Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Nurturing the Years of Wonder
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Maggie
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Posted: Feb 09 2009 at 1:22pm | IP Logged Quote Maggie

Hi again, Moms!

I currently use Little Saints Catholic Preschool program with my 3.5 year old. She LOVES it. She BEGS to "home school". I love that she LOVES learning.

However, I have being reading threads and home schooling books, and I am cautious about how I proceed.

I thought we were going to do Angelicum's preschool program(I know...it's "boxed") , but now I am not so sure...

I have read more than once (ok...more than a dozen times) ;) on this thread about starting schooling too early. I don't want to squelch her love...at the same time, she is an "eager beaver"...

I have heard some of you mention Five in a Row and Sonlight...I don't know if these are better options for a preschooler or not.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE great children's literature...and I want to instill that love in my children...I want them to love learning (I was really "good" at school, but it wasn't something I loved, kwim?)

I know many moms delay schooling until age 6 or so...but I don't think that will quite work with my dd...

With that being said...I want to do something on a regular basis...but what? What instills a LOVE of learning in a preschooler?

I am newbie...still learning...

God Bless,
Maggie
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Waverley
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Posted: Feb 09 2009 at 1:47pm | IP Logged Quote Waverley

I have 2 different recommendations:

1. Have you looked at the Letter of the Week program on-line? It is a free on-line curriculum that allows you to learn about one letter each week using coloring pages, books, songs, etc. You can take it very slow and adapt it for your child as you need (i.e. - if she's really into coloring pages and learning to write letters you can use those things or if she's not you don't have to) I can't find the link to their site but you should be able to find it by googling or maybe someone else has a link.

2. I also use and love Before Five in A Row (B4FIAR). I bought the manual only and we read a great children's book each week or two and do some or all of the activities set out in the manual. We don't do lapbooks for the little kids.

Both of the methods listed above allow you to meet your daughter's desire to learn while not over-doing it with a curriculum.

Just my 2 cents. I look forward to hearing from everyone else.
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Sarah M
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Posted: Feb 09 2009 at 4:10pm | IP Logged Quote Sarah M

I think Five in a Row is so gentle and it doesn't start academics too early at all. It's more about reading great literature together and celebrating a love of learning. Not about skills or outcomes- very good and healthy for a preschooler. I think it would be a good fit for a child who is eager to do school without the risk of starting academics too early.

I haven't used Sonlight, but it seems like it could be very overwhelming. I use the catalog for booklists, though- I just pick some titles that look interesting and go check them out from my libarry. But I don't read all the titles they recommend (is that even possible?!), nor do I follow their curriculum.

There's my .02 for now- my kids are climbing the walls this afternoon, so I'll check back in later when things are a bit more quiet around here!!
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AndieF
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Posted: Feb 10 2009 at 7:33pm | IP Logged Quote AndieF

I really like Before Five in a Row too. We didn't always do all the activities for each story, and sometimes we did a book for a couple days and then another one for a couple of weeks, but we really enjoyed the gentle way of learning. I started using it at the very beginning of our homeschooling journey and it helped me discover some great books that I don't know if I would have discovered on my own back then.

Andie, homeschooling mom to 3 and preschool teacher to 5!
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Mackfam
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Posted: Feb 11 2009 at 9:30pm | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

Hi Maggie.

I tried to follow your link to Angelicum's Preschool program, but it didn't work for some reason. Here's Angelicum's Preschool Curriculum according to their bookstore.

I'm not going to pick apart the choices they recommend for preschool, but I am going to say that I think you can do preschool with a classical flavor in a gentle way without so much curriculum.

I wish Willa were around...I think she has a great perspective and insight into classical education in the home.

My understanding is that a classical curriculum really embraces the "great books". Since there's no reading of Aquinas or Plato in preschool you would choose classics - those books that have stood the test of time and ignite the imagination. These are what Charlotte Mason calls living books! So, with that information, I think you can build a beautiful and gentle preschool program for your preschooler by reading wonderful, living books together throughout the day.

