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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New Blog beta version, now up and running!

Go check me out at www.celebratingasimplelife.blogspot.com

The entire contents of Do You Speak Swiss have been transferred, and I will no longer be posting to this blog, so be sure to update my address if you are using a feed reader! 


I like to think of it as monochrome, with a touch of blue.  ;-)

And brace yourselves, the first post is a shocking game-changer!!!   

Change is in the air

It's fall.  Time for some fall cleaning.  And by that, I mean... big, BIG changes are coming to the blog. 

A new title
A new URL
A new layout

It's going to be crazy.  Prepare yourselves. 

Still have some doubts?

Homeschooling by the Numbers [Infographic]
Via: DegreeSearch.org

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm a godmother!

Welcome to the world, little Alec!

Repressed Memory

I have been in bed for the last 45 minutes, trying to fall asleep.  I was almost there, when suddenly, a memory which I seriously think I had been blocking out of my mind for the last four months came to surface.  I feel compelled to share it.

Four months ago, I took the kids to San Antonio, Texas, in the hopes of being present during the birth of my best friend's daughter.  She was born at a freestanding birth center run by midwives.  Unfortunately, her birthday was almost two weeks after we returned back to Switzerland.

Because I was potentially going to be present for the birth, the kids and I went with my friend Leta to one of her prenatal appointments at the birth center. 

A note on birth centers:  (I love birth centers, by the way)  They tend to be very minimalist, serene, silent, peaceful places, filled with the gentle smell of unscented candle wax moving through the three states of matter, and occasionally the sort of silence that comes right after someone stops writing on parchment with a quill.  They are a testament to the beauty and sacredness of birth. 

However, they should really have a disclaimer on the door, "Pregnant ladies:  Enjoy the minimalism, peacefullnes, serenitiy, and silence, because when you walk out of here with your baby, you will never experience these things again."

So you can imagine, taking my children into the birth center was sort of like releasing bulls in a China closet.  But we did our best, and at least 50% of my children remained calm and quiet, as usual for my kids.  During the more "intimate" parts of the exam, the kids and I stepped into the waiting area, where there was a basket of toys and children's books.  All was well and good, but... inevitably, somebody had to pee.  Ok, I admit, it was me.

Do you have small children?  So you are aware that peeing is a group activity.  The two kids and I all filed into the small bathroom in the birth center, and I tried to accomplish my task as quickly as possible.

Do you have small children?  So you are aware that obstetricians' and midwives' bathrooms always contain random cups full of other people's pee, just waiting for the appropriate member of the staff to analyze it. 

I really feel like I could end the post here, as I think you can all see where this is going, but I'll go ahead and finish it, for therapeutic reasons.

I was sitting on the potty, doing my thing.  I had a firm grip on Ivy, who was attempting to unlock the bathroom door and escape, mom's dignity be damned.  So far, par for the public bathroom course.

Normally well-behaved Eliot took a sudden interest in the neon red medical waste box hanging on the wall.  With visions of heroin laced hypodermic needles and HIV soaked cotton balls dancing in my imagination, I made a split-second decision.  I let go of Ivy to wrench his prying fingers away from the box.  There was almost certainly panicked yelling involved.

Ivy took her freedom, and, instead of making a run for it, she suddenly noticed the sample cup of some other pregnant woman's pee on a table specially provided just for sample-holding.

She grabbed the cup.  The cup began to tip.  She was knocking a cup of someone else's pee onto herself.

Time really seems to slow down in these moments, doesn't it?

I took advantage of the strange slow-time worm hole we had entered and snatched the tumbling cup from the air.  The time-space continuum snapped back into place.  A wrestling match ensued, during which Ivy and I were both copiously splashed with some random person's urine

Luckily, the random person in question had left a generous sample, and I was able to save a respectable quantity.  I seriously did not want to have to explain to the other woman in the waiting room why she needed to go pee again.  What is the social protocol in this situation?  Would I need to buy her a bottle of water?  Reassure her that her wonderful baby would never grow up to become a feral lab monkey like mine did?

Having some stranger's urine splashed all over you and your toddler is sort of awkward.

Having to discuss the situation with the stranger who produced the urine would be more awkward.

So I suppressed what was about to be a very high pitched scream followed by vomiting, and got to work instead.

