Friday, April 8, 2016

our first week of pre-schooling at home.

A few weeks ago, after several frustrating days of trying to get Si to entertain himself, and meltdowns from all three of us, I decided to make some changes in our days. We needed more structure and a little intention in our days. 




Since we are moving at the beginning of June, we are waiting to make any decisions about a pre-school for Silas until we get settled in Canada. My hope is that we'll find a great school for him to attend a few days a week, but that's still a few months away. I knew he needed a little more stimulation, a little bit more one-on-one time, and I needed to get intentional about the structure of our days as a whole. 

I started researching preschool learning resources, created a board on Pinterest, asked for ideas on Instagram, and Googled my heart out. We started last week and not to get dramatic, but it's been life-changing. Both of the kids love it, I can see a definite change in Silas' attitude through the day, and I don't get to the end of the day thinking, "What the heck did we do all day?".


circle time

We've been doing circle time each morning. We pray (little kids' prayers are my FAVORITE), do a weather chart, calendar, a song (usually Rise and Shine- Delia gets super pumped about that one) and a short Bible memory verse with Silas. This is the first time we've ever done memory verses with him, and I don't know why, but I'm amazed that he actually memorizes them. Last week, we did Colossians 3:20, and this week was Genesis 1:1. We also read from their Jesus Storybook Bible (my favorite kids' Bible ever ever ever). Since we did a gardening theme this week, we read about how God created the earth, and the first garden ever. 

I love starting out our mornings this way-- it creates a purposeful and cheerful start to the day, and sets the mood for the morning. I'm trying to keep it simple and not to get too bogged down in the details-- like whether they're sitting and listening. But yesterday morning, after two weeks of circle time where I thought he wasn't listening at all, Si said all of the days of the week in order. So there's that!



alphabet garden printable from mrs. jones' creation station.
weekly activities

There are so many great resources out there, that it doesn't take too much work to plan a full week for us. One of my favorite sites to peruse and glean ideas from is Simply Learning (her site is down right now, but I'll update this when it's back up). She chooses a theme for each week, which I think we'll continue to follow, because she also makes a lesson plan and Pinterest board with tons of ideas pertaining to the theme, even tv shows-- making it all very simple to create our own week's worth of lessons and activities.

I created my own lesson plan template sheet in an attempt to stay somewhat organized. ( You can find plenty of templates on Pinterest, or create your own in PicMonkey!) This past week, we did a gardening/springtime theme. Our activities spanned from growing a bean seed in a ziploc bag (that's been so fun for Si and Delia to check on each morning... or every 15 minutes), an "alphabet garden" letter search, working on coloring inside the lines with these Garden of Eden printables, and build-a-bug out of construction paper shapes, and a parts of the flower craft. I hit up the dollar spot at Target and found some bug capsules (the kind that grow into sponges after sitting in warm water), and other little things. 

We also took a trip to the library to check out spring themed books, and watched some spring themed episodes of certain shows (Curious George, Zou on Hulu, and Wild Kratts). A trip to a botanical garden would have been appropriate and was a glimmer in my eye, but yeah, that didn't happen. 

tidbits

We are being super flexible about this whole thing. Some days this week were chock full of "school stuff", as Silas says. Some days had one or two designated lessons, and the rest of the day, we played as normal. We'll learn as we go, and change things up as we find what works for us or doesn't. The main thing for me is that our days are more intentional, and instead of leaving Si to make up his own activities to entertain himself, we're working together to help him have fun and learn something along the way.

One thing I learned this past week was that I need about twice the activities that I had originally planned. Most of the things we did only occupied about 10 minutes of our time. I'm not sure if that's because Silas hasn't done much school work type stuff, and his attention span will increase as we progress, or it may also be that he was just bored by some things. I did figure out that he really has no interest in coloring, but loves working on tracing and writing letters.

A few people have asked what we do with Delia for our lessons. Most of the time, she joins us, and does her own version (colors her own worksheet, sorts counting bears, etc.). If it's too messy or advanced for her, I'll sit Silas at the dining room table (instead of our school table from IKEA), or we'll do that project while she's napping.

Next week, we'll be joining Simply Learning on their "All About Me" theme. We'll be working on his writing his name in different medium, talking about our family, talk about our identity in Christ, and other stuff I will probably figure out on Sunday night. Since her site is down, here is her Pinterest board with suggested activities for that theme.

Other favorite resources:

This comment thread on one of my recent IG posts is golden.

Busy Toddler IG account

The Measured Mom (book lists for preschoolers and other great resources)

The Measured Mom free printables 

Cutting Tiny Bites (book lists, theme ideas, lots of activities)

My preschool learning Pinterest board if you want to follow along as I fill it up

I hope this post was helpful. I don't know what direction the Lord will take us in regards to homeschooling, but I'm so thankful for the vast array of FREE resources available to us with just a little bit of internet searching. Happier, busier kids during the day make for a happier mama, and we'll take that!



6 comments:

  1. This is awesome Linds!!! I love the circle time idea as a way to intentionally start the day.

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  2. I don't have kiddo's yet, but as a Mobile Therapist who works with young children, these are all great ideas and awesome resources! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. We've been trying to develop our own little Tot School too. I'm picking a few themes from Simply Learning but I'm also about to try a box system - having a box for each week day that has activities covering a key skills so I can maybe do one or two themed activities and then whip the box out and see what we have time to do. I plan on switching the boxes out every month with some different games and activities.

    For Bible stories I really like the book Play Through The Bible (she gives a very simple story with actions you repeat each day for a week and then a ton of activities to go alongside it. Once I'd worked through her book I found it easy enough to follow the style myself for other Bible Stories. https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/play-through-the-bible

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