Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thoughts on preschool/playschool for the fall

My son is 3. His birthday is in December, so in the middle of the traditional school year he'll turn 4 and my daughter will turn 2.

For my purposes, this upcoming school year will be more like "playschool." Minimal academics. Big on the Bible. Mostly reading good books together and playing with open-ended and educational toys, and doing preschool-type art projects. I'm not aiming to have him reading anytime soon.

I'm browsing several curriculum catalogs  and sites to get a feel for how some people approach this age group. I'm taking ideas from the following:
I'm not doing all of these curricula; I'm just learning about them and taking both concepts and actual resources I like. I don't think any one curriculum I've come across so far is exactly what I'm seeking (which seems to be the case for many homeschoolers).

I'd like to include both of my children in activities since I think that would be easier on us all. That's not to say that they'll both do the exact same things. Instead, if my son is doing a craft, I'll have something crafty for my daughter to do on her level.

I'm not wired to automatically know of fun things to do with babies and toddlers. I'm the kinda mom that needs to read books and browse websites to get inspiration for some things. As my kids have gotten older, it's becoming more easy for me to think of fun things on the fly.

For example, the other day Jon was talking about rainbows. Perhaps because it had been rainy and sunny, and he wondered if he'd see one? So, I was inspired to make a rainbow in our house using a clear water glass, some water and holding it up to a sunbeam coming in our window. Bada-bing, rainbow!

Then, we got out our markers and crayons and both kids colored their own rainbows. While they were doing that, I read a short page in one of their books that described rainbows. It was a prize from Chick-Fil-A one time, heh!

Then, we talked about the rainbow that God put in the sky after the flood.

When I write it out like that, it sounds forced, but believe me it just flowed really well and it felt natural. It all took maybe 30 minutes or less, but it was a fun instant mini-unit for all of us.

I'm glad I could piece something together like that myself, but I really do like to look at other resources for inspiration with this age group. Some mamas seem to really thrive with babies and toddlers. I suspect I'll really be in my element when the kids are elementary-aged or higher.

Anyway, I'm going to be learning more about these curricula and piecing together how I'd like the upcoming school year to look. I think the next year, the year Jon is 4 turning 5, is when I'll do a more academic preschool for him (but still heavy on play! Maybe some phonics and basic math). We'll see how it goes.

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