Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Preschool stuff for the week of July 8

Last week, I pulled out a few of our preschool materials to give them a dry run. I thought I'd get a little feel for how we felt about them before we jumped in. It was a nice week!

I also wanted to mention that the week confirmed that my son truly is a preschooler. I know some moms use the MFWK curriculum as a preschool year, and maybe that would be fine for us, but where we're at now with the materials I've selected seem to be a perfect fit. Yay!

Monday -
  • Read Bible Stories to Read story #1
  • J&V colored the first picture in the Bible stories coloring book. I like how Johnny picked realistic colors and took his time to color every aspect of the picture. He doesn't color a lot -- mostly he draws, so I'm looking forward to watching him progress throughout the book. Vivie wanted to do a scribble on each page of her book, but I wrangled it from her and explained she could only do one page in THIS book, but she could color any pages she wanted from another one we have. I want to work on her listening and following directions, so that's why I pushed it a little.
  • Johnny and I played one game of Chutes & Ladders at his request while Vivie watched a show on Netflix
  • Johnny and I did 5 cards from MFW preschool. We did them all from the Lauri Kids Puzzle. He enjoyed every one. Topics included sorting by color, making patterns (we did AB, ABBA, ABC today), counting forward and backward, and lastly when it was time to put the pieces back on the puzzle board, rather than just doing the puzzle I had Johnny shape his body like the puzzle pieces. He thought that was great!
  • Read some library books together!

Tuesday -
  • Read books, grandparents came over for the afternoon/evening to visit
Wednesday -

  • Johnny was writing his name on his own, and I asked if he'd like to learn the correct way to write an 'h.' So, I taught how to write the lowercase 'h' using HWT stamp screen and the slates, then he wrote a few with paper
  • Went to the library to return books and pick up some new ones. I had a few on hold and then we browsed and added a few more. The kids wanted to color a picture before we left, so they did.
  • We read story #2 from Bible Stories to Read
  • Johnny did the first two pages of DTEL workbook while Vivie put stickers on a piece of paper.
  • Then, I grabbed the "Counting with Numbers" workbook and he did a few pages. Writing a "2" seems pretty tricky.
  • I asked what he wanted to do next and he wanted to color, so I grabbed his Bible stories coloring book and he did that page. Vivie didn't want to. She did the shape stacker Lauri toy. She likes sorting by color and totally gets that concept, so now I want to show her how to sort by shape with it.
  • Next, he wanted to play Candy Land. I put in a movie on Netflix while Johnny and I stole away upstairs to play. I wish we could include her, but she's kind of destructive when it comes to board games right now, so it was best to just distract and ditch. Sorry, Viv. 
  • Then, we did several MFW preschool cards. This time, we did the number puzzle toy and did several activities with that. He loved it! The cards have so many developmentally appropriate activities, and things that might not occur to me. I think I like sticking with one toy and doing several cards with it, vs. doing several cards but one per toy. For us, it flows faster and seems less disjointed to do it that way.
Thursday -

What did we do? I cannot remember! Surely something. 

Friday -

Went to the blueberry farm and picked 5+ lbs! Such a fun time, and of course we read Blueberries for Sal. I intended to do some activities from Before Five in A Row, but I kinda forgot. We can do that another time.

* * *
This week is busy. I have doctor's appointments, kitchen stuff appointments, and just general things to do for our kitchen renovation project. It's coming to an end, and everything should be done by the beginning of August. This week and next week will be my busiest.

I'm not sure that we'll get to any of our school-y activities this week. Hopefully just some good playtime and storytime, and that'll be a-ok in my book. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Our preschool plans for Fall 2013

In my last post, I outlined broad objectives I'd like to hit with each of my children for this preschool year. I figure it's a good idea to start with a bit of purpose, and choose curriculum around that, rather than the other way 'round.

Here's more specifics on what we are preparing to do:

Johnny (4.5 years, preschool)


  • Use the Rod & Staff "Bible Stories To Read" to guide us through 60 Bible stories. 
  • We'll read the story and color the corresponding picture in the Bible Pictures to Color book. I have a coloring book for Vivienne, too, so she can also participate here.
  • For memory verses, we may do the ones listed in the Bible Stories to read, or I might do the ones from ABC Jesus Loves Me year 3. Most of those go along with the Hide 'Em in Your Heart CDs which we already have and enjoy.
  • Bible songs will probably come from the Wee Sing Bible Songs CD. Perhaps I can get some of them to line up with the Bible stories we're reading.
  • I also plan to incorporate our Betty Lukens flannelgraph to help illustrate the Bible story we're discussing.

I'm not sure the pace we'll take, so I'm just going to start out doing it and figure out the pacing later. I'm working on a spreadsheet to help myself line up topics/verses/etc.

My Father's World Preschool

I bought the 3-5 year old set last fall, but we only got out the materials on occasion. I'd like to be more deliberate with using the toys in this set, as well as the activity cards. The 72 cards really have some great developmental activities for this age group.

Why this curriculum? To develop thinking skills, fine motor skills, phonics and math concepts while using toys.

Rod & Staff preschool workbooks

I bought the Rod & Staff preschool workbook pack (we have A through F) and I'd like to start with the first four, simultaneously: "Adventures with Books;" "Bible Stories to Read" along with "Bible Pictures to Color;" and "Counting With Numbers."

