Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 3rd Grade :)

All About Me

All Good Things Are Inspired By God

We had our last day of All About Me theme at school today and we couldn’t be prouder of our little one’s accomplishments. From name writing to memory verses to poem memorization to singing hymns to sounding out words and building words–it all happened this month!!! The day Noah just chimed right in with me on our You Are Very Special poem blessed me. The day Miss Sheila, AKA Mamama (Tayler’s grandma), was very impressed by all the kindergarten level work that Tayler can do at Centers encouraged me. The way that David has matured in multiple ways seemingly overnight has blown me away. Plus, we just had SO much fun running through the trees, cooking pancakes, painting and drawing ourselves, and sharing the ways that we are special with each other! Thank you God for all that you did in September!!! All good things in Little Lambs are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

My Starlight, Starbright

Miss Sheila, Miss Afton, and I took the opportunity to bless our children in Circle time like Jesus did in the Bible story “Jesus Blesses the Children”. We laid hands on them and spoke blessings for them to grow in wisdom and stature with man and God, to learn knowledge, to enter their prophetic destinies, to shine like stars in the universe holding out the Word of Life. Tayler’s eyes sparkled after her blessing and she declared, “I am a star!” I reminded her that I called her my star student last year in Little Lambs and she nodded in recollection. It was a shining moment.

Honestly, my Little Star has been a little dim these last few weeks, as we have been going through a lot of testing and sorting out why we need to obey Miss Lynn. It even started to feel like it was a test to prove the very depths of our love. I knew that a deeper understanding of our relationship was dawning inside her as she asked me some hard questions. “Why do you need to punish me?” she asked one day on time out. I love you and want you to be a sweet, obedient girl. “Why can’t I ask why?” she asked, always with very squinty eyes. Some things require simple obedience without asking why. “But my mommy doesn’t do that”, “But my mamama lets me writes “r’s” from the bottom up”, and other “buts” were daily challenges. I kept helping her to recall a past memory verse, “Obey your parents and teachers in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1”. She was also questioning my love because she mistakenly thought that those who love her don’t punish her. I am punishing you because I love you, its my job to train you to be obedient and if I don’t, I am not loving you. The Bible says that God punishes those He loves too.

After a couple weeks going on like this, the battle in the spirit for her heart was heating up, and I was feeling worn. Actually, what I kept seeing was my own face in the mirror. I knew some of her behaviors were bothering me because they were mirroring something still ugly in myself. Tayler’s strong side was revealing a struggle for power within myself. I kept thinking, this wouldn’t even phase Miss Cherie, calm and cool, able to just smile through her way through a 3 year old telling her what to do!! Well just when you are on the verge of exhaustion, and after a weekend of praying on it, God always comes in to the rescue. This week was a whirlwind of accomplishment, and God brought opportunity for Tayler to remember that she is a star, that she is loved and has purpose. And after Circle time she burst out, “I LOVE YOU Miss Lynn!” What a gift it is to shepherd and speak blessings over the lives of these precious Little Lambs.

Tayler Shining!

Tayler shocked us all by whipping her name out in seconds with no help, and no visual example to reference. Way to go Tay Tay!

100% on My Own!

Mamama (and the Kids) Liked Our Math This Week

Click on the picture to read the instructions on the index cards.

Calendar Time!

Checking Out Our One of a Kind Fingerprints Under a Magnifying Glass

Thats Me–the Abominable Snowman!

Science: Measuring, weighing, and comparing our bodies. Good job Tayler tracing Miss Lynn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Job in School Today Mamama!

Self Portraits for our Portfolios

All good things are inspired by God! We share freely here to bless and encourage you with all that He has given us. Thank you for sharing our Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs site with those whom the Holy Spirit nudges you to.

“Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8

Leave a comment »

October Lesson Plans

2012-2013

Our lesson plans are primarily written up for families to be in one accord at Little Lambs. However, I also hope our lesson plans will be useful to someone else out there doing preschool at home! Or perhaps provide a few learning ideas even for elementary children. Maybe you are just reading through our plans for the fun of it…….. Whichever it is, please let me know if you happen to think of something else relevant to our October theme! We would love to hear ideas from you! Related literature? Poems? Fun Group Project ideas?…………Thank you for sharing your gifts here!

