Lump in my throat as I type that title, guys. Age 5?! I’m squarely in the “where has the time gone?” stage of motherhood. Armed with that perspective, here is our plan for this upcoming school year:
Savor the time. Cultivate a life full of rich experiences. Laugh. Dance. Explore. Enjoy the fine arts. Read poetry. Jump in puddles. Hike. Paint. Memorize scripture.
Another Year of Playing Skillfully. We’ll be repeating our beloved curriculum, A Year of Playing Skillfully. You can read more about our experience with it here. I love that both boys will be able to interact with the activities differently this year just by the virtue of being a year older. We’ll add in more activities that they weren’t ready for last year (or that I wasn’t ready for. I’m growing in my mess tolerance factor!) and we’ll revisit old favorites.
Nature Study. This is close to my heart– which is a complete surprise to my formerly “climate controlled” self who hated even to have windows open, let alone be out of doors. I’ve done a lot of reading in this area and value connecting my kids with the natural world for so many reasons, among them that there is so much to be learned about our Creator from (wait for it) his creation. And it seems to be good for our souls. Who knew? At this age, nature “study” is a loose term which involves a lot of encouraging curiosity and observation, and quite simply being outside whatever the weather. (I bought a -20 degree coat on clearance this Spring.) We adore our local nature classes and our basic tools (binoculars, magnifying glasses, nature guides) and I suspect a kid friendly camera might be in their Christmas gifts this year. I purchased the curriculum Exploring Nature With Children and may loosely pull from that. I foresee using it more fully in the coming years. I’m itching to start nature journals and expect PB will be ready to start that this year.
Literacy. We’ll continue All About Reading since we both love it and PB is thriving! All of the components that first drew me to the program have been solid. I’ve also come to love the readers. The stories are actually engaging and the illustrations are fantastic. PB gets the biggest kick out of the illustrations and never complains about story day. I’ve also used the readers with my tutoring student (a kindergartener, not homeschooled) with great success. And completing those 200 page tomes is a pride inducing milestone for all involved! (The readers are available separately. Here’s the first book in Level 1, Run, Bug, Run! which contains 20 short, phonics based stories.)
Math. We started a formal math curriculum a few months after PB turned 4 as I was struggling to piece things together and he seemed ready for something more. As with anything I do, I thoroughly researched curricula to the point of exhaustion. I landed on Right Start Math and couldn’t be happier! I think that starting it at age 4 with a slow pace has been spot on for my guy! The lessons are short (15 minutes most days for us) and center around manipulatives, music, and games. Not a worksheet to be found in our first month of study (we just hit our first one about 6 weeks in, but we are going slooow)!
Artist Study and Composer Study. I went to a curriculum discussion night with some co-op families and of course I came home with an itch to buy another curriculum. (I may have a problem.) But anyhow, I fell in love with the way Blossom & Root incorporates artist study and composer study, using the Charlotte Mason style at a level perfect for young learners. So I bought it. Although it’s a complete curriculum, I’ll just be pulling those elements (while adding in some of their process art ideas, and maybe some nature study, too) from the PreK level.
Co-op. We’ll continue participating in our homeschool co-op. Preschool Bookworm loves his class and has grown so much there! I started leading preschool storytime and it’s been a blast!
Maybes. I have a few ideas earmarked to come back to once we get rolling and a few more months of growing and developing pass:
Science. I don’t feel a need for a formal science curriculum at this age; instead I follow the kids’ areas of curiosity and immerse them in lots of living books– great literature written by people who are passionate about their topic. Our time in nature and observing the world naturally bring about many science discussions. BUT, when we’ve done experiments in the past PB has loved it. With that said, I’m keeping an eye on Exploring Science from Elemental Science; it’s based on the book Science Play and integrates experiments and nature study within topics such as weather, air, water, sound, and motion.
Handwriting. I’ve got Handwriting Without Tears ready and waiting. We will likely revisit the PreK program quickly (we completed this last year) and then head into “Letters and Numbers for Me” mid-Fall. There’s a big developmental jump between the two programs as far as the fine motor skills involved. In between the two we’ve been giving PB’s muscles plenty of opportunity to be strengthened through play. And, I downloaded the HWT’s Wet-Dry-Try app for PB to play with during his quiet time. We also periodically login to Keyboarding Without Tears, which we’ll continue through the year.
Language Learning. Our library offers the Little Pim language program. We might try it out!
Phew. With all of that typed out, it sounds like we’re going to be pretty busy, doesn’t it? But I can’t imagine a better life. If you’re looking for some homeschooling encouragement, I love this post, This is Why All Those Weird Moms Homeschool, from the Smartter Each Day blog.
Friendly disclaimers: These are the programs and ideas that I’m excited about for our unique family. That’s the beauty of homeschooling– total customization! I am sharing our plan because many have asked and are curious, not because I know what YOU should do! LOL. The majority of links provided are for convenience alone; AAR and AYOPS are affiliate links and help us to support my curriculum buying habits. 😉 I only recommend resources we LOVE.