Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Recipe for Learning at Home

It’s been quite an adventure figuring out what method of education is going to work for our home this year, but finally, two months in, I think we have it somewhat figured out. It’s kind of like one of those long-simmering winter soups that keeps expanding as I add a handful of this, a pinch of that...and so on. I can never be sure until later which flavors will stand out, which will recede into the background, and which things I know I would leave out next time.

Here’s the “recipe” for what I've been doing with Gabriel (3yrs old) so far:

  • I began with a curriculum book called Little Saints which featured three days of a structured preschool curriculum, but it just seemed too... constraining, as well as a little over Gabriel’s head. I’ve been using it instead as a resource.
  • As a preview to reading, we’ve been structuring our weeks around the alphabet, working mostly on sound-letter correlation. I’ve been getting many of my language ideas from Mommy, Teach Me to Read.
  • We’ve been using a lot of ideas from Elizabeth Foss’ Alphabet Path, particularly the booklists for teaching science with living books and the saint ideas.
  • Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy has pointed us in the direction of focusing on teaching everything possible through books that engage the heart of the child, lots of outdoor nature study, and a focus on the formation of good habits.
  • I have skimmed some Montessori books and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd materials, and I've been using Moira Farrel's Home Catechesis Manual to begin introducing Gabriel to some "altar work"--in other words, he gets to learn about the Mass and its purpose using hands-on materials.
  • I've planned my weeks using the following categories: Language, Math, Nature Study/Science, Habits, Saints, Music, and Menu Ideas. We tend to try to focus on language elements on Monday, the Saint of the Week on Tuesday, and everything else basically shuffles in between outings, chores, meals, playtime, etc...

  • I'll try to post some highlights and photos of this week, along with a review of our favorite book this week, on Friday.

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