How to Use Simple Seasons

How was the Simple Seasons Curriculum developed?

I developed the Simple Seasons Homeschool Companion guides to use with my own kids. The first three units (Harvest Time, Winter Wonderland and Spring B’s) were originally created when my oldest was in kindergarten and my middle child was in preschool (originally published Jan 2009). Each school term includes a 12 week schedule that focuses on the rhythm of the seasons with a special emphasis on holidays and nature. These programs were designed as a gentle way to introduce my children to the world around us. We read, baked, and crafted together. We spent a lot of time outdoors and at our kitchen table completing Nature Studies. These units can be used with children from 4-6 years old, although older and younger siblings may enjoy joining in the activities.

Due to popular demand I added a slightly shorter summer unit, Puddles & Ponds, which completes the seasonal year. There is also an optional 4 week Advent Activities unit for use in December.

Is the free version of Simple Seasons still available?

Yes, the original Simple Seasons schedules are still available for download at Wee Folk Art. They have not be updated or edited and can be used “as is.” The Simple Seasons Second Editions, with the current book lists and activity updates are now available for sale at MagCloud.

What are your copyright rules?

All materials are copyright protected and cannot be sold or distributed without our consent. That includes any schedules, book lists, text, graphics, photos, or included resources (like journal pages or calendars). You are free to use these materials with your own family, in a co-op setting, or any other non-profit situation as long as the copyright and website information is kept in tack on the bottom of all printed pages. You may NOT post the materials on your own website, blog, or any other internet space!!! If you would like to share Wee Folk Art and our Homeschool Companion tools with your friends please link back to our site.

How is this program set up?

Each week Simple Seasons includes one fictional story to be read two or three times throughout the week and one corresponding non-fiction book that can be read once. These books will cover all the social studies and science you need for preschool or kindergarten. Each week includes one or two activities that correspond with the book theme of the week. One journal page with your child’s narration is completed each week. There are also a variety of field trip ideas and nature study activities suggested throughout the terms. We also add in an art picture study and poem memorization. Keep in mind that the layout is very flexible and you will have to determine when to complete each task. You will find a Weekly Guide within the unit to help you get organized. You can complete the activities by working two, three or four days a week.

How do I use Simple Seasons to homeschool preschool?

The Flower Fairy Alphabet coloring book & corresponding poems are a lovely way to introduction your preschooler to the alphabet. Please note, the letters are arranged in the order they are presented in the Explode the Code Series for Kindergarten. You can follow that order or just start with A if you would like. At this age you do not need a formal math, phonics, or handwriting program. You can practice color and shape recognition, basic counting skills, and other early math skills without using a program. Coloring can be used for fine motor development. Wooden puzzles are a great addition too.

How do I use Simple Seasons to homeschool kindergarten?

To make Simple Seasons a full curriculum for a kindergarten student you will need to add in a math program and an early phonics program. I use the Introduction to Explode the Code Books A, B, C for Kindergarten phonics. I have scheduled the alphabet in the order they appear in ETC. ETC also has teacher guides if you would like assistance in introducing phonics. You will also want to add in some handwriting practice. Games for Math by Peggy Kaye is a great math add on and visit my math games post.

Do I have to buy all the books?

You don’t need to buy them all. I recommend purchasing the Primary Story Books. Those are the books you and your children will want to read again and again. If you can’t find the exact book I list at your library that is o.k.. You can make substitutions. Also, over time children’s books do go out of print. I try to keep the book list up to date but if you run across something that you can’t find or the used price is too high, just make a substitution following the same theme. I hate to see people spend an arm and a leg on a single children’s book.

Will I need additional items?

Some of the Simple Seasons units include additional items you may want/need such as a toy farm, bird feeder, and a butterfly house.

How do I use the journal pages and narration?

