Monday, January 18, 2016

Our Plan for Third Grade + Kindergarten

We've been working to finish this school year in March, so we can have a nice break when baby #4 comes the beginning of April. So far we're on track. I've also been working on getting my plan and supplies ready for next school year  so I can just pick it up and go with it next summer/fall. So, even though it's 7-9 months early, here's my plan for next school year! 

Family Study...

Bible Reading:

We'll stay on pace with their bible class lessons, which is usually reading about a chapter a day. My third grader is also stick figuring through the bible to make his first bible timeline as we go. My kindergartener will begin his timeline when we cycle back to Genesis again.

For My Third Grader...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Pre-School and Kindergarten: Too Much Too Soon

School has changed a lot since we were kids. The early years have been transformed from a time of hands-on discovery to overly academic pursuits, and  children have paid the price for it. 

According to the study "Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?" kindergarteners spend considerably more time with formal instruction, academics and testing than they used to. This has taken the place of art, music, science, and child-directed activities. Even though you can read an abundance of studies referencing the vital role of "play" in early childhood development and education, modern classrooms no longer give it the time of day. Children are too busy with workbooks and test prep to mess with such things. 

The problem doesn't start in kindergarten. I recently read the article  "The New Preschool is Crushing Kids." For all the academics and pre-academics we're forcing on children at younger and younger ages, many teachers agree that children are "less inquisitive and less engaged than children of earlier generations." And for all this extra school work they're doing, "young children are gaining fewer skills, not more." In fact, by second grade, children who attended preschool perform "worse on tests measuring literacy, language, and math skills" than children who didn't attend preschool

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tracy's Treasury of Sturdy Books for Babies & Toddlers

Today I'm sharing a book list that I've thought about posting for the last few years. It's been tested in our home and only the best-of-the best remain! Whether you're building your own family library or gift giving, these are our tried-and-true, absolute favorite book choices for the littlest readers. (Remember to grab a couple for baby shower gifts!) They all fit the following criteria:
  • They're sturdy (no paper pages) to better stand up to the rough handling from the littlest hands.
  • They're enjoyable. (That's important!) Some children's books are awkward to read or are... well... annoying. Those books don't stay on our shelf! If I'm going to read it 100 times, it's got to be enjoyable. Also, I'm pretty picky about quality children's books, and these make the cut. 
  • They've been absolutely loved by our four babies.