Why this curriculum? I like the simple progression of skills in these workbooks, and I think they'd be helpful tools without overwhelming us.

Developing the Early Learner workbook series

I'd like to slowly work our way through these workbooks. These are a different sort of concept -- they aren't teaching numbers and letters and such. Rather, these books are designed to help develop left-right tracking (important when learning to read and write!), eye-hand coordination, motor skills, visual strength, auditory and thinking skills.

Why this curriculum? These are all important skills for young children to develop!


I'd like to try some stories and activities within Before Five in a Row, Five in a Row, and Peak with Books. Part of me wonders if we'll actually like doing the activities, but I do want to give it a try. At the very least, the children's books that go along with these curricula are awesome, so we'll read some great books while we're at it.

Why this curriculum? I like the book selections. The activity ideas could be some that we implement, or they could inspire us to come up with our own. I don't have expectations here for how many activities, if any, we'll complete per story book.


I want to teach correct letter and number formation, since Johnny likes writing words but his style is all wonky. I don't want bad habits to become too ingrained, so that's why I'd like to address it now. We'll use Handwriting Without Tears materials.

I have their preschool workbook (but not the teacher's manual...and now I'm wondering if we'll be missing some things). We'll use the roll-a-dough activity, slate chalkboard, stamp & see screen, and I'll make cardstock templates of their wooden letter pieces from the kindergarten teacher's manual (I think that's where I saw it).

Why this curriculum? I love the multi-sensory approach here. Also, HWT is lefty-friendly, and my son is absolutely a lefty.

Other items we might add in at some point:

For Vivie, at 2.5 and in 'tot school'

She'll be tagging along and joining us when she wants, and doing her own thing when she doesn't. Resources I have specifically for her include:

  • I Can Color Toddler Big Skills for Little Hands
  • I Can Cut Toddler Big Skills for Little Hands
  • Let's Get Ready 3-5 Years (Gakken Workbooks)
  • Rod & Staff "About Three" workbook series (but she's not ready yet for this one)
  • The My Father's World preschool 2-3 year old set, (earlier I said minus the Wedgits...but I had some Amazon gift card money so I decided to order these and the cards)

I'd like to start with the MFW toys and the I Can Color book. Some of the other things can wait awhile. I also have plenty of 'educational games' for both kids that we'll incorporate somehow.

As far as scheduling...wow I have no idea. I don't want to spend too much time in one day on school stuff. I'm thinking perhaps we can start with roughly three days per week and go from there. While the weather cooperates, I want to spend plenty of time at the park and generally outside.

I'd like to also have plenty of time for play dates, library time, and other fun outings.

I want to avoid overthinking all of these activities and schedules and routines at such. Analysis is paralysis, ya know? So with this general idea of what we'd like to use and what I'd like to accomplish, I'm just going to jump in.

I'll probably start with the Bible activities and once we get into a groove with that, add some of the workbook things and so on.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tentative plans for the fall 2013 semester

I'm going to view this school year in two semesters. Thinking about 9ish months of academics for kids who are 2 and 4 years old...yeah that's too much for me to take on. It's a third of my daughter's life and a big chunk of my son's.

Factor in the baby coming in September/October, and yeah I think it's best for me to just consider August - December and evaluate what we'll do from January-May closer to the time.

Here are my objectives:

Preschool: Johnny, age 4.5 (as of June)

  • Bible: Become more familiar with Bible stories, memorize verses, memorize songs
  • Expose to concepts in math via real-life and hands-on examples
  • Continue exposing to phonics sounds and decodeable words through books we're reading together, words we come across in real-life situations, and words he's otherwise curious about
  • Continue developing fine motor skills through coloring, cutting, pasting, folding, doing mazes and dot-to-dots, lacing cards, etc.
  • Demonstrate and practice correct letter and number formation, as Johnny likes to add words to his pictures 
  • Read lots of fun, age-appropriate literature together with the goal of enjoyment of the story, building listening skills, prereading skills, and critical thinking
With Johnny, I decided he and I both need a little bit of structured preschool before we dive into MFWK. In my last post, I debated whether to start MFWK in August or delay it until January or even the following year, and based on feedback I got from some forums and just listening to my gut, we'll wait a little while on this. I think we'd all do better by waiting. 

My primary goal with him this semester is to get into some sort of more structured rhythm and be deliberate with educational activities and endeavors. It has to be fun! If it's not fun, it's dropped. He's 4.

Tot school: Vivie, age 2.5 (as of June)
  • Bible: Become more familiar with Bible stories, memorize verses, memorize songs
  • Learn to play quietly/do her 'work' while I'm working with Johnny
  • Expose to coloring, cutting, pasting with the goal of having fun
  • Read plenty of stories together
Vivie is still super young, and she's only getting tot school because she wants to do everything her big brother does. I ended up keeping things simple when Johnny was that age, and I intend to do the same with Vivie, except she'll have specific activities for our school time. Mainly to keep her occupied, but also to work on her "it's ok to share Mommy" attitude. That one needs some work.

Coming up in my next post, I'll elaborate on how I hope to achieve those objectives.