I detailed a smattering of what we might be using for preschool this school year, back in May 2012. Seven months later, I'll give an update on how things are going.
I stated: "I don't want this year to be academic. At all. I want it to be fun, no pressure, and just introducing some prek skills. I want to read great books with my kids, do simple (keyword SIMPLE!!) crafts with them, and explore the wonderful world around us."
So far, so good! I haven't felt stressed by anything, and we've just gone with the flow. Because seriously. My son is 3 (for another 2 weeks, anyway).
I went on a shopping spree and bought some materials. Too many things, honestly. Most of these items we keep in our "school closet" so they stay organized and so pieces don't get scattered about the house.
We started these activities somewhere around August.
We don't have a schedule (though I tried to make a loose plan, and that lasted for less than a day). We just pull things out whenever there seems to be an interest.
I bought the My Father's World preschool package with the intention of doing the activity cards, but we haven't used those. (Though I would like to). We've just been playing with the materials on an open-ended basis. There are a lot of ways you can use these items.
I also bought a few things from the Timberdoodle catalog. Some items were fun; others were meh.
The Hape Zoo animal blocks puzzle is an interesting concept, and it's a challenge for Johnny but he is gaining on it. It's expanding his brain, that's for sure.
I had higher hopes for the Night & Day puzzle. Johnny can do it, but it doesn't hold his interest for long. Vivie likes to slide the pieces on, but she doesn't have any understanding of following the picture in the guide book.
Kumon: We're big fans of the mazes book, and their First Steps series (we have the cut paper; sticker & paste; color; and fold books). Because we don't pull them out often, Johnny still hasn't completed any of the books.
I'm preferring to take a slow approach with these, to let his fine motor skills develop slowly and naturally with the help of these books, and other projects he does on his own.
I plan to buy more Kumon books for his next level once he completes these. He can probably move out of the First Steps series, but I'm glad we started with that rather than jumping into their older set.
I can see a big improvement with those skills, and I think the workbooks have helped a lot.
Beyond the above activities (which again, don't happen daily or even weekly), we are reading lots of books together. Some are from our own growing collection, and others are from the library. We aren't doing any activities with them; we're just reading and enjoying them and talking about them if there's an interest.
I own the guide for Before Five in a Row and now Peak With Books, so perhaps I'll incorporate some of those books and activities at some point.
Overall, I am satisfied with how this fall semester went. Low-key, no boxes to check or schedules to follow.
I am still sorting out what I'd like to consider for this spring semester (maybe being more deliberate about using our materials, or following some of those literature ideas). And I'm still thinking about what to do for this fall. I will still consider Johnny to be a preschooler, with the fall 2013 being his last year before kindergarten.