I am guilty of doing too much in a short time. It is the same when I am trying to decide what to teach Xxm. Every time I thought I nailed a solid syllabus, I read about something else that will sweep me off my feet and I will feel an immense urge to incorporate it into our learning activities. The internet has no lack of fun educational activities. However, the information is so dispersed that after some time, your thoughts are scattered as well. Another major deterrent in our homeschooling journey is the lack of time to prepare, print, cut and laminate all the learning aids. Hence, I really needed to find a all in one solution.
But the truth is, there is no one solution for everyone. In fact, there are going to be lots of trial and error to find the best fit for you and your kids. It is still the case for me and Xxm.
Here are my curriculum choices for 2013:
Language: All About Reading Pre-reading
I decided to ditch Jolly Phonics for the time being and work on this together with both Xxm and Xmm. Though both boys are well versed in recognizing the letters of the alphabets and the letter sounds, All About Reading Pre-reading teaches much more than letter recognition through its scripted program. It emphasizes on the big five skills – letter knowledge , phonological awareness, print awareness, listening comprehension and motivation to read.
With this program, I feel assured that I am not missing out any important steps in trying to teach literacy. I also feel at ease knowing I do not need to design elaborate letter of the week lesson plan, which is simply too time consuming for me.
Chinese Language: 我会读
Though I am not an advocate of flashcards, I decided to use this set to expose both boys to Chinese. It has a thematic approach which is easier for me to align it with what Xxm has been learning in school. It is also a good set to expose Xmm as well as the words are large, and the vocabulary is still relatively simple for him to understand.
Xxm can count reliably from 1 to 10 now.
Xmm, though hours of playing with his brother and kakak, can also rote count from 1 to 10.
I prefer the step by step manner in introducing mathematical concepts via the Montessori way. I am not setting up trays but will use the principles behind to play math games with them. I purchased a Montessori mathematics album which I hope to follow closely. It will also guide me in deciding which activities are more developmentally ready for the boys.
In this aspect, I think reading widely pretty much does the trick. I am inclined to follow Charlotte Mason’s philosophy on reading living books to children below the ages of six. I have already seen that by engaging them in stories, they retain the information much better than pure rote learning. To be more specific in our learning, I plan to do a lapbook bimonthly. This will require more research and planning but the end results are always more enjoyable.
A tired and lazy mum means more hands on for my children. Through our daily activities, they will get the necessary exposure without a conscientious effort to make it a part of any curriculum. This is what I find tiring if I were to follow exactly the Montessori way of setting up trays and learning aids.
Following the recent success with Gakken activity books, I concurred they aren’t a bad thing to have in the house too. Easy for lazy days when I have nothing planned.
This pretty sums up all I want to do with my boys. Adding more, I am overly stressing myself and stretching my limits. The absence of any plan frustrates me as well as I am a methodical person.
That being said, I still might not follow my plan to a tee subjected to my other commitments. Moreover, I have witnessed for myself that when left to their own devices, the child will lead the learning and it is unduly unnecessary to be too hung up over their learning capabilities, as long as they are developmentally appropriate.
How do you design your homeschool curriculum?