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Don't razz me too badly. Best curriculum option for a barely 3 year old.


AimeeM
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I swear I wouldn't consider it if I didn't think it was in his best interest.

Between DS2's therapists and myself, we feel like the structure of doing *something* formal/structured during the day would tame him a bit (read: make him less likely to kill himself, or give me a heart attack) AND that it would help with his speech to learn to read, since he's so obsessed with letters and attempting to blend.

The only way he remains calm is to have something to do in front of him... namely, he loves writing (trying to) and drawing.

He has textbook perfect grip, and can form several letters pretty well.

 

I'd love something with read alouds that I could combine with his older brother (DS5, who will be 6 by fall). I would love something with enough busy work to keep him happy with a pencil for a while, but something that would stimulate him intellectually too (so, not JUST busy work) - if he gets bored, he gets hyper; when he gets hyper, he does dangerous things like climb things he shouldn't, run across high surfaces, or play trampoline on non-trampoline surfaces ;)

 

He knows his letters, letter sounds; can recognize numbers through 20, count to 20 (or beyond; I haven't asked), and definitely understands one-to-one correspondence; he can count by 1's, 2's, and 10's. He can manipulate rods pretty well and ADORES his abacus.

 

He doesn't talk much, though, so anything I use can't necessarily rely on him communicating back verbally. There is some suspicion that he may already know how to read, but we aren't sure. He loves books, but he only says one syllable words, or one syllable of multiple-syllable words/word attempts. The only phrases he says are "luh yuh" (love you) and "guh mor, dah-dy" (good morning, daddy). Oh, and he recently became fond of puckering his face in a fake cry and coming for a hug, saying "I cry" (minus the "r" sound, lol).

The only things he says consistently are his letters and definitely his numbers. He can spend huge amounts of time counting items... or just turning in circles pointing at invisible numbers counting them - backwards, forwards, random patterns. Whatever.

 

I have a couple of thoughts.

 

1: Memoria Press' JrK program... modified for no real recitation, heavy on the mom-helped crafts, supplemented with Phonics Pathways and c-rod fun with Big Brother (who uses Miquon) - he already likes sitting in on brother's phonics and math lessons, but I use Dancing Bears with DS5 and it's far too writing intensive for DS2.

 

2: Memoria Press' Special Needs program. The three - four year old program, especially, looks like it is heavy on the language acquisition, vocabulary building in creative ways, and specifically targets speech delay issues. I would have to supplement pretty heavily, though, to give him any sort of challenge. If he bores of me, he will just go find a wall to color on, or something equally "not good". The SN program also seems to focus quite a bit on fine motor skills, and while he has no fine motor skill issues, his OT describes him as a "serious sensory seeker", so the fine motor activities would give him a sensory outlet.

 

3: A hodge-podge of materials. I have Phonics Pathways on hand, and I could buy the 7 book Rod and Staff preschool series, which would keep him busy for a while, lol. I don't really want to do this, though - if it's written out in front of me, it will get done; if it isn't, it won't.

 

 

Please, please, please - none of the "he's too young" advice. I would generally agree with you, but this is something I (and his therapists) have thought hard about. If it gives him the intellectual stimulation he needs, and an outlet to keep him away from doing dangerous things... well, it's nothing but good in my book.

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I don't know long of a structured time you're looking for. But, I love the PreK Core Knowledge workbooks. They come with the pieces you need. They also rotate through stories and you could expand on those with more hands-on/fun unit work stuff.

 

If not that, I'd look at some sort of Waldorf PreK stuff.

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It sounds like you need a self-designed curriculum actually.

 

As far as the books go - aim them at the younger child and then usually the elder will listen in - this will depend on what you have been reading to the younger up to now and what his concentration span is. I found Sonlight P3/4 lists was a good place to start and also 1000 good books for children starting with the picture books they recommend for young children is another good place to begin. After you find out his concentration span you can move to chapter books with fewer pictures.

