Back to {Home} School: Kindergarten and Classical Conversations

We have begun our school year (which is why I’ve been MIA around here) and so far we are really enjoying ourselves!

Adalie is a kindergartener this year and Annika is starting preschool.

Sorry in advance for the long post. Here are our kindergarten curriculum picks:

CC: We are going into our second year of Classical Conversations. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into last year when we signed up. At first I had some hesitations because I wanted to combine the Charlotte Mason and Classical approaches and I didn’t want to feel restricted by one curriculum… but Classical Conversations is very flexible in terms of how your time at home is actually spent. You can spend as much or as little time reviewing memory work as you choose, and can create lessons around your families preferences.

Every option and curriculum seems to have its pros and cons but overall I love what CC offers. Some of the biggest pros, in my opinion:

  • The community— we’ve met and are getting to know some awesome families.
  • The art, science, and music units are fantastic. The kids get to do some really amazing things. For example, this year Adalie will get to dissect all sorts of different creatures and objects. Stuff I didn’t get to do until high school biology— but that all young kids should have the opportunity to do!
  • History is taught chronologically and the kids memorize a timeline from creation to modern day. It’s so amazing to learn history in order because you learn and understand each event as it relates to the bigger picture of world history.
  • Weekly presentations. The kids have to practice their public speaking skills each week as they are required to give a short presentation to their class.
  • The schedule. We take off about a month and a half over the holiday season, which enables us to really focus on the season and enjoy time together as a family. Learning takes on new forms as we spend more time playing, baking, feasting, and fellowshipping. And our CC year ends in April which gives us the ability to take full advantage of the warm weather and get outside to play and do nature studies, gardening projects and the like.

The grammar stage of CC (and of classical education in general) focuses on memory work. While CC is in session, we try to (briefly) review the memory work each day.

Phonics: For phonics we are using All About Spelling Level 1. I love All About Learning Press because they teach all of the phonograms and in a way that is fun and multi-sensory. (If you have one that is not yet reading I recommend Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons … it worked great for us.)

Bible: We love  The Children’s Story Bible. Sometime during the day I read a chapter aloud to the girls while they quietly color  Bible coloring sheets. We also have the Jesus Storybook Bible DVDs that I thought would be nice to mix it up.
And last year I ordered this memory verse pack from Children Desiring God so we will work on memorizing some of these verses. Adalie is also attending BSF with me once a week and she’ll be studying through the book of Genesis. (BSF is an international organization that offers free Bible studies. The kids program is what sold me— as they study through the same content as the adults! Adalie LOVES attending and looks forward to it each week.)

Math: For math we are using Math-U-See, the Primer level.

Poetry and manners/afternoon tea time: I’m trying to do this once a week. What young girl doesn’t love a tea party?! I let each of my girls pick a special mug and we are using this time to read Robert Lois Stevenson’s poetry and to learn about manners. Over the summer I came across these manners cards.  They are fun and cover some really great topics so we read and discuss one over tea.

Copywork: For handwriting practice we are using this book.

Good Reads: We chose literature— story books, read-alouds and science and history books from the  Simply Charlotte MasonFive In a RowAmbleside Online and Tanglewood Education (years 0 and 1) book lists. Many books on these lists overlapped with our Classical Conversations suggested reads, so those were the ones I opted for first. I spent a chunk of time this summer combing through all of these lists to see which ones were overlapping, age appropriate, and what I was looking for in books— I wanted living books. I highly value the time we spend reading together so I wanted some good reads. I love our selections! One of our favorite finds has been the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka books. Both of my girls LOVE them.

Geography: We are tracing maps (CC style) for geography, and I’m hoping to resurrect something called World Wednesday that my husband’s cousin and his wife started years ago. World Wednesday consists of gathering (on Wednesdays, of course!) with friends to learn about, pray for, and share a meal in the style of the country of the week.  The Operation World book gives prayer points for every country.

Science: For science we are reading Outdoor Secrets with the Outdoor Secrets Companion, and On the Farm With Josh and Hanna, which all work beautifully with our nature/biology science focus in CC this year. This is Adalie’s favorite subject so we might spend more time here than is typical for kindergarten. We plan on reading the Burgess Bird Book and Adalie is also keeping a nature journal. For nature journal ideas and prompts, I am using these books but mostly I will let her use her journal as she pleases.

