May 22, 2019 | homeschool
May 22, 2019 | homeschool
Its the end of May, its sunshiney (today...hello Illinois), and summer is SO. CLOSE. I don't count down the days as actively as I did when I was teaching, but its still one of my favorite times of year. And even though school is on the way out for the year, I wanted to share some of our favorite homeschool finds with you! If you like to hear and see all the things, you can see everything in my stories highlights on instagram.
So, back story. Last spring we signed our 3 year old up for 3's preschool two days a week, but we ended up deciding to keep her home. I felt like she just wasn't quite ready, plus we were expecting a baby in the winter and the running to and from in bitter cold sounded awful! It was a great learning experience and I'm glad for the decision we made. We began a loose homeschool preschool situation in September!
I started with Susie from Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool curriculum. At first I had all the fun scheduling out basic lesson plans but that is so not required. The Playing Preschool curriculum is super easy - a letter a week, incredible children's literaure chosen for each week, and lots of number and letter activities. If you're more of an Amazon mom than a Pinterest mom, you'll love this! And, its super easy to extend into more complex activities if that's your thing too!
Along with the Busy Toddler set, we also did some journal writing! I really wanted to instill a love of writing and the habit of it from a young age. When I taught second grade, I had the opportunity to complete a program on the Reading Writing Connection and trained other teachers in these strategies as well. So, modeling reading and writing will forever be something I am passionate about! To read more about our journal time, read this post!
And then I had a baby...
And consistent, routine school time took a back seat! I learned a lot about the value of owning the season you're in, not being afraid to pivot if that's what needed, and just finding what worked! Even little things, like wanting to be upstairs at our kitchen table with sunlight streaming in instead of in the dark cold basement. Hashtag postpartum hashtag give me sunshine. Feel me? Anyways, what we do now was a great mixture of ready-to-go books we could grab and enjoy! Here's our faves:
Love this book made by Usborne! Shameless plug for their books. I do not personally sell them but own several and they're truly the bomb. (Grab them here if you want to try them, this is my best friend Kelsey's page and she is the real deal.)
This lift-the-flap numbers book reads similar to a story/activity book and practices everything from counting to even/odd to missing numbers and more! It feels like a game and we can even do it on the couch while I'm feeding Hutch a bottle!
Ok, have you heard of this gem? I LOVE it! All my siblings learned to read from this book (thanks mom for letting me borrow your copy!) and I've truly been shocked at the progress Piper has made. You need zero teacher training for this book, it has it all mapped out and tells you exactly what to say. We spend about 15-20 minutes on a lesson each day. Super doable! Reading has been the most stretching for Piper... in the beginning she'd get frustrated or want to give up. But she's grown so much in her persistence and I'm so proud of her. Some tips:
- Exercise! Another research study from back in my teaching days but those brains need MOVEMENT! We do lots of jumping jacks and arm movements that cross the midline (point your right arm to the left of your body and vice versa) to engage the brain fully before we start.
- Valor up! This is one of our favorite essential oils and is great for little bodies before doing hard things.
- This is also the first "subject" we do so she's nice and fresh.
Shout out to Usborne again! These are ready to roll and I love the dry erase. At this age its tough for them to hold the pencil, manuever it, and push hard enough for ink or lead to appear. Dry erase makes it simple. These wipe clean books have several options like letters, beginning pen skills (tracing lines, etc.) and more. They're great for road trips too!
Bible / Theology
My husband is a huge theology nerd and is turning me into one too. Ha! In all seriousness though, I don't think there's too young of an age to start helping shape our kids' Biblical worldview and the truth of who God is. We do Bible stories before bed but this "Everything A Child Should Know About God" book is another huge fave of mine and we read it at lunch most days! The inside has short stories with a simple question - covering aspects like "The Bible is true," "God is holy," "God is powerful," etc.
I also was surprised at how early on she could start memorizing so I picked out some verses to work on. We memorize one every few weeks. Just a plain old notecard and made up hand motions- its does NOT have to be fancy!
Worth mentioning - P loves these simple activity books from Hobby Lobby! Fun Bible stories, stickers, matching or counting activities, simple and fun! We found them in the back craft aisles.
And that's a wrap! We probably spend about 25-30 minutes on "school" every day but its been fun, a great addition to help with routine and structure, and really quite simple. Its taught me patience, helped me see more of the ways P is wired, and overall been a really helpful experience. We don't necessarily feel called to homeschool for the long haul and will consider it each year for each child, but this was the journey for today. Thankful for the opportunity to experience it with her!
Oh, and because I know this is a question I would ask - I just kept everything in the
corner of my kitchen on this cute little Target cart! Target does it again! ;)
I hope you find these resources helpful - don't ever hesitate to reach out if you have questions!