Bible Truth Theme:  I am Courageous (not afraid, bold)

Preschool Fun Theme: Community Helpers (everyday heroes)

Special Dates:

October 9th–SHARING Bring a prepared scripture verse promise or two to Circle Time for you and your child to stand on together this month. Make it personal and based on your child’s needs. We will swap all our promises at school, and then faithfully hold each others needs close to our hearts in prayer this entire school year. Involve your child in praying over his or her friends and what they are believing for. (FRIENDS OF THE LITTLE LAMBS BLOG! We can stand stronger if we join in prayer too. Please feel welcome to share some needs and promises you would love for everyone to agree on. See the comments button at the bottom of this post.)

(Ex: Noah needs confidence: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13)

October 12th–FIELD  TRIP Visit a local fire station, spray some hoses, and sit inside a firetruck!

October 16th–BIKE DAY Bring your bike to school today

October 18th–HAPPY BIRTHDAY FAITH Faith is 2 years old on the 20th! We will celebrate her birthday at snack time.

October 30th–COMMUNITY OUTREACH & COSTUME DAY Come to school dressed like a community helper. We will deliver pumpkins around the neighborhood as a fall blessing for the neighbors.

Bible Stories:

Week 1 David and Goliath

Week 2 Queen Esther

Week 3 Noah’s Ark

Week 4 Daniel and the Lions

Memory Verse:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Song:

Be Bold, Be Strong

Be bold, be strong
For the Lord your God is with you
Be bold, be strong
For the Lord your God is with you
I am not afraid
I am not dismayed
Because I’m walking in faith and victory
Come on and walk in faith and victory
For the Lord your God is with you

Hear and See a Kindergarten Class Perform with Accompanying Hand Motions

Hymns:

Print out the sheet music each month, put in a binder and voila! A hymnal!

Standing on the Promises

Sheet Music Here

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

Sheet Music Here

Cedarmont Kids Hymns MP3s for both Promises and Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

Poetry:

Both poems from the Christian Mother Goose Big Book

The Jolly Miller (for themed enjoyment)

This poem is about a wise community helper, the Jolly Miller, who casts his biggest and best loaf of bread into the water. It sails away to many towns along the river, feeding and blessing many, only to grow bigger each time it leaves a port. When it returns to the Jolly Miller he is astonished that it has grown to be twice the size it was when he sent it out.

The poem is too long to include here, but I wish you could read it! The best part is the strong allusions to scripture, scriptural principles, and actual historical references (River Dee, Jolly Miller). Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” As a ship returns after long voyages and ports of call, bread cast upon the waters (charity) also returns to its home port.  And what stories of blessings it brings! Whatever occupation we choose, if we will cast our lives upon the waters to share the True Bread of Life–Jesus Christ, He will fill hungry souls with goodness– our own being filled with the greatest abundance of all. Use your time, talent, money, job for the Lord and He will bless you with more. Honoring the Lord in our occupations can be a message conveyed starting from very young, and fits in perfect with a Christian community helpers theme.

Smile at Your Angel (for memorization)

A little back story on this poem from the author Marjorie Decker’s blog (wow, chills):

I recall such a scene of angelic help in time of great need.  My son, Kevin, and I had been to a meeting with World Bible Publishers in Iowa Falls, Iowa.  It was in the depths of winter.  Black ice and a pitch-black stormy night would face us on the 247-mile drive back to Kansas City.  I was to speak at a ladies conference the next morning, so it was essential to reach the airport that night to catch the early flight back to Tulsa.

Unfortunately, Kevin lost his night-driving glasses.  At 9:00 pm after a fruitless search, we drove cautiously to the last light at the edge of town.

No moon or stars were visible.  Our headlights could not penetrate the dense blackness and blizzard ahead.  Should we go or stay?  As we prayed for wisdom, a verse of Scripture came to me: “I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalm 32:8)  Confidence in God’s presence to guide us safely flooded me, and Kevin agreed.  He inched carefully onto the highway.

Suddenly, a huge ball of light, as wide as the road, appeared out of nowhere, lighting our way.  In the center stood a large figure with arms outstretched.  We could hardly believe our eyes, asking each other, “What do you see?!”  Indeed, we both saw the same miracle and were amazed.

