Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our Pre-Reception Class Curriculum

Since Nikki is going to be home with me all year, I thought it would be best to make some plans about what we are going to do. Curriculum is quite a strong word for what we will be doing, but 'vague plan with a couple of textbooks' just doesn't sound very professional!

There are four key subjects that I want to cover this year: Maths, English, Russian and Music. I have not made any proper plans for any other subjects, though we will certainly be covering other subjects in an informal way. I want to keep the formal stuff for the mornings and have afternoons free for outdoor play, arts and crafts etc.

So, here's my plan for now:


I want to re-start our work with Saxon. I don't know how I really feel about this book, since it goes so painfully slowly and Nikki already knows a lot of the material, but since we can do a lesson in 5 minutes I thought it would be a nice pain-free way of including Maths into our daily routine.

I also have a collection of Montessori materials, board games and other Maths-related activities and hope to play at least one of them every day.


Reading: we haven't really made any progress with reading lately. Reading Eggs got too difficult (not reading-wise, but in terms of computer and coordination skills) and so we didn't pay for a subscription and haven't had much luck progressing beyond CVC words. For this year, I have bought a new book, designed for early readers, called The Reading Lesson. I am impressed with the format (despite American spelling) and it promises a second grade reading level in 20 lessons. The lessons should take around 5-10 minutes and be covered in 1-2 weeks each. So we might even finish it this year if Nikki can get over his fear of reading sentences!

Writing: We have our amazing writing course Write from the Start. I am completely in love with this program because it is completely focused on fine motor control in a fun way. The worksheets take literally a couple of minutes - I swear he takes longer choosing his pen colour than actually doing the work! We will practice letter forms separately (jumping straight into cursive) and I hope to get to the point of writing words this year, too!

Story time: The most time-consuming part of our Language curriculum! I am currently putting together theme packs of 5 books to do a Five in a Row type reading program. The plan is, simply, that I will read the same five books every day for a week and we will talk about the books and find more themes and deeper understanding over the course of the week. I will probably use these books to base our arts and crafts and science experiments on, too.


Nikki will be going to Russian school again this year. I also plan to make Russian lessons a part of our daily routine.

Reading and Writing: Use a combination of his school reading textbook and games to learn the letter sound and forms. I want to use last year's textbooks for daily Russian practice. His class is progressing to multi-syllable words this year, which means he might actually be reading fairly well in two languages by the end of the year! (Russian is much easier for learning to read because you just learn 33 letters - no funny rules or letter pairs making completely different sounds, there are only a very few exceptions)

Comprehension: Again, use games and his school language textbook to revise and get the topics into his active vocabulary.

Story time: Same as for English, except the goal is more to encourage understanding and narration than discussing themes, since someone is reluctant to actually speak in Russian.


This is our final set subject. Nikki is so musical that I really want to make it a daily lesson. We have our Little Musician lessons for theory and Soft Mozart for learning the piano. I have no goals other than to keep him loving music and getting familiar with the sounds of notes and instruments, and maybe learn a couple of musical terms.

Nikki is reluctant with piano lessons - he likes to play as if he's in a band, dancing to the music and pretending to play a tune. Very occasionally I can stop him for about 30 seconds of practicing "proper" playing techniques (finger exercise or note-recognition games). The best I can hope is that he picks up a couple of bars of Jingle Bells in time for Christmas!

The End.

So there's my vague plan / curriculum for this September. My goal is to do lessons in Maths, Reading, Writing, Russian and Music for at least 5 minutes every day. That is maybe half an hour plus story time before lunch - not too much for a nearly-4 year-old, I think. Story time will probably need a maximum time limit to fit everything into the morning, though...

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