Kindergarten is normally a year in which young children are taught to play with other children; to be away from their parents for several hours a day; to learn some songs; to possibly learn some numbers, the alphabet, and how to print their names. We disagree with that philosophy. We think children are ready and eager to learn at approximately 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 years of age. Not to give them a real learning opportunity leads only to frustration on their part. We also believe, based on solid scientific evidence concerning the myelinization (development) of the nervous system, that by the end of their Kindergarten year, most children do possess the fine motor skills to write in cursive. Therefore, we put children in Kindergarten for a full year and they begin a complete learning schedule. Next year, they will progress into First Grade.
The master theme of this year's study will be to expose the student to the traditional Catholic religious philosophy which permeates this program. Students will also begin to experience the formalized learning process which is the basis of our program. They will learn some simple math, beginning reading, handwriting, science, etc. We will begin slowly so that the student has the opportunity to adjust to our program.
Religion: The tutor will teach this subject using an informal discussion method. A special book has been written, Chats with God's Little Ones, which is a catechism arranged for short informal discussions with the child. It includes related art projects and semester evaluation tests. There is a second small book, Leading the Little Ones to Mary, which will also be used to explain our Faith. The student will be introduced to the Bible by having the tutor read to the child from the New Catholic Picture Bible. Each day the student should say the rosary and on Friday, say the Stations of the Cross. Other books used: The Rosary Booklet; The Way of the Cross Booklet.
Arithmetic: Learning to identify numbers and to count from 1-100 will be the initial study in this subject. It will progress to simple single digit addition and subtraction up to the 6's. Children will also learn to tell time. Books used: Arithmetic Instruction Manual, Drill Pages & Review K, & Counting Workbook.
Phonics and Reading: The phonics system is primarily used for teaching reading. A new Catholic reader, Little Angel Reader A Text, and its accompanying Little Angel A Workbook, form the centerpiece of the Phonics and Reading. The student will begin by learning the phonetic letters and sounds (called phonemes), but will also learn the alphabet at the same time. There will be phonics learning games, exercises, and tests to help the learning process. Other books used: Little Angel A Teacherís Manual; Phonics is Fun 1 Workbook, & Phonics is Fun 1 Teacherís Edition.
Handwriting: Initially, the study of handwriting will begin with hand printing, using the workbook Writing Capital and Small Letters. In the last quarter (beginning in the 30th week), the study of cursive handwriting will begin and will remain the major part of this study. Through Catholic Writing Skills K, it is our intention to teach the student good cursive penmanship in preference to only hand printing as taught in most schools.
Science: At this grade level, science in school should consist of some very rudimentary concepts being introduced to the children through a methodology that shows them that the study of science can be enjoyable, while making connections between the tenets of our Holy Faith and how we can see God's mark on all things around us. Accordingly, the science study will consist of some basic knowledge about God's creation, particularly about ourselves, the weather, the seasons, seeds, animals, and recreational environments. The students will have some science activities to complete in the new Catholic work text, Science & Living in God's World Kindergarten Text, written especially for young Catholic home scholars by OLVS staff.
Art: The student's artwork will consist of five religious coloring books, as well as art assignments from the religion book, Chats with God's Little Ones. They can be used to reinforce the various subjects discussed in the religion lessons. The five religious coloring books are: Catholic 123 Coloring Book, About Angels Coloring Book, Catholic ABC Coloring Book, Jesus Our Savior Book 1 Coloring Book, and Our Mother Mary Coloring Book.
Music: The student will be encouraged to learn the words to several Catholic songs and hymns, and American folk songs, and to sing them as often as possible. This will be in an effort to preserve the traditions of singing patriotic, folk, and old Catholic songs and hymns. Music book: Songs for God and Country Book, which includes all words and music to the professionally produced recording of the same name, available on both audiocassette and CD.
Seatwork and Homework: Extra practice work for phonics and arithmetic will appear in the form of seatwork and homework. Workbook used: Seatwork Book.