I will be teaching kindergarten at a Christian school this fall using the A Beka curriculum. After taking a look at the curriculum I'm finding that there is so much pencil and paper work. (Students will be provided with all the workbooks in the curriculum.) I'm just curious. If you teach kindergarten, are you following A Beka exclusively or are you using circle time, and learning centers? I will be teaching all-day kindergarten. What are your suggestions? Thanks.
I'm not speaking from a teacher's standpoint on this one......but I have a son who went to a Christian school in Kindergarten, and they used ABeka curriculum.
I can tell you from our experience that he learned a TON from it. He amazed me at what he learned. However.....he was miserable (and he is NOT a complainer). They sat in their desks all day (well, it was 1/2 day K) and never did anything else except recess. He was 5 years old! I felt like he needed to get up and move around at some point. The teachers were very kind, and explained that with it only being 1/2 day they really didn't have time to do anything else except the workbooks.
Since you'll be teaching all day K, I can see where you would have time for the learning centers, etc... and I would highly encourage it.
I'm sure teachers in that situation will give you some good advice, but I just wanted to give you my perspective on it.
While I am not a kindergarten teacher, I do teach first grade and have had many conversations with the kindergarten teacher on this same topic. I feel that ABeka is too much paper and pencil--even in first and second grade. I do not do all of the seatwork, and I do add my own things into the curriculum. You should have time if you do full-day. The tricky thing is to know what you can leave out. There are certain things, like the phonics charts, that you should make sure you cover thoroughly because those things are built upon from year to year. Things like copying words from the board can be left out if you know your kids can do that, or try to make the seatwork ideas more fun by incorporating them somehow into a game or center.
Fortunately I teach at a school that gives me a lot of freedom so I can pick and choose which worksheets we need to do and which we can toss. A full ABeka curriculum is too scripted for me and too paper/pencil focused for the students. However, if you have the flexibility to use it as a tool instead of being expected to follow the script and complete every worksheet, it can be a great benefit to the kindergarten program.
Thanks for your comments.
SusanTeach- I feel for your son. Kindergarten is an introduction to school so it should be challenging yet fun. Has he adjusted to being in school?
Ms.Bell- I agree with you. I am going to do that. Copying handwriting from the board in the lower grades was deleted from a public school classroom years ago.
PoohBear- I'm hoping to have the freedom to pick and choose. I signed my contract this week, but have not had a chance to talk to other teachers about what the curriculum philosophy is at the school.
Yes, my son did fine in school. After that year in K, we put him in a public school for 1st grade, and he has continued in a public school ever since. He's in high school now, and has made straight As his whole school career. I really think that great start helped him!
I taught ABeka kindergarten for 3 years and 1st grade for 2 years. Yes, it is a lot of paper work, but the kids DO learn. You really do have to pick and choose what you will do. By all means add/subtract to and from the curriculum as needed. The Phonics is the key, so make sure you don't take too much away from that.
I have taught A Beka for years and yes, it is very scripted and very seatwork oriented. I am always amazed, however, at how MUCH the children learn. I always incorporate hands-on science, cooking, centers, and field trips to break up the monotony of the seatwork. It is not a good program for the below-average learner, but for those working an average to above-average pace, it can't be beat for teaching reading skills. Keep the curriculum fun and remember to always mix it up! That will help a lot! Oh, and NO! I definitely don't go "by the book" on the scripted parts.
I am so glad to hear other teachers feel what I have been feeling! I have taught A Beka for four years. Each year I get a little better learning how to incorporate hands-on activities. It is hard to balance the A Beka program with units and centers. Can you give me a rough outline of your daily scedule? I teach a half-day program- I am having a little difficulty trying to schedule my day. thanks!!
I am mom of a K5 student. My son had a very hard time adjusting to the all day class. He was in K4 last year at the same school using ABeka. But it has been so hard this year. He loves school, but the sitting all day has been so hard. They do have 2.. 15 minute recesses and they have centers. He is also having a hard time with the cursive writing. Any suggestions? I can't believe they are teaching cursive in K5... He has made A's and B's, the teacher says he is getting better, but still is very hard. He also has a little bit of trouble with some of his letters/words... Like saying the L in a word he uses a w sound.. Is this normal. Some of the kids have a hard time understanding him. I held him back a year because of his speech. He is 6 years old and I thought he would be much more clearer by now.
