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Thursday, February 7, 2008

What is Horizons Preschool?

Philosophy and Objectives of the Program

Horizons Preschool is a complete preschool program that was made to be adaptable to many situations: a classroom, homeschool and daycare situtation. Five days a week of lessons are provided with the understanding that any number of days per week may be used successfully. New concepts are introduced on days 1, 3 and 5 of the week. Days 3 and 4 have activities that expand and further practice the concepts.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS
If you have a child that is still developing fine motor skills, that's fine- write in sand or shaving cream until it's built up. There are helps within the program such as tracing letters and activities to enjoy that will build fine motor skills that they need to start writing. If your child is already able to write, the curriculum is more open and go.

HOW to Think, not WHAT to Think
There is a very helpful section in the beginning of the Horizons program that addresses understanding a young child and how they think versus how an adult thinks. Horizons Preschool's goal is to teach the child HOW to think instead of WHAT to think. The importance of allowing a child free time after a teaching session is stressed because how the child plays will show what has been absorbed and internalized. The usual age for starting Horizons Preschool is 4 years old, Horizons warns not to push it, let the child's actions and desires guide the decision to start, not age or grandparents. Lol.

HOW TO CREATE A POSITIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
There is more about how to go about teaching your child, what elements are most important and how you can move forward to accomplish a positive learning experience for your child. Elements addressed are discipline, routine, limitations of time, unstructured time to play and how the teacher can encourage the child. All very helpful!

DESIGNED TO BE ACTIVITY AND ACADEMIC CENTERED
This preschool program has been designed to meet the needs of two different types of preschool programs- an activity centered preschool and the academic centered program. This means there is far more material presented in the teacher's guide than what can be covered. It is a pick and choose program that supports half day programs, three day programs and all-day programs.

The components:

1. Student Workbooks: Consumable workbooks which contain 180 lessons in 4 color in a perfect bound book with perforated pages for easy tear out. Most pages are front and back but pages with crafts that require cutting are only 1-sided.

2. Teacher's Guide: Detailed (whew! the details) daily lesson planner that provides enough activities for a full day.

3. Resource Packet: Full color teaching aids and black line masters for reproduction.
Components within-

  1. Memory Verse cards provided separately in NIV and KJV
  2. Alphabet Puzzle
  3. Flashcards (I love these!): Numbers 1-12, Letters (Aa-Zz), Colors, Shapes, Time (analog & digital clocks by the hour), Seasons, and Months. There are smaller flashcards which are full color and two sided and huge flashcards 8.5x11 that are also full color and two sided.
  4. Music CD contains Bible songs to reinforce key ideas, recorded using children's voices and serves as a sing-along instructional aid.

The Daily Lesson Structure only in Teacher's Guide:

  • Bible Reference, this is chapter and verse
  • Bible Concept to Present: overall objective of the lessons from a nondenominational viewpoint (yay!)
  • Bible Lesson: provides information you need but is suggested that you present this instead of reading it
  • Social Studies: materials that affect the child's life, items that have an impact on the child's lifestyle and people around him, many suggestions are activity oriented
  • Science: based on God's creation, activity oriented with specific subjects discussed
  • Language Arts: words exercises, poems, verbalizations, games, etc. Reading should only be taught when the child is ready.
  • Phonics: Letter recognition and alphabet order. Associating, differentiating and blend the letters sounds comprises the remainder of the program which Horizons suggests using LIFEPAC Kindergarten Language Arts or Horizons Kindergarten Phonics & Reading. Yeah, we won't.
  • Reading: Primary goal is to increase the verbal skills, narration is promoted.
  • Writing: developmental progressions with the goal of having the child write their first name by the end of the program
  • Memory Verses: memorization tips
  • Math: Teach fundamentals of number sense through multi-sensory activities.
  • Shapes: identifying basic geometric shapes- a new shape is introduced about every 2 weeks
  • Colors: also introduced every two weeks
  • Story Time: this has been left very open (thankfully for us!) but there is a list of books to choose from. Specific books are not tied into the individual lessons. Rereading a book numerous times is encouraged, and many more helps are provided.
  • Music: Suggested for each lessons, the CD is tied to each lesson as well as popular toddler and preschool songs. There is a new song every 7 lessons
  • Arts & Crafts: plenty of suggestions throughout
  • Physical Education: to develop motor coordination needed, develop large muscle motor skills, grace and rhythm
  • Outdoor Activities: nature
  • Creative Cooking: a way to involve more senses (Danny loves to cook!)
  • Health & Safety: habits of hygiene and everyday safety skills
  • Field Trips: suggestions given
  • Homework pages: Can be done with Dad in the evenings but more for traditional school
  • Catch Up: Listed every six to eight weeks for when you don't have time to do a lesson, this is when you "catch-up"
I'm sorry but this is a fabulous program! I love it even more than I did before now that I have dove into it. It can be used secularly if the user wishes, it just takes ignoring the Bible elements in the Teacher's Guide and skipping or modifying some of the activities in the workbooks. We do not use heavily indoctrinated products, we feel if religion or faith is to be taught, as the parents we are the best vehicle- not a script or curriculum.

This program can be as involved or as simple as you'd like! Here's some pictures.

8.5 x 11 Month flashcards, the one on the right is the back of February's

Yes, that is a yeast cell. Cool, huh?

Pages from Lesson 19

Page from Lesson 100

Page from Lesson 104

Seasons flashcards 8.5 x 11, front Fall, back of the winter card on right

Color this picture of heaven, Lesson 3

Smaller and larger flashcards to use

Front and back of the Number flashcards

Time by the hour


Pages in the resource packet for reproduction

Colorful illustrations as teaching aids- yes that's the brain and the five senses are noted
and safety signs.

You know why else I love this program? If we don't cover something in PreK, we can continue it into K and use some of the elements later on in science, etc. There is SO much to this program, I cannot find one thing I have an issue with. I hope this helps others.

 

12 comments:

Daisy said...

Wow! I'm wishing I had done that with my DS. He would have loved it last year. We used Rod and Staff readiness (which worked fine) but this would have provided the variety and color he so badly needed. Thanks for a great review.

Kysha said...

Uh, are you sure this is preK? LOL! This looks awesome!

Rachel said...

What an awesome review, thanks for the details!!! For Christmas, my husband purchased Bright Beginnings preschool for me, which has gotten wonderful reviews as well, and I plan on using that and homeschoolshare....but I might be filing this away for the next year :-)

Also, thank you for adding me to your links, that was very sweet. (I'm excited!)

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend
Love in Christ
Rachel

Diane said...

Wow, brain illustrations in PreK...

Thanks for the review. I was looking into it for my little girl. I never used a preK curriculum or a reading program yet my Son was reading well at 4...so, now, I have my daughter and have no idea where to start. :) She's actually reading three letter words, all thanks for starfall.com.

D

Michelle said...

I'm glad you like your new curriculum & I love that part about teaching kids "how" to think instead of "what" to think. That really is key.

Thanks for removing the outdated link for me. I appreciate it. :)

Have a great weekend!

Sarah said...

Yeah, I'm thinking preK...as in four, right? Not three? My son will be three in May, so I'm looking for what we can do next year. I am completely new to homeschooling, so I'm not exactly sure what we should be doing, but addition? Wow! Biology? Wow! This looks a bit over my son's head!

Jennifer said...

WoW! It looks awesome! I'll be checking into the prices. Oh, and....I bought the Wedgits for my boys (Wedgits shown within your title) and we all love them!!! I now want to buy the bigger set!

Anonymous said...

Wow . Thank you for posting this . I was looking at this today for my preschooler and it looks like exactly what she would like .

Tracy

Melissa said...

Wow, thanks so much for this in-depth review! We are looking at this program for our almost 4-year old.

Nichole said...

Thanks for the review! It's so helpful to be able to "look" inside the books.

kcmom2four said...

Thanks for your review...I have this on the way for my 3 and 4 year old...it looks like it will work great with some tweaks for the younger and it looks like it will have plenty of material for the two years we have before kindergarten! I'm so glad that you like it and shared the pictures and comments.

Samantha said...

Thank you so much for posting this for me it was a toss up between "Answers for Preschoolers" and "Horizons" and you pushed me to it with the review although my daughter is 3 and very smart so I will be starting early and copying pages so I can do it again next year!! :)