I mentioned in the last post that we’ve started preschool at our house and talked about the most important things we want to teach at this time. Here’s how we’re doing that for now:
Our Schedule – Ha! It’s all over the place. We set up the plan for three days a week. Usually, however, school ends up spread throughout the week. We usually do a block of activities in the morning and then everything else is tucked into play time or transition times as the day goes on. Most of the activities are done by the end of the week. Whatever wasn’t done and still seems important is just kicked to the next week. It’s incredibly low key, and we like it that way.
Curriculum – We are using the ABC Jesus Loves Me curriculum for 3 year olds that is available for free online. They also have a 4 year old curriculum. It’s really fantastic with TONS of information and extra resources, and is really easy to modify for our needs. We skim through stuff Jaron already knows and add in a lot of pieces from sites like Hubbard’s Cupboard. Here’s another post I did on other free resources we use a lot. Here’s my planning template and here’s an example of one of our weeks.
Factual Knowledge – The curriculum covers numbers, letters, phonics, early writing skills, early reading skills, shapes/colors/basic math, a book of the week (this week’s: Is Your Mama a Llama?), fine and gross motor skills, and more.
Bible Stories – We do a new Bible story every week or two and use a Betty Lukens flannelgraph set we bought on ebay, our regular Bibles, our children’s Bibles, Bible story books and videos to teach the story in several ways throughout the week. Many of the activities in other areas (literacy, math, manipulatives, games, etc.) are related in theme to the week’s Bible story. We also memorize scripture and rotate through past ones for review.
Character – We focus on one character trait every week or two, often correlating to the Bible story. We use lessons and materials from Hubbard’s Cupboard and other sites for this. The Bible verse we work on often correlates to the character trait we’re studying.
Catechism – We use the Truth and Grace memory books. They start at 2 years old and go through high school. The kids learn the basics of the faith, scriptures that support those facts, and hymns. Each lesson can be as long or short as the child needs. For example, the first lesson includes learning to recite Genesis 1:1 and have a discussion about what it means, that God created them and everything else, and songs like Jesus Loves me.
Workboxes – This is a popular idea used in many homeschools. We simplified it for our purposes. There are a few plastic drawer sets with toys or activities (maze books, coloring books, pattern blocks, phonics toys, etc.) that I rotate every week or two. When we need something to do or Mommy needs a little time to herself 🙂 they go “do their workboxes” and pick out something they want to play with. I often use it along with blanket time.
“School” – When BSF is in session (I love BSF!), we have once a week “BSF School” for the kids. It’s out for the summer though. However, we have become friends with a wonderful family down the street that has kids the same ages and home schools as well. Once a week, the mom takes Jaron and Sami and “does school” with them for an hour and a half. It’s ridiculously cute – Jaron gets all ready with his backpack and won’t let me take him to the door. He even sang “wheels on the bus” the first time he went! 😀
Morning Board – We have a morning board that we cover during breakfast. It includes a calendar that we use to teach many things (days, months, counting, patterns, special days, etc.), a weather chart, our scripture chart, and displays of some of the current lessons.
Other – We also add things in as we see fit. For example, how to work a zipper, washing the windows, how to greet people, our names and phone numbers in case of an emergency, our home address, etc. If Jaron shows a special interest in something (like trains) or shows a need (like how to deal with anger), we just plug those into the next week’s plans!
This sounds like a lot but it is really doable for our family. It took me a loooong time to figure out the right approach for our needs and expectations. It had to be easy enough! Next I’m going to post some general tips I’ve learned for anyone else who might be considering preschool homeschooling.