1. How in the world are you supposed to organize everything you need for Kindergarten?
Melanie from Treasures Unseen wrote an excellent post explaining how she organized her Kindergarten materials that has helped many homeschooling moms. You can read that post here. I chose to organize my materials using the method suggested in the teacher's manual. I just made 27 file folders (one for each unit, plus one for the introductory creation unit), and that worked well for me. As I came across a book, poem, craft idea, puzzle, etc., that I wanted to use for a certain unit, I would just slip it into the corresponding file folder. Also, if I stumbled upon a library book I thought would work well for a future unit, I would write the title down in the file folder itself. Then when that unit finally rolled around, I pulled out my file folder and had all of my resources (or sometimes a list of resources to get from the library) ready and waiting.
2. Music and the Cuisinaire Rod Alphabet Book aren't scheduled. When am I supposed to do those?
If I could go back in time, the first thing I would do after recieving my teacher's manual in the mail is go through it and pencil in the music and cuisinaire rod lessons once a week. (This is only for Deluxe package users). It doesn't matter which day you do them. Day 6 works well for a lot of people because it's already a light day, so that might be a good option. But choose a day and pencil in the music and cuisinaire rod lessons so you don't get to the end of the year and say, "Aw, crud, I meant to do those!" Hear the voice of experience there? ;)
3. I can't figure out this stinkin' teacher's manual! What's up with all the flipping back and forth?!
If only I had a quarter for every time I've heard or read that statement! It's really, really, really not that bad once you get the hang of it. Basically, the reading instructions are in one section of the teachers manual, the math instructions are in a second section, and the science and Bible are in a third section. The math routine is the same every day (craft stick, hundred chart, calendar), and the reading routine is the same every week (Day 1 is always the same, Day 2 is always the same, etc.) Believe it or not, you'll actually get in a groove and this will become second nature to you, so you won't be spending much time in those sections of your TM. The part you'll spend the most time in every week is the science and Bible part because it's different every day. I have heard of people putting a post-it note or a paper clip to mark each section of the teacher's manual. This might be helpful if you find yourself flipping back and forth a lot.
4. Where do you store your Picture Cards?
There are probably as many answers to this question as there are MFW Kindergarten users, but here's the system I used that worked well for me. I spent $3.99 and bought a picture box from Hobby Lobby. (Actually, that's not completely true. I spent $7.98 and bought two because I also used one for the Number Cards. But more about that in a minute.) I also bought a box of invitation envelopes (4 3/4" x 6 1/2 ") from Office Depot, which I kept inside the picture box. Every week, Millie would cut apart her picture cards.
When they were all cut apart, she would take a new envelope out of the box and tape the letter card to the front of it.
4. Where do you store your Number Cards?
I put my Number Cards in a second picture box. Now, about the Number Cards themselves ... the teacher's manual suggests writing the number of the week on an index card. We tried that, but Millie started getting her 2 and 5 and her 6 and 9 confused because she couldn't tell if she was holding it upside down. So I ended up making some printable Number Cards that have an outdoor background so it would be obvious if she was holding them upside down. You can download those Number Cards here if you'd like to use them. They're formatted for Avery 5388 printable index cards, but if you don't happen to have those handy, you can just grab some scissors and do it the old-fashioned way! ;)
When we would do the Math Page, I would take the Number Cards out of the picture box and fan them out face down so she could draw one.
Then she would look at the number and draw that many objects on her paper. (As our year progressed, we would sometimes stamp that many times or add that many stickers. It starts getting a little monotonous when you try to draw 17 of something!)
5. What other resources are available?
My Father's World Message Board
The best resource I have found is the message board at the My Father's World web site. If you're looking for encouragement or clarification on a project in the book, you can post a question on the General board. If you're looking for additional ideas to enhance your unit, check out the Kindergarten Ideas archive.
Printables from Mama Jenn
Mama Jenn made some great handwriting practice sheets to go along with each unit. They have the Words to Remember along the top with handwriting guide lines at the bottom of the page. The middle is left blank so your child can illustrate it however he chooses. I love, love, love the idea of these practice sheets. (Along with all of Mama Jenn's stuff! If you're not familiar with her site, you really should be!) But I don't think Millie is quite ready to do the handwriting on her own yet, so I made some similar pages with the letters in pale gray at the bottom so the students can trace them. If your child is ready to write her letters on her own, stick with the ones Mama Jenn created. But if she needs a little more guidance, here's a link to mine.
Badges for a Kindergarten Caterpillar
When we went through Kindergarten the first time, we had to create our own badges. Now they're included with the student sheets. We like the ones we made on the computer several years ago, though, because they're circle-shaped, and we put them together along the top of our bulletin board so they make a Kindergarten Caterpillar. It's a great way to review the Words to Remember every week. Millie has only completed one unit so far this year, but here's what her caterpillar looks like so far.
If you'd like to download our Kindergarten badges, click here. (The caterpillar face is on the last page of the document.)
And here's a picture of what the badge looks like as it's being worn. We took a short piece of grosgrain ribbon (around 2 1/2 to 3 inches) and folded it in half. Then we stapled it to the back of the badge, folded side up, so it hung over the edge and made a little tab that a safety pin could be attached to.
From Akebu to Zapotec and Bulletin Board Poster for Each Unit
Because Hannah is going through ECC this year, we're adding a book to Millie's Kindergarten that has an ECC feel to it. It's called From Akebu to Zapotec: A Book of Bibleless Peoples, and I can't recommend it highly enough!
It goes through the alphabet and, one letter at a time, introduces us to 26 people groups that don't have the Bible in their language. I made a poster (just a letter-size piece of paper) for each unit that has the Spanish word for the unit, the Words to Remember, and the name of a Bibleless people group that begins with the letter of the week. The pictures on each week's poster are the same as those on the badges. Here's the poster that's currently on our bulletin board for the S-s Sun unit.
Click here to download the weekly posters file.
The My Father's World Blog Roll
Lainie has done a great job of hosting the My Father's World Blog Roll for the past three years. It's always fun to connect with families who are currently in the same year as you, as well as finding families who have already blogged the year you're working on.
I know there are a ton of other resources out there, but these are the ones I wanted to make sure to include. Hopefully this post has helped someone out there. :) If you have any questions about any of my resources or just about the Kindergarten program in general, feel free to ask away. I love making bloggy friends! :)
My files are now at Google docs rather than 4shared, so hopefully downloading will go more smoothly. However, if you are unable to download any of the files mentioned in this post but would like to use them, please leave me a comment with your email address and I will be happy to send them to you! :)