Music: Adalie is taking violin lessons and her teacher has given her material to practice daily at home.

History: Our history revolves around what we are studying in CC for the year— and mostly consists of reading story books about historical events and people.

Art: We are using the Home Art Studio kindergarten DVD.

For random/fun days we will be enjoying: our Kiwi Crates, lots of baking and creating, trips to the library and parks, play-dates with friends, an Eric Carle unit (we did this last year and want to do it again, especially after seeing this post), lots of good books, time outdoors, Playful Learning inspired activities and more.

I know this sounds like a lot but at this age the lessons are short— like 15 minutes each/at a time and not all of these subjects are covered daily. If you have questions about what kindergarten looks like in Classical Conversations, feel free to contact me. I love to talk homeschooling.

In between lessons is much time for fun. See exhibit A, or our week in Instagrams:

Adalie caught a bee:

 We played at the park.

 Adalie built a grave— inspired by Andy Goldsworthy—  for a deceased cricket.

We sipped honeysuckle.

The girls did leaf rubbings in their twig books.

 We made clover crowns (while pretending to be garden fairies, of course!)

We also pretended to be archaeologists (this was for our history lesson).

 We went to the library (… forgot to take a photo there). It’s been a great week! I hope to share some of our favorite preschool resources soon!

Home Art Studio Giveaway

This week,  Home Art Studio is {generously} giving away an art curriculum DVD to one of our readers.

We will be using the Kindergarten DVD with Adalie this coming school year, and Alli will be using the videos with her girls. I am so grateful for these videos because art is not my strongest subject! This is a great K-5 homeschool art program but it can also be used for “schooling” families who want to provide opportunities to nurture the little artists in their homes.

You can try out some free lessons here.

Last week Adalie and Annika did the first lesson on the Kindergarten DVD. They LOVE art projects and really enjoyed learning about primary and secondary colors through the Color Mixing Hands lesson.

From the DVD: “The Home Art Studio program is designed to increase students’ love and appreciation of the visual arts. Art education enhances a child’s ability to problem solve, think creatively, and truly see the world around them. The 18 projects students will complete are designed to illustrate the elements and principles of art in an age appropriate way.”

I hope you win… your little artists will love it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We are linking up here today:

Nature Sensory Game

You will need:

  • Tin can with plastic lid (coffee/formula/hot chocolate tins will work well)
  • A tall sock that you don’t mind cutting
  • Duct tape
  • Can opener
  • Scissors

Use scissors to cut the sock right above the heel (so that you are cutting off the heel). Use the can opener to cut off the bottom of the can (mine wasn’t sharp at all after cutting; if yours is, you may want to tape around the edge so little hands won’t get hurt). Stretch the cut end of the sock over the bottom of the tin can. Use duct tape to tape the sock in place and to cover your tin can. Put the plastic lid on the bottom (so what was the top is now on bottom).

To play the game (great for preschoolers and kindergarteners): You may want one sensory can for each child, or they can take turns using one. Have the kids collect a few items each to put in their cans. (Go on a nature walk, take a walk as a family around your block, or have the kids hunt for items in your backyard.) Then have them take turns reaching their arms through the sock, into the other’s can to feel (without removing) one of the items. Encourage them to describe the item— ask questions if they need help: is it hard or soft, smooth or prickly, large or small?  After the child briefly describes the item, they are to guess what the object might be. Then they can pull it out and see if they were right! If needed— you can remove the bottom plastic lid to clean out can before starting again. My girls really enjoy this game and love hunting for unique finds to add to their cans. One of our recent favorites was a milkweed pod.

Some  other fun items to collect:  flowers, leaves, tree bark, rocks, a plastic toy found on the ground, clothespins, cattails, acorns, pinecones, nuts, or seeds.

If you decide to take a nature walk, you may also enjoy printing off this nature scavenger hunt activity to take along.

Have fun as you cultivate in your children a love and appreciation for God’s creation!