We are just now at a point where I would say the children have a curriculum for homeschooling. I’m fortunate enough to have the mornings available over the next few months to really enjoy homeschooling Petra and Jasper. At nearly 4.5 and 3.5 years old, they are right around a late preschool-1st grade level. We start the day with prayer, the pledge of allegiance, and then move into our schoolwork. Free play and time outdoors is peppered in between some activities to give me time to pull the next lesson together if needed. Here is the curriculum we are using. And while this is a lenghtly list, with this age it doesn’t take long. We may spend just 10-15 minutes on each activity. We are easily done by lunch time. And some of these activities are accomplished at the table or in the evenings. I’ve marked them as such.
Story Activities – Story Stretchers, Five in a Row (daily)
Daily I read a children’s story and then we complete a corresponding activity. Activity suggestions are easy to find in Five in a Row, Story Stretchers, or similar books. I love the way these books meld together learning with a children’s book. It is perfect for this young age group. This week for instance we read Blueberries for Sal and then got our buckets and some “pretend” blueberries (which was really cereal squares) and worked on math skills. The children loved they were able to eat the food when they answered the question correctly.
Narration / Reading (3x weekly)
Petra is reading independently and completing a narration page. The page requires her to write the date, title of the book, and author. Then I write down her narration of the story. Afterwards there is a small space for her to draw a picture of the story. We just started these; I’ll post her first narration in the next week. I was very pleased with how well she did.
Reading Lessons (3-4x weekly)
I love the Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and will continue using it over the next year with Petra. She is currently on lesson 133 – we have slowed down drastically over the last few months. At one point it was lost under a bed, so that had largely to do with it. But it seems that many lessons we come to now she already has learned some other place. Jasper is not quite ready for this book. He seems to be doing much better with hands-on activities. So while we are very slowly moving through the first few reading lessons with him, I’m doing it through some hands on activities that I create. In addition, Petra is picking up books all the time and getting a ton of reading practice. She stops to read many times through the day, takes books to read in the car, and reads to the babies some each day. She is currently on Level 3 readers.
Jasper is learning pencil control by tracing letters (often with dry erase markers) and completing Kumon mazes. He is getting much better. With Petra we are focusing on ensuring she knows the correct way to write each letter on lined paper. She is almost complete with her Zaner-Bloser Handwriting K book. And we are just going back through all the letters again.
Spelling (2-3x weekly)
We will be starting All About Spelling next week and I super excited about it. I know she is going to breeze through the first half of the book, but I’m excited about the basic understanding we will be able to ensure she demonstrates.
Three words go up on the chalk board weekly that Thomas and I will used throughout the week. These are usually more complicated words and we will go out of our way to use in every possible way. This week expect to see: remorse, animated, and clamor. I’ll also review the definition of the words with the children, but the most important part of this lesson is just that they are used everyday in casual conversation. For a list of words to consider check out this online list.
Verse of the Week (daily)
We are using the Charlotte Mason guide for scripture memorization and love it. We daily review verses the children have already learned, and they are all stored in a handy box that sits on our table. This way we can do it at meal time and it doesn’t get missed. Most recently the children learned Psalm 100. We will be working on several other passages over the next year. Currently we plan on tackling: Matthew 6:5-15, Exodus 2:1-17, and I John 4:7-21.
We read Bible stories, with questions and answers after breakfast in the morning. This seems to be the best time. We are all in one place and it makes sure it gets done. I have a few favorite Bible story books, but we are also working through Leading Little Ones to God.
Physical Education (daily)
Exercise is clearly shown to help children perform better at school work. While there is plenty of play time each day, and then they each of them sports – during the school days we also add in some physical exercise. Mainly activities you would expect to see at Cross Fit Kids. If they start getting ansy in their seats, or if I know I’m going to need their thinking caps on, we jump up and work on squats, burpees, pushups, handstands, or some other little combos to get their hearts racing and blood pumping. And of course I do it with them…if I can…this is not one of those things I can do with them.
Here’s a short clip of them “skinning the cat” on the swings. They thought of this idea all by themselves – I usually just have them use the rings.
Math (2-3 a week)
Petra has been working through Singapore K math this past year. She finds some of it confusing. We have actually decided to hold back some on math until they are a little older. We do some basic: more than, less than, bigger than, ordinals, sets, matching, counting by tens and fives, basic fractions, basic addition, but we aren’t pursuing it heavily. Jasper understands it all, but his handwriting isn’t as advanced as Petra’s – so it makes it more difficult to do math. We work with manipulatives though about 2-3 times a week. And actually they have learned more about addition and subtraction with the app Teach Me:Kindergarten. We love this app!!
History / Geography (2-3x a week)
I don’t have a set curriculum for history and geography. Right now we are working on learning about maps and different continents. I’m using a Big Book of the World that I found at the Goodwill Bookstore a few years ago. And then we also have the Usborne Lift the Flap Picture Atlas that we look at – but I’m not real crazy about it. For history we are reading historical books – yesterday for instance we read a book on Davy Crockett.
Science (2-3x a week)
There are so many great science books for children. We use the Learn to Read Science Series, Mudpies to Magnets, and I recently found Raindrops and Rainbows that has been a lot of fun for us. This is one of my favorite activities with the children and they love it.
French (2-3x a week)
I would love a preschooler’s – elementary french curriculum for our children – for parents who don’t know french. But we are slowly learning together. We have found a few library books we like, and a few internet resources.
Art (once a week)
I’m attempting to do some “art” lessons with the children once a week. Honestly, this as not been something they have expressed interest it. They like cutting and pasting – and we have done this up to this point. Plus they have crafts at church twice a week. We aren’t working through any curriculum at this point. I would love an art book for young children – and just haven’t found one or bought it.
The children have a music class once a week at church each week. They love it, and it has done wonders for them. We sing hymns together as a family as part of a bible/devotions. And I’m slowly teaching Petra piano using Music for Little Mozarts. She usually practices in the evening – with a goal of three times a week.
And that’s it. Its really not all that much since we work on learning through the day.