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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Preschool Next Year!?!

Danny is showing signs of starting to be ready for preschool, such as wanting to do "skool" with Camille. So I am trying to figure out what to use. I would love to do preschool all day with Danny and Camille but that's just not feasible, so I need something that is fun, easy, engaging and effective. I haven't decided yet but here's what I'm thinking.

Reading Instruction
Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (we have already) with it's companion CD
Leap Frog Fridge Magnets (have)
Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD
Print outs for DNealian handwriting and coloring pages (Bible and regular) to use as a Letter of the Week activity(?)

Read Alouds
We already have a pretty good collection of books to read including titles from Before Five In A Row, Sonlight, the 1000 Good Books list from Classical Christian 1000 Good Books and Ambleside and will continue to select titles to read from these lists as well as from the book Literature for Lively Lessons (PreK-3) - The Month-by-Month, Week-by-Week, Day-by-Day Guide to Great Picture Books that will you plan your lessons.

I want to borrow Five in A Row's idea of reading the same book everyday for five days that are easy enough for him to remember and talk about and then I want other books to fit within a weekly theme. For example: a week spent on fairy tales and folk stories would lead us to read the classics for a week and I would draw out activities from that but I would also read a short book like a Dr. Seuss one each day for a week. I hope I'm explaining myself correctly. We would have a morning reading sesson of 10 min while Camille is busy accomplishing her work, hopefully an afternoon session of 10 min and also at bedtime.

I want to cover a lot of topics (intentionally) throughout PreK and K so that Danny (hopefully) will have been exposes to a lot of information about the world without formal learning. Of course, this is my intention and it sounds good. I will do an activity each day with him but I want the books we read to do most of the exposure other than his free play time outside. Science, health, social studies, community awareness, etc. will have a literature approach first, then crafts/activities. In kindergarten, we will be taking field trips to help reinforce what we learn about our community, to the fire station, post office, library, police station, and any other place that may be interesting.

I want to teach Danny to write in D'Nealian so our alphabet pages or any other writing activity we do will be in D'Nealian. I wrote a post about D'Nealian resources two posts ago. Until we're ready to write, we'll be doing finger tracing and ABC recognition with D'Nealian letters. I am not teaching him to write at 4 years old, just pre-writing skills.

General Learning
I want to make sure that I give my boy a great start and since I feel confident that we'll use Horizons Math with him, I'm seriously considering getting the Horizons Preschool Program. I want 20-30 minutes of one-on-one time with him and I feel I need a structured, planned out program and Horizons is what I've found that fits what I'm looking for the most. I could get workbooks from Walmart, but it would be random learning whereas with a preschool program that lasts all year, the progress would be evident as well as having a solid idea of what areas he needs more in. I can use the workbooks left over from Camille being preschool age to help with areas that he may need more time or practice.

Another benefit of using a program is that although my dh is on-board with homeschooling, Danny is his little boy. Camille is from a previous marriage and dh will be more anxious with Danny's progress. Using a program will provide him confidence that Danny is getting all he needs and will afford him to trust me with Danny's education. That may sound weird but there have been issues on dh's side of the family regarding doubts if I can be an effective teacher for both Camille and Danny. I will say that this has shaken my confidence too so I feel a structured program will help us in many ways.

Finally, we have many preschool books such as: Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready, 365 Days of Creative Play, Kumon workbooks, and various other preschool type books, games, activities and created many baggy-type activities for Danny to do. I have Adventures in Odyssey and other audiobooks for his independent room time (30 minutes daily), I also want to read daily from a Bible storybook.

I have to pray about this some more but I think overall that I have a plan. :)



Sheryl said...

I have really enjoyed reading your posts, thoughts, and WTM discussions on preschool. My ds turned three in July..we plan to keep him "back" an extra year due to his summer birthday and his follower type personality. This doesn't mean I won't teach him just that at church etc. we have kept him in the younger class and now he will be the oldest in his grade. I am new to this whole homeschooling thing and feel truly blessed to have found other homeschoolers that I can gain wisdom from. And thanks for the reminder to PRAY about curriculum. Why do I forget that sometimes? DS3 knows colors, basic shapes, numbers to 12, can count to 20, recognize capital letters, and is by his request learning to write his name. He also wants to do school with older sister dd6, I kept thinking that would wear off but it hasn't. So Preschool here we come. Have a great week.

Sheryl in GA

Sarah J. said...

I'm sorry you are dealing with all that and doubting yourself.

I am going through the same thing with my in-laws though my four children are all my DHs, they just don't think I have the capability to homeschool in general.

I have had to state that if they want to discuss homeschooling or other sore subjects, that they have to go through my husband and he and I will discuss it and then he will get back to them.

It is not really putting them off, but I want my in-laws acceptance and I cannot handle the censorship.

I hope all goes well and that your son enjoys himself. Though with you as a mother I am sure they both will.

Alice said...

I found your blog through the WTM boards. It's been great to read and see your ideas for homeschooling.

One fun thing my son has really liked in the past year (he just turned 4) is that we do an author "birthday party" once a month. There are lots of lists online of birthdays or there is a great book called How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Codell that has a list of birthdays (this is a great book in general with tons of literature based ideas).

Anyway, I get a lot of books out by one author from the library and keep them for the "party". Sometimes I have a special treat we've made which can be simple or fancy depending on what else is going on that day. Then we sit down and read through the stack. Right now we just read them and talk a little bit about how one person wrote all these books. As he gets older I plan on doing more comparing of the books and illustrations. It's a fun activity though to do and could be done farily in depth or kept pretty simple.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica
I've got about ten years of preschool teaching experience, and I'd be happy to list common themes as well as activities and books to go along with them, if you want. I also highly recommend the sequence in Creative Art for the Developing Child for teaching process art.
Just email me if you want--or not! You are fully capable on your own!
Chris in VA

Jennifer said...

No worries! You're going to do great! Your boy is BLESSED to have such a great teacher who loves him passionately and has spent all this time planning out PreK for him.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Looks like you will be very busy. I did preschool, elementary, and middle school all at the same time and if you stop to think about it, it can be overwhelming but it just seems to work after you get into it. I used the older students to help the younger ones and it benefited both of them. You already know that though. :)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

my5wolfcubs said...

I checked out the Literature for Lively Lessons at Amazon -- looks really good! I wanted to do FIAR w/ my K'er, but it just hasn't happened. :(