I'm amazed at how long we've been doing this already. Long enough that Dragon is starting to demand inclusion, so in addition to Hero making the transition into second grade, we've got preschool starting up again, which will gradually ramp its way up into real school... and it doesn't take that long. My babies are growing! Good thing that Tigress is still acting like a babe!
Anyway. Here's an overview of what we do with Preschool and Kindergarten. In our home, to try to find a division between them would be artificial. It's just a gradual building of expectations as the munchkins grow and their capacity increases.
This is what we're using, as of March 2013.
Posts on Classical Education.
Posts on planning school.
Posts on LDS lesson plans.
Happy Phonics is what Dragon sees, along with some extra games I make up. Or he will, soon. He's very close to making that first blend. I also use The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading to make sure that I don't miss anything. I love the games in Happy Phonics, particularly for a young learner, but the instructions could use some work. On the other hand, the Ordinary Parents' Guide, on its own, is so dry and dull I can hardly stand to read it myself. But they make beautiful music together. Hero's reading is finally taking off, and he's having a blast with the Book It! program this year.
Hero is starting to move into independent reading, but I'm trying to discipline myself to continue to do the phonics because it helps. And I can still tell the difference between the rules we've covered and the ones he doesn't know yet. And he could use some help with the multi-syllable words. Not finishing feels like a disservice. Now to just remember to get it done...
For a more complete review of the programs we use, look here.
Posts on Phonics.
We've been using Math Expressions and Miquan. We're using Math Expressions less and less all the time; Hero explores so much through Miquan that I have a horrible time keeping him in a decent place in the other book. I gave him parts of the placement test for Beast Academy 3A, and he's slow, but able. I think that we'll do some work with odds and evens and then probably switch into Beast Academy. There's just too much of Math Expressions that doesn't work for us, even though it's a really good program.
Dragon wants in here too, and is starting to be more purposeful in his play. We've made staircases together a few times, and he seems to understand, though he doesn't get them at all sequential when he builds by himself yet. I want to find my Math Expressions K books and do some of the activites with him because they're just so fun. Plus, he could use some sit on my lap and do school just for Dragon time. If Beast Academy had a K book out I'd seriously consider it. But in the mean time, Math Expressions and Miquan have worked very well for Hero, so we'll stick with that.
Posts on Math.
Oi. Nature Study is an ongoing challenge. We had a good streak in the spring, but then we got to traveling with the Daddy, and we all got sick. I need to get back on this one. We've been visiting a pond, but now that the stuff around it has grown up we can't actually get to the water. I need to figure something out.
Posts on Nature.
I've gradually realized that we do science very organically, very un-schooly. We'll do something formal for a while, but then we get distracted by something else. With the Daddy being an engineer, and me liking astronomy, and various other things that our family routinely does, we get a lot more than I was realizing. I don't worry about science for pre-K/K, it's just whatever Dragon happens to pick up on. For Hero, we sat down to "study" the body, and other than the reproductive system he pretty much knew the stuff in the picture books already. But as for on-going stuff that keeps coming back, both Hero and I still like astronomy. And he's still going out with the Bee Man from time to time. We plan to pick up a hat and veil for him here shortly. And we've been playing around with some kitchen chemistry using the book "How Baking Works," which my cousin used in culinary school, and recommends highly. We do about a paragraph a week (when we do it) because there tends to be background stuff to fill in (like what is an molecule, which required explaining atoms and elements...), and we also end up doing a lot of baking to see the differences its talking about.
Posts about Science.
Dragon won't do this stuff for a long time yet. For Hero:
First Language Lessons 2 had too much writing for small fingers, so we put it on hold. I plan to come back to it in the fall of 2013, as I am hoping that by then his fine motor will be much more up to the task.
All About Spelling 1 is a hit. Now that his reading is taking off, we're starting to work with spelling a bit. So far, it's easy, and that's OK with me. I like how thorough this program is, and how it reinforces the phonics rules we've already learned. I also like how it's got hands-on and aural components worked right in there.
Copywork is a regular part of our day. I haven't purchased a handwriting program; I just go print out whatever letters I notice he needs work on, using this free Zaner-Bloser program. They're hoping that I'll buy the full version, but so far I'm not feeling the need. We copy scripture verses, lines from books, and practice whatever random letters I notice that Hero is still struggling with. Hero is also starting to write more with our narrations, which are primarily related to history.
Posts on Narration.
Posts on Spelling.
We're using the Story of the World 2 as our main history text, supplemented by all kinds of picture books, read alouds, and websites. The SOTW activity guide has some great suggestions, more than we'll be able to use, and the Usborne Internet-linked History Encyclopedia has additional resources for some topics. We can also print coloring pages, flannel board characters and other items from the Childrens' Friend archives.
Posts on History.
I try to have a chapter book that I am reading out loud on a regular basis. I did not expect this to be one of the most difficult things to make happen in our homeschool, but it's turned out that way. I love doing the actual reading, but picking new books always difficult. If we get stuck and I can't find one that makes me happy, then I read poetry for a while instead. Titles Hero has enjoyed include:
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
1001 Arabian Nights (adapted)
Sir Gawain and the Green Night
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Posts about Read-Alouds.
OK. Art is something that I want to do, but getting it done is hard. Hero's Daddy and I used to do quite a bit of drawing, but the more kids we have, the less drawing we do. And we miss it. I want Hero to know the pleasure of a nice afternoon of drawing or other art. Since I feel that drawing and writing are closely related, I have somewhat combined the two, and it's helping to get things done. We have been using the book How to Draw 101 Funny People, and he's having a good time with it. His drawings have improved considerably. We've also introduced picture studies, and he likes these a lot. Our first artist was Dan Scott, a current-day fantasy artist.
Resources for Art Appreciation:
The Vincent Van Gogh Gallery
Auguste Renoir Gallery
Posts about Arts N Crafts.
We read daily as a family from the Book of Mormon. Hero and I are reading, at his request, the Doctrine and Covenants. This is an extremely slow process, because he asks me to "stop and go and stop and go." That is, I read a bit, then explain it in plain English. More and more, now, I ask him to have a guess at what it might mean before I explain things. We also do a scripture box for verse memorization with both boys. I am in the process of building the habit of reading scriptures daily with Dragon too: we're reading the Book of Mormon as well, and he's about halfwat through the volume. Baby Girl sleeps a lot still, but scripture is her first read-aloud, and we're starting to get a few verses here and there. My goal with all this is to instill a love of the scriptures early, and to help my kids be first-language fluent in what I fondly refer to as "scripture speak." It's just not the same as every day language!
Posts about Matters of Faith.
And that's what we're learning!
Posts labeled Preschool
Posts labeled Kindergarten
Posts labeled Grammar Stage (aka elementary school)
Posts labeled Classical Homeschooling