With the quick change from public school to schooling at home, and right before Christmas break, there was not a lot of time to plan an extravagant curriculum and routine. Besides, this is Kindergarten, it does not need to be complicated.
I decided to use something that:
- I was already familiar with,
- was flexible,
- did not require a lot of time sitting,
- and was free.
Ambleside Online, which follows the Charlotte Mason Method, fit the need. We are not sticking strictly with CM, but will use it as a basis for a lot of things. At least, I think we will, as I am not going to worry about sticking to a set of ‘rules’, but rather doing what works for us and not doing what doesn’t.
My goal is to spend no more than 2 hours a day on “school”, though it should really be closer to 30 minutes. I am starting with giving us a lot of grace time. This means we will not be doing everything everyday. Some topics will be combined, while others will only happen once a week. Yet other will happen naturally, though intentionally, as we go about our day.
As this is for Kindergarten, a lot of freedom and leeway can be given without the worry of choosing the ‘wrong’ curriculum. For that matter, I am actually not sure you can consider this curriculum.
I know I’m talking a lot about what we are going to use to teach and not a lot on the attachment part. That area still needs to have more researching on my part to find methods and activities to use. Once I get some things lined up I’ll post about them. Till then, here is what I have lined up:
We have actually read a lot of the books on the Ambleside Online Year 0 list, since I first saw it a few years ago while creating a reading list for the kids as preschoolers. Many have become favorites and have made me look twice at the books I read to the kids.
“During these early years, we focus on helping the child discover his own world through his own explorations, with lots of outdoor time and real tasks around the house.” ~ Ambleside Online Year 0 Booklist page
There is also a focus on habit forming. We have been doing this with the Easy Peasy Chores, but there is room for improvement and self regulation (i.e. not saying “have you updated your routines?” 10 times a day)
“The Year 0 years provide an opportunity to begin Ambleside art appreciation, hymn study, folk song, and classical music. Try gently beginning a foreign language. Develop the habit of tea times. Teach your child to sew and draw, hammer and paint. Play card games and board games. These are all CM-friendly activities for the Year 0 ages.” ~ Ambleside Online
Reading Eggs – we began using this program with George last Spring and found that he really liked it. That was a good thing to hear from a kid who was having difficulty reading. It worked so well, we added Jack to the program and used it all through the Summer break.
With public school having taken so much of their time since September, the kids have not used this program as much as they used to, but they still love it and ask to do it.
We’ll continue to use this, as well as read-alouds and easy readers, to keep progressing on reading skills.
For Nature Study we will make use of local nature centers, local park, and a workbook from when I took an (Outdoor) Interpretation class in college. Also look at old Girl Scout and Boy Scout handbooks for some additional activities if we need added inspiration. These are books I already have at home, so will not need to purchase.
As insects were covered in the Fall semester at the local school, we will not be doing that portion of Ambleside Online’s Nature Study Schedule. I did recently pick up a telescope from a garage sale, as well as a book on stars from our local Habitat ReStore. Sounds like a perfect time to study stars/sky in addition to other nature related activities. Half an hour a week on this is a very reasonable goal to start with, especially with the sun setting early this time of the year.
I am also going to try and find a nature journal for both kids. This is an idea I have been thinking of doing for some time, but never got around to doing.
Bible Study – We are almost finished with the The ABC’s For Godly Children (affiliate link). Once that is complete I had planned on making up a series on Virtues based on The Adventures of Sir Bernard The Good Knight. Or we may use Added in will be memorization of Old Testament Books of the Bible and memory verses.
Music – We are also currently working on learning the chorus to a new hymn each week during our morning Bible Times, when they happen. We recently started this as a way for the kids to be more active in the worship service at church. If they know some of the songs then they can join in the singing.
Not sure how I will add this in, perhaps finding words he knows or copying parts of the song or learning the verses, but it will be combined throughout the days. I have been known to just sing because I feel like it. The kids have picked up on it and are gaining a love for music as well.
As far as folk songs, this would be a great addition to our bedtime routine. There are a few on the list we already know, but most are new. As it is right now, I am pretty sure the kids are getting bored with the same old songs.
Art – In addition to nature journals and history crafts (see below), I am wanting to add in a few art books and art projects as well.
While looking for another book online, I came across Usborne’s The Children’s Book Of Art*. Our local library does not carry a copy, but another library in the library network they are a part of does. Reading comments on the book, and hearing how some others have used it, I am going to try using this as a source of studying different artists and their artwork. We’ll see how this goes, as not all kids are into art as others. It will also depend upon how my patience level is that particular week. 🙂
Math – at this point I am not sure what we will use for math. We have some games and other items that we will pull out to review until I think we need something more formal. We also sing the days of the week, months of the year, and counting to 100 by 5’s and 10’s thanks to several YouTube videos. We also have videos for money and other math items. These have worked well with George and will continue them with Jack.
History (not required, but I also have a handbook of crafts to go along so I’m counting it as part of Art as well) – Story Of The World, Vol. 1, both print and audio book formats.
Misc. – Shh. Please do not tell them they are learning at the same time. These are for “fun”.
- Liberty’s Kids*
- Super Why!
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
While this plan is not set in stone, it does give me a loose plan of what to do and help make sure we keep up with what Jack has already learned. He has never needed lot of encouragement to learn, which is a blessing. It is amazing the connections his brain makes.
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