Every week of Simple Seasons, you should complete at least one Journal Page with your child. There are several ways you can use these pages but the basic idea is to have your child narrate back to you a summation of the Primary Story you just read. Younger children or children new to narration may need help from you, in which case you can ask them leading questions (What happened first? Who was the main character? What did she want? How did she get it? etc.). You can either write the narration directly on the page (good for young students), write the narration on a separate sheet of paper and have your child copy it to their page (good for older students) or neatly write the narration on the page in yellow marker and then have your child trace the narration. Regardless of how you record the narration, be sure to follow grammar rules. Encourage your child to narrate in complete sentences. Younger children may need coaxing.  Remind your child that all sentences start with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark. Every main word in a title should be capitalized (you do not capitalize little words such as, and, of, the). The second part of the journal page is to have your child draw a picture about the story in the box. You may choose to have your child do this while you read the story or after she completes her narration. I have found that active children sometimes listen better when their hands are engaged in a task, but others do better quietly listening to the story with time to color after.

Feel free to make extra copies of the journal page to record field trips, science experiments or nature studies. I leave blank copies of the journal pages in my children’s coloring area for them to write stories and such on whenever they want. You can find a variety of different journal pages available in your Homeschool Companion guide.

You may choose to use the journal pages to record some of your child’s activities. I will paste a photo of my child completing a craft in the coloring box and add a few notes in the space provided. I then tuck the journal page back into my notebook along with my child’s narration and I have a great portfolio of my children’s work.

What are nature studies?

In some units Nature Studies (NS) listed are listed in your activity box. These are all easy and fairly quick activities to complete with your children. They can all be found in the book Nature in a Nutshell for Kids. Feel free to try additional activities or change up the order based on your climate. Although most of the Nature Studies suggested can easily be done in your own backyard I do encourage you to visit your local Nature Centers and/or hiking trails. I also recommend placing a bird feeder outside a prominent window. This will help bring the wildlife to you. We love to sit and watch the birds at our kitchen table. Take photos of your Nature Studies and remember you can complete a Journal Page about your Nature Studies.

What field trips are scheduled in Simple Seasons?

In your activity box you may see some basic Field Trip (FT) ideas. Actively participating in the community is important and children learn a lot from these simple outings. Try not to run other errands while on a field trip. Spend time talking with employees. Have your child ask the employee questions. Being comfortable asking for help is a life skill (talking about stranger safety is important too). Use your imagination with the field trip ideas and try not to skip them even if they seem really simple. Most schedule field trips are to easy to find places like the grocery store or bakery. Don’t under estimate how much fun your child will have sitting on a riding lawn mower at the hardware store and be sure to do stuff like compare prices, sizes, colors, even features if you child is interested. Take photos on your Field Trip and remember you can complete a Journal Page about your Field Trip when you return home.

How do I study poetry with my child?

Each month of using Simple Seasons, you will be memorizing one poem. There are many different ways to do this. Try reading it to your child three times, then have you child repeat the poem as best as they can remember with you. After that, have you child repeat the poem with you three time in a sitting. When they are ready have them try on their own. This is a great activity to work on in the car. You can also use line from the poems for copy work/handwriting practice. When they have learned the poem have them recited it for someone other than you. Maybe they can call a grandparent. My children love reciting poems that they have learned to friends and family. Recitation is a great beginning to public speaking, a life skill everyone should develop. Don’t forget to review past poems as well.

How do I study art with my child?

Use the scheduled Come Look with Me Books for Art Appreciation. The kids should look at the pictures while you read the short text about the image. Then use the discussion questions in the book to talk about the art in more detail. Theses books are used mainly to spur constructive discussion about the images. There are NO corresponding art projects for the art studies.

Do you have another question that has not been answered here?

Please ask your question by leaving a comment below. We generally respond to questions within 48 hours.

2 Comments

  1. Curious what start date you recommend so that the weeks line up with the corresponding holidays and in order to complete all four units in a calendar year?

    Thanks!

    1. Generally, people tend to start Harvest Time after Labor Day and will finish it at the end of November. Winter Wonderland is usually started at the beginning of January. BUT it is very easy to swap weeks to make everything line up with the holidays or available field trips. You do not have to do the weeks in order. You can also spend more time on a topic if it interests your child. It is very flexible.

      We have an active Facebook fan group where many of the members share what they are working on for the week. If you are on FB you might want to check it out. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1042634892415362/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *