I fully intended to publish this post yesterday, detailing the “why’s” and “what’s the plan now” and all that.
But after a couple of WW III-level tantrums from a certain little person with very large feelings, a supper that barely made it to the table, and a few other bits of every day life that tend to overwhelm and take up quite a bit of time (necessarily), I instead spent a good bit of time avoiding publishing altogether. I wanted a bit more time to think it out, and so I went onto the Charlotte Mason Poetry site and read through a bunch of articles. One was on “The Mind of a Child” which led me to some musing and researching, which led me to the Parents’ Review archive on Ambleside Online, which led me to articles on teaching children before age six. Those have been immensely helpful.
Upon reflection, I think where I went wrong with Prima was my own frustration and expecting too much too soon from both of us. This is not a fault of The Gentle & Classical Preschool (TGCP), as it is extremely flexible. I had originally planned our Bee Unit for one week (I laugh now at the overachiever-ness of it!) but after Monday I slowed it down extremely and we are doing one or two bits a day. I also believe that Level 1 of TGCP may be too “young” for her based on observation.
I am working through a sample week of A Year of Tales (AYOT) with Prima, and I do like it (as does she.) I believe it’s main appeal for her is the lack of memorization, use of Beatrix Potter, and overall different approach to the various subjects. It is not such a huge difference from TGCP, but it is enough that it matters. I’m not sure how to articulate it exactly – going with my intuition here as I observe her. I think that I could modify the way that I present Level 2, TGCP, to present it the same way. I intend to do that next week and see how she responds. We may move up to Level 2 in the end, or we may move over to AYOT for the remainder of the year. It’s hard to say at the moment.
In the middle of all of this indecisiveness, I stumbled upon New Child Montessori’s seasonal guides for the years 3-6. I rather impulsively ordered the fall guide which should be here by Monday. It is a day by day, week by week set of lesson plans for using the Montessori method at home or in schools. I realize that I’m vacillating, that it is a common conundrum for new homeschoolers and/or in the first six weeks or so of a new year, but I’m doing it anyway! I have only two weeks until I myself start back in college full-time, and I very much want to have this figured out or I’ll be tempted to scrap the whole thing.
Here’s what I know that I want:
- Something simple and straightforward, with minimal time planning/prepping each week (maybe 20-30 minutes)
- Something that teaches character/habit formation and memory verses
- Something that teaches hymns and folk songs
- Something that blends the best of Charlotte Mason with Montessori
- Something with a lot of read-alouds, painting, and outdoor time for Prima (her requests)
- Something with a few read-alouds, lots of puzzles/sequences/logic, and outdoor time for Little Man (his preferences based on observation)
- Something that lays a solid foundation for math, reading, and writing, preferably in the Montessori method but still simple enough for home use.
I talked with Prima again about “school,” and she explained that she does not like using number cards or counters, but would rather count real-life things as she goes about her day (not that articulately, obviously, but yes that’s what she said.) We do little games where we have her count the fruit on the counter, or the vegetables for dinner, or the cars passing on the road, etc. And she doesn’t want any kind of formal reading/writing instruction. However, she is starting to recognize letters and recall their sounds and is excited about that. The I SPY game isn’t exactly her cup of tea but talking about beginning sounds and letter sounds informally is working out. Translation: she doesn’t want to be pushed in any of it. I’ll link here a couple of the articles about teaching under 6’s that I found helpful today. I think a blend of this and the sequence I laid out previously for the Montessori learning of letters/numbers will work out well for us.
Parent’s Review: First Lessons in Arithmetic
Parent’s Review: Thoughts and Suggestions on Early Education
Charlotte Mason Poetry: First Reading Lessons
I’ll give it a few weeks and reassess how we are all doing then, and of course update here if it is relevant.