I originally posted this on my other (teeny tiny little) blog Our Little School. I'll mostly be writing about our homeschooling adventures there, with a weekly update over here (at least that's the plan!).
We've just finished our second week of formal school and after the first day, when Sadie insisted that school wasn't over for an entire five hours, we've begun to settle into a happy medium, of two hours a day, five days a week.
After five years of researching homeschooling programs and curriculum, I'm still in love with the ideas put forth in The Well Trained Mind, and so we're embarking on a Classical Education. Of course at the moment, that doesn't set us too far apart from what many other four year olds are learning.
Our school days, so far, go something like this:
Divide and Ride). If given the choice she'll read it over and over again. After that she's a big fan of How Much is a Million (which is a very beautiful book!). Also at the top of the favorites list at the moment are Sir Cumference: And the First Round Table (A Math Adventure), Math for All Seasons: Mind-Stretching Math Riddles, One Hundred Hungry Ants, The Greedy Triangle and Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money.
Then we move on to reading, which is really a mixture of reading and religion. We start our reading each day with a book from the Catholic Child's Treasure Box. Sadie has been in love with these books from the moment they arrived. She loves hearing about Saint Therese and reading the stories about Wupsy, a little guardian angle. She even wants to hear about the old fashioned game suggestions in each book. Then we move on to other books at random and read about whatever happens to be interesting her on any given day. Once we've read a half dozen books we move on to the more active section of the day.
We move over to her little table and pick one of these activities and then proceed through the others in varying order depending on the day. Some days we begin with drawing. She drawers on a large sheet of paper, or colors in one of her many coloring books, while I read out loud to her from the "big book" that we're currently reading, which at the moment is the Magician's Nephew. When we first began the Magician's Nephew I wasn't sure she was paying attention at all, until I paused and she began to question me on what had just happened in the previous chapter and begged me to go on so we could find out what happened to Digory and Polly (because they'd just disappeared!).
I've been pretty excited because before we left for the summer I'd begun working with Sadie on pronouncing words and had found that she was struggling with around ten different letters, including, of course, S. This summer we didn't work much on particular letters, but she mastered S by the time we came back east. Earlier this week I gave her another little quiz on pronunciation, with her favorite letter book and found she was now only struggling with G, L and Q. Two days ago she got G down, so it's on to L and Q. One of the big helps with her language skills has been having her repeat nursery rhythms, poems and Doctor Seuss books, word for word (a sentence at a time) after me.
Our other activities include a sewing kit that teaches hand sewing (this week she worked on a bracelet and a little bird toy), fashion design (her favorite subject: she has a board kit where you put fabric over a doll dress shape and another board with a cut out makes it look as if she's designed a dress. She'll play with this for quite a while, draping lace over satin to come up with different looks...and she now get all of my fabric scraps) and math pattern blocks and puzzles.
A giant floor map of the US is her current favorite puzzle of the moment, and it always turns into some sort of geography or history lesson. She's pretty amazing with her knowledge of states (at least from the point of view of her proud mother!), since she seemed to memorize the US map pretty thoroughly during our drive cross country this summer, and our puzzle piecing turns into conversations about the trip and into conversations about how Canada is a different country from us, which, through many Sadie questions, turned into a question about the Revolutionary War (because she wanted to know "how countries become their own countries").
When we have extra time, and she's still interested in "doing school" we look at our science books. This week she was interested in a giant book on fossils, that I remember reading around fifth grade. She asked a flurry of questions as we paged through it, sparked a conversation on "what happens to our bodies when we die" after seeing a tiny picture of a skeleton (that didn't look all that human to me), that resulted in a conversation about the resurrection of the body that she seemed pretty pleased with, and squealed over various dinosaurs and their sharp pointy teeth.
On Fridays she gets to watch one episode of Discovery Atlas on Netflix, either after lunch of before bedtime. So far we've watched the episode about China and the episode about Italy, which has only increased her interest in geography.
Now for the weekend. Hopefully I'll be updating the Our Little School blog a little more frequently (I'll probably still do a once a week post over on A Woman's Place at the end of each week!).
I do have a question for all you homeschooling parents out there. How long (and how many days a week) do you usually put aside for school during preschool? I've seen time suggestions, but they usually start at first grade, and I haven't seen many (or any!) suggestions for preschoolers!