Joyful Learning Wrap-Up and Next Year's Plan

I've been chronicling adventures with the Joyful Learning Curriculum here but the time has come to say goodbye. Looking back we really had a awesome year, did tons of fun crafts and activities and made a lot of memories so I'd call it a big success.

Of course, I adjusted the program to fit Lucy and me quite a bit so my "review" will reflect that but there was a lot I liked about it:

  • The themes were fun and made it easy to quickly find other activities by searching pinterest or other sites. 
  • Almost all of the activities that we did from her site were a big hit. 
  • We liked making the variety of playdough recipes. We did play dough before this but the variety kept things fresh and Lucy inspired to play more than I think she would have otherwise.
  • The songs and findgerplays were great. I know these things are good for kids but I never remember to do them or if I try, I can only think of a few.
  • It wasn't overly academic. I said before my goal wasn't for her to learn any specific skills but just for us to have fun doing things together and this program was great for that. It had enough there to inspire me to plan things without causing either of us stress. 
I would have changed:
  • The books. Some of the book selections were good but overall, I wasn't too impressed. But I'm kind of a book snob. 
  • The amount of songs and fingerplays. It was a little overwhelming for Lucy since with a new song every day she couldn't ever really learn them. At first we tried reviewing more and I should have just hand picked one or two that I thought might be her favorite per theme but towards the end I ended up just dropping that part altogether. 
So what's the plan for next year? Well, I had expected to move on to the Hubbard's Cupboard 3-4 yr old program but it's based mostly on bible stories and Craig and I have decided to do something a little different for Bible as a family and I thought doing both would be overkill.

I looked at other programs but wasn't really happy with anything I saw.They were too academic/work sheety. I then thought about going without one but since we stopped doing the Joyful Learning themes I can tell I've spent a lot less special time with her. It doesn't need to be, and can't really be, one on one time without Jonah but even if he was around, she knew it was planned for her and that she was the focus and she needs that. 

So I'm putting together my own program and while at first I was kinda dreading the time and effort, now that I've got a good portion planned, I'm really excited about it. It's still very much a work in progress but if I get my act together, I might be able to share it in advance of the month, if not, I'm sure I'll still share monthly updates. Let the learning begin (again)!

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