I have been using Abeka materials since I started teaching and I love them. I have used the regular curriculums at both public and charter schools but taught most of my years in a Christian School. I don't use centers as much and I don't use ALL the ABeka work sheets but I use most of them. Believe me, you have no idea how much paper and pencil work is required in public schools plus centers. I am at a charter school now and they do three work book pages a day in language, two math pages a day (plus a reinforcement page for those behind and an enrichment page for those ahead). Then we have to come up with our own Science and Social Studies work pages (they provide Weekly Readers which accomplish a lot of that). I finally found a Charter School that doesn't make me hold the children back who are ahead and we are required to do intervention classes with the children who are behind. I have intergrated almost all of the Abeka strategies into my classroom and wish I could just order their work instead. Everyone is amazed at how far ahead the children in my class always seem to be. They have accused me of some way getting the children who are brighter. I try to share the strategies but they are locked into free choice play centers while I devote my time to group activities and again I use the ABeka stategies for learning. I am definitely sold on ABeka.
My son uses w for l too. And I think it's SO cute! Not too worry, he'll grow out of it. They're only little once My son is also 6 and in kindergarten using Abeka this year, it's a lot of repetition for memorizing, but it's a good foundation for learning.
This has been very interesting. We have just enrolled my 4 and 5 year olds in a Christian K4 (1/2 day) and a K5 all day where they use the ABeka system. My son (K5) is very interested in learning, very hands on and independent. My daughter (K4) is much more aloof, creative and dependent. Will this program be a problem for either?
I teach Kindergarten in a inner city charter school and use a different curriculum than Abeka. It is also an advanced program but set up differently integrating things into reading centers and math centers.
My daughter is currently at a christian school that uses Abeka. She is 5 and has learned a tremendous amount. She is an above average student and isn't struggling with the material but doesn't enjoy school anymore. She is a very creative child and there seems to be a lack of the arts and unfortunately her teacher doesn't add in the hands on part. She is also going to attend a public school in first grade. I just hope the academic focus pays off and she begins to love school again after the strictness has loosened.
I have pulled from the Abeka curriculum for my classroom and use some of the blend rhymes to assist my higher level students.
I am telling you from a parents point of view my daughter went to a Christian school for Kindergarten and they used Abeka and I love it. She was in all day Kindergarten so the teacher did have room to allow them learning centers and all that also but the education she recieved was excellent. And now she is in first grade and testing at a 3rd grade level. I am also an early childhood teacher so I have to sayh that I do think that you should allow them to have circle time as well as learning centers and maybe some of the things from the lessons you can incoorparte into their learning centers. Good Luck
Hi to all! I have been reading this website to gain information regarding the Abeka curriculum. My son is in first grade in a Christian school, and he is doing well academically. We have been impressed with how much he has learned, however, I am concerned with the amount of seatwork that is required. He hates doing seatwork, and he struggles to get it completed. The teacher feels he is in his own little world, but my husband and I feel he is bored to death with all of this seatwork. He loves to learn and is very interested in many things, but he does not like sitting for so long. He says that she sits at her desk "always" while they are doing their seatwork, and if they are lucky enough to finish, then they get to copy the board down onto both sides of a tablet paper. If they finish that, they are then rewarded with more work! He said yesterday that he did not want to be fast worker, because then he had to do more work! We are planning to move this summer, so I am comforted by knowing that this will not last forever, but I wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts to share regarding the situation and/or any recommendations.
Hello everyone! (Sorry for the length)
I have been teaching Abeka for about 11 years. I've taught 1st; 2nd; and this year; k-5. I know the curr. is heavy on paperwork. However, the kids learn soooo much!! For the Parents: you are your child's 1st teacher and you know your child! If your child's teacher tries to add centers/ circle time; this is definitely a plus! I do suggest to MomofM : if there is no opening for suggestions/items/games for your son's classroom, then you need to do some things at home to help him with the concept of finishing quickly and getting rewarded. Its sad that his teacher sits at her desk() all day!! I hope this doesn't affect him for the rest of his learning career. Teachers: I love how thorough this curr. is! I love seeing a 5 or 6 yr. old do things that I never knew I could do at that age! At our school, all the classes have centers from k2/3 up to 6th gr. We do our own schedule and k-5 kids on up also attend a 30-min. extra class. (you may call them specials? computer, library, etc.) We are expected to teach the whole curr., but, we can add things also. There's not much room to add things, but we don't teach exactly by the Abeka script either! For the new teacher:my advice is to study your lessons and know the concepts well. Use the lesson sheets as a guide and teach your students. You know them best of all, and some concepts are learned easier than others. So follow the Abeka way of teaching when you need to; but, check your student's progress often to assess how well they're learning and adjust your lessons accordingly. It's a great curr., but, you have to "do your thing" too!
