Infant School

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Cards were set aside. I never let boredom and death set in. I read to Hannah from the Bible and select Rod & Staff easy readers.
"The Ten" from Genesis were foundational accounts covered throughout Infant School.
Also read elsewhere e.g., gospel accounts, parables, Judges, Ruth, etc. and taught Hannah to count to 100.
Now I know that I did not have to set those cards aside. There was a way to continue.

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      (1) traced prewriting shapes (2) began handwriting. See "writing" notes below.
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        Click here for the Green Sheet used in Infant School
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It is said if a child begins a foreign language before 5 (some say as late as 8 ) years old,
he will not speak with an accent. This was our experience.

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[RIGHTSTART NOW (2014) HAS TWO EDITIONS OF RIGHTSTART (RIGHTSTARTMATH.COM)--WE USED THE FIRST EDITION, THE SECOND EDITION MAY HAVE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES, THE FIRST WORKED WELL FOR US]

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Keys in teaching an infant:
  • do it in the name of the Lord,
  • make it fun
  • keep it simple not teaching too much information at once
  • keep lessons short
  • introduce child to the world around them
  • teach child to work commensurate with their abilities (picking up, making bed, sewing, gardening, setting the table, emptying dishwasher--keep their stash of dishes down low, meal preparation, etc.)
  • teach consistently. Our reading lessons lasted about 5-10 minutes. Our mathematics lessons lasted about 20 minutes--the abacus and manipulatives made them a lot of fun. Not all mathematics programs with manipulatives are good.

    I only recommend RightStart (specifically books A-D (we used some of E)--see mathematics notes below) [RIGHTSTART NOW (2014) HAS TWO EDITIONS OF RIGHTSTART (RIGHTSTARTMATH.COM)--WE USED THE FIRST EDITION, THE SECOND EDITION MAY HAVE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES, THE FIRST WORKED WELL FOR US].

  • skip, change, modify whatever you need to
  • create your own teachings as you are moved
  • let the child pick out words in the Bible that he can read

Notes:

Reading: Get detailed information on how I taught reading here. You will note that I did not have to stop after Hannah learned to read the cards--but I did not know that then. I could have made cards using phonetic Bible words into books, etc. as you can see on the Infant Reading in Three Easy Steps page. If I had it to do again, I would follow that method and would not have to use what I call, "the Yellow Book" (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons). Hannah could have kept reading instead of taking off a whole year--and she would have been reading phonetic Bible words put into sentences and books.

But it was not my lot to have that understanding at that time. I had the Yellow Book and I looked at it as a great gift because it was easy to do and taught my daughter to read well in a short period of time. When we got to lesson 30 something strange happened. Hannah could read words without any help. When I saw this phenomena, I thought to myself, "What have they done to my daughter?" It amazed me.

The Yellow Book made things so easy for me. When the Lord told me that I was to homeschool, I didn't want to do it and I thought, "How do you teach somebody to read?" It seemed that it would be a hard, laborious, tough task. God sent me the $14.99 Yellow Book to help me out. I read all the introductory notes to understand how to administer the program. After that all I had to do was read the script in our short reading sessions. The Yellow Book got the job done and I never used another reading book. The people who designed it did a great service to mankind quickening the process of learning to read. It also teaches reading teachers how to teach reading. It is an excellent resource to have for your bookshelf.

Hannah was a reader by the time she completed the Yellow Book. It was true to its name and I have personally recommended it to others and they have also had great success with it. The Yellow Book had some silly stories in it, however, some of which we skipped. One woman decided not to use it because of this. One day Hannah was looking at a picture in the Yellow Book of a dog sitting in a chair with glasses on reading a book. After a moment she said slowly and deliberately, "Dogs don't read." I had to agree.

As Hannah made her way through the Yellow Book, at times she would open up the Bible to find the words she knew. One time she did it with numbers as well. She would point her finger at a large chapter number and say it aloud. When she'd get to one she didn't know, she'd say, "What's that?" I'd tell her, she'd repeat it and start flipping to the next page.

