I’m not sure if its having an only child or just my personality, but I have found selecting curriculum to be very time consuming! There are so many approaches and choices for every subject – it can be difficult to make sure I am choosing the best for his learning style and for learning in general. This is what we are currently doing:
Media Use and Teaching Style
We have a low-media home and this definitely helps with schooling. My son enjoys things like reading, puzzles, and crafts as forms of entertainment so some education in our home takes care of itself. As I write, he is having “quiet time” in his learning room and drawing shapes, cutting them out, and writing real words on them all on his own accord. He watches approximately 35 minutes of “television” (always with a parent) on Saturday and Sunday (or can play a wholesome video game with dad) but does not have any other substantial computer or television use. Occasionally, he and my husband will also record silly sounds together on the phone or something like that, or we will watch part of a movie if one of us is sick (he has only ever seen 3 movies), but in general its low-media all the way! We will not be using computers for educational purposes either for quite a while.
I think I am learning towards a Classical/Charlotte Mason style of teaching which seems to be pretty common.
We are currently doing Classical Conversations. I had been on the fence about the program and my son learning things without context presented…(I don’t have much time to do that since I have to use his limited attention span to go over reading and math.) However, I think the program is really benefiting him at this young age. He is making friends, playing with friends during the lunch/play hour, giving and listening to presentations each week (however, informal they are at that young age), watching science experiments, learning about art, geography and tin whistle. It a lot of additional stuff that I would not be doing myself with him at this age. I was sold on the program the other week when he asked a question about a food container and said “What’s that?”. I told him one of the ingredients came from Spain and it was a Spanish building. He said “Spain!! I know Spain!” That was enough for me to be sold! The skip counting practice has already come in handy with his math lessons.
We also go to a Protestant co-op called NWACHEA and a Catholic co-op (just for playtime and art) at various times during the year.
When my son was 3, we started some workbooks and worksheets from Education.com. This September (he turned 4 in July), he started Math-U-See Primer. I like Math-U-See Primer as an introduction, but we are switching to Rod & Staff Level 1 after he finishes Primer in a couple months. When he is ready, I plan to combine Rod & Staff Level 1 with Sonlight Horizons workbooks. After doing quite a bit of research, I think my son is the type that will benefit from mastery and spiral math work.
Reading & Phonics
We are going through Alpha-Phonics and it is definitely working for teaching him how to read. I really considered All About Spelling as a supplement, but I settled on McRuffy Press for a comprehensive “language arts” curriculum. It arrives in a few days!
Handwriting will be covered in the McRuffy Press curriculum. I am not going to teach cursive until he is 6, so he will still be practicing print for a while. I really considered the copywork from Memoria Press and I really like the idea of him writing about Bible Verses, but I personally do not want to correct his copying of Bible Verses…if I have to be nit-picky, I’d rather it be about farm animals or something. Perhaps I can encourage my son to have a “Commonplace Book” when he is older where he can put favorite verses, that do not get corrected for handwriting. (I had terrible handwriting as a child and had to copy out pages of My Utmost for His Highest…it didn’t help and made me adverse to devotionals for a time!)
During breakfast, we read a “Saint of the Day” from the Prologue of Ohrid. We do Morning Prayers after breakfast and include a prayer for our school day. We have recently moved our Bible Verse memory work to be during lunchtime/at the end of lunch. At his age, my goal is not memorization, but just familiarity and the ability to recall the Word of God in his heart.