For over 200 miles, all the way to Kansas City, the great light guided our way.  There wasn’t another vehicle out on that solitary highway.  As we approached Kansas City, the ball of light lifted and disappeared over our car, vanishing back into the darkness.

Hebrews 1:14 says angels are ministering spirits sent to minister to the heirs of salvation.  Praise God for such Divine help.

Was the figure lighting our way an angel of God – one of those strong, gentle helpers of God’s children?

So I leave you, dear friends with this Christian Mother Goose rhyme to encourage us all: Smile At Your Angel.

Also, you can read on Marjorie Decker’s Blog about the mystery, intrigue, and Kingly conflicts surrounding the famous Stone of Scone–supposedly the actual stone Jacob laid his head on when he dreamed of angels.
 

Handwriting:

The children will continue practicing to write their name, and additionally this month, what they want to be when they grow up.

   (Child’s name)     is a      (occupation)    .

Example: Noah is a diver.

Literature:

Not preschool level but Noah is quite into this book:

Math:

Week 1 Pattern Blocks

Use a pattern template or build your own pattern

Week 2 Roll Again!

(p. 112 in Developing Math Concepts in Pre-Kindergarten)

Roll a die, tell the number, put out that many counters on an organizer (egg carton, ten frames, ten strips, etc). Then roll again!

Does the child take all the counters off the organizer before building a number? Is each number something new and different and unrelated to the previous? Or can the child count on or count back because they can see a relationship? Make a #5-10 die for children who are ready for larger numbers.

Week 3 Copy my Design on a Geoboard

Week 4 Cover Them Up

(p.138 in Developing Math Concepts in Prekindergarten)

Put counters on dot cards while counting aloud. Level 2: Label with a numeral card to show how many were counted.

Try to find/make dot cards in which the dots are arranged in various ways. Example: a “three” card is shown with two dots on the bottom and one on top, and another “three” card has three dots in a row.

Group Projects:

October 2nd–Art Project by Miss Lynn

October 9th–Cooking by Miss Sheila

October 16th?Paramedic and Ambulance Visitation hosted by Miss Cherie

October 23rd–Safety by Miss Sheila

(fire, earthquake, strangers, dialing 911, what to do when lost, knowing address and phone number)

October 25th –Science Experiment by Miss Cherie

October 30th–Community Outreach Deliver pumpkins to neighbors by Miss Lynn

Field Trip:

Visit a local Fire Station

Nature Study:

Collect beautiful fall leaves and…..

Do more of this:

And this

And this


And this

And definitely more of this

Happy Fall to All! The Lord Has So Much In Store For Us!

1 Comment »

I am a Child of God

Inordinately Blessed

God’s children are blessed. How could we not be? Those in the family of God have the King for a daddy! God blessings are like living in a happily ever after story. He loves us all so wildly! Sometimes His goodness to me just seems too good to be true, and the more I look for His blessings, the more I see them. When we count our blessings, and write them down, I think it helps us realize how much God does for us. It seems that the more we realize what He has done, the more He does………or perhaps its that our eyes are more open to see it all. Being in a royal family is living blessed for sure! Let’s look back at this past season and count our blessings together. What are your recent blessings?

        My Summer Blessings

  • Discovering Charlotte Mason
  • A clear vision for all our homeschooling years ahead
  • My dad miraculously healed of cancer
  • My best friend Danielle getting pregnant
  • My friend Mary deciding to homeschool
  • A new niece or nephew on the way
  • Answered prayer for more true friendships
  • The bliss of creation revealed through several glorious summertime nature experiences
  • This blog helping other moms
  • New furniture in the house
  • The calling to worship rekindled
  • Yummy gluten free recipes that improve my health
  • Being with my little ones every moment

What Does Your Name Mean?

