Thanks to someone on my homeschool email group, I found a really great Early Childhood Resources website called Brightly Beaming.
Brightly Beaming, created by Katrina Lybbert, is an online resource for parents and educators of young children. Her site began when she shared her first curriculum, Letter of the Week, and now includes curriculum and resource suggestions for children from birth to age 8. Ms. Lybbert is a homeschool mom, and believes that by providing age appropriate activities in an environment of love and play can help little ones can begin a journey of life-long learning.
I have been using their Preparatory Curriculum, which is designed to help kids prepare for the Letter of the Week program. What I especially like is that each week has a different theme, vocabulary word, color or shape, letter, number and nursery rhyme.
Now, you might be thinking “Wow! That’s a lot for a little person to try and learn in one week!” But I’ve found out that it’s really not about hammering the information into their heads as much as introducing them to the concepts.
What I like most about the program is that it has each day mapped out for you. Each day you show the child a picture of the theme of the week, and a picture of the vocabulary word. Then together you read a few poems, sing a few songs, and read a book or two, all related to the theme. Then each day you add in one of the other subjects.
Mondays are gross motor skills. Tuesdays are you learn shapes or colors. Wednesday you discuss the letter of the week. Thursday is the number. Friday is the Nursery rhyme. All in all, it takes me only about 30 – 45 minutes to “do school” with Gavin, so it’s really more like playing. I especially like how the poems, songs and nursery rhymes all go together with the theme of the week.
Ms. Lybbert also encourages the parents to make a Learning Poster to use both as a learning tool during “school” and also to remind your child of the weekly concepts. At the beginning of each new week you put up a new poster that covers the theme, vocab word, shape/color, letter, number and nursery rhyme. She has an example of a poster on her website.
I took her ideas and tweaked them a bit to come up with our own version:
This is our Learning Poster for week one. I have it posted on the front door at “Gavin height.” As you can see, the theme for week one is cows. Each day we look at the photos and talk a little about them. As we go through the week, adding each new concept, we will talk about them also. Gavin surprised me by recognizing “A” when we first looked at the poster!
I printed out an extra copy of the learning poster, and give him bits of it to color as we go through the week. I don’t really expect him to be able to recite the alphabet or to be able to read or recognize numbers at the end of this program. But it does help me by giving me a fun, structured program that we both enjoy. And if by chance he DOES end up learning a few things, it’s just icing on the cake. 😀
You can find ALL of the Letter of the Week Prep Curriculum files HERE: