For our Homeschool Preschool this year, I’ve divided our learning topics into two week blocks. Being that Valentine’s Day was this week, our current block has been focused on learning about Love & Family (more on that soon). But first I wanted to share a little about what I’ve been learning as I become a homeschooler (for the second time in my life).
By nature, I’m a planner. I need a clear goal, a well thought-out path to achieve it, and preferably a checklist to cross things off of along the way. Unfortunately, life doesn’t usually operate like that…and neither does preschool. For this year, to give me a launching pad into this idea of teaching Kade at home, I put together a “plan”. A Scope & Sequence. In reality it’s an Excel spreadsheet, but I like calling it ‘Scope & Sequence’ because it makes me feel more teacher-ish (sometimes wearing a cardigan also helps with this). :)
As I mentioned, I divided the year into two week blocks and then after every four blocks, I incorporated what Kyle calls “a hardening week”. It’s a built in time where we don’t “do school”. I take a step back, analyze what we’ve just done to figure out what worked, what needs improved, and what needs tossed. And it gives me a focused time to do some more serious planning, research and prepping for the next four blocks. I like this setup for a lot of reasons but the two most important are:
- I can cater it to Kade (figure out what methods and styles clicked with him, what he needs to review or practice, etc)
- I can cater it to Kade (as his interests change, so can the activities. Because sitting down on January 1st to plan what kind of art activity Kade will be into in August is difficult, to put it mildly)
Each block concentrates on a specific character trait and and a general learning topic. For example, the block before this was on Dinosaurs and our character trait was “Respectfulness”. I realize that dinosaurs aren’t usually known for their respectful nature, but I do want my son to be known for his. So we needed to learn about it. Each character trait has a corresponding verse that we learn, a Bible story and activities. Maybe there’s a library book or VeggieTale that helps drive the point home, so we use those too.
Then with the general topic, I try to incorporate lots of “subjects” and activities under that umbrella. Math of some sort, art, social studies, outdoor learning, etc. For phonics/reading, we primarily use the A Beka curriculum, but supplement that with online games (like Starfall) and other readers. Each day looks a little bit different. Sometimes a LOT of time is dedicated to “preschool”, sometimes its just one game or book or activity. I’m learning that the key is to be successful while making it work for us and a big part of that is determining what success is. At this stage of the game, my biggest concern is his heart, his attitude and his childhood. If he only learns one thing in each block, I want it to be the character trait. If we can only accomplish one thing, I want it to be FUN. Learning shouldn’t be a chore, at least not in Preschool. And if I remember only one thing, I hope that it’s the fact that he’s just a kid. Childhood is only once, and it’s so short. I don’t want to steal it from him.
PS. He’s being a snail.