Five Books, Twenty Minutes, One Charlotte Mason Friendly Home Preschool
In previous posts, I’ve covered both why we are doing preschool at home this year, and how we are keeping it in line with Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy. Now I’d like share the five books I have in our preschool basket.
Each of these books is appropriate for my nearly four-year-old. Some are just a touch beyond my 2.5 year old, although he’ll soon grow into them. All of them are joyful and fun.
(A quick note that the links to Amazon below are affiliate links, so I get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. This hasn’t impacted my review in the slightest.)
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
I’ve come across a few children’s Bibles, but none holds a candle to The Jesus Storybook Bible (affiliate link). In 42 stories of a few pages each, Sally Lloyd-Jones covers the story of God’s redemption of Man through Christ.
Even as an adult, I find myself moved to tears over ‘God’s unfailing, never-giving-up, always-and-forever love’. I love how every single story, including the Old Testament stories, point the reader to Christ.
For our morning time together, we read one story twice a week, usually Mondays and Fridays. In between, I read a portion of the same story from the NIV – The Jesus Storybook Bible has the Scripture reference underneath every story title.
Play and Learn French by Ana Lomba and Marcela Summerville
I have fretted over French for quite a while. My husband is fluent, but English is the language he spoke with his family growing up. It’s never felt natural to him to talk to the boys in French all the time (although that would probably have been the easiest way to teach them).
Despite my efforts to introduce ‘French Day’, ‘French Hour’, ‘French Meal’, ‘French Ten Minutes’, we’ve never managed to regularly speak in French with or around the kids.
Each page has a short script in French plus it’s English translation. It’s mostly for a caregiver (as in, the child doesn’t necessarily need to speak). The scripts are set up around every day situations, like getting up, having breakfast, getting dressed.
We spend time on one script a week, every day. At the beginning of the week, I just keep the book out, but by the end I’ve usually memorized it and can do it without. The point is to use the script in context, so that while you are going through the getting dressed script, you are actually getting them dressed. The boys are occassionally echoing the French, and are showing some comprehension already!
Preschool Math at Home by Kate Snow
After a Bible story and French, we play a game together. Once a week, I take a game from Preschool Math at Home by Kate Snow (affiliate link). These are games you can play anytime, and we don’t limit when we play them. We’re just intentional about playing them once a week.
What I love about this book is it is almost entirely a sequence of games to play with your child that build on one another as your child develops mathematical concepts, starting with counting to five and working towards addition and subtraction. The point is to work more or less in order through the book. You are only meant to move on in the book when the child has mastered a concept.
Because the concepts build on each other, I feel that this book is helping me to keep a pulse on where N is in terms of early numeracy skills. There is no rush, no concern, no pressure, but there is a feeling of progress and a sense of direction which I owe to this book.
Discover Reading by Amy Tuttle
Since I am basically an Ambleside Online fangirl, when I saw that there is a book on teaching reading recommended by AO, I really had to have it. Discover Reading by Amy Tuttle is firmly entrenched in Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching reading.
Similar to Preschool Math, Discover Reading reviews Miss Mason’s approach, and then gives a sequence of games and, eventually, lessons to teach reading. We are just starting the pre-reading games, specifically games that encourage the habit of attention and games that help associate letter sounds with each letter.
N pretty much taught himself the names to all the letters on his magnet board. Now we are having fun making letter sounds and taking turns running to the magnet board for them. We only spend as long on this as his interest holds. Any disinterest or boredom and we are done for the day!
Moebius Noodles by Yelena McManaman and Maria Droujkova
I came across this book from an article I read – maybe from The Atlantic – and ordered it the same day. While Preschool Math is focused on more traditional math skills (counting, adding and subtracting, etc.) Moebius Noodles (affiliate link) veers from tradition to introduce more ‘adventurous’ math.
Moebius Noodles is, again, a book of games, but these games are centered on concepts like symmetry and functions. Similar to the Play and Learn French, the authors want you to play around with kids, but use mathematical language in context. So when we fold a paper in half to cut out a shape, we use phrases like ‘line of symmetry’. The games aren’t particularly sequential, but they are simple, interesting, and unintimidating.
I especially appreciate the authors’ desire that no visual aid should be made without the child! It really is about letting the kids play around (and about parents themselves relaxing about math).
This is what is in our basket now, and while I think we have plenty to keep us going for a good long while, I am already mulling over other things we might incorporate into morning time. Things like practicing singing with Sing Solfa. Or listening to beautiful compositions, or looking at lovely art. I definitely think that gently adding in some riches will round out our time together, as long as we can keep our structured time brief.
So, what is in your preschool basket?