Hi, reading all the posts has been helpful. I am teaching my first K class using Abeka in January in an African township/shanty town. Not only is this all new to me, but I will be teaching kids who speak another language and know about 2% English Should be an adventure but so excited to see how much they'll learn in the year. I am teaching from 8-12 and will have a class of 20. The room is tiny and we need to get resources. All this said, I am open to suggestions on how to use Abeka with circle time etc and kids who don't yet speak English. Thanks for your help.
Hi, I taught mostly Korean children in a Christian preschool. At the beginning, I was the sole English-speaker in the classroom but it was a great journey with the children, parents, director, and co-workers. We use the A Beka textbooks for Kindergarten to teach children in Pre-K. We used Number Skills, Letters and Sounds, Reading Skills as well as the collection of Phonics Book that the children love to read in unison or independently.
The Director gave me enough freedom and flexibility to transform my room to include different centers such as block-building, dramatic play area, music area, science area, sensory materials, computer, circle area, library, and art area. From studying in college, I learned a lot and I've read "Reflecting Children's Lives" by Deb Curtis and Margie Carter from beginning to end. I also listed the materials needed for different curriculum themes and sought the help of the parents, co-teachers, and the administration. They donated household items they don't use, musical instruments, fish, big tubs for sand and water, pine cones, seeds among others. I made art smock from shower curtains, made musical instruments out of cardboard boxes, shakers from rice/beans, rhythm sticks, etc. In the end, we were able to come up with materials that adorned the different centers.
Since I was trained in-house for Elementary Montessori Education and Philosophy, I was able to instill order, discipline, independence, and responsibility in the child through the dynamics of the class. They care for the environment, serve others during mealtime, they have different responsibilities. The substitute teacher said that when she went to sub for my class one day, the children knew what to do and told her where she could find their work for the day, routine of the class, and the responsibility of each child.
I added cooking time. I did this by setting up different activities for groups of children so that while some are cooking, others are engage in different activities. It helps you with your classroom management. There was a time that we had hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies during storytime. I hanged a big blanket like a tent, turned off the lights, and with only the aid of a lamp, read the story to the children. They really loved it.
The crafts are also done where they can show their uniqueness as an individual. We may all do Dr. Suess hat but each child can decorate it the way he or she wants it.
The circle time is usually with children presenting the book that they have read with their parent at home during the weekend. I have read about this project "Raising Bookworms." I made the head of the worm and the children named him Caillou. Every Friday, I gave them a round contruction paper where the parents will write the name of the child, title and author of the book they read together, and the signature of parent. The child will bring the book during the week to present to the class and share with his/her classmates. This really made reading interesting for them and later on they transitioned from presenting the pictures of the book to reading the actual print. I look at them with great pride. Read a lot of good books to them. NAEYC has lots of publication for language literacy. Their publication entitled "Teaching Young Children" is a treasure for teachers like us.
I also made phonograms, letters in upper and lower case, numbers that the children can trace while learning their numbers, letters, and sound. They can do this independently or with a partner after they finish their A Beka worksheets for the day.
Use the internet for a lot of resources in writing names. Incorporate art with it by fingerprinting the letters of their names. In a vinyl placemat, write their names using permanent markers. Let the children trace their name using finger-painting and erase with wet sponge.
For art, control the colors so the children can discover the secondary colors and tints. Try letting them play with red and yellow first, and you will hear them exclaim in delight that they have discovered another color: orange.
During snacktime, while others are still eating, those who are finished can tell stories in English while I write them down. This helps the development of their oral language as well as boosting their self-esteem as they see others listen intently.
Make lots of music and movement. Greg and Steve and Hap Palmer have great songs. Let them work on the worksheets but let them play as well for it is their avenue to learn the skills and knowledge that would help them in school and in life.
Let them also have some peace corner where they can settle their arguments. Only intervene when necessary. I really admire this about children: how they fight, how they talk about it, and how they go out of the peace corner hand in hand ready to play together again.
The walls of the classroom are full of children's work and they take pride in it. We also love to decorate the classroom to show the changes of the season. This is where your art and crafts can be of so much use.
Teach about God and Jesus Christ. The internet such as Danielle's place has a lot of interesting lessons for children.