Five in a Row and Before Five in a Row would be excellent options! Or you can build booklists from a variety of great sources on your own:

**A Landscape With Dragons: The Battle For Your Child's Mind by Michael O'Brien
**Honey For a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt
**A Picture Perfect Childhood by Cay Gibson
**Reading the Saints: Lists of Catholic Books by Janet McKenzie
**Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children's Literature
**Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories by William Kilpatrick
**Books to Build On: A Grade-by-Grade Resource Guide for Parents and Teachers by E.D. Hirsch
**Real Learning Booklist, from Elizabeth Foss' book

So much learning at this young age just takes place at mom's side - cooking and baking in the kitchen, sorting together, crafting with the seasons (liturgical and natural). Math at the preschool level is all about learning that numbers represent quantities - so lots of counting together, sorting, watching for patterns in things like pattern blocks and symmetry in leaf shapes, etc. It's all just very, very gentle and builds out of an organic progression of one foot after the other so to speak.

I think you are very wise to be cautious about setting too much in front of your preschooler. There *are* gentle ways to challenge and excite her love for learning without buying a workbook/curriculum package for each individual subject. Consider that preschool is just a natural extension of what you are doing right now in your home. So, preschool shouldn't look that much different from what you're doing right now, just a little deeper, a little richer. Does that make sense?

I hope this helps in some way, Maggie. Good luck with your decision and let us know how it goes!

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Posted: Feb 12 2009 at 5:54am | IP Logged Quote Elizabeth

We're in the process of revising Real Learning. One thing the new version will have is an expanded reading list for the early childhood years. That list will include an author study, a science study, and childhood favorites for every letter of the alphabet. You can see how the list translates to actual curriculum at Along the Alphabet Path. This is a flexible--and very full--curriculum that I've adapted in my own home for kids from 3-8.

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Maggie
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Posted: Feb 12 2009 at 2:10pm | IP Logged Quote Maggie


Thank you all for your very thoughtful replies!

I think part of my dilemma is trying to "keep up with the Jones's" so to speak...in that...we do not have many friends who home school (a few, we're still a bit new to the area). The friends my daughter did have mostly all started preschool. I get questioned a lot about "what my daughter is learning." I feel like without a "curriculum" that my confidence regarding this question has waned.

I love all of your suggestions! I especially love "Along the Alphabet Path"---this is precisely what I need , as I cannot devise a whole curriculum on my own (I feel like I would have "holes"), which is why I have been drawn to boxed curricula in the first place...however, none really excite me and make me think that my daughter will fall in love with her faith and fall in love with learning...

Thank you all again!! I look forward to investigating these resources!!

God Bless,
Maggie
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tallulah23
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Posted: March 02 2009 at 9:59am | IP Logged Quote tallulah23

Maggie,
ALL her friends??


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time4tea
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Posted: March 02 2009 at 4:12pm | IP Logged Quote time4tea

Maggie,

Please don't take this wrong, but, if you own Little Saints, and she loves it, why switch? I have seen Little Saints before, and it seems fairly gentle, CM to me. I wold recommend sticking with what your dd already loves, and what you already have in hand. I am a curriculum junkie, and have spent so much time and money in the past re-purchasing curriculum when what I already had was fine and didn't need to be replaced, other than I wanted to replace it Not saying that you are doing this, but from one who did, now that some of my dc are older (high school age) I really wish I hadn't, because curriculum in the the older grades can get really expensive.

Just a thought -

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SeaStar
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Posted: March 03 2009 at 2:28pm | IP Logged Quote SeaStar

You know, I realize more and more every day that the majority of what my kids learn (I'd say 95% or more) comes simply from books I have read to them.

I think the best curriculum in the world is a couch and stack of books and all the time you need to read them. I am so happy to hear the new edition of Real Learning will have an extended book list!

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Lil's Mom
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Posted: March 03 2009 at 4:00pm | IP Logged Quote Lil's Mom

Hi Maggie,

Have you ever seen the Catholic Heritage Curricula (CHC) products for preschoolers? They have a nice selection and their new handwriting books are especially nice. We have used a lot of CHC books. My daughter didn't start homeschooling until 8th grade but I sure wish I'd started earlier when I see all the great books that are available.

They have a catalog and a website: www.chcweb.com

Best wishes to you in your search.

Lil's Mom
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