My sister-in-law, Amber, asked me to write up a post about preschool. 

Let me begin by saying that although I have an Elementary Education degree and have worked in a couple different preschools (one while I was pregnant with Emilia - I really liked a little girl named Emilia that was in my class, so we stole her name :) ), I do not claim to be a "preschool expert".  

I'll just share what I've done with our kids when they are "preschool" age.

We've always had LOTS of children's books that the kids can access at all times (thank you to my mother-in-law!)
Even though I was not for homeschooling at the time, I always knew our kids wouldn't go to a formal preschool.  So, when Emilia was very young we started teaching her letters and sounds and reading chapter books.  I read somewhere that you should read good books to your children that aren't necessarily at their "level".  This helps them develop a large vocabulary and more complexity of thought.  Cool.  So, I decided to try this theory out and read Charlotte's Web to Emilia when she was 2.  She was little, but she really understood a lot.  I still read chapter books to her and I try to get her brothers to listen, but they aren't as interested in sitting that long without being able to look at pictures.  :)  Although, I just finished The Black Stallion and, while the boys didn't listen to the whole thing, they listened on and off and by the end (a very exciting end with a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-horse race) the whole family was listening intently.  Such a good book!

When I first thought about doing preschool with Emilia, I had this neat little schedule written out with calendar time, circle time, stories and songs - just like what I did when I taught at a preschool.  However, as I read more about homeschooling (about 30 books later - ha!) I realized that the home doesn't have to look the same as the school.  So, I ditched the plans that looked like a school and incorporated learning through every day life.  We talked about everything.  We baked together.  We read lots of books.  We had tea parties.  We went lots of different places.  We talked and talked and talked - that girl can talk!  She learned through so many different ways.  She was curious.  I supplied her with creative, fun things and outings.  It was natural to learn through life.

Emilia gardening
 When Jonny became preschool age, I remember thinking that I should sit with him and teach him his ABC's.  Then one day I heard Emilia singing the ABC's with him and he already knew them.  I couldn't believe he could learn without me!

Jonny "reading"
I think that we, as parents, can feel so much unnecessary pressure to get our kids to learn so many things by the time they go to Kindergarten that we stress ourselves and our kids out.  Learning becomes drudgery when it's not suppose to be that way.  God created all of us with a desire to know about things.  Kids (everyone!) should enjoy learning.

Matthew is our current preschooler.  I haven't really done anything specific with him.  However, he has already learned a lot!  This year both Emilia and Jonny will be doing school.  Emilia will be in 2nd grade and Jonny will be in K.  I know that Matthew is going to want some school things to do while they are doing school.  I have some friends that also have preschoolers and I think we're going to have a Preschool Activity Bag Swap.  We'll each make one activity 5 times and then we'll have 5 different activities for our preschoolers!  I really like this idea because Matthew can have his own "curriculum" so he doesn't feel left out.  I'm also going to work on writing letters and saying the sounds with him as well as writing numbers.

Matthew being...Matthew!


Shannon said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I didn't know that you are a teacher, too! Should've guessed, though. You do such a great job with your kids. I agree that preschool should be enjoyable learning at the pace of life. My one bit of advice for preschool moms: turn off the TV. Even though big bird or whoever is teaching letters and sounds and numbers, your child will learn much more effectively withOUT the TV as his guide. We did do some tv, but limited it to about 30 min. per day... or else that's all my preschoolers would have wanted to do! :)

Heidi said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great advice Shannon. Thanks!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great post! I'm so happy that you stopped by and said "hello"! Your family is precious! It looks like our boys are pretty close in age too. :)

My Bella just turned 7 TODAY on the 25th, and I already changed it on my blog!!

Yes, we so miss our chickens, as we had to leave them behind with neighbors when we started moving for the military last year. We hope to be able to have them again in about 18 months. :) I'll have to check out your posts on yours!

I look forward to following along with your family and homeschooling, chickens, etc. Thanks again for stopping!

Blessings, Kate
Bliss & That
(Sorry I couldn't get my comment to add with my blogger account...)

Heidi said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hey Kate! Thanks for stopping by!
Emilia was 7 in June, Jonny turns 6 in Feb., Matthew turns 4 in Feb. and Tommy was 1 in May. They're all about 2 years apart.
Good to "meet" you. :)

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