Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Halfway through Year 0!

I have mentioned in the past that I am trying to keep our Pre-K (4/5 years old) year informal.  The only reason we even call it Pre-K is because Elliott's Sunday School friends and cousins all started Pre-K and Kindergarten this past fall, and he wanted in on the action.  We even had our own casual First Day of Pre-K so that he wouldn't feel completely left out of the hoopla.

The last few months have given me the chance to observe Elliott's learning style and determine what works for us (outdoor time, learning games and good books) and what does not work for us (worksheets and busy work).

It's all about trial and error, but now that I am figuring out what works and I have a better focus for what I want to accomplish in Kindergarten, I am reminding myself of our goals for the remainder of this "school" year in order to prepare for next year.

First of all, I am still trying to use Ambleside Online Year 0 as our guide.

  • Hold "school" consistently so Elliott gets used to a semi-routine
  • Help Elliott adjust to co-op
  • Focus again on outdoor time and getting out as much as possible
  • Focus on habit training, which at this time will be following directions the first time they are given!
  • Continue to choose living books as our reading choices!
  • Resume playing classical music at least once per day (and then work my way up to other genres)
  • Begin Art Appreciation with I Spy Shapes in Art or I Spy Colors in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
  • Encourage open-ended Artistic Expression activities
  • Introduce the Handicraft of woodworking (with dad and pawpaw's help, of course!) on an age-appropriate level
  • For Poetry, finish The Real Mother Goose illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright and possibly begin The Random House Book of Poetry for Children compiled by Jack Prelutsky
  • Continue informal Literacy and Phonics activities at Elliott's pace
  • Continue informal math with Living (Hands-on) Math and readers
  • Make time for myself to continue studying the works of Charlotte Mason--starting with the task of actually finishing the book Home Education (Charlotte Mason's Homeschooling Series) which is the first volume and pertains to the earliest years
He is also asking to learn Spanish, and because that makes the most sense for our Foreign Language, I am also in the process of gathering materials to begin a gentle immersion.

Because Elliott has a late birthday, we will not be starting Ambleside Year 1 (the first formal year) next year. It is advised to begin after the student is already six, or closer to seven years old.  Elliott will turn 6 in December of his Kindergarten year, so I am in the process of creating our Year 0.5, which not a formal year, and is not listed on their website, but was created by members as sort of a bridge into formal lessons.  It will work well for Elliott's age and their recommendations, and the year will then correspond with his grade level when we begin Year 1 in the first grade.

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