Nicholas is old enough to be considered a kindergartner this year. Many of the manipulatives highlighted in the preschool series will be at the core of his curriculum as well.
He is already beginning to read and has been reading Little Stories for Little Folks over the shoulder of his big brother. We’ll continue with that and use our word families kits and the movable alphabet to reinforce phonics. We’ll also use My Very First Catholic Speller since it is keyed to the Little Stories. When he finishes the Little Stories, we’ll move on to The Beginner’s Bible. For handwriting, Nicholas will use all the same manipulatives Katie does, plus he’ll begin writing in the first Handwriting Without Tears book.
Penmanship practice will be his copywork this year-- mastering printing, letter by letter. While he won’t be copying the poems we learn as a family, he will be memorizing them. Most of those poems will come from Favorite Poems Old and New and the Poetry for Young People Series. And of course, Nicky will keep signing!
Math will continue along the hands-on trail already begun. He will work with all the manipulatives on the shelf and he’s certainly ready for Addition and Subtraction with Cuisenaire Rods. Nicholas is our “number man.” I think I will also introduce him to the Touchmath method. He has Tourette Syndrome and has tendency to hyper-focus on numbers. (Note to mom: never tell him how many minutes until we do something unless you are prepared to hear him count aloud to sixty precisely that many times and you are prepared to make the event happen exactly when he’s finished counting!) I can’t give him enough “math” to do. He loves all things mathematical and spatial.
He also seems to have a knack for music that no one else has, so we’ll get going with Penny Gardner’s Nine Note Recorder lessons.
It’s going to be a big year for Nicholas in our atrium. We’ll officially begin First Communion preparation. Our plans will unfold over time, but he will follow the same outline for a First Communion album that his brother Stephen did. These albums incorporate the presentations in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program with other lessons vital to First Communion preparation. Nicholas’ album won’t be exactly like Mary Beth’s or Stephen’s –the beauty of these books is that they truly reflect the child who creates them. I plan to scan and post pages here as he completes them.
One book I’m looking forward to introducing for the first time is A Child’s Missal. I think it will make our study of the Mass even more meaningful. Nicholas will also have an opportunity none of our other children have had. He will be able to see a Tridentine Mass as part of his preparation. These indult Masses are new to our diocese and so new to us all. I know his godfather will be pleased. Since Catholic Mosaic will be a family adventure, Nicky will make a liturgical year notebook in addition to his First Communion album. Nicholas is a child with a natural piety and a very tender heart. I’m really looking forward to talking and discovering with him this year. When Nicole died, he was truly perplexed by my tears. He really and sincerely kept repeating, “But she’s not dead; she’s living with God. I don’t know why you’re so sad.” (The repeating thing is a Tourette trait too—but it was really endearing.)
I’ve been on the fence about Latin, quite frankly, particularly since we have a new baby arriving in September and I know enough to know I need to keep it simple. I ordered Prima Latina months ago and think we’ll give a go—at least orally—and see how we do. At the very least, we’re listening to Lingua Angelica.
Our mornings will be devoted to math and language arts and Latin and religion. Our afternoons will be devoted to unit studies. I’m planning to use Five In a Row Volume Four very loosely as a spine with the five younger children (leaving Christian and Michael to their own plans). I love the Five in Row book selections but I rarely follow the guides as written. In this case, I’ll take it up a notch or two for Mary Beth and Patrick and gear it down a notch or two for Nicholas and Katie. Stephen is the only one in the “right” age range and I’ll probably tweak for him too.
I’m a big rabbit trailer and I hope this year will be no different. We love to head off on paths of interest and we love to collect books that enhance the trip. Nicholas will begin with the Five in a Row books, but we won’t limit ourselves to them. I’m planning to use the picture books especially as springboards to study Geography (borrowing lots of ideas for that notebook from Kim), Science, Art, History, and Literature. We’ll create notebooks for each discipline and Nicholas will begin to create his academic archives.
Our first unit to study will be about birds. We've gotten to be pretty good birdwatchers this summer and we're looking forward to building some different nesting houses and putting up more feeding stations. For Nicholas, the following books are all in the queue with every expectation that we'll add more (I haven't yet begun to plan this rabbit trail):
There will always be hands on arts and crafts and we are planning a picture study of liturgical art as a family.
Nicky has a private blog and he’ll continue to narrate to me and post there. He also loves our ongoing nature study, especially since overcoming his fear of bugs. He’s particularly fond of birds and we are looking forward to much family birdwatching and blogging over the coming year.
And then there is the unit that Nicky is most looking forward to beginning—the one where we watch the new baby grow. We've begun already, with Angel in the Waters and frequent visits to the midwife. My children will get quite the study of human development this year and no one is more excited or eager to begin than Nicholas!