Notes from our family: I’m starting this program in August with a semi-new 4yo (end of May birthday), who has never been to “school”. She has been taught at home up to this point through play, quality toys, music, educational television, and plain old conversation. We won’t be focusing much on numbers or colors or shapes or letter names because these are things she learned naturally long ago. My 2.5yo (3 in late Nov) will be joining us as she wishes. I will not push her, as I can tell she’s not nearly as focused or as ‘ready’ as her sister.
Books & Materials in everyday use:
- The Reading Lesson
- Teach Me Handwriting, which was made to complement The Reading Lesson.
- If your child is under 4yo, has delays, or just plain isn’t ready, then hold off on ‘Teach Me Handwriting‘. You may want to spend some time on these prewriting sheets, until they’re ready.
- A library card
- General school supplies
Daily Routine. Days should not be hours long at this age; no 4yo needs that kind of instruction. They need QUALITY information, a few times a day to give it a bit of time to soak in. This is why children can watch the same shows over and over again on TV. Repetition is key. Try to limit truly focused academic time to no more than 15-20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day. And make sure they’re in a decent mood, well rested, and not sick. They should be at their best.
GO TO THE LIBRARY. You’ll be spending lots of time there this year (and really, every year as a homeschooler). Books should ALWAYS be centered in your schooling. You’ll need to try and squeeze a library trip into your schedule every 2 weeks, at least. Get your child their very own card and show them how the library works if they don’t already know. Our library has a checkout limit of 25 books per card, for 3 weeks at a time. I get around 15-20 books related to the topic we’ll be studying for the next couple weeks and let them pick out their own choices for the remaining books. This is enough to get us through circle time, quiet time, general perusal of the book shelf, and bed time for 2 weeks.
Note: In order for them to WANT to read, it is important that you let your children pick out whatever books interest them — yes, even if this means you have to take home Caillou’s Camping Adventure for a whole month (you can read my stance on “twaddle” HERE).
At this young age, children are still quite self-centered (it’s just the way they develop, I promise). Because of this, as well as the fact that they are still very naive and generally trusting, we will spend the entire year covering the human body, self-image, and bodily autonomy. Get your mind together however it is that you need to, because if you haven’t brought any of this stuff up before then, you’re probably about to have some really uncomfortable conversations…most likely very loudly in the Target checkout line.
August: All About Me!
September: My Body is Special
October: ‘Dem Bones
November: Everybody Poops
December: Flexin’ On ‘Em
January: Staying Healthy
February: Be Still My Heart
March: Brain Games
April: Spare the Air
May: The Skin You’re In