My oldest (Bumblebee) is almost three years old but she is an eager beaver and is always trying to learn new things. She already knows her colors and most of her shapes (including her newest, the hexagon). So I decided since I’m home this year, why not start Homeschool Preschool (or TotSchool) with her.
The teacher in me went overboard. I was staying up until all hours of the night looking into preschool curriculum, preschool standards and learning outcomes. I went crazy on Pinterest, pinning any and everything that I thought looked fun and exciting.
I made a circle time board, a preschool binder (or two), and went crazy with art supplies. I made a spreadsheet that laid out exactly what I wanted to cover each week, not including fun arts and crafts, and I started creating book lists and a million other different lists.
After teaching middle school for six years, I was in arts and crafts heaven! You mean we can read books and make crafts?!?! I love Preschool!
The mom in me had to reel the teacher in me back in. I have big dreams, I want her to recognize all her letters and numbers at least 1-10. I want her to memorize bible verses, etc., etc. But then I started to realize, unless I test her into Kindergarten early, she technically has three years of Preschool in her future.
While I am all about her starting to learn letters and numbers now, I also want her to have fun and enjoy LEARNING. After all, she has a lot of learning ahead of her! I am still structured, in that we are doing a letter each week and I still have a plan for each week, but I’ve scaled my expectations back a little.
Things I’ve Learned from Homeschooling
If you are thinking about homeschooling your child for preschool (or any grade), or maybe you already are, here are just a few of the things I’ve learned so far. As this journey continues I am sure that I will continue to get schooled in the art of homeschooling at which point I promise to share with you.
1. Be Creative
We are so lucky that we live in the social media crazed world that we live in, if only because it allows us to seek out and share ideas. There are so many SUPER CRAFTY moms and teachers out there that are willing to share, post, and explain. Or if you are unlike me and you have a creative bone in your body, use it!
2. Have Fun
If you are excited about what your child is learning, they will be too. Get messy with your kids. Laugh if something is a total flop (see my upcoming post on Apple week). Enjoy the memories that are being made and the fun you are having while you learn.
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3. Do what works best for you
There are so many amazing preschool curriculum options available on the internet, that you may feel overwhelmed. I am not recommending that you buy them all, but do a little research and see which one (or maybe two) fits you, your child, and your lifestyle the best. Then, you can piece them together or use them to create your own plan for the year.
I am using God’s Little Explorers by Motherhood on a Dime as my base, but I am tweaking it to make it fit with my girls, our schedule, and what I want Bumblebee to get out of this year. I’m not following her plans as in-depth, mainly because Bumblebee technically has three more years of preschool so we can go more in-depth each year. I’ve also added in a lot of picture books, writing practice, other fun projects.
Don’t get me wrong I love the “God’s Little Explorer’s” curriculum. It is absolutely amazing and has everything you could ever need to teach preschool. However, the teacher in me needs to be a teacher, so I needed to make it feel a little more like me and my style.
We also only spend about an hour, three days a week on structured learning. A lot of preschools are 4-5 days. Some recommend half days or 2-3 hours. Again, as long as you feel like your child is learning, the amazing thing about homeschooling, is that you make it unique for you.
Click here to visit Motherhood on a Dime, for more information on God’s Little Explorers.
4. Think outside of the box.
After you have begun to do the research that I mentioned above, don’t get trapped. During the preschool years, children are absorbing everything around them from the way you speak to people on the phone to our interactions when we are out in public. You can work on letter recognition and vocabulary while you are at the grocery store, the park, or by taking a walk outside. Math skills cam be worked on while making pancakes or organizing shoes (biggest to smallest). You should never feel confined to your kitchen table or desk or home. Learning can take place everywhere you go!
5. Be Flexible.
As any teacher can tell you, this is one of the very first lessons all teachers have to learn. Not every lesson, craft project, or idea is going to go as planned. You may find that the schedule you are trying to create for your home school is just not working and you may need to tweak things here and there to make it work.
You may get so excited about a project and put so much time into preparing for it only to have your child lose interest within minutes. With kids of any age, there are going to be times when you need to take a step back and either let that idea/lesson go or try to approach it differently.
I was so excited to make a “Grumpy G” after reading “Grumpy Goat” by Brett Helquist. I cut out all the pieces and even used that opportunity to let Bumblebee practice using scissors herself. Sadly, she was over the whole project before I was even ready to start gluing, and she LOVES to glue.
She absolutely loves “Grumpy Goat”, we read it at least 3 times a day for the entire two weeks we had it checked out from the library, but she was not interested in making the craft. So, we moved on.
6. Stay Positive
There are going to be days, even if you are not homeschooling, when you feel like nothing you’ve said in the last week, day, hour, or three years has sunk in and maybe it never will. You are going to have great days, out-of-this-world days, and days where you may need a Mommy Time Out. On those not so great days just try to stay positive. Remind yourself of the great days, the out of this world moments, and that tomorrow is a new day.
During our first week of preschool, Bumblebee pick up on everything so quickly. It’s like everything we talked about just clicked. Now three weeks later and on a Friday, I asked her what the letter was that we’ve studied all week and she said, “B”. I point at the letter A and tried again. She shouted proudly, “B”. After four days of repeated practice she shouts B. In that moment my thought was, I can’t do this. I’m mom not her teacher, she isn’t going to be able to learn from me.
So, I politely correct her and we talk about the letter A some more. Then, she says, “I know it’s “A” mom, I just want to learn about B because B is for me”. Redemption! We have been working on her recognizing her name with little success until now. She is learning, and your child is too.
Our children may not perform on cue, especially when they are young, but what we are saying IS getting through to them. So don’t give up!
Don’t Give Up
I hope that if you are just starting out as a homeschooling mom or dad that you will find these tips helpful. Teaching your children at home is so much fun, so rewarding, and can be such a wonderful experience for both you and your children. I truly hope that each and every one of you will get to experience those out-of-this-world moments that leave you with warm and fuzzies for years.
Stop by again soon to see our letter A week of apple fun!
Thanks for reading!
For more ideas on circle time boards, activities, and for printables check out these amazing sites:
Shape flash cards: Printabletreats
Morning Board ideas: OurHomeCreations
Alphabet Printables: MrPrintables
Circle Time Songs: Teachersland