WinterPromise: “Ready to Learn: On the Farm” {A Review}

Ready to Learn 'On the Farm'

‘WinterPromise’ encompasses the best of a number of approaches and methods to homeschooling that will especially appeal to the Charlotte Mason or Classical-leaning homeschool family: living books, notebooking, mapping, hands-on learning, unit studies, journaling, a literature approach, and use of multi-media and downloadable e-books for our modern homeschools.

Last year WinterPromise launched a sister site, ‘Spirited Autumn Hope’, making available smaller, downloadable studies with an emphasis on the ‘joy of learning and discovery’.

The product I have had the privilege of reviewing is called ‘Ready to Learn – On the Farm’, and is one of four modules that make up the ‘Ready to Learn’ themed program for 3-5 year olds.  It is soon to be released as a separate downloadable study (with some differences to the themed program).

What It Contains

‘On the Farm’ is a 9 week program of discovery of basic readiness skills.  It takes a ‘guided learning approach’, which means you have to do this with your child.  If you’re looking for a workbook approach where you sit your child down and they work through the material themselves, this is NOT it!  These are skills that they will mostly be learning for the first time, and you will be guiding them as they complete activities.  I personally much prefer this approach to this early stage of teaching my budding learners.

The downloadable study contains:

  • Guide Pages
  • Alphabet, Phonics, & Reading Activities
  • Art & Creative Activities
  • Counting & Math Activities
  • Student Worksheets
  • Letter-by-Letter Book

The ‘Make-a-Letter Hands-on Phonics Pack’ is recommended (sold by WinterPromise) and looks like it would be a wonderful addition to the program in teaching letter recognition and letter formation. But we decided, since my 4 ½ year old daughter has already learned these well, we could do without this.

The pages contain a good balance of activity ideas for language arts, maths, and art/creative, as well as pre-printed activity pages, although probably with more emphasis on the activity ideas that you will put together yourself and guide your child through.

 

Ready to Learn

How We Used It

We loosely followed the schedules pages, choosing to just do all the week’s activities inside that week rather than follow the day-by-day layout (but please note, I’m not big on schedules!).  There was very little preparation involved, as most things you will already have in your craft cupboard or around the house.

We supplemented with books from our library plus ones we already had, consisting of a mix of picture books about farms, and illustrated read-alouds.  I found titles that had beautiful illustrations and stories that fitted the style of books we enjoy in our family.

Ready to Learn collage

In the course of doing this module with my daughter, I learned just how much she is a hands-on learner, and needs to get her hands involved in different interactive activities.  She cannot sit for long, unlike her older sister at this age who would happily sit at the table for a good length of time.  That alone was well worth undertaking this mini-study to discover just how much I’ll need to take into consideration her learning style in future.

Our Experience

WinterPromise does a great job in this study of covering an age span where not all children are at the same stage of development.  This study is easily customisable for your child’s level and you can leave out the parts that you’ve already covered or don’t want to concentrate on (which we did).

What we also enjoyed was that it was a springboard to further learning, and we have continued to build on the things we learned.  The hands-on aspect was especially good, as it including a good variety of activities (for kinaesthetic, auditory, and visual children), they didn’t require lots of preparation, and they were handy to have compiled in a single resource.

The use of ‘Farmer Boy’ as the only recommended book title seemed a slightly unusual choice for a preschool program.  Although it’s part of the ‘Little House’ series which we love, the language expression was just too advanced for my 4 year old.  We read segments of it, but she was more interested in the picture books we had, and shorter stories with bright illustrations.  I think reading chapter books as read-alouds will be something we grow into.

There were also minor aspects in the Study Guide with schedules that I found a little too cumbersome, as there was lots of flicking between sections.  If I used this study again, I would move everything related to the particular week (including student pages) into one section, and although they are lovely, I would not photocopy all the full-colour divider pages which added to the cost of getting it printed.

Overall we enjoyed this study and would use this again, and look forward to using other WinterPromise/Spirited Autumn Hope products with our children in future.

Ready to Learn

Final Thoughts

This study is a solid starting place for covering the essential skills with your preschooler, but not a comprehensive preschool program.  It teaches the basic skills, but you will most likely find that you’ll want to supplement with some read-alouds and other living books to make the most out your learning times.

WinterPromise have an accompanying program called ‘Journeys of Imagination that is designed to complement the four ‘Ready to Learn’ modules.  It includes a Guidebook and a full set of fantastic titles in its picture book library to see you through the whole year. I encourage you to look into this program as a companion to your Ready to Learn modules.

Further Information

I hope you’ll take a look at Spirited Autumn Hope and look at some of the samples for these studies.  I’m really looking forward to trying some others.

 ~ Victoria

Disclaimer

I received a downloadable copy of Ready to Learn in exchange for my honest review.  I was not obligated to write a positive review.  This review was on the content and how we used it in our homeschool, and I did not undertake any research on comparative products or evaluate ‘value-for-money’.


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