 

It sounds like your child has a lot of energy and needs to move around - apparently a lot of gross motor activity can also help a lot with speech - get him crawling and doing obstacle courses, riding a bicycle, jumping on the trampline - include this in any curriculum you use. I know you need time for him to be occupied and quiet, but getting activity is hugely important too and it may help to change the priorities around this.

 

I used OPGTR with my children when they were 3 but only the word lists. You can try some starfall too, or progressive phonics - actually it does not matter what curriculum you use at this age - you will have to adapt it to work for your child because of his age - so just pick one and MAKE it work for him - my youngest now blends four to eight words at a time from OPGTR and then we make up a story with those words which she acts out while I tell it and then she reads them to me and I do the actions we chose. Whatever works and is fun.

 

I am using Horizons K with my youngest - something at this age I would not have been able to do with my eldest. It has been challenging enough for her, but does require teacher time from me. I have found that at 3 unless I give my child a pair of scissors and some paper and a place where nothing else can be cut then I will have to keep an eye on her permanently - its just that age. Playing with duplo bricks is another thing she can do while I am busy with the eldest. Both of my children at 3 needed a lot of play with manipulatives even if they were doing a proper curriculum and it was this story telling while using manipulatives to solve problems they cared about that really kept them busy and helped them learn.

 

I do speech therapy work with my youngest as part of school too - reading has helped greatly though there are a few sounds we are not winning with at all yet.

 

Sorry, no real curriculum suggestions. I find you need to pick and then adapt. Nothing is specifically made the child you are describing so its up to you to make what you choose work (and that sort of goes for all of homeschooling with any child). Good luck - he sounds fun despite being a handful :)

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I might suggest something like:

Before Five In A Row

Winter Promise I'm Ready To Learn

Winter Promise Journeys Of Imagination

Sonlight Pre-K

 

Winter Promise Letters To Little Words {specifically aimed for the Pre-k Crowd}

Handwriting Without Tears

Sing Spell Read & Write Preschool/kindergarten {but if he all ready KNOWS his letters he might be bored, I'd look it over prior to a purchase for sure!}

 

Saxon K -- I wouldn't use this with a student in normal Kindergarten, but I think it's fantastic for someone below that level. Basically they use toys or food to show a 1:1 relationship in some fashion or other. 

 

 

 

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I have a bright (just turned) 3yo too. She is very verbal, but I still suspect she knows more than what she tells me. She is starting to recite parts of Bible passages she has picked up from listening to siblings, and she has been quoting rhymes/poems for at least a year.

 

I have been using SL P3/4 with her for many months now. I really bought it for her next oldest sister but she joins in on all the readings and gains so much from them. I recommend it.

 

We have also been using Reading Eggs which has CD Rom or online lessons starting with single sounds and working through to simple blends, words and easy sentences - and that is just the first level. You can also get corresponding workbooks and readers. I'm very impressed with this program. My 4yo used the workbook but I bought my 3yo a letters book with wipe-clean pages so she can trace the letter covered in Reading Eggs then wipe it off, repeat etc. This was good for my dd as her writing/fine motor skills aren't as advanced as what it sounds like your sons are - he may enjoy the workbook. Here is the site... http://readingeggs.com.au/ It's an Australian program but you can access it online. I'm not sure if you could get the books in the US.

 

Anyway, that's just a couple of things we use.

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I would put together my own curriculum from a variety of resources. Are you familiar with Montessori? I'd probably give him lots of practical life jobs and sensory works, let him watch LeapFrog on DVD once a day, introduce him to Starfall, etc. Set up some sorting works for him, spooning objects into different containers, a bin of rice and some scoops, etc. Perhaps a Montessori style moveable alphabet would be a good investment as well? 

This blog looks like it has lots of good ideas for this age: 

http://www.howwemontessori.com/how-we-montessori/otis-3-years/

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Have you looked at Memoria Press's Special Needs packages? It might be useful for you?

Yep - their 3/4 year old SN program is what I was referring two in my "option 2". It looks like it targets vocabulary and fine motor skills. 

