We'll be starting up kindergarten in a few weeks. I'm not sure when exactly but about the time I start saying, "let's go inside, it's too hot out here" before 10am arrives will be my guess. (Update: I started this post 2 weeks ago. Tomorrow is the big day!)
I've spent the last month or so really working on the kid's morning routine (from breakfast to ready to play stuff) and with the exception of putting toothpaste on their brushes and checking to see the teeth are actually clean afterwards, they don't need much help. I hope that adding these few things and getting a firm routine in place will help us be able to pick it back up after the baby break relatively easy.
The basic schedule:
Bible ~ 10 minutes
Table Time ~ 10 minutes
Math ~20 minutes
Reading/Phonics ~ 10 minutes
Piano Practice ~ 5 minutes
Loop Activity ?
I didn't schedule breaks but I promise there will be some! When we start will depend on the season (outside first in the summer before it gets too hot, outside later in the fall/winter so we don't freeze :-) We did Table time and sporadic (as requested) Math/Reading last year plus I've already added Piano since she got the books as a birthday present so not much is changing. If I feel like its too much, we'll go to switching to doing either math and reading/phonics daily instead of both. On the other hand, if it isn't and we end up starting AO Y1 in the spring, I'll only be adding copywork and 1-2 readings a day and that's just another gradual adjustment.
Jonah is not like Lucy and doesn't seem to need anything more than a couple picture books a day and plenty of time to play. He does like to sit in with (or climb on) us so he'll be around but I'm not planning anything for him specifically for now other than keeping sands alive, play dough and crayons nearby for our table work times.
The nitty-gritty - This will be long but since I process by writing, its for my sake not yours.
Bible - We'll continue reading through Catherine Vos's Story Bible. Craig still does the Betty Lukens Felt Bible study in the evenings that we started a few years back but we are almost through now (or as Lucy would say "Finally, Jesus died!" - she loves the crucifixion story and had to wait quite a while for it). Once he finishes, I'm not sure if he will take over the story bible or not. Right now, we do this in bed before breakfast while I wait for my medicine to take effect but it would be nice to move it into table time if he doesn't.
-Bible Memory Verses
-Song time - Loops between Hymn, Folksongs, and a French song. I'll use the AO rotation for Hymn but my own Folksongs selections with accompanying picture books because I can't turn down an excuse for buying more pretty picture books.
-Poems - I've created my own list of poems but we are working on semi-memory based on a talk by Andrew Pudewa that I can't seem to find to link to although I thought it was on the Circe Site. It's similar but not nearly as intense as his IEW program, mostly because we stay on a poem "a while" and not to complete memory because I'm more concerned with learning and loving poems.
Math - MEP 1. We took a break from this to work through the first few sections of Arithmetic for Young Children because Jonah was being Mr. Destructive about it last fall and oral work was easier but we've started up again now that he can behave better. I've also learned to let him color on Lucy's older pages and to ask him math questions similar in style to Lucy's but much easier while we work so he thinks he's doing math too. Lucy's still loving it.
Reading/Phonics - She finished up the first of three first grade Pathway Readers a month or two ago and hasn't done much other than read an Elephant and Piggie book or two since then. I think she was ready for the break. Okay, actually I was. We've had some habit issues to work on in this area (more on that below). I have the second ready for us to start but we'll go through the first Treadwell Reader since it relies more on phonics and less on sight words. My guess is when she starts asking for it again, she'll have made or be ready for another big leap but if she can wait, I can too.
I did pick up a workbook for her though (I know, a workbook, gasp!). Friends of our passed down some phonics worksheets and she loved them and I do think she needs more phonics review so she doesn't forget her blends as we use them less frequently. I went with the (old 1995 version) Memoria Press Plaid Phonics book based on Leila's recommendation. I got A but probably should have gone with B because A is really review for her with nothing new but I bought it used for just a few dfollars so no great harm, I can always skip pages and get to B faster. I'm not necessarily convinced this is the best way to get phonics review but it is easy and enjoyable for her and the open and go part will be nice come October.
Piano Practice (skipped if its lesson day)
Loop - The super fun stuff! Craig has every other Friday off, Lucy has dance lessons once a week in the morning and I want us to have the freedom to spend the whole morning at the park instead of just a few hours out back if its nice so the goal is to get all three of these done each week but if not, we'll just start the next week where we left off and keep going.
Piano Lessons using My First Piano Adventures.
Art Lesson using Artistic Pursuits - This was my big splurge of the year. The program isn't cheap but Craig's parents got Lucy the art supplies part for her birthday and that allowed my school budget to find room for the lesson book part and I know she is going to love this. She's always asking for "real art lessons" and loves it when I find time to do a drawing lesson with her but I need something open and go if I want it to happen regularly. I have high hopes!
Tea Time (Composer and Picture Study)
We'll listen to Mozart (Fall) and Vivaldi (Spring) using spotify lists I've made. I'll have the Classical Kids Mozart and Vivaldi cds in the car and at some point we'll go through these two picture books on Mozart and Vivaldi. I also found this on gutenburg so we might read that as well. But mostly just listen as we snack :-) Then we'll do a bit of picture study time. Cezanne in the fall along with this picture book then we'll start the Ambleside Online Rotation.
Not in the schedule
Handicrafts - We just did some weaving and next I think we'll try hand knitting first. I've never done any but it seems easy and I have a ton of yarn lying around that needs to be used. Another option is Paper Sloyd.
Body and Birth stuff - Lucy wants to learn about how a body works and has asked especially, and repeatedly, for a book about the body. I haven't gotten anything yet and was thinking about one of these two Usborne books (not sure what's the difference between them?) but Usbourne books tend to drive me a bit batty with all the words in all the places. I kept looking and recently found a recommendation or two for Big Book about the Human Body by Joe Kaufman so I might buy a used copy of that. And I'm sure we'll be reading a picture book or two about babies and birth soon. Not necessarily the reproductive parts aspect, just the general having a baby stuff.
Literature - We won't be adding any addition reading material into the school part of our day yet. We read a chapter book at naptime and bedtime in addition to each child's picture book choice (plus whenever the kids ask throughout the day). I always have a list in my head of the next few chapter books I want to get to. We just finished up More Milly Molly Mandy (which we loved!) and my choices for next include:
-Little Pear and Friends (we loved the first)
-A Bear called Paddington
-Sarah Plain and Tall
-Winnie-the-Pooh (a repeat, we haven't read it front to back since Jonah was a baby)
-My Father's Dragon (another repeat, for Jonah especially, if I can manage to find my copy)
-No Children, no pets
-Another Astrid Lindgren series?
Habit Training - Trusting Mom/Listening to our Body/Making Mistakes
This is actually my biggest goal for the fall but its hard to quantify exactly. So far Lucy has been setting the pace for things but when we start "Kindergarten", she'll be learning that I say when we start and, more importantly for her, I say when we stop. The stopping part has been a big issue lately. She just wants to go and go until either her body is worn out (hand cramping, rubbing her eyes, etc) and gets upset if I say we are done for the moment OR if she comes upon something she isn't immediately perfect on, she'll run out of the room in a fit. This is an issue with non-school stuff just as much as school. I'm not saying that we'll be a slave to a lesson. If I see she needs a break, we'll take one but I don't like her getting in the habit of stopping math every time she gets a question wrong or doesn't understand something. I've been calling her back and making her finish the question she starts so we can end on a happy note. Of course, once she gets it right, she doesn't want to stop so then we have the first battle! We've had several talks about trying and learning and what exactly "practice" is for as well as talking about listening to our body's clues (if we are "writing" a note and our hand hurts, lets stop and finish it later) and she's starting to get it but she's a perfectionist and its hard for her. So, well, we'll practice! And I'm on the lookout for a cute timer to help make the whole thing a bit less emotional.