This post is meant to empower and encourage you if you are in the similar situation of having a second child that is learning very differently from your first and your wondering, oh my goodness, do I need to buy all these new things? For me, it felt overwhelming to juggle my first grader’s lessons AND a completely separate K curriculum (along with two even smaller children) even though it was shiny and new and seemed to promise success. I’m simply sharing how I decided to gently weave my second child’s learning into my first’s for some things and adjust the items we already had that I used for my first. If that makes sense. 🙂
Because my second born is a different learner, I simply wanted to give him more unscheduled time, inevitably resulting in more time for play and outdoors. Even though he was eager to come to the table, eager to “do school”, I just worked on letter and number recognition for the most part up until now which he has down. His Kindergarten year (starting now) will look something like this:
Morning Time: (If he wants to) with his sister and I using A Gentle Feast (link in main page). Here we rotate through several different beauty loop subjects including picture study, poem, composer study, hymn, etc. My husband does a great job taking over Bible and discussion in the mornings with all of them while they eat breakfast so I know he’s enriched with scripture then.
Table Time: (only after I’ve worked with my first grader) Here I will work with him on Phonics/Reading and Math. We use All About Learning for phonics and Simply Charlotte Mason for math. (I am unsure when I will switch him to Right Start, I’d like to but I’m just not sure as to when.) I have a little handwriting packet from The Good and the Beautiful that he works on sometimes as well, but the majority of the time is spent on phonics and simple math. Table time will take 20-25 minutes.
One-on-One Basket Time: This is our little treat together. It’s important for me to give him this undivided attention and care. In his little basket is our Literature, Poetry, little readers for him to explore, and something to keep his hands busy. If he didn’t join in on Morning Time, (he will often be playing with the toddler which is actually very helpful 😉 I still want him to hear poetry every day so I’ll read one poem from the many poetry books we have around. Literature is quality books and stories that we both enjoy sharing together. Just one story or a few pages in a larger chapter book.
Afternoon Enrichment: This time would include him being included once again with what we are doing with A Gentle Feast, so Nature Studies, Teatime Read Aloud, Drawing, etc. His handicraft I consider cooking with me at least once a week, and he has music lessons (Let’s Play Music) with his sister once a week as well.
How I tailored items differently: well I’ve simply cut out a few things that my firstborn did; things like copywork, worksheets, that sort of thing. I’ve also noticed that he will grasp the concept of the word a bit better when using the Montessori Wooden Letters (see “homeschooling resources” for link to those) instead of letter tiles, a car or train, and the word building mat from A Gentle Feast (100 Gentle Lessons in Sight + Sound). You can easily make your own mat too!
So I don’t plan any specific History or Geography lessons because I know he will have so much time to learn that when he jumps in with us when he starts A Gentle Feast in First Grade. He does learn bits here and there from what he overhears and the random books he asks me to read from our shelves, but I’m just not scheduling anything specific at this point. I also don’t feel comfortable pushing through when he isn’t ready so we take things slow too!
If there isn’t any real progress in learning, then there might be an underlying issue (vision, dyslexia, etc..) that I haven’t realized or discovered yet that may in fact need to be addressed with a new resource or evaluation. But it’s also true that different learners just learn at a different pace. It’s our job and responsibility to be in tune to our specific child to be able to tell the difference.
So that’s it! Pretty simple I’d say. 🙂 I hope this was helpful or encouraging!