I have agonized and agonized for months trying to come up with a name for our school so I can make a separate blog for it, but the flash of inspiration hasn’t yet come (I’m secretly waiting for an idea as awesome as a fellow homeschool mom’s – Catapult Academy – “Flinging Our Children into the Future”).
But immediately after vowing I would wait another year to begin school for my dear Kostya, we started our official school year a few weeks ago. I’ve received a lot of advice from people to wait, and I understand their points – We don’t want to burn either of us out, we don’t want to make simple things a struggle. Kostya is just 3.5 and his most important work now is being a part of the family and play. I feel like with our simple schedule he still is, and the routine of having “school” every day has helped the flow of the entire household immensely, and I find we both feel more productive.
So, for our first semester of school, my primary focus is letter recognition and learning the sounds of basic phonograms. Kostya is a bright boy and so far things are going rather smoothly. We are also learning our prayers, and begin the day with them. Then I read aloud to him for a few minutes, and some days we play around with objects as I assess his math skills, since I’m considering adding a little bit of more formal math next semester (although I don’t know if it will really be anything more than what we are doing now).
These are all the texts I am using this semester. See? Not so much, and it still looks like more than we are actually doing. Our main phonics text is Teach Your Child to Read…, and I move as slowly as I need, sometimes breaking a lesson into two or repeating a lesson, particularly on Mondays after the weekend break. Alphaphonics is a supplement for when I feel like 100 Lessons is moving a bit too fast. We just sound out the words in the first few lessons. Kostya can sound out words well, but sound blending is still a little beyond, so he isn’t reading, just sounding it all out.
Then I read short Bible stories to him. The New Testament story book is actually a lovely find from my husband’s grandparent’s house. His late grandmother used to volunteer at a St Vincent de Paul thrift shop and would bring home things she liked, so when the estate was recently dissolved, I snatched this up. Each story is a small part of the life of Jesus, and each is no more than a page or two, perfect for Kostya’s short attention span. I don’t ask many questions, and I’m sure he isn’t absorbing much, but we will probably revisit this book soon when he’s older. Reading this book is as much for Kostya as it is for me to get into the habit of reading aloud.
Marshmallow Math is just simple guidelines for introducing simple math concepts for young children, from counting to ten, to twenty, one to one correlations, and simple addition and subtraction with fun items.
We begin each school day after breakfast with our prayers – An Our Father, three Hail Mary’s, a Glory Be, and one Fatima prayer. Kostya has the Glory Be memorized and says it with me, but we haven’t moved on to the other ones. He just listens for now (I say listens. Most mornings he’s running around or trying to stand on his head or jump off the table. It’s tough being three).
Tonight, since he’s starting his first class of Faith Formation class at church, so I thought it would be fun to take a picture!
Yuri, for his part, is completely unimpressed.