Monday, August 29, 2016

What We're Learning for PreK-4

So we've begun the great adventure of homeschooling! Well, not completely, but kind of. We don't start "formal" homeschooling (the plan is Classical Conversations) until Fall of next year, but wanted to find a homeschooling rhythm/routine before then! PLUS my very eager 4 year-old little student was in need of a good challenge. Noelle is a bit performance-driven (I have no idea who she got that from 😉) and accomplishing/acquiring new goals and skills is right up her alley. So instead of pushing off structured learning until next year, we have taken the plunge into some fun and engaging preschool learning! I'm not using a curriculum but have formulated my own list of things we would like to learn this year based on Noelle's interest. Pinterest has become my new sidekick and has made the process of creating "lesson" plans that are tailored to Noelle fun and fairly easy! SO here is a list of things we hope to cover this year (it's not important to me that all of these are mastered... The exposure and familiarity is what I'm going for):

1. Character Development- We have been selecting one of the 49 Character Qualities to focus on each week. Generally, I've tried to provide opportunities for both girls to practice the quality and talk through it when the topic arises in everyday circumstances/situations. For example, we are covering "Joyfulness" this week.

2. Reading- Noelle has been BEGGING me to teach her how to read. I put it off for a while, worried that she wouldn't like the process and would shy away from it. But so far, she's doing great! I'm using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. You can find it here.

3. Hymns- both of my girls are musically inclined and highly enjoy singing. Teaching them hymns is my way of providing doctrinal and theological enrichment in a way that's fun, practical and inviting! They love to sing the ones we've learned before they go to sleep at night. Hymns have a way of settling the soul and quieting the heart. I hope they will bless my girls for years to come.

4. Bible Memory Verses- I pick one (short) verse a week that corresponds to the weekly character quality. This week we paired Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!" with "Joyfulness". I've been amazed at how quickly a child can memorize a scripture with a bit of consistency while making it fun!

5. Books of the Bible- I've been singing the same Books of the Bible song that I learned as a child in Sunday School to the girls and they LOVE it! After just a few short weeks, they are very familiar with the melody line and can fill in a good amount of the books!

6. Read Alouds- I want my Children to have a literature-rich childhood. We read aloud everyday from a chapter book (mainly illustrated versions of classic novels) during lunch and/or afternoon reading.

7. Art/Music Appreciation- we aren't delving to deep into this. I'm just exposing them to a variety of genres, styles etc. For example, I've been playing a lot of the lovely Ella Fitzgerald's tunes while I prep dinner lately. I also plan to add more picture/art books to our weekly libray lists.

8. Chores/Ownership in the home- Noelle already does a few little chores during the week, but I plan to make her an actual chore chart so she can have a visual!

9. Days of the week- printable from Pinterest!

10. Months of the year- Pinterest!

11. Seasons- You guessed it! Pinterest.

12. Writing uppercase/lowercase letters- Did I mention Pinterest? I found the cutest Uppercase/lowercase printable sheets and put them in sheet protectors to use repeatedly with dry erase markers! MONEY SAVER!

13. #'s 1-100 (identifying/tracing/writing)- We've started with Kumon's My Book of Numbers 1-30 and Noelle is loving it! You can find it here.  I also found #'s printables and use sheet protectors with dry erase markers!

14. Coin/Bill recognition- So far we have learned about the penny, nickel and dime! We focus on one a week and regularly discuss how much each one is worth, the persons on each one, and try to give opportunities for Noelle to pay for small or cheap items with coins when I can.

15. Familiarity with clocks

16. Identify and draw basic shapes- Kumon has en excellent write and wipe shape kit that we have been enjoying! You can find it here.

17. Sorting/Patterning/Sequencing with manipulatives of all kinds 

18. Mommy and Daddy's Phone Numbers

19. Write full name

20. Learn our address

This seems like a lot, but like I mentioned before, mastery of any of these things is not the main goal! Familiarity and exposure are the central focuses! Also, we will take a few of these items at a time and learn them all the way through next summer! My prayer is that Noelle and I will be able to connect  and develop a good teacher/student relationship with a bit more structure NOW before we get fancy next year for kindergarten.

What are you teaching your littles for preschool? :)

Happy learning together!