It’s all fairly simple for us at the age of 3 and 4 – foster a love of learning, spend time just reading great stories aloud, and keep the formal side of learning to a minimum unless they are well and truly ready for something more.
Most of what we have done with three children so far is Sonlight’s P3/4 package (which we purchased in its entirety and then changed a few things to suit). Depending on each child’s natural interests, we have also used various ‘hands-on’ resources. But honestly, at this age, reading aloud, playing outdoors, helping bake in the kitchen, and joining in with the daily things as a family, is really where it’s at.
Following is what we’ve used at different times with different children.
Read-Alouds (mostly from Sonlight’s P3/4 package)
- Jesus Storybook Bible – large print
- 20th Century Children’s Treasury
- The Bee Tree
- Eloise Wilkin Stories
- A First Book of Fairy Tales
- Go Dog Go
- Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics
- Horton Hatches the Egg
- Make Way for McCloskey
- Mike Mulligan and More
- Ian and the Gigantic Leafy Obstacle
- Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill farm
- Poems and Prayers for the Very Young
- The Tall Book of Nursery Rhymes
- What Do People Do All Day? Richard Scarry
- All God’s Children – Ken Ham (board book)
- Nature’s Alphabet – A New Zealand Trail – Crowe and Gunson
- New Zealand ABCs – A book about the People and Places of New Zealand (Schroeder)
- Handwriting Without Tears – Get Set for School
- Mighty Mind (purchase in NZ or from Sonlight)
- Teddy Mix and Match
- Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes
- Quiet Time Baskets
- Ideas from ‘Ours’ and ‘Our Creative Children‘ DVDs
Listening for the Whole Family
SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS
What makes us a Charlotte Mason ‘inspired’ homeschool? Have a read of this post on Our Charlotte Mason Homeschool, and these are the principles we mostly follow. Note however, that we aren’t going to use all aspects of a method if they don’t work for us though, so we prefer take a flexible approach as well!
What makes us a Classical ‘leaning’ homechool? Some might say that because we aren’t following the trivuim exactly then we aren’t Classical. However, I like to think we can take the best out of a method and make it work for us. We’re a little Classical in that we’re moving through stage one of learning rules of grammar, spelling, and phonics, also stories of history and literature, and the building blocks of Maths, and so forth. This is setting us up for the next stage of learning, which is developing analytical thinking, and how things fit into a framework. The final stage we aren’t near yet, but is what is known as the ‘rhetoric’ stage. A Classical education is language-focused, and all knowledge is inter-related.
What makes us Eclectic? Quite simply, we are using the aspects of different methods that suit our family. Sometimes we do unit studies and lapbooks that aren’t on our official schedule, or take a delight-directed approach where the children have found something they enjoy learning and we find a way of tailoring our learning accordingly. We don’t plan to become a slave to any particular method or philosophy, as adding that sort of pressure doesn’t help anyone! The idea is, learning is supposed to be enjoyable, and we keep the overall end goal in mind, which is that our children have a rich education and childhood, and are also well-equipped for life in what they chose for themselves to do.