After 3 weeks of trying to work through our letter C unit, I decided to re-evaluate how Mackenzie and I "do school". For 18-24 months it worked great - worksheets, some hands on stuff and theme units, but since Miranda's been born it hasn't really been working. I thought it was because we had lost our "groove" after our 4 month hiatus and newborn baby schedule, but it's not. I think we are both burned out on our same routine we do all the time. We aren't motivated to work on school anymore because our hearts aren't in it. Mackenzie has stopped asking to do school, so I know things need to change. I want her to love school and learning, so if the way we were doing things makes her unhappy, then it's time for a change. She is only 5 - school should be fun!
While I have done homeschool preschool for Mackenzie the last two years, I have no plans to homeschool once she's in elementary school (starting this fall). However, I have read several articles (and now part of a book) about the classical education method of teaching children and really, really like the concept. This method involves a lot of reading, memorization and language skills in the early years. Obviously there is math and science and social studies, but the greater emphasis is the reading and language skills. Think about it...the more you read (about all kinds of subjects), the more knowledge you gain, which in turn, hopefully leads to a desire to read and learn more. At Mackenzie's age it's all about reading - both learning to read and being read to. It's about filling her mind with all sorts of topics and ideas - poetry, classic literature, artists, authors, presidents, history, science, etc. Anything and everything. Nothing can be too "over her head" for her to start learning. I had already found this to be true with her interest in United States geography. We have books, flashcards and games all on this subject and I would assume most of this is "meant for" kids several years older.
Anyways, I'm explaining all of this because I feel that this style of learning is perfect for Mackenzie. She loves to be read to and remembers most things even if we've only talked about them once or twice. Yesterday, armed with a kindergarten "summer reading list" from a local classical school, I went to the library and we checked out A LOT of books! We have picture books, easy reader books, math picture books and more. Two days ago we started reading James and the Giant Peach together and she loves it. We had already seen the movie, so we are going about it a little backwards, but she's still interested, nonetheless. She can handle about 30 minutes of me reading aloud before she's ready to move on, but that's okay. After we read it, we might do some activities or watch the movie again. I know for sure that I want to start a binder and add a picture or narration or something talking about each book we read.
We are also going to focus more on learning to read using phonics. We've been learning sight words and while that is helpful, I've found that she's guessing words, even when I try to help her sound out a word. I think if I can focus 15-20 minutes each day on that, then she'll be reading in no time!
As far as the memorization goes, I know she can memorize anything! I think I'll pick some passages from the bible and focus on one passage a month. We'll see how that goes.
We'll still do the occasional theme unit (like Olympics), and small arts and crafts since she really likes that, but for the most part we are focusing on weekly trips to the library and reading, reading, reading!