I sterilized Ivy and I as best I could.  I think I pinned Eliot to the wall with my foot to keep him away from the medical waste box while I scrubbed Ivy and me down.  (Why don't midwives keep wire brushes in their bathrooms?)

I used about 30 paper towels to clean up all evidence, and then we tranquilly walked back into the waiting room and sat down. Personal hygiene standards were completely violated, but socially awkward crisis was averted.

And a few days later, I somehow completely blocked the entire event from my memory.

Friday, November 05, 2010

All moms are homeschooling moms

I mean it.  I think we, as moms, might underestimate exactly how MUCH stuff we teach our children every day, whether they go to school or not.  Now that I am officially a home-schooling mom, I have started looking at our daily life in a whole new light.  And what do I see? 

Every. Single. Thing. is a learning opportunity.

We wake up, we read a book and cuddle.  Learning is going on here.
We cook breakfast and read a few poems.  Learning is going on here.
 We clean up.  Learning.
We go to the grocery store.  Learning.

You get the picture.  Now that I have accepted the responsibility of educating my kids, I realize that I've always had that responsibility, like all parents.  It's made me think more, though, made me look at every opportunity as a chance for discussion and explanation and experimentation.  I've gotten much better at narrating our day-to-day lives, something I am not naturally good at.   

It makes every day tasks more meaningful again, when I look at them in light of a new child-educating vocation. 

Inequalities with a hungry alligator 
(Another easy DIY project- just find an alligator clip art that you like, with a wide open mouth, and then make a copy of the image and reverse it.  Print a few, and glue them back to back, so that turning the card over makes the alligator face the other direction.  Alligator's mouth will eventually become the > and < mathematical symbols)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

5:00 PM

I told him he should have taken a nap... 

Rice box, and regularly scheduled blogging

I'm sorry this blog has gotten all crazy-homeschooler on you guys for a few weeks... I'm sort of using it as my notebook in addition to a blog, as there is much less chance of my blog getting lost than all of the little scraps of paper I jot notes on and then promptly drop behind a piece of heavy furniture.

So here's what the kids are up to:

Ivy is saying "oui" insated of yes.  I have no idea why she chose this word to insist on French. 
She's also really into animal noises right now.  And while she is not speaking in sentences, she does have a big vocabulary and is doing a lot of parroting these days.  Her cutest word right now is "kickle", rhymes with pickle, for "bicycle".  In close second is "kirkle" for circle. 

Eliot is on lesson 56 of 100 Easy Lessons.  We have now officially modified it slightly, as it's getting a bit hard for him.  Now that we've modified it, he likes it a lot more.  He is also getting better at picking up more and more sight words.  Zoo phonics is still a lot of fun for him. 

Yesterday, I don't even remember how this happened, I decided to fill a plastic box with rice.  I read this online somewhere as an alternative to a sandbox.  So, we trekked off to the grocery store, and 8kg of rice later, we had a box-o-rice.  The kids love it.  Recent experiments have shown, however, that while it's big enough for two kids to play with, it's maybe not quite big enough for four kids to play with.
Rice was thrown.  Threats were shouted.
This morning I had the good sense to put a blanket on the ground first, which collected almost all the spills and made it easy to put the rice back in the box.






I feel a little bad about wasting the rice, but rice is soooo much easier to sweep up than sand.  And in the event of a nuclear war, we'd still eat the rice from the rice box after picking out the lint and whatnot.  Also, there are some red beans in there, just to add another element of texture, encourage sorting, etc.

Overall evaluation of this toy:  Good and cheap.  Highly recommended, but not so sure it would mix well with carpeting.  It's nice to have an indoor "sandbox".   Apparently, the really dedicated rice-boxists out there will paint the rice different colors, hide small toys inside, etc.  Some rotate with a cornmeal box, a cooked spaghetti box (?), elbow macaroni box...   And all of these are toys that encourage sensory integration.  Neither of my kids have sensory integration disorders, but I do think Ivy benefits from these types of exercises, as she does have a tendency to get overwhelmed and just FREAK OUT sometimes, for no explainable reason.  These toys that completely absorb her interest are very calming for her (and for Eliot).  Obviously, this is a completely open ended toy, so great for development.  Luckily rice is easy to clean up, and doesn't seem like it would get stuck in eyes like sand can.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Math

This probably won't make sense as a blog post, but for posterity, I just thought I'd mention that I'll be using Miquon math and Singapore math for the first few years.  :-) 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

tire swing


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rough Draft Science Curriculum: pre-k - 3rd/4th grade

This is actually more a list of rescources than a day-to-day curriculum.  I think that what is covered in a day or week or trimester will vary greatly, so I'll leave it open for now.