Its profound how God moves through our Little Lambs masterplan of themes even in the hearts of grown ups! We have been focusing on how special our children’s names are at school, and God in His all encompassing goodness, is blessing me with more insight into the significance of my own name as well. I recently experienced a sudden recollection of various meaningful spiritual experiences and visions from my past. It felt like an unveiling of His plans for me that were formed before the foundations of the earth. A vision of me standing under a heavenly waterfall, Paul’s words “I am being poured out like a drink offering” seared into my heart, never ending worship like “times of refreshing in His presence”…….. All these seemingly isolated, disconnected, and forgotten snippets of long ago holy moments were connected in one recent revelational moment. All along these moments were Him pointing me towards my calling. Each has been a clue to my calling, a piece of the puzzle. The coolest part is finally realizing that who I am has been whispered all along in the meaning of my name. So what does my name mean? Lynn: refreshing, waterfall, pool of water. Some say coincidence, some say destiny, some say prophetic. Its hard to explain the prophetic, easier to feel it. Its like the handwriting has always been on the wall, but it was written in invisible lemon juice ink, which can only revealed by the heat of a Light source.

Think about how your name, and your kids names, can be like destiny. In the Old Testament, names were a huge deal. When a child was named, they were given their identity. It was a prophetic declaration of the destiny of the child. Abraham, father of multitudes; Adam, man; Moses, drawn out of the water. Many parents feel this important truth instinctually when selecting a name for a new baby: my child’s name must mean something noble or beautiful or important! By the power of God, we can each live up to the meaning of our own name. God has a special calling on each of our lives. Most importantly, thank God that the name of Jesus is over all who believe, and being one with Christ is the most beautiful calling of all!

Noah Means Peace and Comfort

Noah writes his name 88% on his own 🙂

Tayler Moves Past Scribbling

Our First Representational Piece of Art at Little Lambs!

Did You Know? The way children draw provides clues into their cognitive, physical and emotional development. Most preschool children’s drawing follows a certain pattern or stages; understanding these stages helps you with ideas about how to encourage her love and interest for art.

Miss Cherie’s ‘All About Me’ Fun Project

First, we traced Tayler’s dolly per Tayler’s request.

Next, we traced all the kids on the driveway using sidewalk chalk.

Faithy wanted a turn too.

Then we painted clothing on each person with sidewalk paint– a mixture of baking soda, cornstarch and food dye. Then everyone got to spray themselves “alive” with vinegar that made the paint bubble up. This reminded us of how God created each of us and then brought us to life.

Big ones help little ones

Faith waits patiently during activities like this one at school, but after everyone has had their turn, she knows it is Faithy’s turn! Tayler helps Fatih since she can’t work a spray bottle yet. Older kids helping younger kids is such an important part of developing into maturity, forming Godly character, and receiving a solid education too!

Leave a comment »

9/11/12 Pancakes and other Sweet Stuff

Cooking Pancakes with Miss Sheila!

Miss Sheila, our cooking teacher, is doing yummy and healthy recipes with the kids once a month this year. The recipe for September, gluten free pancakes, was compliments of Tayler’s mommy, Miss Afton, who tries to eat a Paleo diet. Since my kids and I don’t eat many grains or flours either, we never get to eat pancakes, and so this cooking project was a treat. These were actually Noah and Faith’s very first pancakes! Happy day!  I now I am smitten with this simple, healthy, filling recipe! I woke up the next morning and made up my own batch of pancakes along with whip cream and syrup (for me). YUM! You have to try this recipe!

The kids learned during the cooking project by listening to instructions, reading an ingredient list off the board, adding scoops of different nut butters, and practicing cutting, mixing, and cracking eggs. Best of all, all the kids enjoyed eating the pancakes, even the choosier eaters. I think back to my teaching days in pre-K and how the kids were served processed pancakes and syrup for snack. Between birthday treats, superstar treats, holiday parties, and unhealthy snack table options, it was out of control. I often wondered, ‘Whatever am I going to do to keep the constant flood of junk food out of my kid’s preschool experience??’ Learning that a healthy diet is not an option was a hard earned lesson for me, and so I found the preschool junk food problem quite vexing. Then when homeschooling came into view, the issue was circumvented altogether. What a blessing to be teaching and serving our children truly healthy, organic foods in homeschool. They won’t even know “processed” at Little Lambs. 🙂

Thank you Miss Sheila! It is a blessing to have a fun, healthy, cooking grandma at Little Lambs!

We Like to do Everything “Self” (as Faithy likes to say)

.

Gluten Free Pancake Recipe

3 Bananas

3 Eggs

5 T Nut Butter

1 tsp flaxseed

Honey to taste

.

