UPDATED POST: I spent several weeks this summer trying to decide what curriculum to use with Petra this fall 2011. She is 3.5 years old – will be 4 years old on November 18th. As I accessed her abilities and the choices that lie ahead, I pretty much decided she is either already working at a kindergartner level, or at a minimum ready for kindergarten work.
There is a quick at-home online assessment you can give your child to find out if they are ready provided by Covenant Home Curriculum. Petra knows all her letters, sounds, numbers up to 20, is starting to count by tens to 100, understands books meant for ages 4-8, is reading lots and lots of words, understands phonics and is whizzing through her reading lessons, can count objects, can identify all her shapes and colors, can jump on one foot, is pretty good at cartwheels, can memorize lengthy scripture verses and poems, knows a ton of songs and can sing them by heart, and can practically recite the Tale of Peter Rabbit word for word.
Where she is lacking is social skills. She is still having a hard time playing with other children kindly …and we are really working on this. Thomas and I have refocused our efforts to encourage positive behaviors and we are already seeing the fruit from the changes. But she can get upset easily, complain, whine and hit–all within a matter of moments. But she is three, and that is pretty common. She gets overwhelmed quickly by her emotions. As a result of this, and well just realizing the plain need (which is not particular to our children), we are working on some habit and trait training with our children.
But the really nice thing about homeschooling is that she might not be socially ready for kindergarten, she IS GETTING there, however she is definitely academically ready. So we are moving ahead at home. We have planned to homeschool since we’ve been married. There has never been another option for us. So this isn’t a surprise. We will be using the CLASSICAL METHOD. But as I research more I think we will be using a lot of CHARLOTTE MASON methods in these early years especially.
This summer I have spent time on helping Petra with her reading and writing. When picking out curriculum I wanted to be sure I wasn’t pushing it too hard. If she was going into a school setting she wouldn’t be starting kindergarten this year, not even next year, but it would be the following year (in the fall of 2013) when she would start. So its early. So after looking very closely at samples of the materials online, I feel very confident nothing that I have ordered will be too difficult for her. In fact, after ordering it online, and now receiving it, some of it may be too easy.
So here is the down low of what we plan to cover this year: Reading, writing, math, music, science, Bible, art/drawing, history and geography.
And here are the books and curriculum we will be mainly using. (or at least the attempted plan =)
- Leading Little ones to God by Marian M Schoolland and some other biblical books will be used for Bible studies. Thomas plans to work on character training with them after lunch each day. I don’t think we have a resource yet for this.
- Tots on a mission at Totally Tots – Free online resource that will help them learn about and pray for others in the world. I want to find ways to focus on serving others. We will be doing participating in Operation Christmas Child, but I also want to find some other ways to help those in our community.
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
- Usborn Lift the Flap Picture Atlas – to help introduce them to geography. I’m not sure how useful this will be. We just received it this week and Thomas did not like it. Both Petra and Jasper (who is 2.5 years old) had a blast lifting the flaps.
- A Street Through Time – a book to help introduce them to historical changes in society.
ENGLISH – LITERATURE, READING AND WRITING
- Five in a Row – I love this book and how it teaches science, art, history and other subjects through children’s literature. UPDATE – I decided to hold off on this book 1 year, maybe half a year – I think we will get more out of it if both Petra and Jasper are a little older. Plus I don’t want to pay for it at the moment.
- All About Spelling – Level 1 – I had originally thought about holding off on this book until December. However, after seeing that Petra can sound out and spell most 3-letter words without assistance, we will be moving forward right away with this great resource. The first half of the book is spelling 3 letter words, so this shouldn’t be complicated for her.
- Zaner-Boser Handwriting – student edition K – this is a really cute workbook to help Petra with her handwriting skills. It came in the mail today, she opened it up and started on it right away. She can already write most her letters, but needs to improve. This book looks like it will encourage her to be more careful when she writes.
- Beginning Readers – we purchased our first set of Bob Books from Sams. But Petra moved so quickly through them that we will be using the library a LOT for additional beginner readers.
- The Parent’s Ordinary Guide to Teaching Reading – we will definitely be continuing lessons from this book. I would recommend it to anyone. Reading is going smoothly and Petra is doing great. She is beginning to read signs and packages everywhere we go. She is somewhere around lesson 60 as I type this and I can’t believe how well she is doing. She asks for it daily.
MATH AND SCIENCE
- Singapore Math – Essential Math – I’m really looking forward to starting a math program. We received this book last week, Petra is enjoying it a lot already.
- From Mudpies to Magnets – I’m hoping to do weekly science experiments with the assistance of this book.
- Let’s Read and Find Out Science Books – we have about 15 from this series that I picked up at the Goodwill Bookstore in town; I’m hoping to be able to get more from the local library.
MUSIC AND SPORTS
- Piano lessons at home using Alfred’s Little Mozart Piano Book
- Gymnastics lessons will be continuing twice a week. She started pre-team this summer.
- She has asked for violin lessons and ballet lessons for a while. We may start her in ballet this winter. But I think violin lessons will have to wait another year. I think starting her at a more mature 4 years old may be a better idea anyway. Ballet is on hold until she can follow directions better at gymnastics and learn to get along with others in a more mature way (ie, no biting, kicking, touching, etc)
JASPER’s PRESCHOOL WORK
We will continue with our normal workbox materials for Jasper. He loves his workboxes so that is not changing. I would love to use some online resources – but alas our printer has no ink. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon. His workboxes regularly include:
- An assortment of Kumon workbooks – letters, numbers, mazes
- Tracing practice
- Letter writing practice
- And other stuff