Monday, July 13, 2015

Leaf Year: Our Plans for Preschool 2015-2016

I'm calling this year "Leaf Year" in honor of my grandmother who taught kindergarten in Lebanon in the 1940s and 1950s. In Lebanon, kindergarten was four years. The three year olds were Seeds, the four year olds were Sprouts, the five year olds were Leaves, and the six year olds were Flowers. After kindergarten, the students went on to grammar school. Since Daughter will be starting formal instruction in two years, this is her Leaf Year. 

While Charlotte Mason didn't do "preschool," we will continue doing informal lessons in various subjects.

We're also going to be participating in a Classical Conversations community starting in September, so we'll be blending CC into CM.

For phonics instruction, we'll be continuing with The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington. We're currently on Lesson 147 (of 231), so I anticipate finishing this book by the end of K4.

We started our phonics instruction with Englemann's Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. When we completed it, I got The Ordinary Parent's Guide. We didn't start back at the beginning. We actually skipped to Lesson 178 and worked on Simple Two Syllable Words. From there, I assessed some of her needs (soft g, -igh words, silent b in words like climb, ou as short u in words like touch, -dge words, etc.) and I skipped around in the book to find lessons to meet those needs. Then we got settled around Lesson 116, and started moving forward from there.

We don't do The Ordinary Parent's Guide daily, but I do have her read to me every day. For example, this morning she read "A Lost Button" from Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel (grade level equivalent 2.4). So, my plans also include continuing to encourage her to read aloud to me and making lots of below-grade-level and at-grade-level books available so she can develop fluency.


  1. We're continuing with Mathematical Reasoning Level B (1st grade), which she's halfway through.
  2. We also use Khan Academy sometimes; she's half done with Early Math (K through 2).
  3. Using Classical Conversations, we're going to work on skip counting and other math memory work.
We listen to classical music on Pandora or YouTube. Again, this is currently informal.

In Classical Conversations, she will listen to:
  • Handel
  • Bach
  • Mozart
It would be easy for a CMer to blend CC with CM in this area. Just use each of these composers for each of the three terms.
We read from books like The Real Mother Goose and The Random House Book of Poetry for Children on occasion. Currently informal.

We listen to folk songs on Pandora or YouTube. Currently informal.

  1. We're currently using Grapevine Traceables: Old Testament Part 1. We'll continue with that (there are four more lessons, so I'm assuming that will take us to mid-August). We both like this curriculum, so we'll continue with the next unit.
  2. Church Mice weekly (Bible stories, crafts, songs)
  3. In Classical Conversations, she'll memorize the 10 Commandments.
  1. Again, Pandora and YouTube
  2. Church Mice songs
In Classical Conversations this year, they learn about:
  • Giotto
  • Ghiberti
  • Angelico
  • Durer
  • Michaelangelo
  • El Greco  
And, because I like museums, I'm sure we'll visit some.

Again, a CMer could blend CC with CM here by choosing three out of the six above artists to focus on for the year, one artist per term.

We're continuing with Alfred Basic. Short lessons, five minutes maximum. It's all about building up finger strength and the discipline of practice right now. At present, Daughter can:
  • identify a quarter note (and tell that you count one for a quarter note)
  • identify a half note (and tell that you count one-two for a half note)
  • find middle C (and show that middle C is the 4th C)
  • Spanish: We're continuing with The Complete Book of Spanish Grades 1-3. We're not doing this book in order. We're skipping around, completing one topic at a time. So far, Daughter knows numbers, foods, clothes, colors, etc.
  • Latin: We're continuing with Song School Latin Book 1 and DVDs. We got the DVDs before we got the book, and she's watched the DVDs twice. Now we're layering the lessons from the book on top of what she already knows. I think this is a great way to do this program with a pre-writer/pre-reader.
  • We've got swim lessons for the next month, and I will probably sign her up for another round of weekly lessons after that. She loves it, and it's inexpensive for Santa Monica residents. (I think it works out to $5.25 per lesson. You can't beat that.)
  • We're continuing with weekly ballet/tap for the year!

  • We take lots of walks, and she's started asking me what certain plants are and patiently waiting while I look up information on my phone.
  • In Classical Conversations, there is science memory work.
  • We also have lots of Magic School Bus books and books from the Let's Read and Find Out Science series that we like to read.
  • We always have a science project going on. Presently, we are growing rock candy (for the second time) in our kitchen.
In Classical Conversations:
  • learning the timeline song (world history)
  • Ancient Civilizations memory work
In Classical Conversations, their focus this year is on the geography related to Ancient Civilizations.

I don't have all (or any) of our read alouds for the year picked out. I really enjoyed Milly Molly Mandy last year, so I might choose a sequel. But I am looking forward to our chapter book time. Last year, some books we enjoyed were Paddington, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Milly Molly Mandy, and Brambly Hedge.

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