Pancakes Garnished with Raw Whip Cream and Real Maple Syrup (grade B)

(I clarify lest you think I was being too unhealthy ;))

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I am Special!

We are taking every opportunity this month to point out how special each one of our children are in order to flesh out our “I am Special/I am a Child of God” theme. Our Bible Story in circle this week was about Abraham, told out of my own heart with the KJV on my lap. I asked/told the kids what their names mean. I explained that Abram, whose name means “father”, was very old and had no children. However, he was a righteous man who loved God and believed all He said. God told Abraham he would have many descendants and because Abraham believed him, God counted him as righteous. God changed his name to Abraham because he was going to become the “father of multitudes”. He had Abraham look up into the night sky and told him that his children would be like the stars in the sky, too numerous to count. It took a lot of faith to believe something like that, but he did. He is considered the father of our faith, and now anyone who has this faith is considered righteous through Jesus in the same way. We are all in God’s family, which makes each of us a child of God, a star twinkling in the night. So when you look up at the stars, just think that God has lit one just for you! Then we read this poem from our Christian Mother Goose Book of Poems:

Twinkle, Twinkle, little star
God has placed you where you are;
Up above the world so high
You’re God’s light hung in the sky
Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,
God has placed you where you are.
Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,
When you look down from afar,
What’s the light you see
Shining here for God? It’s me!
Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,
God has placed you where you are.
Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,
I can’t reach you in a car;
But someday, by Jesus’ might,
I’ll fly to visit you each night.
Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,
God has placed you where you are.

Tayler Writes Her “Special Name” on Mamama’s Lap

Noah Spells Frog

Miss Cherie and Dalila at “Baby Centers”

Tayler Cherishes Her Hymnal

Hymnals were passed out at school for parents and grandparents to teach little ones at home. However, Tayler loves the hymnal and has claimed it as all hers. She brought it over one day when I babysat her just hoping we would be able to do some songs together. She drags her finger across the words when we sing and pretends like she can read. So cute!

Tayler and Faith Sharing a Quiet Moment Together Before Nap

1 Comment »

Welcome Back to School! 2012-2013 Curriculum Overview

Thrilling Threes and Fours!

Its time for school!!! Yay! Welcome back Little Lambs and Little Lambs Blog Readers! Summer is over and so are my long winded blogs about homeschool philosophy…..maybe. (I think I lost some of my readers the last couple months ;)). Back to posting all the cute pictures of those cute faces at school you love seeing. This post happens to be another big one, but I assure you that my wordiness will slow down soon. 🙂

Fall, a Season of Change

This fall we are preparing a Charlotte Mason “mind food feast” for our 3 year olds at Jesus Precious Little Lambs. We are adding poems, hymns, fine art and classical music appreciation, and nature study to our curriculum. It will surely be a lovelier and richer experience at our school this fall! I am hoping dear friends that you are beginning to see the potential that a Charlotte Mason education holds for your children as well, no matter what age they are. Although a Charlotte Mason school does not officially begin until age 6, there are still elements worth introducing in the preschool years. Today I would like to give you a glimpse of a Charlotte Mason preschool, including a thorough show and tell of our first week curriculum at Little Lambs Preschool. Oh boy, sharing time at preschool! I hope you will find some inspiration for home studies with your preschooler in this post.

Guidance for a Living Education

First of all, let me say how HAPPY I am to have discovered Charlotte Mason and the role she will play in our studies this fall, and many falls to come. She is the human mouthpiece of God that is guiding the course of my children’s long term education in homeschool. Her enlightened words are literally one of the single most life changing discoveries of my life. I know education methods, because of my degree and all my past work experience as a teacher, but it is all stagnant and lifeless in comparison to Charlotte Mason methods. My prayer, and also the heart of this blog, is that you will find life for your child’s education too. Give Charlotte Mason some serious study and you just may find the guidance, motivation, and calling you are looking for too. To prove my love for Charlotte Mason as my guide, I will let you eavesdrop on a little email conversation I had this summer with my friend Mary:

Me, long winded: “I love how I am starting to feel like Charlotte Mason is my friend, because I look up to her so much already as if she was a living being in my daily life influencing me. I love that this education is connected to a real person, an excellent role model, a Godly woman inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is not a faceless meaningless way of educating like every other homeschool method. I feel like I have a wise authority over me on this journey to lead me. The way this education is set up under a shepherding person feels so Godly to me, so very right. And you can hear the respect for CM that oozes out of every followers mouth, its not just me.”

