For me, preschool should be exactly that. The child is not actually being schooled yet.
Preschool in our home is a very gentle transition into more focused education. The only “school” things I really expect my children to learn in that 3-4 year old time frame are their letters and numerals to 10. We also memorize Scripture verses. Apart from that, anything that gets absorbed by their amazingly sponge-like brains is considered a bonus.
I keep things simple for several reasons:
- Because I am homeschooling more than one child.
- Because I want to encourage my children to explore life rather than overwhelm them too early with too much structured learning.
- Because I desire to stay sane.
So, if you are looking for a detailed, highly involved curriculum, I will not be able to help you. However, if you’re looking for something simple to help you and your littles get your feet wet before diving into “real” homeschooling, then you’ve come to the right place!
We begin each school day together. We:
- Pray the “Our Father” and commit our learning the Lord.
- Say the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
- Sing a song or recite a poem we’re learning.
Next, we have Religion class, which again involves all of my children. This year, we are doing an overview of the Old Testament. My preschooler is instructed to
- sit quietly, as he would during any family worship time and to listen attentively to the Scriptures.
- memorizes the weekly Bible verse along with my first grader. (He loves this!)
We also read the lives of the saint and celebrate the feasts of the church with activities, crafts, and special foods. I try to put up a holy card or icon of saints whose feasts we are celebrating in a given week.
After that, I teach him the Letter of the Week. In the spring, we’ll transition to numbers and shapes. Here’s how we learn our letters:
- Monday: Teach the letter and its sound. I also write it on the chalkboard.
- Tuesday: Review letter sound. Trace and experiment with writing letter on chalkboard. (You want something upright, like an easel. It’s easier for littles to write this way.)
- Wednesday: Make the letter with your bodies. (My first grader and even the baby have been known to help!)
- Thursday: Do a craft or activity based on the letter. For example, on “A” Week, my son played the alligator, and my daughter and I were ants. He had to shout “aaaa!” as he attempted to eat us!
After all that work, my preschooler gets to play quietly in his room while I finish up school with his sister. He may also sit and listen to the lessons or participate in science experiments or art projects as he wishes. I always have him join us for music and art appreciation.
We also have a weekly learning basket containing four topical books (examples are apples, popcorn, harvest, and leaves). I use the same rotation of books each year, because the children love them, and since they change each week, nobody gets bored! My preschooler gets to be “in charge” of the basket and decide which books to read when throughout the week.
And that’s all, folks!
Next, I’ll do a series of posts on our learning baskets and share our book selections with you.