 

I only need something to help keep him busy and learning for a couple of hours of the day (for as long as my first grader is also working; I can work with them both, staggering when the need arises). When I do one-on-one with DD13, both of the boys are off playing pretty nicely (DS5 yells if DS2 starts climbing anything and I just have to keep them nearby so that I can check... frequently, lol). 

 

I definitely do not want a computer based program. How he treats computers is hit or miss, and he's been playing on Starfall, etc for over a year now, so it isn't new enough to really grab his interest; he doesn't seem to care for it either. He has all of the Leapfrog DVDs and has played them until they've scratched :) That's how he learned his letter sounds, skip counting, etc. Then he just started applying it to EVERYTHING. 

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The Memoria Press Special Needs program looks absolutely lovely for a very bright young child.

 

I was going to suggest these http://www.milestonebooks.com/item/1-10020/?list=Rod_and_Staff_Preschool, and then I saw that some of them are incorporated into the Memoria Press program.

 

They were much loved by my bright 3yo many years ago. She also enjoyed the younger workbooks (p3-4) when she was 2 http://www.milestonebooks.com/list/Study_Time_Preschool/

 

As a reference this is a child that loved and thrived on SL Core 3 (I think maybe it's currently called Core D?) her kindergarten year i.e. at age 5.

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another option to look at could be Flowering Baby. 

http://floweringbaby.com/Three_to_Four.html

 

that product came out after I was past all of that age.  but it might be something you like.

 

(not too much razzing from me: I had to put youngest in group preschool settings at that age with her high needs, autism.  They did some age appropriate "school" as well as general play. then I could get school done as much as possible, and let her be herself in afternoon...  it got better over the years. It's a common question about how to Occupy, Educate and Involve a preschooler/toddler while dealing with oldest.  heard a workshop on that once upon a time....  )

 

 

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I'd also look at some of the busy bag and occupational therapy activities on pinterest. We utilized a lot of those, targeting two or three things at once. We found the most progress in speech when it was tied to play/motor activity with one child of ours.

 

Education unboxed videos are also something I'd look at...free play with some stairs and patterning stuff.

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If you do decide to go with an MP program in one way or another, I'd call them. They are lovely to work with and if you explain what you are trying to do & what your son's skills & needs are, they can sometimes switch some things out so you have the package you need that doesn't necessarily match the package on the web page. Ya know? 

 

Depending on the needs of your older, you could add in one of their enrichment packages (K maybe). I'd probably do the recitation sections with my older kid, but have the younger one there (absorbing while doing something with his hands) so when his speech catches up with his brain, he's already got the material.

 

My youngest didn't talk until he was ... well, it took awhile. He didn't say anything spontaneous at 3 and had only just started repeating individual words we asked him to. (FWIW, I credit flax seed oil for getting him spontaneously talking.)  :grouphug: Good luck!

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I did the same thing, my 3 yr. old did Memoria Press Jr.K this year and did very well!  He has learned a lot and has enjoyed it.  It is a 2 day a week program but I space out everything for a whole week and therefore we don't sit more than 20 minutes.  It doesn't take a lot of prep time which is great!!  We also did other things as well but this was a great solid program alone and gives them something to do.  My son knew all sounds at age 2, could count to 20 already and do many things that you teach within this year.  When this occurred we just added on to it and for the relearning parts we did do, didn't seem to bother him too much that he already knew it.  I think the K program might be too much for a 3yr. old because from what I see it is writing intensive.  HTH

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What Your Preschooler Needs to Know - the main book plus the two activity books (only linked one of those).  I think someone else's idea above about watching Leapfrog daily is a good idea too to learn letter sounds.

 

http://www.amazon.com/What-Your-Preschooler-Needs-Know/dp/1933486228/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1424123801&sr=8-2&keywords=what+your+preschooler+needs+to+know

 

http://www.amazon.com/What-Your-Preschooler-Needs-Know/dp/B00BXU7L2Q/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1424124174&sr=8-4&keywords=what+your+preschooler+needs+to+know

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another option to look at could be Flowering Baby. 

http://floweringbaby.com/Three_to_Four.html

 

that product came out after I was past all of that age.  but it might be something you like.