Mary, succinct: “I’m in LOVE!! I’m Hooked!”

Set Great Expectations

At Little Lambs we are appropriately raising the bar this fall to keep our children moving toward the 3 basic academic goals of reading, writing, and understanding numbers. Handwriting letters (and possibly words), building/spelling words, and reading words will now be a regular part of our school Centers and Circle time, as well as each child’s home study time with family. Our masterplan of themes is still our guide this fall as it was all preplanned through December (the end of our school year) long before we met up with Charlotte Mason. Our masterplan is truly a masterpiece of the Lord. However, themes will play a less significant role at school this fall as they are not as necessary (or necessarily beneficial) in a Charlotte Masons education (not to mention SO much work!). If you would like to see our new Charlotte Mason based Fall schedule for our cooperative preschool, go here. However, what I really want you to see is a sample Charlotte Mason based homeschool schedule I designed just for YOU at the bottom of this post!

At Little Lambs we aim high academically, but without placing undue pressure for uniform performance. There are many ways to differentiate the same activity so that it is accessible to each child. For example, at a handwriting center, one child may be ready to write one letter from his name, one may be ready to write his whole name, and one may be ready to write her name in a small sentence (even Faithy scribbles on the blackboard!). Each child in our homeschool preschool will be given a custom education as much as possible so that everyone can succeed in the midst of great expectations.

Areas of Study to Include in Preschool

Let me highlight all the Charlotte Mason areas of study that we are including this fall at Little Lambs (two areas are mine, not Charlotte’s just to let you know), and share some examples of how they have been fleshed out this very first week at preschool. If you have any ideas or resources for the following areas of study, we all would love to hear from you in the comments. (FYI Links to my previous relevant Charlotte Mason education posts are provided in a chart below for further details. These previous posts are each dedicated to an entire area of study, each being the backbone of a Charlotte Mason education, and really important to read for full comprehension. Here I am only providing snippets of each subject. See the chart at the bottom of this post for links with in depth info.):

Poetry

We are focusing on one poem a month this fall with no pressure to memorize, but perhaps the kids will memorize anyway due to repeated exposure. We will also try to read more poetry at home during our nightly read aloud time. I suspect we will be pulling poems from multiple resources. Classic poetry writers will be a part of our school, but also the poems written in The Christian Mother Goose Big Book. I adore this book because it is SO sweet and full of powerful Christian truths. Noah loves the book as well. Such a good find for us. Here is the poem we are using this month with our September theme: All About Me/I am a Child of God.

.

This was really cute. Tayler, future teacher, suggested that we paint our feet and hands to make prints after reading the You Are Special poem. How could I say no? Homeschool can be full of child initiated projects which builds confidence, and ownership of their own learning.

.

Music Appreciation

Preschoolers can very easily be exposed to classical music regularly while sitting down for snack, in the car, or during a meal. We use the radio in our itunes where we have a hundred different free classical music stations to choose from. Keeping the Beat is also a good CD of classical music for young kids.

Art Appreciation

I think a day by day calendar of fine art is a fine way to teach art appreciation to preschoolers. We have purchased the 2013 Metropolitan Museum of Art calendar which we will use during breakfast as our art study. Another great way to do art study is to check out books at the library that have full page illustrations of art created by the classic artists. Put it on a book stand in a prominent place where your child can stare at the work daily.

.

How do you do Charlotte Mason art study? You just let the art speak to the child. You don’t say much if anything. Just let the art speak to the child. The little that you do say may include mentioning the name of the artist and the work of art. But by no means do you need to give a lecture about the work.