Writing: Hannah learned to write when she began the yellow book. We started with a set of free donnayoung.org prewriting sheets that we printed out (donnayoung.org/penmanship/redines.htm). Hannah traced these sheets with colored pencils not crayons. They had a certificate of completion at the end. We eventually came up with our own sheets based on the basic shapes used to make letters -- ||| \\\ /// ooo --- uuu ccc. Our homemade sheets may be forthcoming.

We also used the chalkboard to great advantage. It was a lot of fun. Hannah copied scripture for handwriting practice (from the Bible or the chalkboard). I found that children's writing paper has lines spaced out too far. It is hard for me to write big letters. I eventually came up with my own way to make writing paper--whether blank paper, ruling my own lines or having her use two lines on thin-lined notebook paper.

If I had it to do again, I would have made and supplied her with an old fashioned hornbook with the alphabet on it so she could copy from it. I recently made one out of cardboard. At approximately 53 months she began the Italic Handwriting Series. Not necessary, but it gave her a beautiful hand. It teaches a non-traditional cursive--she did not learn that. Some children that learned this non-traditional cursive have trouble reading traditional cursive. In Year 1 (kindergarten), when learning cursive, I taught traditional cursive and wrote in cursive on the board so that she could understand it. She enjoyed watching the video that came with the Italic Handwriting. I gave the writing a sense of importance. We purchased the whole set but it was only the first three books, A-C, (out of seven) that we used.

Mathematics: RightStart was awesome, and I would use it again if I did not have time to prepare my own materials BUT

I would have used our homemade, "Counting Exercises Using a Ball Board and Other Apparati" with Hannah from the time she was in diapers as soon as she could sit up.

There is innate counting ability in man. I heard that when less than a year old babies can recognize three items--who knows how much they can recognize...babies love to play and look at objects. I developed something I call a ball board (based on the old ball frame and similar to an abacus). I would use this and then as the child progressed, he'd still be using that same tool. I think I could get him manipulating thousands, millions, very, very early through highly enjoyable, quick activities.

One of the things I thought of in those early days was how easily children learn when babies and toddlers and how that would be a good time to teach them a lot of important things. Then when they got older and more mature, those things would already be there. What I found is that they can learn quickly AND they can understand and enjoy knowledge.

I developed the counting exercises for another child who was five (5) years old. I worked with him briefly (maybe twice) and know that it works. Quickly he was adding and subtracting without knowing it. I did not explain. I just moved the beads. I did a sophisticated subtraction move and he blurted out the answer then paused as if he were amazed himself that he said the answer. There is intuition. I am so curious about this especially since this provides a mathematical life without zero--this is how I would start Hannah mathematically if I could do it again. Who knows what avenues this would have taken us down. I also would have also taught her manual counting with her hands. Most of us do not realize how zero and rote memorization of mathematical tables messes up our natural counting ability. RightStart was not rote and it did draw on intuition which was excellent, but--

Again, I would MOST CERTAINLY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY use RightStart again if I did not have time to prepare my own materials. And I would use it at three years old like we did. It is based on Asian counting methods and the abacus, a intuitive counting tool used in many regions of the world. As I understand it, they have even found a corn abacus in the Americas (South America I believe) used by indians. Teaching from RightStart has helped my own mathematical understanding, but I am very aware that it is not as intuitive as it could be. The presence of zero too early can be dangerous. Zero was not widely used in Europe until like the 1200's, as I recall. So when the Old Testament talks about millions, those people did not see a one with six zeros behind it like I do and they were great mathematicians.

I'm not knocking zero, I just want to find out more about man's intuition for numbers and a life without zero. Knowing what a zero is is important in our society which uses it and other mathematical symbols and terms extensively. Every society has its own learning (like the Chaldeans in Daniel) and ours follows the Greek counting path. RightStart does a very good job of teaching that (the Greek counting path) in its first four books A-D. We sailed through those books until we got to particular lesson in book D. I was teaching and Hannah said, "Uh?" I wasn't expecting that. Had not heard anything of the kind before. A 9-1-1 crisis was in front of me. I pulled out all kinds of mathematics books and searched the internet. No answers. I threw all the math books in the armoir and gave up. I was in what I call my "fractions crisis". I told God that he had to be the God of the mathematics too or else just forget it and I put my daughter in school. I went to bed and woke up in the morning and had a teaching. God came through in high fashion. I never had to teach it again and now I understand what a fraction is. I plan to upload it. That was Year 2.