Lastly, ENJOY for teaching is such a fulfilling career. I heard this once in a graduation ceremony and found it to be true: Teach with your knowledge and educate with the person that you are. The children are our application and we are their instrument to learn about the world around them. They deserve the continuity of our care and education.
I am concerned because there is only one Christian school in our town and my daughter will have to go there for K5 next year. My husband will have it no other way, and I agree that a Christian education is what we want for our kids.
However, this school (from what I've gathered) is VERY heavy on doing A Beka "by the book" so to speak....and I have been told that for a child such as mine, who has scattered attention and (processes slowly some days) and does not do well in the area of fine motor skills, that this would be really a bad choice.
I've been encouraged to either put her in public school (not happening at this point) or put her back in K4 at the said Christian school. (Not sure how that would help, as she is READY for Kindergarten. She knows her letters. She knows her numbers. She loves group time. She often surprises us by telling us stuff she's learned that we didn't even know she was paying attention to! She is starting to sound out words and loves to rhyme.
She has a suspected immunodeficiency problem --(mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria on the brain, to be specific, attacking her functions.) However, very little is known about it, and there is no permanent cure...On any given day she might have mental and physical OCD, tics, anxiety, ADHD-like symptoms, motor issues (including difficulty with writing and math), etc. Some days she will be clear-headed and normal and function like every other child.
So I guess my question is--is it unfair of us to put her in a school just because it's the only Christian school in town?
Should we be looking to get her special ed. services through public school? Medicaid? Private sources?
There will be no help for her at the Christian school.
I don't feel that it's fair for her to be put back in k4 because of a health problem. There is half day K5. I was even discouraged from putting her in THAT...
Does anyone have an alternative solutions to suggest? (besides homeschooling, that is. I tried that. I'm a teacher and I couldn't do it with her. )
I have spent my entire teaching career in a Christian school, I wanted to teach there since my children attend there. I am not crazy about ABeka's K-5 math book and have told them so. I have had to supplement a lot just to get the kids ready for the SAT test that I have to give each spring. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork, but kindergarten is heavier on paperwork in general than even 10 years ago. I have found fun ways to make the work more interesting to the kids. I have centers and an amazing reading curriculum, that is not Abeka.
If you are lucky enough to form the program, you can go away from the bookwork some. However, get a copy of the first grade curriculum so you know where your students need to be to start first grade. Good luck! If you need any help please PM me.
PS. I will be moving to 2nd grade next year, it doesn't get better in there either!
Pre-K and K can be challenging to fit all the worksheets in for ABEKA. I have chalkboards and dry erase boards. If it is a worksheet for writing Ii for instance some days when there are way too many worksheets I pick out some and would make them write the Ii on the chalkboard once carefully...and in the air. I then send home the worksheet. With some worksheets you will need to let them strengthen those hands but when you can find other methods to use then allow some worksheets to be 1. review at home or 2. in a summer review folder=) parents love!!! I have found some veteran teachers who help me weed out what is important to make them do. I ask grades above mine what is important for them to really learn for the next year. I tend to agree sticking to the curriculum somewhat is important but LOTS of worksheet in the early years as a mom and teacher I feel can give children a lack of interest in school. Good luck!!
Have you approached the teacher? I would go talk to her. We have that rep at our school but I can tell you that the lower elementary teachers do take into account the child. If you have a child defiant and won't work, it is a completely different animal. When you have a child who needs a teacher to meet her/him where they are you may find you have one at that school. I would go talk to her and express your understanding of the "by the book" and the standard of ABEKA but you also know your daughter and what you want for her and that you want her to have a good experience with K. She may calm your anxiety. I know I love parents to express the good bad or ugly to me. I will tell you some students who were ready academically were not ready socially in Pre-K and have done well staying back (very bright students). If your gut says she needs to be in K next year, you are the Mom and God gave you that "gut" to navigate through this wonderful journey of motherhood! Embrace it with much prayer! God be with you!
I was disappointed to read that you held your child back a year because of his speech. That had nothing to do with his academics and mental abilities. As you found, it did not make a difference. Hopefully, you will get him speech help, and/or see it as (maybe) a disability for him to work on, and get him placed back where he should be. The other kids and teachers will have to get over it.
I am an Early Childhood Educator and while A Beka claims to be developmentally appropriate with their curriculum, they are not. I wish I could come to your school and convince the administration otherwise. Young children need to play and there are better ways to teach language, literacy, writing etc.