Our second year of homeschooling basically went like this :
1 Revising the Alphabets
We went through the alphabets again. This time, we did this alphabet craft that I got from Homeschool Creations as we revised each and every alphabet. #3 also started doing tracing of the alphabets. As part of revision, I made animal cards for #3 to stick on his alphabet train.
Needless to say, we did not spend as much time on alphabets as we did the previous year. As we revise, the focus was mainly on sound blending.
2 Phonics – Blending
This was the year we actually made use of The Reading Lesson as a spine. We went through the lessons and very soon, #3 was able to read slowly on his own. We also used the Bob Books as supplementary reading materials. I did not use any graded readers. I detest graded readers. I also dislike “Peter & Jane” kind of series. I prefer real storybooks.
3 Reading books
We still read a lot of books. Now and then we would do a lapbook on a book. Audiobook also featured greatly in our home and I think it also helped #3 to read. Before he could actually read a book, he already ‘memorised’ the story. So when he picked up the actual book, he could ‘read’.
By the second half of the year, #3 was able to read on his own.
I mentioned above that #3 started tracing the alphabets. Actually, by April, he was already able to write words and sentences without tracing (and without punctuations and capitalisation). So alphabet tracing was really just to keep him occupied. At one point, I was even tempted to let him do copywork because he was so bored.
We continued with Siwukuaidu, lots of book reading, use of reading pen. At that time, I also subscribed to a kind of monthly magazine, called 东方宝宝 and 东方娃娃, from Maha Yuyi (at that time, ordering stuff from China was not as easy as today). Those magazines came with an activity book and a story book each month. So we would do the activity book and read the story book whenever we receive them. That was basically all we did.
Still a lot of playing with patterns, puzzles and manipulatives. Also slowly introduced simple addition in the form of number bonds. We played card games that help him to remember all the number bonds within 10.
Music and Art
I signed him up for Kindermusik when he was 2 year old, just like his brothers. This lasted 2 years. At 4, I started him on the violin. That pretty much covered the music part of the curriculum. As for arts, I am very artistically challenged but I found this book, Using Art to Make Art by Wendy M.L. Libby, which at least expose the child to works of masters. So I used it a little and farmed out the rest to an external art class. Once in a while we still did art and craft when the inspiration struck, e.g. we did eggshell mosaic when we did the letter E.
Once in a while I would include a small unit study on things that were not typically found in a book or as a subject. E.g. We did one on housing because Singaporean housing is pretty unique. 80% of the population lives in public housing. The term “HDB flats” are not found anywhere else in other available materials. So that was something I had to create myself. We also did one on ‘Myself’ both in English as well as Chinese as I felt it was a good study for him to learn about his own identity. Other studies include one on the 5 senses (as precursor to the study of science) and one on Chinese New Year.
Most of the ad hoc activities we did were very books related. We did bread baking when we read 云朵面包 （yunduomianabao）. We also kept a caterpillar until it became a butterfly – A Very Hungry Caterpillar.
I hope I did not make homeschooling sound too overwhelming. It is really not a lot of things that we did, and not a lot of things that required my preparation. As I mentioned before, I much prefer to get ready materials because I am just not good with creating things and I find it too time-consuming to create everything from scratch. On the other hand, if you find the above description too scanty to give you enough ideas of exactly what to do, later on, I hope to post some photos of the activities we did. That may give you more helpful ideas.