Saturday, February 15, 2014

How I Homeschool Pre-k with Preschool

       
 
This is our main classroom right here in the living room and dining room :)

       I am going to start this out by saying, that there is no right or wrong way to homeschool your child, any age.  There are many different methods of learning out there and you can have each of your children learn in their own unique way.  There are also many different types of parenting out there and none of us parent the same way so how could we homeschool the same way!

        All I am expressing here, is how we homeschool.  It is not perfect, but it is perfect for how we need it.  I encourage you to find a peace where you are comfortable at what your children are learning.  Only you and your children will know this and it make take a while to get into a steady routine.  As long as they are learning (and they will!), that is all that matters. 

        Here is how my first week went as a Homeschool Mom.  After months of reading many insightful books and finding all the places where I could find curriculum and ideas, and trusting in the Lord that I could do this, I dove right in!  Only to learn that by the second day, my oldest son (4 years old at the time) and I were both pulling our hair out and angry at each other.  What had I done wrong?  I got all the materials ready and printed out worksheets and why wasn't this working?  I thought I was going to be able to teach him how to write the alphabet in a month!  The experienced homeschool Moms out there, I hear you snickering! :)  And to the new homeschool Mom, I will show you how and why this is not the best way to go about it.

      I went to a homeschool support meeting that night and the experienced homeschool Mom there let us know it's not okay if you're child doesn't write the perfect A (it was actually a B we were struggling with that day!) or get something the first time they are taught  but that they will learn!  Homeschool support groups are amazing and that would probably be my first recommendation is to check your local area for one.  My local homeschool group has meetings to help and encourage you, field trips, meet ups at parks, sports teams, and classes to help with subjects you may not know how to teach.  And you know what?  My son nailed writing the B that very next day!

     Ok, so now you have the knowledge, support and a plan of what you want to do.  What is next?  Many people ask is there a classroom in my house?  Well, yes and no!  We have a three bedroom home so we have a master bedroom, and my two sons share a room and the third room we use as an office, but we call it the classroom.  Do our lessons go on in the classroom?  Nope!  If you have a kitchen or dining room table and a nice comfy couch in your family room, you are all set!  Most of our learning takes place in our family room and dining room!  And learning takes place everywhere.  There is no limit or set space you need to homeschool in.  We even have learning days outside when the weather is nice.

     The items in our classroom/office include all the things I need for homeschooling like the computer to print out worksheets or fun printables.  Pinterest is awesome for this by the way!  There is amazing resources out there.  Please check out my Pinterest page to get some ideas!  We have a couch and a TV in here also so it's like a media room really.  The boys have books, board games, puzzles, toys, a costume bin (they love dressing up as knights or super heroes!), and most of our supplies are in here.  Items like paint, stamps, crayons, markers, construction paper, laminator, educational worksheet books, and learning games and magazines.

 
Our Office/Classroom
 
 
Right behind the door is a shoe organizer that I hold a lot of our crafts for projects and to the right is a closet full of toys, games, and supplies for our homeschool.

     What does a normal day look like for us?  Some days are different but for the most part, we try to stick to the same timing for everything.  Homeschooling allows flexibility, which is amazing!  The boys or I may be sick on some days, may have a field trip or outing planned, doctor visits, family visiting, special occasions or Daddy may have a day off during the week.  We usually have homeschool on Saturday when this happens or we have a Daddy Homeschool Day!  Daddy usually gets to be at home on the days where we have something really fun planned!  I think he does this on purpose!  But he also likes working with the boys with my oldest son's reading lesson or helping on ABCmouse.com lessons.  ABCmouse.com is another amazing resource also for this age group! 

      My sons are awake in the morning by about 7:30 a.m. so we go downstairs and eat some breakfast.  This is the time I have in the morning to do my devotionals and have a cup of coffee before our homeschool day starts.  The boys look at their books, play with toys, or watch some of their educational shows. 

       By about 9:30 a.m. we are ready to start homeschool work.  We start the day with "The Pledge of Allegiance" and prayer.  I think this is so important.  It is honoring God and country, and the freedoms we have as a homeschool family.  After this we will have a children's devotional.  Our first book we did this year was," The Story for Little Ones: Discovering the Bible in Pictures" by: Max Lucado and illustrated by: Josee Masse.  Right now, we are reading Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling Bible Storybook."  We just read one chapter and discuss the story and then we either move onto a math or reading lesson.

      I taught my oldest son how to write the alphabet first before I started reading lessons.  He already knew his phonics so I wanted him to know how to write the letters so that he understood both the phonics and written letter.  We did about two letters a week until we got to the end of the alphabet.  Please look into my archives to see the fun we had with our lessons and get some ideas!

     Reading lessons come from the book, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" by: Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner.  This has been a wonderful book and you literally just follow along with the lesson plan given in each lesson.  There are also flash cards you can purchase and there is a link in my Pinterest page under the "Homeschool Reading" board for free flash cards by Donna Young.  We started out with two reading lessons a day, but are now slowly going to three reading lessons a week. 

    If you are teaching your four year old pre-K and you have children younger than that, I completely understand what you are going through but it can be done!  It is going to be tough at first.  My youngest did not like not having Mommy's 100 percent attention when I started reading lessons with brother.  But I got him age appropriate puzzles or toys on the floor and told him that was his schoolwork and that he had to be quiet while Mommy worked with brother.  He soon got used to this idea and he liked having his own schoolwork just like brother.  I also print out extra worksheets of what my oldest is working on, and he loves that! 

    Math lessons consist of learning how to write numbers, one to one ratios, shapes, early addition and subtraction and comparisons like smallest to largest.  There are many ideas in my archives or on my Pinterest "Homeschool Math" board.  There are also educational booklets you can get in teaching stores and have even seen them at craft stores like Michael's or Joann's, and even in Target and Walmart.  I get my worksheets from these or from fun stuff found on Pinterest!  The boys favorite activity is color, cut and paste worksheets and this helps with their cutting and motor skills.  I also bring in Playdoh and we make fun things to show numbers and we have counting bears and counting mats. 

    While your oldest is working on their lesson, your youngest (preschool age) can work on colors, shapes, and alphabet.  You will be amazed at how much they retain, even just listening to you teach the oldest child.  My youngest is also getting to the point now where he wants to sit at the table and see what brother is working on so I give him his own preschool worksheets.

     Science and social studies is not big yet for our homeschool.  I think it is more important to focus on the Bible, reading and math for now and gradually get into science and social studies.  I try to do something from this once a week like teach them about animals or what it would be like to be a fire fighter or about a President.  I taught my youngest who is almost 3 years old, about Abraham Lincoln being on the penny and he can recognize him now when I show him his picture!

     We do art, music and physical education too!  Art is painting or coloring, or doing a fun arts and crafts project, Playdoh, or making a gift for someone.  We like to dance and sing and be silly in the living room and this also gets the wiggles out.  We go on walks, exercise, and swim when its warm for physical education.

    We usually wrap up our homeschool day around 11 a.m. so anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours is plenty!  Many authors suggest not to formally teach until about six years old, but I find that if you make it fun for them, they don't even realize they are learning! 

      I let them unwind after this for about an hour and then we have lunch.  After lunch, is "Quiet time" or "nap time."  My oldest, who is almost five years old, is hit or miss with naps these days.  On days he won't nap, I have him lay down quietly and look at his books play with toys quietly while his brother sleeps.  It is a good time for us as Moms to relax and take care of anything that we need to do like catching up on emails or a good book, yoga or whatever it is that you do to relax.  It is good to be relaxed and have this time to yourself.  It is healthy not only for you, but also your spouse and children!

     After "Quiet Time", we go outside and play or read books together.  I try to get caught up on laundry or dishes and we start getting the house clean and I get dinner started.  My husband works until about 5 p.m. so we are usually ready to eat by the time he comes home.  After dinner, we relax and talk about our day and we are trying to get better about having family Bible time together.

    That is it.  Again, it is not perfect but it is perfect for us. I don't even strive to be perfect because there is no such thing.  How do you homeschool your day?  Was this article helpful at all?  I would love to hear any feedback!  Thanks for reading and God bless you on this homeschool journey!

   




    

3 comments:

  1. This is very helpful. I have been considering whether to homeschool my 4 year old because he already knows his letters, numbers and how to write them. We are still working on phonics but he wont start k until Aug 2015 because of his birthday so I think by then he will know it. I am not sure that investing in preschool is worth it. I was thinking about using ABC mouse to homeschool him. I love that you outlined your day. If you can get it all done in under 2 hours and still have time for field trips and such, it sounds doable! Thanks for sharing with my Small Victories Sunday linky. So glad you linked this up. Pinning to my linky board and homeschool board (which you have encouraged me to start).

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  2. Thank you, Tanya I'm glad it was helpful to you. If he knows how to write his numbers and letters then he is already advanced. Phonics will come when he is ready. One day it will just all click. The book above: "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" has been wonderful because it goes over phonics and ABCmouse is worth every penny. Homeschooling is amazing! If I can help you with anything on that please let me know. It's so nice to meet you and thank you for allowing me to link up to your board.

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