RightStart Book E was a total departure from the carefully crafted lessons of books A-D. It had too many far-off facts in it placed there with no explanation and back to back. The mind needs time to adjust to new concepts and time to practice them in isolation. We cannot successfully jam hordes of brand new complex information into our heads everyday. With that said, I picked specific lessons out of RightStart Book E and left others. We have the RightStart Geometry but, like Book E, it has too many facts crammed into it--some are just useless puzzles--and yet it has been a useful reference in compiling our Daniel & Father Geometry books. In summary, RightStart Book E and the Geometry have been worth having, but I could not use them like I could use the first four.

Piano: Hannah was enrolled in piano because I wanted to listen to someone holy play God's music. I do not know how to play an instrument. Somewhere along the line Hannah picked up perfect pitch. This is how I found out she had it. I purchased ear training software and tried to teach her how to use it but I kept getting the notes wrong. I let her try and she kept getting them right. I looked it up to find out the name of this phenomena and learned it was called perfect pitch. A person can hear a note and know it with no other reference. I was told that it is rare, maybe 1 in 10,000 get it and people that speak tonal languages may get it more often than others. I believe that it may be the result of early exposure to playing by ear. A Suzuki teacher told me that some, but not all, Suzuki students get it. If I know the sound of short a, why could I not have learned the sound of "A" on the keyboard? I have a number of unanswered questions about music...

Bastien was the best of the method books I've examined--Christian or secular. Bastien has Christian supplements that we used. We also had other Christian supplements we used as well as several hymn books. In time, as we got our bearings, we played Christian songs before playing any other songs and did not spend much time on non-Christian songs. We skipped a number of songs and I covered up objectionable pictures. Several of Hannah's teachers had plans for her, not to be fulfilled. One dismissed Hannah from the room one day and told me, "You're going to be rich!" What is interesting is that just a few weeks before this incident, we had a mathematics teaching about the love of money (I Ti 6:10) and how people will do anything for it. We did a role play where I was a person offering her a lot of money to play the piano for me. We concluded that she would not play for these people. I was thinking she might meet that kind of incident in the distant future like at 18 years old, but not at an unperfected four or five. The scriptures, once again, were our defense. After a total of about 1.5 years of formal lessons, we came home, finished up Bastien and have moved on--at home.

Spanish: It is said if a child starts foreign language studies before five he will speak without an accent. This proved to be the case with Hannah. I speak intermediate level Spanish and in teaching her what I know, we began informal Spanish studies. The CDs and workbooks (the one pictured and another set) were for texture and fun. Many of the CDs I purchased she could not listen to, but what tracks she was able to listen to stuck because she enjoyed them. This was not a class nor was it consistent. She liked listening to the CDs so it was like an independent study. She may color and listen. Eventually, God showed me a method--using index cards and based on the Genesis Factor--to teach her the basic words dealing with all of creation. That was in Year 2. At some point I would like to upload this information and perhaps some of our own Spanish productions.

I wanted to teach Hannah Spanish like she learned English, by doing the Green Sheets with the Bible, but the Spanish Bible does not read like the Authorized Version and so this has greatly hindered our studies. I was reading the Spanish Bible just for reading and it had too many incorrectly translated passages (Reina-Valera 1909 as well as the Cipriano). I had to put it down. We are rather dull in our Spanish today because of this. I've also examined more recent translations that said that they fixed the problems--they did not. This has been grievous especially since there have been missionaries that have known this and have used what they had instead of making a good translation based on the Authorized Version. Both Hannah and I have begun translation work--me translating Genesis, Hannah Matthew from the Authorized Version into Spanish.

see index for more articles on how we used the Authorized King James Version of the Bible in our sanctified homeschool.