and capable of being educated with the Joy-Filled Learning Method? By making heart connections to the teacher and “feeling” connections with the characters in the story, they will develop greater love and concern for their classmates. If they are relaxed, engaged, having fun, moving, and accepted for who they are, they will learn and thrive and be joy-filled! I operated from the belief that they were born curious and I just needed to guide them. We recited prayers, thanked God daily, learned Bible verses and listened to stories, learned obedience, manners, cheerfulness and did lots of singing!
Oh, but what about writing?! In my kindergarten school, shoes are optional, but how you hold your pencil isn’t! Shoes are made so that one goes on one foot and one goes on the other, period. But, those darn round pencils can be grasped by those cute little hands in a multitude of ways. This is one of those areas where I am going to say, “It does matter how you hold your pencil.” But, I don’t have to say it that way to your five-year-old. I just have to show her how to draw a race track with a chunky pencil and be patient. To be able to write, one must know how to form the letters and form them quickly. So, we have fun learning how to draw things, color things, and how to make race tracks which solidify the proper way to write manuscript lower case letters. Then we move to whiteboards and lower case and then upper case. All the while we are “writing” our names, and creating stories that the teacher is writing. Every kindergartener has the capability to “write” a story from their imagination; you just have to listen to them, give them time and encouragement. They are born with the imagination and creativity and will share it with us if we give them a chance. They are full of JOY to share their stories and their art to go with it! Kindergarteners will create their own story books in our Kindergarten.
Give your child a Joy-Filled start to their school age years and come be a part of our community at the Center for Home Education. Shout for JOY to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with JOY-‘full’ songs. Psalm 100
May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Blessings, Donna Jones