For Bible lessons we will be continuing with the "Beginner" pages from Bible Study for All Ages. I really like this program because I am actually reading straight from the Bible to SC, and reading whole chapters, not just what some might consider familiar stories. It has each reading broken down into five or six blocks to color, with questions and a summary that is very age appropriate. Then, it has a short story that helps the young student relate it to life, plus a coloring page to go with that story as well.
PHONICS / READING / WRITING / SPELLING
We have already finished Get Ready and are most of the way through Get Set from the Explode the Code series. Even though SC is really strong on her letters and their sounds, I think it couldn't hurt to finish the Go for the Code book before moving on to Books 1 - 4 of the series. I have been doing a "letter of the week" along with a read aloud that focuses on that letter as well. We are also thinking about using the online program if we have extra funds after the rest of our school supplies are purchased for the year.
We are in the middle of A Reason for Handwriting level K and it has been a very easy introduction for SC to writing. I do not push her too hard to make the letters perfect, but I do know what she is capable of. She tends to get silly when she writes (turning her letters into people, adding "babies" for the letters to take care of, adding bugs or monsters for the letters to run from), so only having one letter to focus on each day helps her to get at least a few that are good. I have started circling the ones that are really good, and she loves that, so she strives to get a few good ones before decorating. When we are done with level K, we will move on to level A, which has Bible verses to work on as practice.
In conjunction with the Bible verses in A Reason for Handwriting level A is the spelling lessons in A Reason for Spelling level A. We will not start working on spelling until we can start level A handwriting at the same time. I am interested to see how this program works together, with the spelling words coming from a story that is based on the Bible verse, which is the verse she will be practicing writing.
Not really liking Before Five in a Row for us, I was in the market for a new main curriculum. I had a friend who suggested Sonlight as a good literature-based core program. I looked into that, and had actually decided on it, but as I was searching through the great Well-Trained Mind forums, someone mentioned History Odyssey and I absolutely loved the look of it. The one problem I was having with Sonlight was that I personally think history needs to be taught from the beginning on, and like all subjects, taught deeply rather than widely. I have never liked "survey" courses, even when I was in school. Sonlight's Core A, which is where I felt SC should start, teaches history from the beginning all the way through to WWII. I couldn't help but wonder how much SC would actually get out of a history that goes that fast. So, we will be starting Ancients Level 1in September.
We are also halfway through the "Primer" level of Math-U-See, and will start the "Alpha" level. I really like this math curriculum because it makes so much more sense to me than how I learned even things like addition. In "Primer" has gently introduced SC to addition, but not in a way that she is counting, but in a conceptual way that she is "knowing." For example, 2 + 3 = 5 is not 1, 2 plus 3, 4, 5 equals 5, but 2 and 3 together are equal to (or the same as) 5. I doubt the way I explained that makes any sense, but I am so un-mathematical that I cannot explain it any better. Anyhow, I am really looking forward to moving her on to Alpha and getting deeper into math. We will also be adding some Lollipop Logic, mazes and other critical thinking activities.
While I appreciate and understand the reasoning behind the classical learning model to teach Latin so that students may read the great thinkers in the original, for our family, we are going in a different direction. SC already has very worldly ambitions and loves learning about other places, so we have decided to teach French to her as a beginning second language. Part of this decision had to do with the fact that my father-in-law is fluent, so we have someone we can pester about things and to practice with. Part of it had to do with my own desire to learn French, and I think that doing it alongside SC would be great. So, after much research, we have chosen to use Le Francais Facile! junior level, plus Little Pim dvds from the library and any worksheets or coloring books we can use to supplement with.
MUSIC / PHYSICAL EDUCATION
I am very excited that I just signed up SC for a piano readiness class at a local university. I had attempted to teach her piano fundamentals on my own, but it had been so long since I had taken lessons myself, I just couldn't keep up with her desire to learn. After much searching, I finally found this "early education" music class that actually teaches piano (and not simply "music appreciation") to four-year-olds. SC also takes two dance classes each week, plus also attends a gymnastics class.
If anyone has any questions or wants to offer advice or just their own opinions on any of the choices I have made, I would love to hear from you!