Tot School: What’s Next?

Our Tot School journey started with lots of lots of research. We kicked off with color themes when he was 12 months old. We had more fun with our St. Patrick’s Day theme than with any other to date. We took a break from colors to welcome Spring and celebrate Easter. We ended our color unit with Gray week. Then we had our most educational week where we learned all about Chicks. After that it was on to shapes!

Color themes are pretty standard. I was inspired to do shape themes by Kaysha at Memorizing the Moments. After that, though, it seems like most tot schoolers move on to letter of the week themes. I am not interested in introducing the alphabet this year. We spend a lot of time reading with Kent so he does have a lot of exposure to letters. He understands the concept of print. For example, he will point to a road sign in a book and say “slow” because we’ve moved his finger along the letters while pronouncing the word and he remembers. We often started our color and shape weeks with me printing the theme name on his magnadoodle and sounding it out for him. I’ve been introducing him to the ASL alphabet and eventually I’d like to see him sign a letter to indicate which grandparent he is referring to (Grandma _). So why not focus on letters this year?

Mostly I don’t want us to be bored later. I feel like I would have to repeat letter themes in order for him to fully grasp the concept. We’ll be going over letters and words and phonics for years, why start now!? Also, I want more time to decide exactly how to introduce the letters. Montessori suggests a few different orders depending on who you ask, or of course we could go alphabetically. There is also some debate over introducing lowercase or uppercase first, or both at the same time. Right now I’m in the lowercase first camp but I may change my mind. Plus, if we wait another year Kent will have better fine motor skills and we can work on some letter formation at the same time.

So, what are we going to do for the next year? We’ll be focusing on two major areas.

On the Montessori side we will be doing a lot of sensory and practical life work. I have added many things to our kitchen setup this summer and Kent has gained a lot of food prep skills. I’d like to work our way around the house, focusing on one area of the home at a time. We already purchased cylinder blocks for him (oops I need to post about that!). The brown stair and pink tower should come next.

Our other topic, the one we’ll be basing our themes and the bulk of our work around, is the Bible. I purchased our first real curriculum to help me teach it. Even though Brian and I are both firm in our faith we are still immature when it comes to our knowledge of the Bible and how to apply it in daily life. I don’t feel comfortable teaching it without some guidance from a plan, even at this basic level. The program we’re using emphasizes the very simplest truths about God without any of the in depth and overwhelming details that can confuse even us adults. I’ll share more about it in an upcoming post.

So, Bible and more Montessori work is where we’re headed. Thank you for following along and encouraging us through out the past year. I didn’t realize how many wonderful things we did until I looked back through the posts tonight. I hope the next year is just as much fun!

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