Monday, January 7, 2013

Preschool Fun - January

Last September we attempted to start homeschool preschool but, lets be honest, it didn't go well.  I over planned, Josh wasn't really ready to sit and be "schooled".  It become more frustrating for both of us - he thought it was a game and I got tired of planning things and then not getting it done.  We have made some good strides in the last few months to prepare him to actually sit and learn.  Along with that is the simple fact that he is a boy and, well, is a little immature ;-)  I think when we started in September, I was really trying to do preschool with a three year old, not an almost 4 year old. One truth I read over and over is that each kid is different so therefore, only do what your child is ready for and we were not ready for preschool!!

In December, we had a lot of fun making ornaments and having a very quick simple lesson each day.  I knew we were finally on the right track.  He looked forward to this time and took his time doing each of the activities.  Two things that have made a difference too have been Friday School and Sunday School/ Kids Korner.  He quickly learned how to sit and listen to his teacher and how to do various activities.  Josh is a very visual learner and being in classes helped him see what he was supposed to do.  Prior to last fall, he was still in the nursery so he always got to play.  So, those who have churches that offer an actual Sunday School or Junior Church class for 2-3 year old's, it makes a HUGE difference in helping them learn how to sit through a class.  Who knew??  I've also reconfigured the classroom slightly by using a card table in place of the banquet tables.  This gives room for all of us to sit around the table and work together or we can also easily move to the dining room table which I have found is a great place to do crafts because it is close to both the kitchen and the bathroom.

One of the other concerns I had was not teaching Nate because I didn't want him to get ahead.  I've thrown that concern out the window.  Instead I am focusing on some of the same skills for both of them.  This is "only" preschool after all.  Once Josh starts Kindergarten then I'll make sure Nate has different things to work on to build those preschool skills but for now, we are just going to have fun learning.

I have a few goals I'd like to accomplish over the next 5 months:
1)I'd like both boys to know how to use scissors (I debate this because right now, they can't cut anything they aren't supposed to HA!)
2) I'd like both boys to be able to hold a pencil correctly.
3) I'd like both boys to be able to write their names.
4) Both boys will be able to count to 20
5) Both boys will be able to recognize as many letters as we get through :-)  Now, they both know their ABC's and can already recognize most letters as Uppercase and quite a few lower case.  I am thinking that based on what we are doing, they will actually recognize all of them but at the very least it will be the ones we study.

So, what will we be using to learn over the next few months?

Bible - I think it is so important to teach Bible at home whether you homeschool or not.  Expecting them to grow up in God with only Sunday School lessons just isn't the way it should it be. I had planned to teach two classes at Friday school during this session but, due to being down to one car, I had to back out.  Instead, I'm using the book I purchased for the preschool class as my Bible Lessons for this time at home.  It is called "All-in-One Bible Fun" and is a study on the Fruits of the Spirit.  I'm trying to focus on teaching my boys to grow as kind and considerate young men - what better place to start than the Fruit of the Spirit!

Preschool Lessons - I will be using the Rising Rock Stars Preschool lessons from 1+1+1=1.  I really like the way she has things set up and her printables are fantastic.  The bonus is that she is starting the program with her youngest as well so she is doing some updating to quite a few things within the study units.  We are going to do it in ABC order which is what makes sense in my brain.  Within many of the lessons are lesson plans with links to the various things she is doing from other sites as well.  I plan on following that pretty closely.

Extra, Fun Stuff - Arts and Crafts and other activities teach so many things!  I'll being using my BFF, aka Pinterest, to help me build up some fun ideas to do with the boys.  They are also very into games right now and we are working on teaching them how to follow directions (and that one certain 4 year old doesn't ALWAYS have to win!!)

My lessons plans will be simple - I want to put together everything I want to do for Letter A, as an example.  Then, we will work on Letter A until we have finished all of those activities.  It may take a week or a month and that's ok.  I want the boys to memorize the verse that goes with each lesson and I don't want to move on until they can say it.  (We'll see how that goes . . .. if it is a real struggle, we'll go on to the next lesson and just keep reviewing)  We will also be working on learning some new songs that go along with each lesson (I love that I can download MP3's of individual songs for each lesson!).  We love to sing at night when we put the boys to bed and I'm getting really tired of the ABC song :-) 

We are starting our lessons today so look forward to next week to see how we do!