We still have about 6 weeks of Worlds of Learningpreschool work left. I'll be back with June/July and August monthly reviews later but I’ve recently started planning next year and I wanted to take some time to think how it went, what worked, what didn't, and what I would do differently before I plan for the next year.
Overall, we had a great time learning together this year. I had pretty much the right amount of stuff planned, the daily work got done probably 80% of time and having 1-2 activities a week during the spring and fall, a bit more in the winter when we start to get stir crazy was just what we needed. I always had options when I needed them but rarely felt overwhelmed or behind.
What Worked Well:
We loved Table Time. It’s not even really “school” now, it’s just what we do at lunch for fun – and to keep everyone in their seats until a reasonable amount of food has been consumed. And if we missed it at lunch because we were gone or ate outside, we would normally make it up during afternoon snack time. We didn’t get everything done every day but we did since it was a daily thing, I never felt bad about skipping or missing if life happened.
As far as the work we did (hymns, poems and folk/fairytales), Lucy memorized most of the poems just from repeated exposure. When it came to hymns, we all improved a great deal. When we started, neither kid would sing along but enjoyed listening to me. This past month, both kids sang the hymn (Jonah’s version was “may may bread may may KNEES!” but the rhythm was quite clear – and adorable). And both kids request some of their favorite hymns at bedtime and since I had been practicing I could sing all the verses instead of just repeating the first and last over and over again. The story was longer so it become the first thing to get dropped but it was still Lucy’s favorite part. I’m sure it will change a bit but we will definitely be keeping Table Time.
Lots of books.
We love books and I like having quality books around to pull out. The weeks we didn’t do preschool and just relied on picking things up on the library, we ended up with a lot more twaddle and reading time because more of a chore for mom. I know there is some “controversy” in CM circles over having too many picture books for preschoolers but I’m confident that our reading time doesn’t replace outdoor or free play time and we keep things in balance.
Lots of outdoor time.At the beginning of the year I read Charlotte Mason’s recommendation for 4-6 hrs outside and just thought there was no way I would make the happen. But with concerted effort, we’ve made it up to 2-4 hrs average and have even made it to 6 several times. We normally eat one or even two meals outside on a nicer day.
Art appreciation/Picture Studies
Simple but perfect and I know we both learned a lot. Lucy even spotted a few works she recognized and told me the artist while we were in Hobby Lobby once. My favorite art memory of hers was probably when she saw The Little Dancer in person and was shocked by how small it was. Honestly, even though I had seen it before, I was too. It just seemed bigger in our books and print. We had some issues with review which was an issue with our Table Time work as well so that will be its own issue.
What didn't work:
Relying on the library
We’ve got a fairly decent library and the ILL normally works pretty quickly but several books I had looked up earlier were not available (disappeared!) from the library by the spring time and other times it just wasn’t a good week for me to swing by. It was frustrating not having them right when I wanted them. The plan I’m working on for next year will be a bit more flexible but the few books that I need at a specific time I will just plan on buying. There is always room in the budget for books. If not, we’ll cut our food budget and eat less dessert. I’m only partially kidding.
I didn’t have a plan for reviewing our table time work. We need one. And I've got a plan. It involves Evernote and is based on the Charlotte Mason review system we've used for bible memory. I’ll let you know if I get it all worked out.