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Our 2023-2024 Curriculum choices (4 and 7 year olds)

Aug 2, 2023 | curriculum, planning, Tales and Trails

Inspiring and overwhelming!

It’s that wonderful time of year when social media is flooded with inspiration and ideas for interesting curricula and resources to introduce your children to over the next year. It can be both exciting and overwhelming. Here are some of the things that I have planned for my 4 and 7 year olds…

Related: Why I Don’t Overplan and My Planner Choice

Overview

Below you’ll find what our plans are for:

  • Literacy and Literature
  • Numeracy
  • Humanities
  • Science and Nature Study
  • Creative arts
  • Foreign language
  • Music
  • Physical education

I am so excited to be using the latest module of our all-in-one curriculum, Tales and Trails: Asia with my girls this year. The curriculum is based on a beautiful book of folktales, and weaves in all curriculum areas in a holistic and creative way. It is perfect for family style learning, and my 4 year old can dip in and out of any bits that pique her interest. There are quite a few bits that I’ve already tested with my girls as we wrote the curriculum, but it is so rich in content there are still loads of things we will be incorporating from it this year.

Humanities

Tales and Trails: Asia will be our core resource for geography and history this year. As my girls are still young, our main focus is geography, but the curriculum also has plenty of jumping off points to explore interesting aspects of the countries’ histories – and that of the people who live(d) there – too. We love exploring the cultures of different regions too, and the curriculum has great activities, recipes and book lists to dive into.

We will use the Montessori inspired puzzle of the world and globe that I made a few years ago to solidify knowledge of continents, cardinal directions and so on. I will try to post a how-to guide for making your own at some point.

Science and Nature Study

Again, we will be drawing upon Tales and Trails for our science and nature study this year. 

The science that is covered in the curriculum is heavily inspired by Building Foundations of Scientific Enquiry by Bernard Nobel. We tried working our way through it a few years ago, but I found it was too overwhelming using it as written in the original manual. In Tales and Trails: Asia, we focus on the Biology strand; the key lessons from BFSU are adapted to tie in with the stories from the curriculum, and incorporate an engaging range of activities. These are supported with beautifully illustrated printables. Some of the topics covered are:

  • differentiation of biological and non-biological items
  • comparison of living and non-living
  • determining differences between plants and animals
  • reproduction and life cycles of plants and animals
  • study of species and variation
  • heritable and environmental characteristics
  • food chains and interdependence

The science and nature study combine beautifully. We will start to be more consistent with our nature journals a little more, as explained in the curriculum. The nature focus of Tales and Trails: Asia is the Animal Kingdom. It explores the five classes of vertebrates, plus a peek into the world of invertebrates. There are loads of interesting opportunities to get better acquainted with your native wildlife, as well as compare it to the animals that live in the habitats explored in the stories. One of things I know my 7 year old will particularly enjoy is the step by step drawing guides.

If you’re looking at module 1, Tales and Trails: Europe, the science and nature focuses on the Nature of Matter strand from BFSU and also explores trees.  

For later in the year, once we’ve finished the Tales and Trails: Asia module, I am intending to use year 2 science from Blossom and Root focusing on plants and fungi.

Creative arts

I have always loved the focus on the arts in Waldorf education, and this has very much been incorporated into Tales and Trails. Each unit in the guide has instructions for:

  • Modelling
  • Form drawing
  • Wet on wet watercolour
  • Handcraft

all linked to the unit’s story.

We’ll follow along with this, although I’d really like to get my 7 year old knitting this year, so we may swap out a few of the handcraft activities for an extended focus on knitting.

Tales and Trails: Asia includes artist study on Hokusai, with a picture and activities for each unit in the module.

There is also a craft activity linked to recording each story in the curriculum, which are all really fun.

Both my girls still really enjoy process art too. So I have stocked up on a few books to give us some new ideas including Art Workshop for Children, Collage Workshop for Children, Art Workshops for Children (similar name to the previous one but different book!) and Art Lab for kids.

