My oldest will be “officially” kindergarten age in the fall. I won't be doing too much differently than what we've already been doing, but a bit more deliberate in a few areas. My overall framework comes from the Bluedorn's “Teaching the Trivium” and their ideas of 10 things to do before age 10. Here are my plans for each of the ten things.
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1) Teaching reading and writing: We use TATRAS (Teach America to Read and Spell) as our phonics program, Handwriting Without Tears, McGuffey readers and Rod and Staff readers. As soon as he is proficient at handwriting, he will do copywork, mostly of Scripture. My 4 yo is also doing the phonics and handwriting programs.
2) Oral Narration: Right now I am reading an Aesop fable daily to him, and he repeats back in his own words what he heard read. We will finish the fables and then move into narration with our other read-aloud books. I'll have my 4 yo start this soon.
3) Memorization: We have been memorizing a verse from each book of the Bible (see earlier post for the verses), as well as memorizing the books of the Bible. My 4 yo is also doing this and my next child will start when she turns 3 in October.
4) Hearing/ Listening: I will attempt the goal of reading aloud 2 hours every day (not consecutively, of course). We will put up a timeline and mark on it things that we read so that he can understand the place in history better. These are the books I have put on the table by the couch to choose from (will be read to the 2 yo and 4 yo also): A Child's Garden of Verses (Robert Louis Stevenson), Christian Liberty Nature Reader, The Story of the World (Susan Wise Bauer) with Egermeier's Bible Story Book, Seeds-God's Awesome Computers (Priscilla Mitchell), Five Little Peppers (Margaret Sidney), Tell Me the Story (Max Lucado), The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter, Dinosaurs of Eden-Tracing the Mystery Through History (Ken Ham), One Wintry Night (Ruth Bell Graham), The Children's Book of America (ed. William Bennett), and a book of Fairy Tales. During “Naptime”, I read a chapter or so of a novel to my oldest. Right now we are reading Heidi. I will continue to read these more advanced books to him alone when the others are sleeping or occupied in their rooms. Then he listens to a book on CD for about an hour while I rest, read or sleep. Right now he is listening to Swiss Family Robinson (unabridged).
5) Family Worship: We do some of our Bible time in the morning, just the kids and mom. I read one chapter of the Bible to them, which we will discuss together. I'm almost finished with Genesis and will move onto Matthew next. After the Scripture I read a chapter from Leading Little Ones to God (Marian Schoolland). This book is so good, I think we'll just repeat it when we finish. It includes a story to explain a truth about God, another Scripture reading, memory verse, song and prayer. During our prayer time, we have a list that we follow of specific prayer requests so that the kids will see God working when He answers them. At bedtime, my husband reads from Proverbs and Psalms to the boys. We sing a couple more songs (usually a hymn and a praise song–see our list at an earlier post) and he prays. Daddy also does some more reading aloud at this time. He just finished Hive of Busy Bees and is now reading Missionary Stories With the Millers. (I highly recommend both of these books.) Next we have Wisdom With the Millers and Storytime With the Millers to read.
6) Arts/Crafts: On Fridays we will have art time. I'll plan to do something a bit more complicated than just the simple coloring, cutting and pasting that they can do everyday. I have Christian Liberty Art books and The Little Hands Art Book (Judy Press) to help me with ideas.
7) Field Trips and Library: We will go to to the library every other week. (So, we'll have to add these books to our read-aloud time, too!) I like to check out biographies, living science books and living math books. I also hope to do a field trip once a month.
8) Work and Service: We will continue learning to do more chores. Right now the kids empty the dishwasher, fold all the clothes, put clothes from washer to dryer and start it, dust, pick up everything off floors on first floor daily, clean up toys in their rooms, clear table after eating, and set table before eating. I want to add putting all clothes away in the drawers, sweeping, vacuuming, wiping counters in bathrooms, and cleaning glass doors and some windows and mirrors to their chore list.
I will be looking for a service project for us to do as well.
9) Discipline: We will continue training our children in first-time obedience. I really like the analogy of training (like for a marathon); it needs to be focused on daily and isn't an easy task. I will be using many of the materials I got from Doorposts (www.doorposts.net ), such as the If-Then Chart, the Brother Offended Chart and the book For Instruction in Righteousness.
10) Play and Exploration: We will go outside as often as possible to play and do nature walks/exploration. I will continue to let them have lots of free play which is so good for developing their imaginations.
I will also add:
11) Music: We will be doing our early childhood music and movement classes (Musikgarten), listening to great music, learning to sing correctly and in parts if they're ready, violin lessons for the oldest child, and study of composers and musical terms and history.
12) Physical Fitness: Gymnastics in the fall (if I can work it out with the new baby), swimming lessons in the winter.
13) Math: We will continue to do this informally (no textbooks or curriculum). We will do real, everyday math through cooking, building, gardening, games and by reading living math books (www.livingmath.net has some good ideas).
14) Science: I'm hoping to do some simple science experiments or projects with the kids a couple of times a month. I think my husband will be able to help out with this, too.
15) Foreign Language: We'll start listening to some Spanish CDs (www.theeasyspanish.com) during lunchtime and watching Sign Language videos (www.signingtime.com) during their afternoon 30-minute video time.
16) Computer and TV: none. With all the above, when would we have time?