It is an exciting new year to continue our early learning education at our home! I am excited to take another year to really invest in my daughter, Karis, before launching her into kindergarten. Although she could begin this year with her knowledge of letters, sounds, and numbers, I don’t want to rush it or force her into a more structured environment before she is ready. At four years old she is in love with books, hands-on activities, and plenty of playful learning. We are starting to incorporate a fun Circle Time (inspired by Preschoolers and Peace) into our mornings together, including my two year old as well. This will be a time where we sit and read together, study the Bible, and memorize various Scripture, poems, the catechism and other things.
Here are some of our goals this year and the resources we will use to accomplish them:
1. Bible & Character Building
We will continue to read and re-read the Jesus Storybook Bible, as our favorite story bible for children. Along with this, we are reading Big Truth for Little Kids by Susan Hunt and memorizing the catechism questions. After completing this book, we will be studying the names of God using Desiring God’s resource, God’s Names. For character building, we plan to use a Child’s Book of Character Building series by Ron Coriell.
2. Memory work
We want to really utilize the fun and ease of memorizing in these early years to store up some basic facts and truths. We are memorizing one Scripture verse each week, utilizing My ABC Bible Verses to continue through reviewing and memorizing a verse for every letter of the alphabet. We also are memorizing the continents and oceans of the world and other countries using Geography Songs. I also want to memorize a few poems throughout the year.
As we feel inspired we will launch into a basic phonics program (but this will likely wait till next year), using Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and The Reading Lesson. But ultimately, I don’t plan to rush it at all. My main goal for these early years is to continue to do a lot of reading together as a family. I am borrowing a weekly load of books from the library as we work through the 1000 Classics book list (for the primary level) and Sonlight’s Kindergarten book list recommendations. Although we are not using Sonlight this year, I certainly appreciate the book recommendations that are offered in their programs and want to enjoy the benefits of these excellent stories. We also have a list of quality literature that we are going to read aloud together throughout the year, most likely as a family in the evenings. Our list includes:
Winnie the Pooh
In Grandma’s Attic
Missionary Stories with the Millers
A Child’s History of the World
4. Poetry & Art work
One of the things I love about Charlotte Mason (we are pursuing a combination of classical education with some Charlotte Mason) is her emphasis on cultivating a love for poetry, art and music. I am really excited to have discovered the Language Lessons for Little Ones series (designed for 3-5 year olds). I love the simple short lessons focusing on basic language skills, poetry, narration, art work, and lots of good discussion. The art work is beautiful and the lessons are short and sweet. We are also reading Poems & Prayers for the Very Young and A Child’s Garden of Verses during our morning Circle Time.
My kids absolutely love the Classical Kids CD’s. They offer a fun exposure to classical music with stories and drama. They are playing non-stop at our house!
6. Nature & Science Exploration
I want my children to have a true love and appreciation for God’s creation. This year, we will be taking a monthly nature walk at a local nature observatory. Here is Karis & Daddy enraptured in the Big Bag of Science kit we are using for basic science experimentation. She couldn’t wait to get into it and has been so fascinated. This kit has 70 different projects with all the supplies included! A fun thing to do with daddy! Another great kit for the younger ages is the Primary Science Kit.
We have also stumbled upon the Let’s Read & Find Out Science series of books that is perfect for introducing preschoolers to the hows and whys of the world around us. These books have been lots of fun! One of my all time favorite science books for preschoolers is the Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature. We love reading and re-reading this one!
7. Missions/Geography – Heart for the World
We are using the Geopuzzles set to teach geography. What a simple hands on and painless way to teach the countries and continents of the world! One of my goals for our education is to help teach our children of the amazing diversity of people around the world beyond our own small scope of the universe so they would grow to have a heart of love and compassion for them. So I don’t think you can start too early learning about them and how we can pray for them with Window on the World. The Geopuzzles are excellent for all ages!
Here is our new fall schedule:
8:00 am – Breakfast
Morning Routine - Get dressed, make bed, clear & wipe counters, start household maintenance task (one focus task per day as listed below)
9:00 am – Put baby down for nap, kids do their morning chores (empty dishwasher, make beds, pick up toys, etc)
Circle Time (9:30-10:30 am)
- Bible – Jesus Storybook Bible
- Doctrine/Character Building – Big Truth for Little Kids/God’s Names
- Scripture memory (ABC Bible Verses)
- Worship – Sing hymns together
- Memory work – Catechism, Poems, Continents
- Poetry and Nursery Rhymes (sing, dance, and hand motions – Poems & Prayers for the Very Young, A Child’s Garden of Verses)
- Prayer for a nation (use Window of the World & Atlas)
- Story time – (including 1000 book list & Let’s Read & Find Out Science series, Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science & Nature)
Music Time – Listen to Classical Kids throughout the day
Phonics/Language (10 min)
Math/Thinking (10 min)
- Developing the Early Learner workbooks (books 3-4) (1-2 pages per day)
- Inchimals – these are a fun hands on way of teaching measurements and addition
Titus play with duplos, pattern blocks, or puzzles during Karis’ workbook time
Titus Time (15 min)
I compiled a pile of index cards with one fun learning activity per card to complete with my 2 year old each day for some focused one-on-one learning quality time together. These activities I compiled from Slow & Steady Get Me Ready and the Flowering Baby curriculum.
- 2 books from Titus’ reading list
- Choose one learning activity card
Household Maintenance Task
M – Laundry, sweep & mop floors
T – Clean bathrooms
W – Nature Walk/Library storytime
TH – Office/Organization (filling)
F – Town/Errands
Lunch & Naps
Another thing I appreciate about Charlotte Mason is her encouragement to have structured mornings and unstructured afternoons for free play and exploration. We plan to follow this pattern so as to encourage their exploratory play along with one focused activity per afternoon.
M – Health & Baking (Baking projects with kids using Mom & Me Cookbook, Vintage Remedies for Kids cooking activity)
T – Geopuzzle
W – Science experiment (Evening activity with Daddy)
TH – Geopuzzle
F -Craft Project (Little Annie’s Art Book & Kumon Workbooks)
Of course this schedule is very flexible. Some mornings we might bag it altogether. Other mornings we might go visit friends for the morning. Other times we might just do our workbooks or just circle time activities. I don’t push it in any way to get everything done each day. If my kiddos aren’t interested, I don’t push it. I just want to have fun and encourage the learning as they feel led!
That’s all for now! We launch into our new routine this week!