One of Small's favourite interactive learning tools is the Starfall package. It's an American-based website that housemate told me about, and although some might criticise me for using a site that's not British English, it's one of the best learning-to-read sites I've found. In fact quite a lot of the best resources I've found are from US-based websites, but that's a story for another day!
A lot of Starfall is free, including the learn to read section, and in conjunction with books like the Oxford Reading Tree "Floppy" series, and Usborne's "Very First Reading", Starfall's what he's used to learn to read. The rest of the site is well worth subscribing to, and costs roughly £20 for the year (depending on the exchange rate). Small's learned so much and had so much enjoyment out of the site, I consider it worth every penny.
The Starfall website is always updating and adapting. One of the newest sections they've added is for 'first grade', in line with the US core curriculum, whatever that is. I'm guessing it's along similar lines to our national standards for maths, literacy, science etc, but perhaps one of you lovely readers from across the pond could clarify?
Anyway, I had always assumed that the US kindergarten class was equivalent to our reception year, and that 'first grade' equated to our 'year 1' - it turns out this is not so. I was quite surprised to discover that the American 1st grade is actually equivalent age-wise to our year 2 - in other words, it's for 6-7 year olds, or the second year of KS1 (key stage 1).
This discovery makes me even more proud of my little four-year old that he's happily reading and doing maths that's aimed at 6-7 year olds. All the more reason I'm so glad he's not starting school this September as he'd be bored rigid in reception class, and I've no doubt he'd be expected to do very little until everyone else caught up. This is something already confirmed to me by a friend whose daughter was well ahead when she started school, and who had to wait until the other kids reached the stage she'd been at 12 months earlier - by which time the poor child was totally disillusioned with the whole concept of school.
In other news, apologies to anyone waiting for photos from the allotment. I dashed down there today, but once again forgot the camera. I've left myself a note which will hopefully remind me to take it tomorrow!
Until next time. x