'Muff'in Dome

School Beginnings

evey's-cow

It seems silly to even call it school but I’ve put enough thought and planning into it that it is instructional and semi-structured in a way.

Not too long ago, in an attempt to placate a restless child, Steve discovered an alphabet learning program on his iPad that involves our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. Evelyn loves sitting with Steve and tracing the letters that pop up on the screen alongside Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger.

Her interest in letters has evolved now to attempting them on paper with pencils and crayons. She knows “O” from her favorite Curious George episode where he learns the meaning of zeroes, and is beginning to replicate some of the letters she’s been practicing with Pooh Bear. Without any instruction, she learned to hold writing instruments from the get-go so has been practicing lines and curves and all those precursors to writing letters for a while now.

writing

Evey has also longtime loved to “read” and be read too, and will literally sit for an hour or more looking at books. She stacks them high and goes through the whole pile one by one. She has an especially strong interest in Bible stories and books of saints lives alongside an innocent, natural curiosity to learn more about her Faith.

sisters-reading

With all of her keen interest and strong curiosity, I decided to look into more projects that I could work on alongside her in order to keep her budding intellect absorbed {and not bored which translates often to misbehavior}.

I stumbled across an excellent, Catholic preschool curriculum called 26 Letters to Heaven that seems a perfect fit for what I was looking for. Something semi-structured, easy to pick and choose activities that fit her level and interests, and, above all, keeps it fun and playful! She will just be 3 in November, after all.

26-letters-to-heaven

The book breaks down each letter of the alphabet with activities that go with it. We are focusing on the letter {practicing with a manipulative}, the story of a saint who begins with that letter, children’s literature that corresponds with the letter of the week, art projects, cooking/baking projects, and an outing each week.

I’ve done some planning ahead of time with activities I would like to cover but I’m not stressing about when we will do each one or even worrying about that it absolutely happen. This is more just for having some ideas of activities to do with her as we go about our days but that will also slowly help her learn letters, math, religion, science, etc. but in a very casual way. Just easy exposure.

We are not covering the letters in order because I want to cover saints’ feasts that correspond with the letter of the week when I can. So, for instance, this week we are doing “R” as the saint this week is St. Rose. {A patron of both myself and Evelyn.} We celebrated the feast with root beer floats and read the story of the saint on Sunday. Yesterday, we learned how to paint a rainbow with watercolors {and then I allowed her to freestyle paint with the watercolors}. We will be making an “R” with raisins sometime and, perhaps, doing some counting with them as well. We have plans to take a picnic down by the river as our outing for the week.

letter-r-board

Our book list this week includes: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, Roll Over: A Counting Song illustrated by Merle Peek, Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky {great illustrations!}, Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle, and The Rooster Crows by Maud and Miska Petersham. The author of 26 Letters to Heaven has a great booklist for each letter. We’ve had a wonderful time being exposed to new children’s literature {or re-exposed, especially in my case}. I’ve also been adding some to the list in the book for future reference.

For fun, we also picked up the movie Tangled at the library as it is the story of Rapunzel, and had a family movie night.

The beautiful thing about this curriculum is that it can be used again and again over the years because you can choose more difficult activities the following year(s) as well as new activities. There is so much to do. {And keep writing new things as they come to mind!} When she is ready, there is the opportunity to learn more about certain virtues, memorize Bible verses, perform science experiments, etc.

We love to do arts and crafts around here so I’m also supplementing with Jean Van’t Hul’s The Artful Parent. She has a great website with tons of ideas too.

As I mentioned earlier, as a family we are trying to celebrate the Church’s liturgical year more fully, especially important feast days in our family. Some of my favorite resources for doing this include: The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home by Leila Lawler and David Clayton, A Homemade Year by Jerusalem Jackson Greer, The Year and Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season by Mary Reed Newland, Feast! by Daniel and Haley Stewart, and Drinking with the Saints by Michael P. Foley {that last one is really for adults ;)}.

Just a bit of our “school year” plans…..

2 Thoughts on “School Beginnings

  1. We did that book with our oldest, and I loved it. Now we’re starting it with our second son who’s 3 1/2. The best part about it is you can do as much or as little as you want, and it really doesn’t matter. It’s all fun! Best of luck in your learning adventures!

We love to hear from you!

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: