What we did.

There are things here that I would change now. But this is what we did.

Infant School -- 0 years to 2 years old

(1) Sang ABC song. Hannah sang it at 18 months as she was sitting on a doctor's examination table.

(2) Flashed homemade flashcards at 18 months. Kept them accessible and visible in the family room in a Kleenex box. As the baby played, I would hold up a card, call her name, and when she looked I'd say the word. I didn't think she was paying attention. Two months later, she brought a card to me in the kitchen. "Outside," she said. She was right. She went back to the box and got another. She finally went and got the whole box. She could read.

(3) Taught her to count from 1-100. I tried to use "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" at 2 years old, but it was too high for her. I taught her to count to 100 instead. (I now know that I could have kept her reading with our program which we have since developed.)

(4) Science. She was with me learning about the world around her. She was potty trained at two (24-26 months--I later learned that in some cultures, babies are toilet trained before a year old using a "diaperless" toilet training method. I think that this is the website of the person who wrote the book that I read (Trickle Treat).).

Infant School -- 3 years to 4 years old

(1) Piano. Suzuki piano at 37 months using the "Mother tongue" method. Her teacher would take any age. She said she once had a 10-month old that could play the "twinkles" exercises. The teacher required that I play, too. No sight reading. We just listened to simple piano music tape (songs like the ABC song) and then played. I woke up in the middle of the night once and felt I could play a song I heard on the tape and could. We did this for one year--I wanted to hear God's music but the teacher wouldn't teach me notes, so we moved on. Hannah picked up perfect pitch along the way.

(2) Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Read and followed all introductory material. This book was true to its name. I never used another reading book. We skipped the sillier stories, especially near the end. Read Rod & Staff Readers, e.g., Baking Day, Helping Mother, etc. Not all were equally good. Our favorite was Olive. These books provide examples of happy Christian families with a Father, Mother, and children--something lacking here but that I needed Hannah to know about.

(3) Manuscript writing. Writing was taught concurrently with reading. (a) Completed Donna Young pre-writing sheets "course" using colored pencils (NOT crayons). Certificate of Completion at end gives sense of accomplishment. (b) Taught basic manuscript writing on paper and chalkboard. (c) Italic Handwriting Series by Getty & Dubay (Book A). Hannah has a beautiful hand as a result of the Italic; however, I taught her traditional cursive (in Year 1 of formal school), which the Italic Writing series does not do. I purchased the set which includes a video which Hannah enjoyed watching. [Note: it is hard to write huge letters on the standard kindergarten writing paper. In the end, we made our own writing paper using college-rule lined paper. She wrote on two lines and then eventually one line (maybe on a wider lined paper). I can even take a blank page and a ruler to make whatever sized lines I want or make a table in MS word with the line spacing that I desire.] I taught Hannah to read and write in about 5-10 minutes a day.

(4) Right Start Mathematics Joan Cotter (Book A and part of Book B). We purchased all the accompanying manipulatives. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about mathematics that I did not previously know. It required very little teacher preparation. I simply read over the lesson for the day which was just a few paragraphs long.

(5) Spanish. (a) Taught Spanish alphabet through song and vowel sounds. (b) Listened to Spanish (selected songs) by Twin Sisters Productions and read and completed accompanying activity book. (c) Listened to portions of Power Glide and looked at accompanying activity book. [Aside: I speak intermediate level Spanish. It seems to me that the teacher should know something of the language in order to teach [then again, teacher and scholar can learn together (with Mother being a step ahead to lead the way)]. It is said that if a child learns a foreign language before 5, they will speak without an accent. This proved true in our case.]

(6) Science. (a) She was with me (inside and outside) learning about the world around her and how to work (she'd make up her own bed, fold clothes, pick up her few toys, do handsewing, gardening, etc.). (b) The farm was a place where we spent more than a few days. There was an opening up of perception. (c) Animals and Plants Weekly Reader Skills Book, the kind of older newspaper-type book that one could probably get for a dime at the used book section of the library. Any realistic, sound book will do. We read a lesson, Hannah filled in the blanks, and dated it. Dating each lesson gives a sense of accomplishment and movement.

(7) Social studies. A one-year subscription to "God's World News" which opened up the wider world (world map and all). The magazine often seemed rather silly. Read and dated pages. At about three years old, we saw some ants out back and Hannah said, "I don't want ants in my community"--we may have had some readings out of "Understanding Our Community" or some simple book about communities. We had a small picture hanging on the classroom wall, "Learning opens the world to minds ripe for the journey." During the early days it was one of my goals to slowly--step-by-step--open her perception to the wider world that surrounded her while looking through the lense of the scriptures, our only reliable guide.