We’re only four weeks into Term 2, but I know there are those out there who like to plan far ahead, so I thought I’d post the final installment of my little Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten Curriculum now. Honestly, I’m still making some changes to Term 2 right now, so I’m sure this will change also. But hopefully someone out there finds it to be a good framework!
The biggest change I’m making in this term is handicrafts. I mentioned in the Term 2 post that I have a hard time actually doing handicrafts unless there’s a specific time set aside for them. My intention was to do them some time in the afternoon, but it just never seemed to happen on its own (imagine that). Also, the ones I chose were probably not very well-suited to this type of arrangement. I think most of them probably had me doing most of the work rather than B, and that would be another reason why they wouldn’t be completed.
A few years ago, I picked up one of The Artful Parent’s ebooks for winter crafts (now in book form with all the seasons of the year!) and loved it. I used to set B up in his room, surrounded by vinyl tablecloths, with one of these projects (or one of the Wee Folk Art activities) and he’d spend a good amount of time crafting something on his own.
I was really torn here because I’ve always felt that handicrafts ought to be something that the child makes that’s actually useful or teaches a skill and never thought these types of craft projects, which are generally more decorative in nature, could fall into that category. However, watching B immerse himself in these crafts once again (and C throw a tantrum when I told her it was time to clean up!) has me convinced that it’s not so much about the end product, but rather about the process, especially at this age. As Ms. Mason says… “He should be able to make with his hands and should take delight in making.” (vol 3 pg 80 – emphasis hers) As I’ve mentioned countless times before, though, I’m not a Charlotte Mason expert and I haven’t done extensive reading on what her thoughts on handicrafts were. I’m just a mom offering up a theory!
Perhaps this is more my art background talking, but I think how we as parents respond to their artwork/crafts/etc. is also part of what makes an item “useful.” If we show pride in their work, hang their artwork on the walls (and Ikea has an excellent picture frame specifically for this) or actually use the little things they make (eg. the perpetual calendar or tissue paper candle holders I listed for this term), rather than relegating them to a dusty corner of the desk or closet, I think that speaks volumes about whether or not the things they create have worth or are just junk. I think that when we take pride in their work, they do too.
For science, with the warmer weather, we’re returning to the One Small Square books and observing a pond. If you don’t have a pond near you or the weather isn’t right for this in your area just yet, I highly encourage you to explore the entire series to see if there’s another one that might work better for you. I was actually torn between Pond and Woods because we have access to both. These are just such fantastic little books and you can usually find used ones very inexpensively through Bookfinder.
For reading preparation, we’re continuing on with the BOB Books and starting the pre-reading skills set. B has really liked these so far, which is good because he’s been SO anti-learning-to-read up to this point. Hopefully, he doesn’t catch on!
For math, we’re continuing on with MEP, but I wasn’t able to divide it well so that we had enough for all 12 weeks. As such, with B I’m just going to play some of the MEP games we’ve had over the course of the year during the last week. He has loved all of them so I’m sure he won’t have a problem with this. 🙂
So here we are at Term 3!
Notes and Resources
This isn’t specifically mentioned in the curriculum because it’s part of morning time, but we do one story per day.
We also do verse memorization, which isn’t listed on the schedule, but is worth mentioning. We work on this every morning during breakfast using the Simply Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System (free).
- The Irish Twins (this and all of the other “Twins” books are free on Kindle – I suggest pre-reading any of these as some of them have content that might not be suitable for younger children [hunting descriptions])
- The Seven Little Sisters Who Lived on a Round Ball That Floats in the Air (free on Kindle)
- Rookie Read-About Geography (various) (we’ll be checking these out from the library during the weeks that we need them)
Another option here would be any of the Among the…People books by Clara Dillingham Pierson (all available for Kindle for free), and in fact, I think I might actually end up switching out the Burgess book for one of her books as I think they’re better at focusing on some of the more “technical” aspects of nature (but still in a living way). We’ve already read all of them, though, so I wanted to try the Burgess book first.
Along with the reading mentioned here, we’ll be going on hikes at least once per week. This has become a habit for us and is really the best way to observe the natural world, especially if done on a steady basis in one particular trail as it allows us to see how things change through the year.
- One Small Square: Pond (again, if this isn’t appropriate to your area, take a look at the entire One Small Square series – I would also like to do Woods!)
- Beatrix Potter (we’ve actually read all of this and Winnie-the-Pooh when B was very young, but it’s been a while so we’re reading them again)
- The Children’s Treasury of Virtues (this is a combination of The Children’s Book of Virtues, The Children’s Book of Heroes, and The Children’s Book of America)
This entire reading list was downloaded from the Water on the Floor curriculum. I was so excited when I found this as the other curricula had just mentioned a single nursery rhyme per week and a single poem per day from a children’s poetry anthology. I liked this one so much better because it sticks to one poet per week which I think gives him good exposure to different styles of poetry as well as introducing him to a variety of different poets.
- Mathematics Enhancement Programme Reception Year (free)
- Colored Pencils
- Colored Sticks
- Construction Paper
- Card Stock (for printing out the games)
- BOB Pre-Reader Collection (I was able to find this set at Costco for $12)
- Whistler (the picture study aid for this is coming!)
- Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (see the AO website for more information on this term’s selections as you get to choose!)
Generally, I print out the pieces from the art study on card stock and laminate them (I have this laminator). I go through one picture every two weeks during which time they sit propped up on a table-top display easel on B’s school table. We look them over fairly briefly each day during morning time and I’ll usually just ask him simple questions like colors he notices or if he remembers who painted it or what the title of the piece is or even if he likes it or not. There are more details on Ms. Mason’s views on picture study in the picture study aid.
For the music study, I play each selection (divided up on the AO website) every day while he’s working on his copywork as well as in the car when we’re on our way to our nature study for the week. We also got him a little radio for his sixth birthday that I can load songs on to and I change it out each month with a wide variety of music, but include his composers as well.
A sidenote on this one… many of these projects are available on her website. If you can’t find them there, you may also be able to find suitable alternatives. I like having the book because it makes for easy reference!
- Simple Charlotte Mason Manuscript Copywork (free)
- WorsksheetWorks.com Pre-Cursive Handwriting Practice (free)
The Simple Charlotte Mason copywork sheets are fantastic if you want something quick and premade to print out. I used this very successfully all during Term 1. Begining with Term 2, I started taking the poem we read each month during morning time and creating copywork pages from that on WorksheetWorks.com. To match the SCM worksheets as closely as possible, I used the following settings (on US Letter wide orientation):
- Laying Down the Rails & Laying Down the Rails for Children Bundle (you can buy each of these separately, but the bundle is more economical)
I don’t have this listed in the curriculum, but I wanted to add it here as I think it’s a great resource and we do cover it during school time. We usually do two lessons per week of whatever habit we’re working on.
I tried to keep cost to a minimum when I put this together, so quite a few of the books are available for free on Kindle or were ones we already owned. For the ones we didn’t have, I’ve been able to use Bookfinder to find them at great discounted prices.
Again, if anyone finds this useful or has feedback, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!