Damien will be a pre-kinder this year. So hard to believe!
His curriculum is a little unique, though. After lot’s of playful early learning in his toddler years, including ample use of educational media (iPad apps, educational websites, etc), some low-key direct teaching, and lots of reading, he started reading about a year ago (just after he turned three). Now he reads at a 2nd grade level, and understands math concepts at a 1st to 2nd grade level.
So his pre-K curriculum is going to be a little “different” than what is typically taught at this age. This is what we will be using:
- Language Arts: CLE 1st grade
- Reading comprehension: CLE 1st grade + lots & lots of reading aloud & independent reading
- Math: CLE 1st grade + supplemental math activities (place value, skip counting, etc)
- Foreign Languages: Little Pim Spanish + Little Pim French + MonkiSee
- Science, literature, general knowledge: library books
- History: A Child’s History of the World read alouds, occasionally
- Religion: word religions class at local Unitarian Universalist church + bible audiobook
- Music: Solfege Train + piano & music theory lessons (by me)
- Drawing: Drawing with Children
- Physical: swim lessons (by me) + walks/runs + using indoor play set
- Social Skills: library preschool program
- Small Motor Skills / Art: various selection of homemade activities available on request
- Core subjects (language arts, reading comprehension, math) in the morning, takes about an hour
- Daily reading & read alouds 20-40 minutes (science, history, literature, general knowledge… not all subjects every day)
- Foreign languages + music: try to do most days
- Small motor skills / art: try for one or more a day
- Drawing: once or twice a week
- Physical: try to fit some activities into each day
- Religious Education Class: once a week
- Library story time: once a week
Core Subjects: Language Arts, Reading Comprehension, & Math: Christian Light Education (CLE), 1st grade
We started using CLE in March, when Damien was 3 years, 9 months old.
What caused me to start a “traditional” curriculum so “early”?
Well, for one, he was clearly “ready” for it. He had been playing a lot of 1st and 2nd grade level activities in MobyMax and ABCya, as well as 1st to 2nd grade level iPad apps. He really loved workbooks too, and did a lot of 1st grade level workbooks I had lying around.
I could’ve just let him “keep playing” with all of that stuff, but I thought, “Why not let him play with something more structured, so that the work he is doing gets progressively, systematically more advanced?”
So, enter CLE. Christian Light Education is a Mennonite-based publishing company. All of their materials have a really strong Christian undertone, pictures of girls in headdresses, and so on.
I would highly prefer teaching materials that are secular and multicultural, BUT, we get around it. Why? Because the workbook format is perfect for Damien and perfect for me.
Each subject is made up of 10 little consumable workbooks, a couple pages per lesson. It’s simple stuff like matching, underlining, circling, fill in the blanks, etc.
It’s quick and it’s easy for a little guy with less defined motor skills, but at the same time he is learning a lot and there’s lots of review built in.
We use CLE for language arts, math, and reading comprehension. They offer other subjects as well, but we opted to just use CLE for the core subjects.
Reading: read lots of books! For reading comprehension we are using CLE, but besides that, I am going to try to read aloud to him and have him read to me for at least 20-40 minutes a day. Some days this is easy and some days it is a challenge to find the time / attention.
Math: Besides his math that he does in CLE, we also sometimes (but not daily) play other math activities. Place value is a favorite (I have manipulatives up to the millions), and he is working on learning his skip counting for numbers up to 15, as well as dot matrix numbers. We might explore some other topics occasionally.
Foreign Languages: I’m not setting my sights too high for foreign language learning (I’m really trying to focus mostly on core subjects right now), but I’d like to make 30 minutes a day (most days) dedicated to watching Little Pim Spanish and French videos on Amazon Instant Video, or watching this great Spanish MonkiSee DVD we have.
I’ve decided not to do any formal science, social studies, or literature curriculum for now. Instead, I’m planning on simply making an effort to get a wide variety of books every two weeks at the library that dabble into these topics.
History: I’m going to try and read A Child’s History of the World at bedtime along with other bedtime books, but it’s not going to be too big of a focus.
Religions: the boys have started attending a weekly religious education class at the local Unitarian Universalist congregation. There they learn about all different religions from a respectful perspective.
I am also trying to work into our schedule a 10-15 minute per day block where they can listen to the KJV bible read aloud on Bible.is.
Music: I have been really slack in the music department with all of my kids. So Damien does not have much musical knowledge yet.
I’m planning on using The Solfege Train to teach some basic music concepts through games. I’m also planning on teaching him itty bitty piano lessons with his brother (his fingers aren’t quite strong enough yet, but we’re going to do exercises to work on that).
Drawing: I am planning on doing a weekly or biweekly drawing lesson with both boys. For Damien I will be using activities found in Drawing with Children.
Physical: For swimming, I hope to keep swimming for most of the year, with a break most likely between November and March, starting back up in April. Damien swims, dives, and floats, and is perfecting his front crawl stroke right now.
I’m hoping to get back into the habit of daily walks / runs, perhaps worked in after dinner.
I’m also hoping that Damien will learn how to do the monkey bars this year.
So, that is our plan for now. Compared to my ridiculously overpacked plans when my oldest son was this age, I’m feeling pretty hopeful and confident about this one.
Keep in mind that this is what works for us, our little parent-child team. We’ve been “playing” learning for years now and that is why Damien is at the level he is at.
Learning is a big passion of mine and teaching my kids is essentially my only hobby, so I have found ways to make it enjoyable for them and doable for me.
Looking forward to a hopefully great year.