Music

I love music, so this is always an area I’m keen to focus on with my girls. We’ll be following along with the composer Chen Yi and the pieces listed in Tales and Trails: Asia. We’ll also use the music practice section which teaches, rhythm, solfege and lots more. This will be review for my 7 year old as she is fairly musical, but my 4 year old will enjoy all the singing and activities.

We also enjoy learning the songs and music in our circle time at our Home Ed Co-op. The children always love this part of the sessions. I will be adding more of these circle times to our shop over the next few months.

 

Related: How to set up a Homeschool Co-op

Related: Active and engaging themed circle times for 3-7 year olds with audio

 

I’m very excited to have found a very old series of classical music CDs on Marketplace, that I remember from childhood. It’s called the Magical Music Box and each CD features a composer with a story set to the music, and is accompanied by a magazine. They seem to be available on YouTube if you search Magical Music Box playlist.

We will also be continuing with Hoffman academy for piano lessons, and we have a range of other instruments available for the girls to use including violins, cello, ukuleles and percussion.

Foreign language

We’ll continue to use the foreign language section from Tales and Trails, which features flash cards and audio on 8 different themes. We also have a range of other books to support language learning. The girls particularly like the One Third Stories books. This year we’re focusing on French. 

Last year we did quite a bit of Spanish, and the girls also enjoyed the Salsa Spanish series and Eat Your Spanish podcast. They will probably watch/listen to these every now and then over the year so they don’t forget everything they learned.

Physical education

Each unit from Tales and Trails has two movement activities, so we’ll enjoy using those. They range from things like yoga sequences to active, cardiovascular games to ball skills to dance. The girls also do ballet and swimming lessons.

 Literacy and Literature

We’ll be using nearly all the activities from Tales and Trails including:

  • Creative review activities
  • Creative narration activities (as described in the arts section above)
  • Discussion questions
  • Vocabulary
  • Writing prompts
  • Poetry teatime

My 7 year old will also be starting the Wand from Rooted in Language this year, which I’ll weave into the phonics/ spelling/ mechanics section of Tales and Trails, as she is more advanced than the lessons as written.  She has completed Pinwheels from Rooted in Language and I was really happy with the way it all fitted together, and the progress she made. My 4 year old will be able to join in nearly all the components in Tales and Trails listed above too. She is just beginning her reading and writing journey, so we will do the phonemic awareness activities included in the guide, and go at a slightly slower place with the phonics and spelling section.

We will also continue to enjoy a range of other literature together. Some of the books on our list for this year include:

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Paddle to the Sea
  • Trumpet of the Swan
  • Heartwood Hotel
  • Turtle of Oman
  • Bob
  • Fortunately the Milk
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  • The King of Ireland’s Son

Both my girls love to tell their own stories. So I’ll be doing lots of recording for them, as well as incorporating our story telling games.

Numeracy

After starting our formal maths study with Rightstart a couple of years ago, we moved to Kate Snow’s Math with Confidence Curriculum last year. We’ll be sticking with MwC Second Grade this year. I’ll be adapting the activities to tie in with each unit’s story from Tales and Trails: Asia, as outlined in the Educator Guide to make it more engaging. Tales and Trails incorporates daily math lessons. As written they are perfect for Kindergarten/ Grade 1 (reception – year 2 in the UK), but they can easily be tweaked for children working at a higher level, while still retaining the links to the story and engaging activities, as we’ll be doing. My 4 year old will be invited to do any of the Tales and Trails numeracy activities as written, if she’d like to.

We also have a range of math related books and games that we’ll sprinkle in. 

Related: Maths resources and organisation

Discover how it all pans out…

That’s a wrap for our curriculum choices. But of course, this is only part of the homeschool picture. There’ll be plenty of flexibility for other interests that pop up, field trips, rest, and friends. Make sure to follow us on Instagram to see how the year unfolds, and on Facebook for all the fun and learning that Maartje’s family gets up to.

Kindle your child’s spark for learning today

Kindle your child’s spark for learning today