OUR MAIN CURRICULUM
This gentle learning curriculum created around the Tales of Beatrix Potter includes:
- Nature Study (Science)
- Art Study
- Handcrafts & Art Projects
- Character & Bible
- Vocabulary & Spelling*
*For Kindergarten we will skip the vocabulary and spelling and instead focus on a more basic language arts curriculum listed below — phonics, letter recognition, reading, handwriting.
I chose A Year of Tales as our main curriculum for the following reasons:
- The curriculum is literature-based. We already adore Beatrix Potter and her stories, and I love that the whole curriculum is designed around reading great literature.
- Lisa, the creator, is a seasoned homeschool mom of eight and still in the trenches. She gets it. She’s been through all the ups and downs of homeschooling, and has been working on this curriculum with so much love for years. The parent guide alone contains a wealth of wisdom before you even dive in to the ins and outs of the curriculum.
- This will work for both my Kindergartener and Preschooler. Lisa will be creating a preschool-specific version soon, but even looking at the curriculum as-is, I know my preschooler will get so much out of it.
- There are Morning Time elements incorporated in the curriculum: Bible, character, poetry, fables, etc. This jives perfect with our Morning Time routine.
- The curriculum is nature-based. This is partially due to the fact that Beatrix Potter herself was a naturalist and conservationist, but Lisa, the creator, is also adamant that time in nature and love of nature is an essential part of her life and her children’s lives.
- The invitations are meaningful and life-giving. Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. All of the items on the to-do lists are meant to draw everyone in your home into a love of God, a love for others, and a love of education. This is not merely a to-do list so we can fee like our child is “doing school” but an invitation to beauty, truth, and togetherness.
I am so excited that many other families are diving in to A Year of Tales this year and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us!
A Seasonal Schedule
I will not be following the curriculum in “number” order, which occurs in the order that the books were published (and the order they appear in a Treasury). Instead, I will follow a seasonal-based schedule, which Lisa put together and is available on the Facebook group which you gain access to when you purchase the curriculum. I made a few changes to Lisa’s schedule since we will begin in August.
A Few Fun Additions
LANGUAGE ARTS & HANDWRITING
A Year of Tales does not include the phonics work my son still needs at Kindergarten level and so I decided to incorporate a separate language arts curriculum for him. As of this blog post we have already started The Good and the Beautiful Level K and it is a great fit for him.
FYI: On my Instagram page I have a stories highlight which includes videos of this curriculum.
I really credit this program for getting my son excited about reading in the first place. The reader books are EXCELLENT. So engaging and wonderfully done. Each book contains a short phonics lesson before your child reads the story. Plus, included are printable corresponding fun worksheets that help extend the learning and fun.
**You can always try it out for FREE and see what you think. Or look to purchase both sets here on the website or here on Amazon!
The Good and the Beautiful Level K also has early readers in its program; so, while I do not feel like adding Dash Into Learning is necessary, my son really enjoys these books so I am happy to continue with it!
I also want to say that I still incorporate with my Kindergartener so many of the Preschool-level suggestions contained in The Peaceful Preschool (both the full curriculum and several nature guides)! There is a WEALTH of hands-on gentle learning contained in The Peaceful Preschool — I can’t help but go back to it. My daughter is 4 and this is the main source of language-arts based learning I use for her, and I don’t feel it is “beneath” my son at Kindergarten level to be doing those same things! I do not follow the curriculum week-by-week; rather, I pull from the guides lots of ideas for age-appropriate and rich hands-on learning.
As suggested by The Good and the Beautiful Level K Language Arts program, we will work on handwriting 2-3 times per week. Again, I will still continue to use multi-sensory methods of doing letter formation, not just writing with a pencil.
Note that because my two children are so close in age (19 months) there is a lot of line-blurring between Preschool and Kindergarten for us!
A Year of Tales does not include a math program; you are supposed to select the appropriate level math for your child. I chose The Good and the Beautiful Level K because I was hearing so many positive reviews from other homeschooling moms. This curriculum is inviting and contains lots of hands-on learning opportunities. I might eventually switch to Right Start Math for the long-haul but I love this curriculum for Level K!
See this post for our Morning Time structure.
Once we begin A Year of Tales, I will include the weekly elements (Bible verse, Character Lesson, Art Study) from that curriculum in to our Morning Menus! I really appreciate how A Year of Tales fits in with what we are already doing.
See this page for our Nature Studies
Note that A Year of Tales includes weekly nature studies. I will only do additional nature studies with my kids based on anything they find interest in from our daily time in nature, but also do not feel like I need to add anything by way of “study” (books or other resources). The main point I want to make here is that we just get outside, every day. And we let the natural world be our curriculum.
Lisa has included some extra geography lessons in with A Year of Tales, so we will do that. I also allow this subject for us to come more organically, similar to our nature studies.
See this page for How We Do Cultural Studies
We also have incorporated these two fun resources for geography:
Letters From Afar provides a nice stepping stone for learning about other countries. I sometimes find relevant picture books to pair with the country Isabelle visits, but really you do not have to add anything here. Letters come once per month.
Little Global Citizens is amazing and thorough and just does a wonderful job of putting together a subscription box that isn’t just junk you’ll throw away after 5 days. The information is presented in a kid-friendly way. The crafts and activities are so thoughtful and memorable. I cannot say enough about how much I love this! If you have kids who are particularly interested in geography, this might make a great gift idea — because of the cost I treat this more like a gift than a regularly-scheduled curriculum piece.
A Year of Tales includes a weekly picture study. Occasionally I may add in some more of our own Art Study appreciation if I feel like there is interest and space for that.
See this page for our Art Study resources
I keep most of our music appreciation simple: play music and say who the composer is! We do not do much learning about composers or musical eras. However, I would love to include some more gentle & playful learning here and there about music in our Kindergarten year. SQUILT is an excellent resource for music appreciation for those of you who are interested. We have the Meet the Instruments Bundle and I am excited to incorporate it. My Preschooler will be about to enjoy this bundle as well.
See this page for our Music Appreciation resources
It is important to me that I honor interest-based learning. So, sometimes that will mean we will totally set aside A Year of Tales and explore something the kids choose, even if that means we get off-schedule. One of my favorite resources for this is Playful Learning — there are a wide range of topics covered here and a fantastic starting point for pulling something fun together about weather, or spiders, or architecture.
Truthfully, I feel the best place to start for interest-based learning is books! I always start with a good library haul. I keep a go-to list of favorite nature-based picture books here.
How Does All This Come Together?
Once I get in to A Year of Tales more thoroughly, I will share a post of our weekly & daily schedule so you can see how this all plays out. One thing I want to stress is that short lessons are key. Kindergarten in my mind should still include predominately unstructured time in nature, time for play, and lots and lots of reading aloud together.
Our “lessons” or “curricula” or “resources” all listed above should never get in the way of a day full of connection and wonder. I am more than happy to set aside my agenda to chase some other spark. I am more than happy to skip Math for the day to instead build a pillow fort. I am more than happy to have a Katy Perry dance party and skip the classical music. I am more than happy to go smell some flowers than read a book about pollinators.
My children are still so young and I do not want this post to seem like I care more about a regimented, full academic life than I do about their personhood and the fullness of LIFE.