My oldest son, Sean, turned four at the end of last April. He enjoys playing outside, swimming, eating all the time (if I'd let him ☺), cars, and chasing our cats around the house. He also enjoys working with peg boards, doing crafts/coloring, and reading books. He would just LOVE it to be allowed to start helping out in the kitchen with meal preparation. Hopefully, I get up the courage to begin age-appropriate cooking lessons soon!
Up until now, we have emphasized playing to our children and just generally enjoying their toddler years. I allow them to watch a couple movies a day and usually try to include at least one that has an educational or spiritual emphasis. My three year old has actually been picking up his counting (can count to about 13) and colors just from watching these movies. My two year old daughter listens to us talk to her brothers and watches the same videos and can count to three (she usually says, 1, 2, 3, 8 ☺).
|Ella playing with one of our peg sets.|
Don't get me wrong, Sean won't be shocked when we start sitting down each day to work on school work instead of playing. For one thing, I would like to aim for our preschool lessons to be no longer than 30 minutes and probably often taking far less than that. We also emphasize household duties and "table activities." For household duties we emphasize, you can check out my post on age appropriate tasks for toddlers and preschoolers. Throughout the day I am known to interrupt their play with small requests and tasks that need to be done that may be just as simple as picking up the last toy they left all over the floor or helping me push the wet-laundry into the dryer or for one of them to run and fetch me something. I do have some cute little helpers if I do say so myself. ☺
Our "table activities" are peg boards (we conveniently have three different sets - thanks to my mother! - because all three children love this activity!), "sewing" cards with laces, wooden beads with laces, coloring, cutting paper with scissors (only the boys are allowed to do this activity so far), puzzles, and sorting animals. They are only allowed to have these activities while sitting at the table. We often pull these out mid-morning and during the dinner-making craze in the evening. I've also allowed play-dough but, right now, ours has all dried out and I haven't purchased any more yet (I haven't tried making it homemade either).
|Logan playing with the sorting animals.|
Back to our preschool curriculum. We are using the Rod and Staff company's A-B-C Series. The program contains workbooks labeled "A" through "I" with only workbook "B" not meant to be done in order. Here is a quote from the website:
"The book Bible Pictures to Color contains 60 pictures to accompany the Bible Stories to Read storybook. Intersperse using these books during the whole school year as you are doing the other workbooks.
I am planning to do about two Bible stories a week on Monday and Friday with a goal of 2-4 workbook pages per day. I am allowing a few weeks of "vacation" throughout the school year (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) and we are starting later than the other schools in our area. I am also planning to do a fun art/craft project on Thursdays.
Why are we starting with preschool? Because it will provide the structure needed for him to learn the basic preschool concepts before we begin homeschool kindergarten next fall. I think he and I will both enjoy the structure of having daily (Monday through Friday) lessons of working on the fun coloring and worksheet activities associated with preschool. It should be an enjoyable and low-key way to ease us into our journey with homeschooling. I think it will benefit my younger two children as well by getting them used to entertaining themselves while I focus on Sean's learning. I plan to provide them with "table activities," books, and toys to maintain the balance between not letting them feel "left out" while ensuring they don't become too distracting for Sean.
We have a few non-school activities throughout the week to consider as I make our school schedule. I am excited to be attending MOPS again this year. MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers and is an International Christian organization. This will be my fourth year participating. Our local group meets on Wednesdays twice a month. Our other extra-activity is ice skating. The boys will be taking a six-week ice skating class each Tuesday starting the day after Sean starts preschool. If they enjoy it, we plan to sign them up for the next class which will fall over the following six week segment starting in October. Whoo. This will probably be our most busy fall ever but I'm looking forward to it!
I was homeschooled from 3rd grade through 11th grade so I have a 2nd generation homeschooler's perspective. My husband was even homeschooled some of his elementary years. I've been reading a lot of information and about other current homeschooling mother's advice and experiences to further prepare myself. I hope that I can cultivate in my children an appreciation for the freedom and flexibility they can experience through homeschooling. I am just so confident and so optimistic about the amazing blessing this will be for our family.
I am hoping by next year that I have joined the MPE, HSLDA, and found a local support group to get involved in. Overall, I am just super excited for this adventure!
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