 

(not too much razzing from me: I had to put youngest in group preschool settings at that age with her high needs, autism.  They did some age appropriate "school" as well as general play. then I could get school done as much as possible, and let her be herself in afternoon...  it got better over the years. It's a common question about how to Occupy, Educate and Involve a preschooler/toddler while dealing with oldest.  heard a workshop on that once upon a time....  )

That looks lovely... but the sample looks pretty "talk" intensive ("have your child explain the differences to you", etc). The academic portion he already knows and wouldn't stimulate him (it only goes into the basics of recognizing some letters, shapes, etc. I need something that involves "seat work" of some sort, on a small level, for him to do while I'm working with Big Brother and Big Sister. I definitely want some mom-dependent aspect (lots of read alouds, etc), but not necessarily something that is completely discussion based.

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I'd also look at some of the busy bag and occupational therapy activities on pinterest. We utilized a lot of those, targeting two or three things at once. We found the most progress in speech when it was tied to play/motor activity with one child of ours.

 

Education unboxed videos are also something I'd look at...free play with some stairs and patterning stuff.

Thanks... but we're really looking for more structure. He has busy bags, and busy shelves, and OT therapy. He plays all day, generally with someone else, and his speech IS progressing... but only a bit. It only really blossoms when he's trying to sound out words, so we're going to move forward with the suggestion of trying a much more structured day.

He does love c-rods (and *I* love Education Unboxed; I use their ideas all the time!).

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What Your Preschooler Needs to Know - the main book plus the two activity books (only linked one of those).  I think someone else's idea above about watching Leapfrog daily is a good idea too to learn letter sounds.

 

http://www.amazon.com/What-Your-Preschooler-Needs-Know/dp/1933486228/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1424123801&sr=8-2&keywords=what+your+preschooler+needs+to+know

 

http://www.amazon.com/What-Your-Preschooler-Needs-Know/dp/B00BXU7L2Q/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1424124174&sr=8-4&keywords=what+your+preschooler+needs+to+know

He loves the Leapfrog videos (and he knows his sounds - because of that frog!).

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If you do decide to go with an MP program in one way or another, I'd call them. They are lovely to work with and if you explain what you are trying to do & what your son's skills & needs are, they can sometimes switch some things out so you have the package you need that doesn't necessarily match the package on the web page. Ya know? 

 

Depending on the needs of your older, you could add in one of their enrichment packages (K maybe). I'd probably do the recitation sections with my older kid, but have the younger one there (absorbing while doing something with his hands) so when his speech catches up with his brain, he's already got the material.

 

My youngest didn't talk until he was ... well, it took awhile. He didn't say anything spontaneous at 3 and had only just started repeating individual words we asked him to. (FWIW, I credit flax seed oil for getting him spontaneously talking.)  :grouphug: Good luck!

I forgot that they customize packages! I'll call them tomorrow to see what they suggest. I wanted to talk to them anyway about DS5's next year.

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Before Five in a Row and this goes without saying but as much time in nature as Possible ...digging, walking, exploring, etc. Etc

We aren't really looking for content. We do A TON of read alouds already, and I'm definitely looking to incorporate them into our day... but I'm looking for highly structured, for at least a portion of the day, and some seat work (he loves pencil-to-paper work, and it keeps him busy while I work with the Olders). His therapists and I believe that he needs some stimulation in the academic department, so we're more in the market right now for reading/writing/math (and something that incorporates things that will help his receptive language skills and speech skills, like fabulous age appropriate literature - which FIAR would do, but I don't care for the crafts, and he can't discuss things as much as my FIAR guide would like, lol).

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That looks lovely... but the sample looks pretty "talk" intensive ("have your child explain the differences to you", etc). The academic portion he already knows and wouldn't stimulate him (it only goes into the basics of recognizing some letters, shapes, etc. I need something that involves "seat work" of some sort, on a small level, for him to do while I'm working with Big Brother and Big Sister. I definitely want some mom-dependent aspect (lots of read alouds, etc), but not necessarily something that is completely discussion based.

