As Little Miss Lily is beginning her second year of half-day preschool, I thought I'd sit down and write out my cautiously optimistic plan for the year. I'm hoping to supplement what she learns in school & help equip her for kindergarten (and really, life in general... that's my job here isn't it?).
This might be more for me than anyone, but I thought I'd share it in case anyone else might be interested! I know I always love reading these sorts of things (especially from Carrots for Michaelmas and Molly at The Merrier World). Keep in mind that I'm pregnant with our third baby who should make their appearance in February, so I don't have many grand plans or hopes for being an overachiever this year.
Once she starts full-day Kindergarten, I won't have very much time to go on adventures with her, so I'm hoping to go on at least a few good ones this year! I want to make sure we visit a few of Indiana's state parks, and maybe we'll be able to visit one or two of the neighboring states for some fun! I'm also hoping to take her out to at least one fun local adventure each week (like the library, the local play centers, the children's museum, nature center, trails, etc.). At the same time, though, I also want to be intentional about spending time at home and just being together since I know I'll miss this time with her as she grows. Balance, balance.
We started reading The Magic Treehouse books over the summer and Lily really loved it! I like that the books are on the shorter side so we can finish one in one sitting, and Lily is starting to recognize some of her sight words. I've also been reading a few pages of this illustrated edition of The Hobbit to the children at night (the illustrations are so well-done and it helps keep Lily's attention as we go)! Other than that, I'm trying to sneak all of the Barbie books out of the house and slowly replace them with more meaningful ones, like Anne of Green Gables & Little House on the Prairie.
We're listening to the audible versions of The Chronicles of Narnia, which they love so far! It's been a lot of fun to introduce the children to some of my favorite stories and help them fall in love with reading (even though they're not quite there yet). I'm also listening to the audible version of Return of the King as I'm finishing up our Return of the King companion journal, so the kids have been hearing bits of pieces of it as we're driving around.
We also listen to a lot of podcasts while in the car, which is really the area where I feel like I'm winning as a parent. Despite calling them "boring", Lily is actually soaking it all in & it's sparked so many discussions! When we listen to Pints with Aquinas, she'll ask me things like, "Why did Aquinas say this? Or that?" It's been such a natural way to teach her basic truths about God, the Bible, and the world, that might have felt forced otherwise. We also listen to a lot of Catholic Answers Focus, Word on Fire, and The Tolkien Road.
We also love listening to ballet music because Lily has become obsessed with dancing! Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and her new favorite Lindsey Stirling are all she ever asks for.
I've come to terms with the fact that watching a little (a lot) more TV than usual is going to be a part of this year because of my pregnancy sickness and general exhaustion, so if we're going to be watching something I'm hoping to make it something worthwhile. Lily used to love watching these Brother Francis videos about the faith, but she's recently gotten spoiled by Netflix (which I finally cancelled!) so I'm hoping to get her back into watching them (Augustine LOVES them). We've also been steering toward anything on PBS instead of Amazon Video/Netflix because they're at least somewhat educational and the mom guilt subsides for the most part. If you have any good religious/learning video recommendations, I'd love to hear them!
While Lily is mostly learning letters & numbers and such at preschool, I'm trying to be intentional about making sure we also practice them at home. We have a dry erase board as well as few workbooks for practicing writing letters and numbers. I just came across this one that seems pretty inclusive so I'm looking forward to trying it. I found a pack of sight word cards from the Dollar Tree that she likes flipping through and repeating the words after me - and this wipeable sight words workbook also looks really nice! I've been working on rearranging our play room / living room to have a nice little learning spot where she can practice or learn about whatever she wants.
For the Babies of The House
- "A Baby's Guide to" Books by Sweet Sequels: This etsy shop makes the cutest fabric books for babies - I especially love the Baby's Guide to The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit, but they have so many classics to offer that it's hard to choose! I could probably spend like $500 in this shop & not regret it in the least bit.
- Baby Lit Primer Books: These sturdy hardcovers are a cute and fun way to introduce babies to the classics! From Little Women to Dracula to A Christmas Carol, they all look so fun!
- John Ronald's Dragons: This is a short autobiography about Tolkien and it is one of the sweetest picture books I've ever read (maybe I'm biased). There are plenty of beautiful illustrations, especially of horses and dragons (which Augustine LOVES), and Lily enjoys the story quite a bit.
That's about all I can come up with for now but it feels like plenty, especially since they're so young and mostly just learn by doing whatever we're doing all day. We're mostly pretty relaxed about it around here (which I hope is a good thing?) but it is fun to sit down and try to make goals/plans no matter how informal they are.
Thanks for reading! If you have any ideas or suggestions for helping my little ones (ages 4 & 2) learn about the world around them without being too rigid or complicated, I'd love to hear them!