In a few weeks, we’ll be officially starting our school year and the kids are really excited about it (as am I!). As much fun as we have had this summer, I can see that the kids miss the structure that comes with the school year, especially M. Below is the curriculum we’ll be using this year as well as a skeletal idea of how I hope it happens!
For all the subjects, topics and ideas we learn about this year, I plan to base it around reading as much as possible. I’m also going to try out a Morning Basket concept that will include reading, movement songs and memorization. Not counting our co-op, I plan to do school work 3 days a week.
M – Kindergarten / Preschool
I’m not sure what to call M’s “grade” this year. Going by age, she should be in her second year of preschool. Going by academics, she’ll be doing kindergarten this year. But if she ends up going to a traditional school down the road, I don’t want her thinking she’s repeating a year. That’s why if she asks, I’m going with “you’re in school”.
Here’s an overview of her year:
Five in a Row, Volume 1: After our success with Before Five in a Row last year, I’m continuing with this literature based curriculum as our main source of work. (You can read my thoughts on Before Five in a Row here.)
Handwriting without Tears: M will be starting with My First School Book and Kick Start Kindergarten. This summer I’ve seen a definite spark in her interest in writing so I imagine she’ll cruise through them and will start Letters and Numbers for Me by the spring.
Math: an assortment of Singapore workbooks that I picked up at a used curriculum sale. Math will also be incorporated into a lot of the FIAR work as well.
Phonics: We’ll be working on sight word activities and going through tons of early readers. I’m on the fence about a more formal curriculum so depending on how things go, I may add in All About Reading midway through the year.
Themes: I really like unit studies since they give you such freedom to incorporate different subjects and just have fun digging deeper into certain topics. They also let me plan activities that both M and J can be involved in. I have 7 themes planned for the year, roughly 1 per month. For each theme, we will do LOTS of reading and activities around the theme. I’m also hoping to include at least one field trip that ties into each theme.
- Our themes will be Dinosaurs, Solar System, Transportation, Human Body, Living/Nonliving, Geography and Weather
J – Tot School
Let me start by saying that J is only 2 and in no way do I think he needs (or should) be doing formal schoolwork. However, he and M spend most of the day attached at the hip so he has already mentioned that he wants to be included in school. I’m going to take advantage of his interest and have planned hands-on, play based activities that will gently introduce him to shapes, colors and letters while also working on gross and fine motor skills.
I’m going to set up “tot trays” each week that he can play with during school time. My plan is for these trays to be brought out during our school time only to keep things interesting for him and organized for me. M is excited to be a helper as J learns throughout the year.
I’ll share more about the tot trays I have planned throughout the year – about half of them are seemingly random activities that will build a solid foundation for when he is ready for more formal work. The other half are based around the themes mentioned above that we will be working through this year. I also plan to include at least one activity per week that helps him learn to recognize and spell his name.
J will also be involved in our Morning Basket, all of our reading and many of the Five in a Row activities.
We certainly have a packed year ahead of us. I’ll be sure to share our adventures along the way. But first, I’d love to hear what you doing with your little ones this year!