 

hmm.. I remember having a lot of seat work with Sing Spell Read and Write's preschool books.   Here's link to part of it on rainbow resource

http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/006425

 

(sadly it doesn't show much on the sample... grrrrr)

 

trying to remember what all I had back then.  gulp.   I get it...  discussion was impossible with my daughter (and some might say still is.. she's still in language therapy).  but I remember that set of pages. :-)

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Moving Beyond the Page has a new 4-5 curriculum that I believe focuses at least as much on content as it does on skills. It does not include a learn-to-read program because each child needs a different pace. Every week has a theme and it's a mix of reading books and doing hands-on activities. http://www.movingbeyondthepage.com/purchase/?purchaseTab=4to5

 

I have a couple boys that were the same way, and while we didn't do 'school' we did have focused play time. For one kid I had a special spot that we only went to during our focused play time, and I kept certain games and activities there. It was very similar to going somewhere for speech/play therapy, but it was in our own house. I had PK games that required turn taking, fine motor activities, puzzles, play doh, a bucket of random Playmobil, silky crayons, potato heads, bristle blocks, kids k'nex, duplos .... none of that is academic per se, but all lend themselves to counting, grouping, sorting, and discussing.

 

If you already have good materials at home, you could just schedule a set time for "Marco time" and open your cupboard/pull out your tub of special things that are only available during that time.

 

A reading program you might like is Zoo Phonics. It's cute and good for young learners.

 

Honestly, at that age we supplemented with a preschool workbook (I found one that had great reviews on Amazon) but there were only a few pages for each skill.

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I think you might be missing the forest for the trees here.

 

A child who is non-stop climbing, jumping, exploring needs to be outside. It is a skill to entertain himself, and he needs to be learning that (under supervision, of course).  This is hard if you are having a cold, snowy winter...but that is the answer here nonetheless.

 

Too much structure too soon is detrimental, even for gifted kids....maybe most especially for gifted kids. 

 

 

 

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I think you might be missing the forest for the trees here.

 

A child who is non-stop climbing, jumping, exploring needs to be outside. It is a skill to entertain himself, and he needs to be learning that (under supervision, of course).  This is hard if you are having a cold, snowy winter...but that is the answer here nonetheless.

 

Too much structure too soon is detrimental, even for gifted kids....maybe most especially for gifted kids. 

I wasn't asking for answers (and I say that with the utmost respect - sincerely). I was asking for curriculum suggestions :)

 

No two children are alike. A team of medical professionals, support staff, and myself are determining what Marco needs... based on his individual needs, not based on what works for *most* other children. I also have two older children who need to be educated (at home, by Mom). Of course he needs to be outdoors... and that happens when possible (right now there are two inches of slippery ice covering our lawn). 

 

My son enjoys work; he enjoys participating in "school" with the older children. I need to give him a more appropriate way of doing so than climbing on the table to scribble on brother's math sheet. 

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I asked about Marco and the SN program on the MP forums. Everyone was right about how helpful they are. They give such detailed feedback! Cheryl wrote an entire pros and cons list, for Marco (based on my OP), for each of the SN program levels.

 

I think I've decided this (after getting the feedback):

 

Level C looks like a gentle combination of their Jr K and Kindergarten programs, with an emphasis on speech/language development and fine motor skills. I can combine older DS (who will be in first grade this fall) for read alouds by also purchasing the SN Level C read aloud package, and also use the fine motor skills development to aid DS5 in his writing (he struggles with writing); the con for Level C is that it assumes a level of speech that Marco hasn't met yet, so I will need to modify the discussion sections, but by having DS5 do the recitation and discussions, with Marco listening in, Marco is still getting the content of those discussions and recitations. They specifically use Aesop's Fables in this program to aid in rich language acquisition (and much of the discussion about the read alouds is meant to aid in this as well). 