Also, I think I have an advantage because I LOVE math and science so much.  Many people are daunted by these subjects.  I, on the other hand, cannot WAIT to get into these materials and teach (and relearn) such fascinating stuff, from a new perspective (natural history).


Nature Study:

The Handbook of Nature Study
One Small Square series
Let's Read and Find Out series
Burgess Bird Book for Children
Various field guides for our region
Learning to identify plants (emphasized) and animals
Keeping a nature journal, as per Charlotte Mason's methods
Vocabulary of plant and animal parts, plant and animal life-cycles

Science:

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding
Simple machines experiments, and any others that come up and are appropriate
Science in Ancient Greece
Archimedes and the Door of Science
 The Librarian who measured the Earth
Science in Ancient Rome
Galen and the Gateway to Medecine
Blood and Guts (maybe, I'm not thrilled with this one, but will use it as a place holder until I find a human body book or medical history book for kids that I like better)
The Body Book
Something on nutrition
Inventing the Future

I expect this general curriculum outline to be sufficient material for pre-k through 3rd-4th grade or so.

There is a lot of flexibility here.  Many of these books are to be read like stories.  Some of them have very involved projects and experiments.  Some are actual science "lessons" to be taught in a more traditional format.  Hopefully this will appeal to many learning styles and intelligences, until we figure out how Eliot and Ivy learn best.

Things that will NOT be in our curriculum:
Random and disconnected science experiments.  (Unless, of course, we are on our third straight week of rain or snow.)

Science Heirarchy, Charlotte Mason and Classical Education

I keep coming back to the two methods mentioned above as my leading favorites in the homeschool style debate.  However, I don't think either one places adequate emphasis on math or science.  I should say, my two favorite CM websites, Ambleside Online and Mater Amabilis don't address math at all (up to the parents to find the curriculum) and science is, in my opinion, put in the backseat- 2-3 short lessons per week, in addition to nature study.  And I don't even want to get into religious biology texts... 



But, they do appear to approach science in a hierarchical manner, because they approach science as a history subject, and a lot of the science teachings correspond with the history books being read about Ancient Greece and Rome.  Not a bad system. 

As I already talked about, natural history seems to be an excellent start to a science education.  Here is the definition of Natural History, from wikipedia:
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals.[1] Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study of any category of natural objects or organisms. That is a very broad designation in a world filled with many narrowly focused disciplines. So while modern natural history dates historically from studies in the ancient Greco-Roman world and the medieval Arabic world through to the scattered European Renaissance scientists working in near isolation, today's field is more of a cross discipline umbrella of many specialty sciences.
This seems to fit perfectly with the Charlotte Mason and Classical Education approach to science.  In terms of experiments, the child is doing mostly observational studies out in nature (nature study), which includes keeping a journal (for older kids) or a classification binder (my personal addition for the pre-writing crowd), and making collections (leaves, flowers, edible things from a garden, bugs...).  Starting in kindergarten or first grade, the child can add in science (not replacing nature study) as a formal subject.  After combing through the two websites mentioned above, and doing some research in the homeschooling forums, I feel ready to put together a very rough draft for the next few years.  See my next post. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random



Best Biology Project Ever

Back to the Vivarium.  Now, I consider myself to be a bit of a science buff, so my brain freeze on amphibians and mammals was a bit embarrassing.  Nothing google couldn’t straighten me out on though.  And in the mean time, I developed my Best Biology Project Ever (BBPE).

