Well, its unofficially official.
We have started school. School is what it is, with an 18 month old and a 3 year old. First let me tell you WHY we are starting a scheduled "school" routine, and then I will let you know HOW we are doing it. And I will show you a few pictures of our first 3 days of school.
My oldest is just turning three, and as you can imagine, I've had a number of weird responses from the people who heard that I'm starting "Homeschooling". Here my reasoning though. I am starting Pre-school because I want my kids to love learning. I don't want them to just love watching TV, and I don't want them to be bored. (I hate the word and the concept of BORED.) I like to think that my kids can actually do something for more than two seconds with out needing to scream, break things or fight with each other. Another reason that I am starting school now is that I don't appreciate the "A.D.D." affect that life sans-structure promotes. Or that TV seems to produce. (Is it just my kids, or does watching loads of TV bring out the ADHD in your children too?) Finally, having the kids in a "school routine" is helpful for me. It helps me to make sure that I am spending time, quality time, with my kids. It also gives me a goal time to have the whole house "almost spotless" by. School helps me to channel the A.D.D. in me, and to actually commit to things: having the table clean after breakfast, exercising everyday, etc. Lastly, because I want to be consistent on an educational level. Even if that educational level is just at the "A, B, C" stage.
Watching Dora and Boots with Dora and Boots.
This is Sister chilling after her 3rd day of "pre-school."
First off, I decided I wanted to get serious about this, and do school as an everyday, organized scheme, rather than as a one-off thing we do sometimes. This decision was in embryonic stages throughout the summer, growing stronger and stronger until about three weeks ago. I decided I better put some action and some schedule to it or it would never really work. (They say that people with A.D.D. need lists, boxes to check and schedules. And yes. I will quite talking about A.D.D. now.)
So, I did what any mother in the 21 century would do. I googled it. "Homeschooling your preschooler." I was actually surprised at how little I found. I mean, there were plenty of links. Just, most of them weren't helpful. Maybe its what I deserved for googling "preschool," but really. Most of those sites said NOTHING that was insightful, or helpful to me at all. There were two things that I got out of the whole experiance. 1) Start teaching your kid the "Alphabet Song." My response: "Oh. Duh. That's a great idea." 2) Exercise with your preschooler. It teaches them about their body, being healthy, and about following instructions. I thought this was also a great idea.
Every morning after my husband leaves for work, I go into crazy cleaning mode. (Which didn't happen yesterday, but I'm not keeping tract or trying to earn gold stars.) During this time the kids have a focused playtime. They have a box of a few random toys they can play with at any time. The rest of the toys are always put away. I am organizing them into boxes of "similar toys." During this focused time of play I will bring out one box. I'm hopeful that this will keep each group of toys seeming new. But my real goal in this is for them to learn to focus on whatever they are doing, as well as helping me to make sure they are practicing more than one type of motor skill or creative play. Today they played with blocks. Tomorrow they get to play with the Little People nativity set.
After I get my Checklist done, they put their toys away and Brother goes to bed for some quite time/ book time. Then Sister and I sit on the couch and go through the letter flash cards, number flash cards, and word flash cards. With each letter we say the letter, look at the big and small version of it. (Aa) We make the sound(s) that it makes, and name four words that start with that sound. The word flash cards are a knock off from the idea of Your Baby Can Read. We simply say each word, then sound it out slowly a few times as I point to each letter, then say the word again once or twice. (A few of the word flash cards have pictures on them, but most of them don't, since I don't want her to memorize the picture, but rather the word.) The word cards aren't necessary for preschool. But it is fun to have a 3 year old who can read words like "fan, man, can." She can also read her name, and its her favorite word... other than the two words that every three year old is obsessed with. POOPY and POTTY. Of course.
|Our flash card box. |
They' re homemade from notecards.
Next we exercise. I put a "R" on her right wrist and an "L" on her left wrist, so that she gets it correct when we reach "OVER" to the right or left. We always exercise on our rug, to be consistent. Every day we choose a number (today it was 3.) We use it for each move. Run three laps. Jump three times. Hold the stretch for three seconds. This is great for learning numbers. Exercise time is proving to be a great way for Sister to learn to stay focused and listen to instruction, as well as learning how to follow "written instructions."
After this is done Bro joins us and both kids spend some time coloring. How long? As long as they can color without crayons becoming food or any fights breaking out. We have some great "coloring books" that are just plain colored paper made into a book. Bro has tons of fun with this. Sis wants me to do everything for her. I think I'm beginning to see that she has a "perfectionist" side. She still has fun with it though. I just have to continually remind her, "You can do it. That's great. You got it!"
Then we have a "school snack." For Sis that means that she gets a snack in the form of a letter or number, for bro, that just means eating things that aren't crayons.
|I used peanut butter to get it to stick to the plate.|
Finally, preschool, in my opinion, means enjoying the accidental learning experiences in the world. So sometimes that will mean baking a pumpkin, or coloring a picture of DORA. Maybe even watching and snitching while mom makes cherry jelly. At some point, preschool may also mean saying a few of our memory verses everyday. But for now, I'm just happy for us to be discovering the world in a non-chaos-generating manner.
|Her is the pumpkin that Sis was so excited to get.|
She did not, however, want to touch or feel
any of the gooey pumpkin guts.
But she does want to make pumpkin cupcakes.
Next week's Blog:
Memorizing Scripture with Small kids
Clean tips from a messy girl
Doing more with less time
I love your comments. I also love to here what other people are doing with their tots to keep them busy and learning and out of trouble.
Labels: Dora, Fall, Homeschool, Kids as Best Friends, Preschool, Schedule, School