 

I will purchase separately the books used in Level B for social skills and manners, and just use them as read alouds and focus skills outside of the Level C lesson plans. Marco loves working with DS5, so having them do the writing, arts/crafts, and literature components together will be nice for both of them. Marco can hang and listen in on DS5's science and religion read alouds, too. The only things I'll need to do separately are DS5's grammar, phonics, math, and geography. Hopefully Marco will either want to participate nicely in those, or will be content with the lovely R&S workbooks and the coloring books that are also in the Level C package, lol. 

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We liked completing sticker books together at that age. It helped with vocabulary. I realize it is not a curriculum but more of a filler. Have you looked at Reading A - Z? You can print out books and worksheets for him. Not a full curriculum but a great addition to any reading program. 

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I'm sorry you are in a tough situation - you really sound like a dedicated mama, working hard for her kids.

Here's my $.02

 

Structured time does not = curriculum

Have reading time (read aloud book or audio book, or interactive tablet app book)

Have craft/fine motor time - different activity each day of the week (dough, bead lacing, sensory bin, lacing card, Kumon cutting page, etc)

Have math exploration time - play with Cuisenaire rods to make patterns, check out Moebiusnoodles, play with ten frames for counting

 

The danger of a curriculum is putting too much pressure on you and child to get things done. At this developmental age they see learning as play and need to be able to disengage, otherwise it's coercive and unpleasant. That's not to say you can't teach, have structure, engage his mind, etc. My concern would be guilt on your part for not getting the curriculum done, and pressure on his part which would raise stress.

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Thanks for your question and all of the replies. My son is not special needs but he is not at a normal pre-k or kindergarten level of work even though his age days that he should be. I'm going to purchase the special needs level B for him since it covers exactly the skills he needs to work on. He wants curriculum like his sisters have so this will be perfect for him. Thanks for your question OP since it made me take a look at MP Special Needs.

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I use Moving Beyond The Page 4-5...it's awesome. Very easy to do while also teaching my older two at the same time. My boys motor skills were non existant...couldn't even hold a pencil when he started...or colour. In 6 months of gentle instruction he has improved put of sight.

 

Phonics Pathways might be good for teaching reading. It really helps pronounciation. All my kids learned to read using it...including the one who needed speech therapy.

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I'm sorry you are in a tough situation - you really sound like a dedicated mama, working hard for her kids.

Here's my $.02

 

Structured time does not = curriculum

Have reading time (read aloud book or audio book, or interactive tablet app book)

Have craft/fine motor time - different activity each day of the week (dough, bead lacing, sensory bin, lacing card, Kumon cutting page, etc)

Have math exploration time - play with Cuisenaire rods to make patterns, check out Moebiusnoodles, play with ten frames for counting

 

The danger of a curriculum is putting too much pressure on you and child to get things done. At this developmental age they see learning as play and need to be able to disengage, otherwise it's coercive and unpleasant. That's not to say you can't teach, have structure, engage his mind, etc. My concern would be guilt on your part for not getting the curriculum done, and pressure on his part which would raise stress.

Except that he enjoys structured "work" :) He doesn't find workbooks, even if I tell him he needs to sit to do it, to be unpleasant - after all, big bro and big sis are doing it, too ;)

 

I do understand the concern about guilt and burn out, but I'm also not wedded to doing it all in one year, either. I don't mind if the program I chose takes a couple of years. The good thing about the Level C MP program is that it would allow me to (with lesson plans to help me keep pace) combine him and his kindergarten brother in things like crafts, fine motor play, vocab building, and read-alouds/enrichment... it may actually help me be LESS stressed, because right now DS2 is chomping at the bit to be included formally.

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I'm glad that you are finding what works best for your son - that is paramount. My three year old desperately wants to be involved with school, and we do as much as she as capable of.

 

I did want to clarify what I meant above. Structure (even a curriculum workbook) is great if that is what they want to do. It is the expectations (curricular schedules, parents thinking "oh I know you know this/can do this" when child isn't engaging for other reasons, requiring task persistence past the point of "playing" school, etc) that can turn a child's love of school work into drudgery and loathing (and lesser extremes which still fall short of love).

 

Best Wishes! :-)

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