The BBPE is a simple system for organizing animals we come across, whether outside or in Eliot’s My Big Backyard magazine, into their appropriate phylum, class, and eventually, order.  For now, we’ve kept it simple.  I bought a binder, then recycled some old dividers, labeling one Vertebrates (Chordata phylum) and the other Invertebrates (all those other annoying phylum).  Under the vertebrate tab went 5 large manila envelopes for the five classes of vertebrates- fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals.  Under invertebrates, I have only made insects and arachnids, both part of the arthropod phylum.  We’ll expand out the invertebrates as we move along in the project.  In addition, certain classes, like insects, will end up with smaller envelopes labeled with the most popular orders.
It took us about 45 minutes to put this together.  Eliot used scissors and glue to organize our pictures onto construction paper (color coded), I labeled the envelopes, and we then classified all of our vertebrates.  When we got to a hard animal, like a dolphin, we talked about why it went with the mammals, and not the fish.  
Next month, we’ll get another magazine in the mail.  We’ll read it for a week, then cut it up and classify the animals, creating new envelopes for any new invertebrates who might wander across our path. 
In six months, we might take out all the animals in a folder, say, mammals, and compare and contrast them.  With a little guidance, Eliot might notice that they all have hair or fur, that they have live births, and that they nurse their young.  As he begins to determine for himself the official characteristics that distinguish mammals, we’ll mark them down on the mammals envelope.  And then another week,we might attack the reptiles, or fish. 
In a few years, as our collection expands, I think he will have the following concepts:
  • Classification by kingdom, phylum, class, order, family,  genus, and species (basic taxonomy)
  • Memorization of the 5 classes of vertebrates and several classes of invertebrates
  • Memorization of several orders of insects, and the ability to classify a specimen into one of those orders
  • Implicit understanding of a nested hierarchy system (dividers, large envelopes, smaller envelopes, stapled “families”, last names (genus) and first names (species))
  • Expertise in cutting and gluing
  • Sight read many of the names and categories
  • A base of latin word roots
And that is a very, very strong base for understanding middle-level concepts (inference and prediction), like ecological niche, biodiversity, adaptation, food chains and webs.  And he will also have an excellent knowledge base for the advanced and abstract concepts of conservation, ecology, interdependence, natural selection, evolution, and genetics.  

Does taxonomy matter?  Well, I was taught taxonomy in AP biology, and university level biology.  What is silly is that it is (rather, was, until geneticists got involved) a low level field of biology.  It is a lot of memorization and classification, something a 5 year old, or even 3 year old, is more capable of doing than a 20 year old.  (No, really, a 5 year old has the best memory he will ever have in his life.  Don’t believe me?  Challenge a five year old to a game of Memory!)  But the information is absolutely necessary to build the rest of biology upon.  So why teach 5 year olds about the sad pandas that are going extinct, a concept so abstract as to be almost meaningless to a child (and therefore more akin to indoctrination than education) when he is much more capable and interested (Eliot LOVES his binder) of doing taxonomy- the basic building block of all biology?
Someday when Eliot is in an advanced biology class, and this information is covered, it will not be some boring flow chart to be memorized.  It will be a specific folder, under a specific tab, in his green binder, on the left side of the second shelf of his bookshelf.  It will be concrete.

And here are a few final thoughts on the BBPE:
  • It is a fun craft project involving glue (I have not worked out a way to incorporate glitter yet, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something)
  • In the summer, a child could photograph local fauna (or flora, for a plant binder), and in the winter, magazines can be cut up for images
  • It takes 45 minutes to put the basics together, and probably cost us less than $5.
  • It will now take about 15 minutes a month to add images, and another 30 minutes or so, spread out, to talk about this or that, or to pull out the binder to illustrate a question that might come up. 
  • It is expandable- this project can be built upon for the next 12 years or his education. 
  • It can be modified, to make it more challenging (field guides to give scientific names to the animals, studying those pesky invertebrate classes in more depth, etc.)
  • It can be used to illustrate middle-level concepts- pull out a handful of images form each envelope, and create a food web or biome, compare the characteristics of reptiles and birds and try to determine why genetics tells us they are closely related in evolutionary terms, etc. 
  • It takes up almost no space- it just goes on the bookshelf when not in use. 
  • It takes so little time that homeschoolers or out-of-home schoolers can work on it with their parents. 
  • Taxonomy is, at the basic level, very easy to do.  Parents with no biology background can easily master the characteristics of the 5 vertebrate classes and a few invertebrate classes, and go from there, learning with their child.  By pausing to look up an animal in a field guide or on the internet (as I did with seahorses), your child sees how knowledge can be gathered from various resources.

For all I know, everybody and their brother has a taxonomy binder.  But I’ve never heard of one.  If you’ve already seen something like this, feel free to send me a link.  I’d love to refine our system if improvements exist.  

