Preschool is in full effect in our house and we have really been having a blast. We have fallen into a good routine which involves 2-3 days a week that are “school-heavy” while the other days are filled with gymnastics and ballet, co-op, field trips and play dates. Even on the “off” days though, we still manage to sneak a little learning in there. I’ve also figured out that M does best when our school work starts around 9:00 am. By no means am I sticking to a hard schedule, but I’ve found that she is not a morning person and needs plenty of time to start the day at her own pace. For her, this usually means waking up around 7:00, having breakfast around 7:30 and playing by herself and/or watching a show from 8:00 – 9:00. She hates being rushed in the morning and it’s usually closer to lunchtime when she is ready to get out of her pajamas for the day (which explains why she’s in pj’s for most of our pictures!). By 9:00 am, J typically goes down for his morning nap and she is ready for the day. It’s a nice routine that is working well for us.
So what have we been up to?
You can check out the detailed post of my curriculum choices for the year here. We’ve also rowed Yellow Ball and My Blue Boat and just finished up a great Ocean Unit Study. While those have definitely been the highlights so far, we have been busy with lots of other learning as well.
Letter of the Week
M has been working her way through the vowels and only has U to go. This has been a great reinforcement for her and been a jumping point for working on some other vital skills (i.e. cutting, writing, following directions, counting)
You Can Read Sight Words
I was a little nervous after the first unit of sight words since M seemed overwhelmed by it and wasn’t really picking them up. I now think that she was hesitant since this is completely new and more difficult work than we have done before. Unit two has been going MUCH better! She picked up the second group of words quickly and is much more willing to work with them. I am still going to spend two weeks on each unit though, giving her more time to get comfortable with the words.
I can’t stress enough how important I think reading is and I’m making sure it stays at the top of our priority list. Reading opens up the world to you in a way that cannot be matched and I so badly want my kids to love the beauty of words the way I do. I already see the seeds of a future reader in M and even J who loves to sit and look at the pictures. I have been trying to read to them for 30 – 60 minutes throughout each day, almost never all at one time. Most of the time, it is broken into 2 or 3 smaller blocks of time where we all curl up with a stack of books.
To foster a love of reading, I’m not particular about what we read. If I have some books that are relevant to what we are learning or that I just think they will enjoy, I sneak them into the pile. Otherwise, it is completely up to M (and J eventually) to pick the books. I do try offer her a wide variety of titles to choose from. Besides our collection of books at home, we make a point to go to the library once a week and always leave with a huge bag of new books.
Games and other fun
I pulled out a bunch of educational puzzle cards I had picked up on sale a few months ago. These cards work on letter recognition, shapes, numbers, colors and more. They are a great tool to sneak in some learning and bonding! M still needs help reading the words to match so this is a fun thing we do together.
After using tan-grams to build our letters, we continued to play with them using the picture boards we have.
At the end of the day, put the educational stuff aside and it’s really the intangibles of this whole experience that are truly priceless. Our kids will learn to read, add and subtract regardless of if they are home schooled or if they attend a traditional school. But it is only within our home that they will come to understand the importance of family, of how important it is to nurture our relationships with one another and that siblings truly are your best friends. As M and I have worked together these past few weeks, I’ve been struck by this amazing sense of gratitude. These are precious years for our children and I know I have been given a gift in getting to share this experience with her.