Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First day of preschool and part 4 - Listening and Learning (car schooling)

Well, did I tell you my middle one is going to a 2 day a week preschool this year.  After much consideration we felt it was a good fit for where he is and where we are as a family.  We have now run into two families that attend our church and have their kids enrolled there - even though it isn't affiliated with our denomination or very close to our church.  Nice perk though.  He had a great time.  They use a play based curriculum with lots of stories and up to 40 minutes of outside playground time each day.  I wanted him to get a chance to play with kids that were less domineering than his older brother!  It's hard to find play mates since we don't live in a young neighborhood and this seemed like the best option.  We did miss him though! :)

This planned driving is actually what made it worthwhile to develop the 4th part of our curriculum - the listening section.

Listening in the Car 

Classical Conversations - Since we are a part of CC we listen to this weeks' information (and maybe last weeks) while we are in the car.  I also read about one mom who tried to help kids remember previous years by listening to the appropriate week from the year before.  Easy enough.  So we are listening to Cycle 2 and Cycle 3 with an emphasis on this current cycle.   Days that we don't drive we review this information in morning time - actually my oldest has started leading the charge with this which is great.   That takes maybe 7 minutes.  Sometimes I stop the CD and we will talk about it or I stop it after they have posed the question.

Latina Christiana - I have the recitation CD that goes with this curriculum so we listen to the prayers, songs and lesson for that week and maybe a previous week.  This is not the most exciting CD ever BUT it is an easy way to review.

I need to get the Ambleside composer back from the library or just buy some of the songs so that we can also listen to that during this time.

Since we are doing American history (folk songs) I have the WEE Sing America CD that we play on occasion - it includes songs and speeches, famous quotes, etc.  Today the kids asked for it.

Additionally, I keep a few CD's with hymns on them nearby.  I should plan to listen to a specific hymn more consistently so that we can actually learn it.  I did that a little bit last year.

I was planning on listening to a section of our Pilgrim's Progress audio drama in the car but now that we are doing it at church I don't feel it's as necessary this year to hear this version of it.  Plus, my kids have been listening to it for fun during quiet time and before bed.

I also plan to look at the Ambleside reading lists and some others to pull out some "read alouds" that I can put on CD through librivox so that we can listen to a chapter of a story once or twice a week.  I also decided today that I need to get an additional regular read aloud for me to read with my oldest son - one that is way above his brother's head - as a way to connect during our time together.

Plus, we listen to whatever random CD dad has from the library.  We just finished learning about the hurricane of 1900 in Galveston, we listened to the women of atomic city, science fiction about time travel during World War II and other random selections. (It is his job to buy these titles for the library system - so he really gets a WIDE range of topics).  Honestly, this is what my oldest enjoys the most.

When we got this van I thought the 6 CD changer was a little over the top.  Now, it is my lifeline.  It is super simple to use and helps me juggle information without having to switch CD's in and out.  So, in our car we cover some of the music and memory parts of our curricula and they are a captive audience.  I did think about putting some of our poems and other things on CD but I just haven't looked into programs that make that easy to do.  Maybe someday I will move into the world of mp3 players, etc. but not yet!

Listening in Quiet Time/ Before Bed 

Actually I need to really organize all of our read aloud plans and figure out which one's we are going to do as a family, which ones just with the oldest kiddo and which one's we need to get in audio for the car and quiet time.   I'll stick that on my "to do" list.

During quiet time my oldest son retreats to play with legos and listen to stories.  I realized as I was reading more about right brain, creative types, that this might be the best possible way for him to learn.  Actually, this is how he heard most of Our Island Story, 50 Famous Stories Retold and some other selections.  I need to better organize this time this year - but it is a great way (for him anyway) to learn more without feeling like it is "school".  I don't test him over this information but he often tells me the story later at random times.  When he was younger, this was how he memorized all of the riddles of Squirrel Nutkin.

I have also started putting the older kids to bed again (now that I can get off the couch).  I have gone to reading them a chapter or two (depending on time) of our current literature selections.  Before bed my kids often choose to listen to Shakespeare, Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales or the Jesus Storybook or something else.  Again, I don't tell them what to listen to but I make selections available that are in line with what I want them to hear but don't necessarily have time to "teach".  Sometimes I have to help them settle disputes because the older likes to listen to more scary stuff before bed and it upsets the younger.  Good fight to have and discuss.

Honestly, my youngest LOVES to listen to stories - the same one's - over and over and over and over - so we all know Winnie the Pooh (an abbreviated version), Mercy Watson and the House that Jack Built by heart.  One day he did ask to listen to Pilgrim's Progress - it cracked me up.

I really encourage you to think about what your kids are listening to (music, stories, etc.) and find ways to add in pieces that you'd like them to be exposed to but can't find other ways to include it.  Driving doesn't have to stop the learning!  I promise we don't ONLY listen to this type of stuff (today we listened to the Muppets on the way home).  But it can help redeem the time, create memories and further expand the feast you are laying before your children.

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