Recommendations for Four-Year-Olds

Read "The Home Schooling Toolbox" for lots of comprehensive, but not overwhelming suggestions on getting started in home education successfully. It will also give you valuable ideas regarding a variety of approaches to home education and to curriculums.

I recommend starting out with just math and English instruction for academics until the child is about age ten. Once the child is reading well then you have opened the world to them. Fill the rest of your day with lessons in practical life skills, music, art, and spiritual and character development. With strong foundations in these areas your child will be ready to tackle any other curriculum later on, not to speak of facing life with Biblical wisdom and Godly character.

Our recommended resources help you to educate your child spiritually (at the heart level), academically, and, in some cases, physically. They complement each other and are easy to use and effective. Unless otherwise noted, all recommended resources are available from JOY Center of Learning. Each curriculum we sell is thoroughly explained on our website or CD catalogue.

Plan to spend about 45 to 60 minutes in total per day (spread out over 10 to 15 minute periods) in laid-back academic math and reading instruction.

FOR TEACHING PHONICS, READING, SPELLING, GRAMMAR:
Teaching WHY and HOW to read: Christ-Centered Curriculum: (about 30 - 45 minutes per day, 3-5 days per week)
You need the Teacher Phonics Kit #010 (a one-time purchase) and Student Phonics Kit A #012. This curriculum focusses on Biblical principles and character development while developing reading, spelling, and grammar skills.

Supplemental to CCC:
Pathway Readers: towards the end of your year with CCC Level A, consider starting the Pathway "Helping Ourselves" and "Before We Read" workbooks in our "Beginning to Read" kit.

Little Jewel Books: although these are not readers as such, the titles we list as "Level 1" contain text that is simple enough for beginning little ones to enjoy reading.

Printing: "A Guide to Teaching Printing With Character" complements the CCC very well and presents a simpler method of printing than the traditional "stick and ball" approach used in the CCC. You may also find the rubber pencil grips to be helpful for some children.

MATH:
Christ-Centered Curriculum Math: (about 20 minutes per day)
Purchase Mathematics Kit #011. Contains enough consumable workbooks for one child. It will take approximately two years to complete, depending on the child and time spent with it. Teaches Biblical principles and introduces ten character qualities illustrated in nature through animals.

Optional math kit: Place Value Kit (#015) contains the place value pocket chart and mat, counting sticks, felt counting set, and linking cubes recommended and used extensively in the curriculum.

THINKING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
Critical Thinking Press: Hands-on Primary Book for Pre K-1 (item #CT5225). Book includes instructions and activities for improving observation and description skills, vocabulary, and clarifying thinking processes. You will need a set of interlocking Cube-a-Link cubes (item E131) and Logic/attribute block (item #121). The Pattern blocks suggested are optional (item #E101 or E102).

SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES:
• Cassettes: #405 Animal Stories Cd, #504 Songs of Virtue, and #511 Verses and Hymns for the Very Young. In addition, any of the cassettes and CD's we sell for children.
• Character: The charts by Doorpost Publishing
"Beginner Activity Books" set, the "Preschool A-B-C Series" - These sets of books teach pre-kindergarten and kindergarten/grade one pre-reading skills and concepts including colours, sequencing, following instructions & more.
Creative Family Times - excellent ideas for many teaching concepts to young children.
Developmental Resources: be sure to check out the neat resources in the "Developmental Resources" section of our catalogue and website.
Indispensable Recipes for Crafts and Projects full of neat ideas for use with all ages!
• Music: check out the Music Maker Lap Harp. Learning to make melody in your heart enhances academic ability!
• Spiritual Development: the book, "Leading Little Ones to God" is excellent for spiritual instruction.

The following recommended books are available from many supplies but not JOY Center of Learning:

SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES - take about 15-20 minutes per day in each area in the event that your education laws require such instruction, your child has a particular interest, or you want to round out your day and have the time. As mentioned earlier, we recommend holding off until you have laid those solid foundations in math and English. (generally after CCC is completed).

• "Before Five in Row" Read a recommended book every day for one week and follow the suggestions for study included in the Before Five in a Row guide. Topics are determined by the story or the pictures in the book being read. E.g.: if the story takes place in Japan, find Japan on a map, perhaps study about the Cecropia Moth (silk worms), make a meal based on Japanese cuisine.

• "Come Sit By Me" the Canadian counterpart to Five in a Row. Contact: Cyndy Regeling in Richmond Hill, Ontario at 905-775-8771.

• "Backyard Scientist" books with easy, interesting science experiments that your children would enjoy doing together once in a while. It is available from many distributors.

• "Character Sketch Books" These beautiful books study various creatures from nature and Bible characters together, using reading and discussion as opposed to experiments. Design your own projects build a beaver lodge out of playdough and sticks, pretend to be a badger by donning an extra large coat, act out some of the characteristics of the creature being studied, etc. Available from IBLP, 511 Piercey Rd., Bolton, ON L7E 5B8 (phone: 905-951-0001) or Box One, Oak Brook, IL 60522-3001 (phone: 630-323-9800); Character Concepts, in Vernon, BC at 1-866-444-2288; Character Foremost in Ontario at 519-899-4344. Pricey, but worth every penny.



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