Decoding

You may want to cuddle up every night and read from a Primer/Reader as part of your daily routine like before bed or nap. However, decoding work in readers is my personal current preference, and not Charlotte’s–especially in preschool. She felt word building was enough to teach reading (at age 6), and in my estimation she is probably correct, but you will have to assess whether you will feel comfortable straying considerably from mainstream reading instruction methods or not after more fully researching Miss Mason’s reading methods. The problem with readers is that they are notorious for being written as twaddle (what Charlotte Mason called dry, dumbed down literature). If you do decide to use readers, try to choose ones that have a storyline and ideas to think upon. The Frog and Toad series is an example of a great set of readers, which I love. There really seems to be only a handful of readers that would qualify as non-twaddle. Look up “Beginning First Readers” on the Ambleside Online Year 0 Booklist for reader suggestions. I ordered the listed Treadwell Beginning Reader which is comprised of classic stories, like The Little Red Hen and The Gingerbread Boy, told in as simple language as possible. I selected this reader to start because it seems easier than Frog and Toad. Finally, just make sure time spent in readers does not take away from what should be the meat and potatoes of reading instruction: read aloud and word building.

Whether done in a reader or not, decoding work includes sounding out phonetic words (cat, frog, help), and memorizing sight words that can not be easily sounded out (said, one, the). If you work on sight words outside of readers (like drill with flashcards), it could be helpful to make word selections based on which ones will be coming up in your reader. A less custom approach would be to print off the dolch sight word list, have your child  build the words, and you could also make flashcards to go over. The Dolch word list includes the most common 220 words and 95 nouns encountered in children’s books. Dolch words, or sight words, represent high-frequency words that are difficult to sound out.

Read Aloud

This is basically the story time that we have always done, but with a new emphasis………use the best classic books illustrated by good artists. Definitely not your everyday run of the mill picture book! We want to find stories that inspire children to greatness with beautiful, noble, living ideas. Select books from a Charlotte Mason type of booklist so that you can intentionally discourage your child’s tastes for easy reading that will undermine their ability to read classics later.

We will not always be selecting theme related literature, but only as it happens to work out. This week I happen to have found Yellow and Pink, a picture book full of “living ideas” that will compliment our study of God’s creation. Yellow and Pink is a story for all ages about two wooden figures who attempt to figure out how they came to be. As they become conscious of their presence in the world, they begin to wonder how they got there and how they can know this for certain. Here is an interesting guide to philosophizing with children while reading the ideas of creationism vs. evolution introduced in Yellow and Pink.

.

Word Building

This week we are learning about the Bible story of creation and found some easy animal words for the kids to build. The kids were instructed to choose an animal, sound out its name, spell the name, and then check their work by peeling back the blue tape. They are not fully independent with this task yet, but not totally reliant either. These animal cards are just about the only flashcards I own, and so I haven’t decided how we will proceed with our Word Building center next week. We may use actual objects when possible, or print off picture cards that could also have a “blue tape” answer key. Please find the word building link in the chart below to learn more how-to.

.

Bible Stories, Memory Verses, and Hymns

Our Bible Story time is becoming more Charlotte Mason because I plan on telling stories from my own heart, rather than using picture Bibles. During personal devotions with Noah I am back to reading straight from the KJV.   Although written for all ages of children, see my last post “Teaching Children the Bible” for more information on a Charlotte Mason approach in spiritual areas (also linked in the chart below).

Hymns will now be a regular part of our co-op and family devotions. Hear our creation themed hymns we chose for this month: This is My Fathers World and How Great Thou Art. So beautiful……

“This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought

of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought……”

“I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed……”

This is where we will study our memory verses now–on a chalkboard next to the kitchen table! I love our new chalkboard that Dean built!! Thank you so much Daddy! And Tayler’s hand and footprint idea really helps bring the theme to life, and looks so cute too.

.

Handwriting

We use blackboards at school right now since our 3 year olds are in the beginning stages of handwriting. Handwriting in preschool is my idea, and not necessary to a Charlotte Mason education. See the Handwriting link in the chart below for more information.

This month we will work on handwriting our names since we are doing an All About Me theme. This week we are starting with the first letter in our name. The top blackboard is the teacher’s board on which we write sample letters while the child is watching closely.

.

Nature Play

Remember some of what is suggested in my Nature is For Kids post is for ages 6 and up. So with preschoolers, simply get out and make lots of observations, but consider holding off on more advanced things like nature journaling unless your child shows a lot of interest. At Little Lambs we will be going out into nature together for at least a couple hours 3 Thursdays a month. Yay! Plus, we as individual families will be going out plenty more times to enjoy God’s creation with our little ones. Time in nature is a very important aspect of a Charlotte Mason education that optimally occurs on every fair weather day for hours on end. What a blessing to do school in the great outdoors! See the Nature Play link in the chart below for more information.

