As with any planning process, new things pop up out of nowhere! It is important to me to follow my children, so if they show interest or ask to incorporate something new, I’m happy to oblige. I have found some extra studies to include in our 2019 school year and I am so excited to share them with you!
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I wanted to be more intentional about incorporating fine art studies in a structured manner. Fridays are already our enrichment day, so I thought a once-a-week loop would be lovely way to ease into this and wrap up our week in a creative and relaxing rhythm.
There are several new resources I have found to make this a reality! First up, Key’ndergarten. We are using the Key’ndergarten Montessori piano program to learn keyboard and incorporate classical music. We completed unit 1 last week and I can’t believe how gentle, simple, and fun it is! Neither myself or my husband play piano, but we do have a keyboard. We set up a music room (when I began learning guitar a few months ago) where all of our instruments are accessible. This has really motivated my daughter to take an interest in learning how to play the keyboard. Key’ndergarten couldn’t have come at a better time and the process by which the lessons teach children is so engaging and creative! First, we listened to the notes on the keyboard and familiarized ourselves with highs vs lows. Next, using the printables, my daughter colored in the black keys of the piano and cut and pasted them onto construction paper. She recognized that the keys are grouped in 2’s and 3’s and placed her paper keys atop the actual keyboard. This is so brilliant because it’s incorporating crafting and sensory play in a music lesson.
My dear friend Charmaine at Free Pancakes has released an incredible Musical Art Creative Series with contour line drawing prompts and more! Children listen to specific pieces of music while they draw and color the templates. We enjoyed this last Friday and are excited to include this each week. It is simple to set up, quick to complete, and so calming. This pack is incredibly affordable and a truly ingenious idea for kids of all ages!
When Jodi Mockabee ran a sale in her Schoolhouse Curiosities shop last week, I couldn’t help but scoop up her Art Study. We already have her Biomes + Ecosystem study that we will be using later this year. I love the format of her unit studies and the emphasis on notebooking, so I knew her Art Study would be perfect for us. This is a 5 week study that goes through: Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance, Renaissance/Baroque, Romanticism/Impressionism, Post-Impressionism/Expressionism, Cubism/Realism/Pop Art. Each week has lessons for each day with watch & read suggestions and specific artists to study. We will start this later in the year once we’ve established a strong rhythm but I honestly can’t wait! It’s likely we’ll spend longer than 5 weeks on this study as each artist and type of art can be explored more in-depth. I will happily be sharing our activities and my thoughts when we get to this!
In addition to art and music for our enrichment Fridays, I decided to add some mindfulness practice. I believe this is important for centering us, building strong character, and strengthening our family bond. I chose to add some simple illustrative copywork with our Mindfulness Cards by Little Renegades. We received these cards during the summer and brought them on our mountain trip. It was a lovely way to start a new tradition and incorporate something positive into our new school year rhythm. Each Friday we study a card, repeat a mantra, and I ask my children some questions. They illustrate what they are thinking or feeling and copy the mantra on the dotted lines below. I am sure to repeat the mantra throughout the week (outside of ‘school time’) so it is fresh in their minds and encourages them to remember and use these helpful mindfulness techniques.
My son has shown great interest in re-studying the 50 states because he’s watching my daughter go through the STEAM States curriculum. However, he’s already learned all of the information and completed all of the crafts and activities, so I don’t feel it would be the best use of his time to simply review what he already knows. But, I want to include him and follow his interests. I decided to incorporate Beautiful Feet Books’ Early American History guide so he can learn a bit more about our country through a literary approach. I think this will compliment my daughter’s curriculum well and help us to study as a group during this time. I’ve heard wonderful things about Around The World With Picture Books and we have read many of the living books listed in that guide. My son was so excited when I told him this is ‘just’ for him and he gets to expand on his United States history foundation.
And, going along with the United States and geography theme, my children have shown great interest National Parks! We already have the National Parks of the U.S.A. book that they frequently look through and I read from, so I scooped two copies of the The National Parks Coloring Book for my children to color and study while we are learning about the flora and fauna of each unique location!
Lastly, my daughter is technically in Kindergarten and although we start ‘school’ early in our home, I thought I would take advantage of the incredible Kindergarten Tool Kit I’ve seen so much of. I have collaborated several times with Carrie and just adore her. Her product is beyond what I even imagined! So simple and minimal and easy to incorporate. The Kindergarten Tool Kit comes with letter, number, shape, and sight word flash cards that are quick to set out to spark interest. My daughter has already matched her shapes with her pattern blocks, practiced on the included drawing board, and ran through her sight word cards. I love this kit because its compact and portable so we can grab it and go. It is also low-pressure with NO set-up time. We can simply pull the cards out and review for 5 minutes in between activities or while we wait for my son to finish something he’s working on. Because it’s so gentle and minimal, it doesn’t FEEL like a ‘curriculum’ or a ‘lesson’, which makes my daughter even more interested. It’s quite literally, learning through play which I am a HUGE fan of! I leave the materials within child-reach so my daughter can grab the materials when she’d like which makes us more likely to use them.
We are SO excited about these new additions to our school year. I wouldn’t add anything that was too overbearing or not of interest to my children. I believe in following the child and when they ask to learn something new, I’m happy to find something simple to help introduce us! We won’t be completing these all at the same time and we will be sure to take our time and learn at our own pace.