The beginning of several inter-related posts on science

As I said in a previous post, I’ve been doing a bit of research on the hierarchy of science.  I’ll use the word hierarchy in two ways- first, the skills of scientific study, and second, the topics to be studied.  Here is a summary chart of scientific skills, which is organized in a hierarchical manner.
Now I’m faced with a harder task- organizing science, yes, the entire body of human discovery as we know it, into something that works like building blocks- basic concepts first, more advanced concepts later.  Ideally, I see a science curriculum that works like a math curriculum, with a stair-step approach.
  
Last weekend, we took Eliot to the vivarium.  This was a last-minute decision- it was raining, we were bored…  The vivarium was a small reptile and amphibian house, not any larger than our apartment.  We had a fantastic time.  
For the whole car ride home, I was berating myself because I could not remember how to classify reptiles and amphibians.  Was a turtle a reptile or an amphibian?  Argh!!!  Ultimately, this little inner monologue developed into, what I’m going to call, my Best Biology Project Ever, and talk about in another post.
But now, back to hierarchy.  An example of working out of order would be to discuss the genetic bottleneck situation of Cheetahs before discussing biodiversity, genetic diversity, conservation, population, isolation…  I mean, I could probably tell Eliot that Cheetahs were in danger of inbreeding and extinction, and he could probably be made to memorize a catchy phrase or make a poster about it, but he would not get it.  
So I began to wonder, what is the very bottom level of science?  One that uses basic science skills (observation, classification, comparison, measurement) to gather data and begin to make inferences into upper levels of science?  
The answer I came up with is Natural History, especially taxonomy.  All children can do basic taxonomy from very early on.  Ivy can clearly indicate that an animal is a cat, whether it be a gray cat, and orange cat, or a brown cat with stripes.  She also knows that cats are not dogs, and dogs and cats are not birds, nor are they snakes.  At 18 months, she has an inborn ability and desire to identify and classify.  As she gets older, she will start to compare and contrast like Eliot, and continue to build on her natural skills of animal (and plant) classification.  
And it all makes perfect sense, as a basis for future scientific learning, biology especially.  I’ll explain why in my next post, with my Best Biology Project Ever. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

John Holt, Unschooling, and Tom Sawyer

John Holt is one of the big (if not the biggest) names in the unschooling movement.  I have just opened up his How Children Learn, and very uncharacteristically for me, started randomly reading as I flipped through it.

Something to think on:  A lot of his "experiments" with first graders involved him sitting in the corner of a classroom and doing some activity (making a huge number line, building boxes from paper, playing with balances and weights).  Inevitably, a child would wander over and watch for a bit, and maybe ask a question or two.  "What are you doing?" was always answered with something like, "Oh just messing around with these numbers/boxes/balances".  Eventually another child, or a steady stream of children would begin to drift by, stopping to watch, mostly silently.

Finally, a child or two would pick up some of the materials, or ask for some if they were not available, and then begin doing his own similar project, occasionally returning to Holt's desk if he got to a sticking point or needed to observe again.  Soon, the entire class would be industriously working at the project, and some would modify it, making number lines into the thousands, building houses with peaked roofs instaed of boxes, figuring out the basics of torque using balances and weights.

It reminds me of Tom Sawyer tricking his friends into not only whitewashing the fence, but paying him for the priveledge!

And it makes me reconsider if unschooling may be for me after all.  I think my main opposition, that certain materials might not be covered, or covered in an order that doesn't respect a certain information hierarchy, could be dealt with.  And in a way, life itself is simply unschooling.  Could we unschool for a portion of the day, and tackle a more structured method for the rest?

Can I create Tom Sawyer situations so that the desire and fascination to copy my task is a natural thing, rather than saying, "Ok, today we are going to build boxes"?  The problem here, is that it turns unschooling into something that require significant thought on the part of the parent for younger children- it's just not quite as easy as letting them loose.  And so I think unschooling might get a bit of a bad reputation when people like me have just enough information to be afraid of it, but no more.  So I'll put it back on the drawing board.

Charlotte Mason's quote along these lines,
"A child will have taught himself to paint, paste, cut paper, knit, weave, hammer and saw, make lovely things in clay and sand, build castles with his bricks; possibly too, will have taught himself to read, write, and do sums, besides acquiring no end ofknowledge and notions about the world he lives in, by the time he is six or seven. What I contend for is that he shall do these things because he chooses (provided that the standard of perfection in his small works be set before him)."
Montessori's thoughts:
The "prepared environment" is Maria Montessori's concept that the environment can be designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child.

Anyway, just a brief look at what I'm reflecting on this week

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hierarchy of Learning

In one of my endless google rambles, I came across a rather interesting article by someone whose general life philosophy I don't agree with, but whose commentary on education made excellent sense.  The article is called the Hierarchy of Learning, and discusses the rather strange way we teach science, topic by topic, in a way that requires the student to simply trust the teacher's information, and memorize unconnected facts. 

Instead, the author suggests teaching science in a way that follows the way scientific knowledge was acquired by humans in the first place, from basic principles to more complex.  In this way, scinece not only serves as a science course, but also a history of science course.  Also, by covering the most basic things first, any hands-on experiments are age-appropriate. 

Now that all sounds well and good.  But the author did not go so far as to actually make an outline of how or when subjects should be taught, so I'm back to the drawing board for coming up with a history of science and science curriculum. 

In the mean time, Eliot can now identify oak and maple leaves, though we'll have to get a local guide to pinpoint the exact species we have here. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday with Grandpapa





Number chart

If you are wondering whether or not I agonized over starting with 1 or 0, and whether each line should end with 10, 20, 30, or 9, 19, 29, the answer is yes, I did.  If you are wondering how much time I spent in this agonized state, the answer is approximately 2.5 weeks until I finally forced myself to make a decision. 

If you haven't known me for long, you might think I'm kidding.  Sigh. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness

When I first heard this phrase, it was in the context of a school's description- these were the goals of the student's study.  Since then, I've been struggling to find a way to also make these concepts the center of our home education.  It's not easy! 

But articles like this remind me that the endeavor is worthwhile.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pre-School Goals

We are going to go with a trimester approach, although I don't think this will really apply perfectly, as for the lower grades, I think stopping completely during summer or other holidays will just confuse my darling children. 

Fall Term:


Finish Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons (mid December)
Zoo phonics games
1 good quality picture book or story in English per day, read aloud, including finishing Beatrix Potter
1 French story book per day, along with French pre-reading skills (Frederic)
1 page of poems from A Child’s Book of Poems read aloud at the breakfast table
1 Let’s Read and Find Out science book every 2 weeks, seasonally appropriate, preferably read outdoors (6 total)
Practice counting and recognizing numbers  1-50.
Finish Mozart appreciation, begin Christmas classics music appreciation
Drawing
Nature Study
Good Habits routine: Meal manners, after-meal helping, going out and coming in routine, greetings and goodbyes


Winter Term:
1 chapter or book from Frog and Toad or Henry and Mudge readers, read and narrated by Eliot per day
Zoophonics games
1 good quality picture book or story in English per day, read aloud
1 French story book per day (Frederic)
Jolly Phonique French phonics program, one lesson per day (Monica and Frederic)
1 page of poems from A Child’s Book of Poems read aloud at the breakfast table
1 Let’s Read and Find Out science book every 2 weeks, seasonally appropriate, preferably read outdoors (6 total)
Practice counting and recognizing numbers  1-50.
Begin addition with counters
Tchaikovsky appreciation, Medieval music appreciation
Nature study
oil crayons
Good Habits routine: Help with meal or table prep, room clean-up

 Spring Term: 

1 chapter or book from early readers, read and narrated by Eliot per day
Zoophonics games
Start handwriting skills
1 good quality picture book or story in English per day, read aloud
1 French story book per day (Frederic)
Jolly Phonique French phonics program, one lesson per day (Monica and Frederic)
1 page of poems from A Child’s Book of Poems read aloud at the breakfast table
1 Let’s Read and Find Out science book every 2 weeks, seasonally appropriate, preferably read outdoors (6 total)
Practice counting and recognizing numbers  1-100.
Addition with counters and symbols
Bach appreciation, ? music appreciation
Nature study (inc. flower collection project with field guide)
watercolors
Good Habits routine: Helping with one household chore


* Narration at story time is encouraging Eliot to "tell back" the story he just read or heard, to improve comprehension skills and/or listening skills, and is a CM method for evaluating knowledge acquisition.

So that's the rough idea.  I see now that a few things are left out- social skills, and other blah-blah-blah stuff that should come naturally from a well-rounded life.  So let's just assume that I'm thinking of those ideas too.