By the way, on rainy days, when nature play is not possible, you could put the time towards other fun preschool activities not mentioned on this list–cooking, art projects, science experiments, etc.

Math

I have not studied much of Charlotte’s views on teaching math, but from the little I know, it sounds like they align with the hands on math curriculum book I use. See the Math link in the chart below for more information about a good Pre-K level math curriculum.

I was especially pleased with the math activity from off the top of my head this week because it provided the just right challenge for the kids. Noah actually said math was his favorite part of the first day of school (“math” happens to be a first time answer to this often asked question). The instructions were to copy my work: a rainbow staircase. It sounds pretty simple to us grown ups, but I could see the gears turning while our 3 year olds manipulated this math.

.

Why You Should Start Homeschool This Year

The best part about starting homeschool early on, like in preschool or before, is yes, the time to plan your long term course, but also the luxury of gradually building up your curriculum year by year. The studies and methods that I have carried over from last year to this school year are simply our lifestyle now, second nature, and effortless in effect. Lets say Bible stories, memory verses, classic literature stories, classical music, poems, classical art, and nature play are all things you already do regularly with your child at home as part of your family life. You can pretty much check these areas off the “school to-do list” because its how you “do life” (albeit an uncommonly cultured one ;)) You don’t have to schedule “school time” for studies that are already a part of your life. So the goal is to make as much of your studies a part of your life as possible!…….And then it won’t feel like you are doing school at home. The special thing about homeschool is that so much of what you are learning becomes your life. Homeschool is not a separate department of life in which unrelated facts are derived from the classroom and soon subconsciously rejected for its lack of relevance, but rather a wealth of life shaping knowledge that makes itself at home in our minds, hearts, family, routines, philosophies, etc.

Optimally, studies gradually introduced in your homeschool would just naturally become a way of “life”. Starting a homeschool in the children’s early years, then adding depth and scope every year, will keep you from feeling overwhelmed by the sudden full blown homeschool start-up required by a decision to start in the school age years. It seems many parents lament that homeschool would take too much dedication or work on their part. I would suggest that it is easy enough…….if you start early. Your homeschool will be built in stages if you give it time, and the foundation will be strong if you are not rushed. What seemed like a challenge to incorporate last year, will be smooth and easy this year, and so now you are able to take on more without it being too much. Starting homeschool later, in 3rd grade or even kindergarten for example, I think can drive families to seek out a boxed curriculum package (that I warn against), that is all “done” for you, because it can feel overwhelming to jump in midstream. I bring this up because many say “I have time to figure it all out” concerning their decision to homeschool their young ones, but if you want smooth and easy days, and a strong foundation, consider that now may be the best time to start.

Sample Charlotte Mason Preschool Schedule for You

I made the following chart for you who want to teach your own preschooler at home. This is not the schedule we at Little Lambs follow since school activities for us are heavy on Tuesday and Thursdays, days we meet. However, this is the schedule I would likely follow if I were flying solo with homeschool. I would have almost all the “Everyday” activities done before and during breakfast, and then go right into “school” after breakfast with word building, math, and handwriting (10-15 minutes each max). Then the rest of the morning and afternoon would be free. On Nature Play days we would be out of the house for the whole morning and early afternoon at a favorite nature place. Usually families read to their children at night, so the “Every Night” study is intended to flow naturally with your pre-established routines. Sounds like an easy peasy schedule, right?? After breakfast school seat work consists of only 15-30 minutes of work!

Of course, you can arrange your schedule however you like, this chart is just a sample to get you thinking. Thank the Lord, I have already discussed most of the subjects listed below in depth in past posts and won’t have to detail everything here. Yeah!!! Click on the following links to refresh your memory of relevant info, or so that you can find out more if you are not a regular here.

May Your School Be a Fountain of Life!

Everyday

Bible Story

Memory Verse

Poem

Song/Hymn

Art Study

Classical Music

Every Night

Decoding

Read Aloud

 

M

Word Building

Nature Play

T

Handwriting

Math

W

Word Building

Nature Play

Th

Handwriting

Math

F

Word Building

Nature Play

2 Comments »