In a few short weeks we will officially be starting preschool in our house! M is really excited to be starting school and truth be told, so am I! I have a year of adventures planned that (I hope!) will not only teach M but bring us closer together as a family. When I started planning the year though, I quickly became overwhelmed at the countless options I had. Everything seemed great and I found myself wanting to do it all. Once I stepped back and considered what I wanted M to get out of the year, the planning became much easier.
M is an absolute sponge and I want to give her the world. Better yet, I want her to get it herself. I want to instill in her a love of learning, to teach her to always follow her sense of wonder and curiosity. Doing this will create a lifelong learner, not simply a student from K-12. It will always help her discover her passions and strengths, eventually learning what she wants to do in this life.
Since books are the best way to learn and experience new things, I really wanted our learning to be literature based. As I learn about new teaching methods and curriculum, Charlotte Mason has always stood out to me. In my mind, learning to love books and learning to love learning are interchangeable. This belief will serve as the inspiration for our preschool year.
Here’s a look at what we’ll be tackling this year:
Before Five In a Row: This will be the core of our “curriculum” this year. I love that the entire curriculum revolves around 24 amazing children’s books. I plan to immerse ourselves in one book each week, following the natural paths of exploration they provide for us.
Daily Calendar Notebook: Every morning we will work together to complete a page – learning the days of the week, telling time, noting the weather, etc. I’m still not sure if I will create my own pages or use some of the great sheets already available out there.
Letter of the Week Curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler: Even though M knows her letters already, I will be using some of the materials to reinforce them as well as work on skills such as cutting, writing, and counting.
You Can Read Curriculum from 1+1+1=1: Carisa’s blog has been a huge source of inspiration as we worked on Tot School this past year and continues to be as we move into the preschool realm. Since M has expressed a real interest in reading, will we work one set of sight words per week.
Beginning with God – Preschool Bible Study: We will read through one story per week
STEM Activities: I think exposing children to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas of study early in life is the best way to keep them interested in it when they’re older. Using a combination of our Green Kid Crafts box each month and some additional activities I will put together, I hope to do something STEM related 2x per month.
Board games: Board games provide a natural way to learn directions, taking turns and being a good sport. We love playing games in our house so this aspect won’t feel like school at all. I only put it in because in the craziness of life, sometimes this gets lost and I want to make sure it stays a priority. This is also a great area that the hubs can get involved in!
Field Trips: Whenever possible, I want to take field trips that connect with either our book of the week or our STEM theme. Getting out and learning in the real world is one of the best benefits of learning at home!
Workbooks: I don’t’ think workbooks are necessary, especially at this age. However, I’ve learned over the past year that M loves worksheets. She always asks to “do some school”, which in her mind means completing worksheets. A number of times I didn’t have any printed out but I’ve learned my lesson. I picked up a few preschool and kindergarten workbooks that I can take out as needed.
I know, it seems like A LOT for preschool but M seems ready to tackle this level of learning. If she’s not, I have no problem slowing things down or saving things for later in the year. That’s the beauty of this. I would rather have more than we need prepared than not enough. Besides, I’m learning how to do this right alongside her.
Even though preschool isn’t mandatory, I still feel a huge sense of responsibility this year. It is no secret that I feel homeschooling is the right path for our family but I love and respect my husband far too much to make the assumption that it is my way or the highway. Even still, I can’t help but feel like the preschool/kindergarten years are some type of test, a way to prove to myself and my husband that even though this was not our original plan, this is the right path for us.
I’m working on putting that thought out of my head though and instead focusing on enjoying this wonderful stage of life with M. As we take on the adventure of preschool, I’ll keep you updated along the way!