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    Lesson Planning…for Two

    August 5, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    Okay, I keep trying to tell myself that this year should feel like no big deal, since I had a kindergartener last year at this time (anyone remember my student, Neighbor M.?), but somehow, it doesn’t feel the same. I have changed so much since this time last year. What I did with Neighbor M. was fine, but Charlotte has me convinced that a lot more is possible…and also a lot less, if that makes sense.

    In other words, I’m taking things out, putting new things in, and suddenly this year’s kindergarten plan doesn’t look like any kindergarten year I’ve done before.

    Granted, a whole lot will be the same because we’ve been doing Circle Time for two or three years now, and we’ve got a decent rhythm. But this morning, I printed out A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six (scroll down to see the list), and I felt intimidated.

    It is so different than anything I’ve done before, really. I am convinced it is superior to what I’ve done before, which is why I’m making the change.

    Today I thought I’d share a few of the areas I’ve been tackling this week.

    One of the reasons I am nervous is because this particular child freezes up when I ask her to memorize something. Ever since I read Charlotte’s recitation trick from Volume 1, I’ve been considering how something like that might work in our home. The answer was handed to me on a platter the other day when I realized that she has memorized every single word to every single song that she listens to on the little CD-player I have in the play nook. I had already been working on a CD to give E. and A. when school starts. My plan was for it to contain a combination of Celtic folk songs and English madrigals. I’ve decided to record myself reading aloud the parable A. needs to memorize, as well as the Psalm and the six poems, and insert them into the CD. Even if this means that she’ll be given two CDs instead of one, I think it’ll work well.

    Charlotte’s trick was to read to the children while they are playing–choose a poem and read the same one once per day until memorized. The child supposedly will memorize it without making much effort to do so. As much as I’d like to do this, the reality is that I don’t have a cook and maid (as I assume Charlotte’s Victorian mother did), and so when my children are playing, Mommy is cooking and cleaning. But I know this child loves to have something to listen to when she is playing with her dolls, so I think the CD will be a good option.

    Scrapping Flowers
    The list suggests a dozen common wildflowers with leaves, plus the leaves and flowers of six forest trees. We are used to keeping a journal, but I’ve never known how to press, though I assumed there wasn’t much to it. Thankfully, the Handbook of Nature Study blog has up a simple tutorial on pressing plants.

    Since I’ve decided it is very sad that we do not know the names of many of the plants in our own neighborhood, we’re going to start with those. Later this fall, my husband’s office is moving, and there is a nice park across the street from the new location. I expect to be spending more time at that park, and having lunch with Daddy before heading home. The park has some of the native trees, so we will collect samples there as well.

    When I was looking for methods for fastening the pressed flowers to our journals, I found one site which suggested also using the flowers to make cards. That might be a fun project–putting the flowers on 3×5 cards and mailing them to their grandparents who are out of state.

    Mystie inspired me to purchase some Dover coloring books. I’m getting two: Medieval Tapestries and Fifty Favorite Birds. I think both of my students will enjoy working on something beautiful, and Mystie checked–the publisher is good with making copies for various members of the family. So I’ll be removing the binding for quick copying!

    Kristine was kind enough to send me her amazing Year 0.5 book list. You see, as much as I adore the Ambleside Year 0 list, we have owned and read (and reread!) the majority of the list since A. was an infant. I want this year to introduce her to new books. Thanks to Kristine, I had a great starting point. I had forgotten, for instance, that my parents own The Book of Virtues, so I borrowed that one right away. In addition, I bought some books to add to our library (and reserve for kindergarten!)–Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm, Happy Little Family, A Seed is Sleepy, Fabre’s Insects, and The Brambley Hedge Treasury (which I got for a steal–don’t mind the price you see…it can be found for a fraction if you look around).

    And You?
    Anyone else working on plans for Year 0?

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  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts August 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    KM, I’m glad to hear these books also get good reviews from you! I have learned that you have good taste. 🙂

    The Brambley Hedge Treasury I just happened to find on Amazon, I think it was. It was a small reseller, and I got it for less than $10 including shipping! But this isn’t a complete collection by any means–it just contains two or three stories. I figured it was a good starting place. Alibris still has some for decent prices.

  • Reply Kansas Mom August 6, 2010 at 2:06 am

    I love the Brambley Hedge stories (and would be very interested in knowing where you found a good deal on them)! I also love the Maple Hill farm books and A Seed is Sleepy. A is going to have a great year!

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