Monday, January 16, 2017

Brain dump-Homeschooling Preschool

We are about halfway through our preschool year, (I think. I am not really keeping super close track as we don't have to do anything this year) and I'm having lots of feelings. 
We have been having a ton of fun this year, and I have loved watching my girls grow and enjoy learning. 
Last summer, I meticulously did tons of research on preschool curriculum, preschool programs, units, styles of learning, etc. and chose some things I thought would fit really well for my girls. We have dumped about half of that stuff I meticulously researched, ha. Just goes to show you can't always tell how good of a fit it will be until you are using it every day. 
The Bible curriculum I chose, I loved because each week had a story, character of God that went along with that story and letter for the week, a verse, and some activities to go along with it all. It looked like just what we needed-not a full blown Bible curriculum yet, but something to supplement what we were already learning about the Bible, and to go along with the letter we were focusing on that week. Well, that was all great, but once we actually started doing it, it was not a good fit. I still love focusing on the character of God each week, but one of the things we were doing each week was a page with the verse to trace, and a picture. Well, my girls can't read! So while it was good handwriting practice, it certainly wasn't helping them hide the verse away in their hearts since they mostly didn't know what they were copying at the time. So, I've stowed those away for future years as something additional to do for memory verses. 
The main curriculum we chose has been about what I expected it to be. I pick and choose a lot from it, where things apply or don't apply to my kids, what we are learning, what we have time for, and their ability and interest. That has worked out pretty well. 
The additional sight word "curriculum" I chose, has gone pretty well. My girls have memorized the words they've learned very well, and are able to read the reader each week with no help from me (after I teach them that week's new word), which I think has been very empowering for them! My oldest daughter LOVES pointing out words she knows when we are reading books together (which interrupts our story 997897234 times each book, but ya know...she's proud and I'm proud of her!) 
We have abandoned about half of what we were doing in our binders each day. It was taking F.O.R.E.V.E.R. for them to get them done each day, and it wasn't the bulk of what we needed to be doing, so we cut way back. Now we just fill in a square for the 100 days of school count, they do the weather for the day, what they're thankful for, and how they're feeling. We basically stopped all the calendar pages and just go over our calendar area together for the day, date, month, etc. 
Lately I have been having a hard time being motivated to get things ready each week. The girls have been so imaginative lately and they just get SO into playing these make believe games with their toys, and it is really hard to want to ask them to stop to come do school. So lately, more often than not, I've been letting them do their thing and if we don't get school in, oh well. I've had to really loosen up the reigns on this for myself, because I hate feeling like we're getting behind. But you know what? This is my oldest's last official year before we really start school. And then it will be school for the next 13 years. So I'm just feeling all the feelings right now and feeling like if she wants to play, I should let her play. She is plenty ready for Kindergarten already, that I am just trying not to worry about it. I guess that's one of the beauties of homeschooling-we can adjust where we see fit and do what works for us in that season. That's hard for my type A personality to be ok with, but it's a little easier when I see how much they've been enjoying themselves lately. 
It definitely feels like Kinder is approaching rapidly. We will be registering with our local HSAP (homeschool assistance program) soon, purchasing curriculum, and getting ready for her first official year of school! I am excited and she is more than ready, I think. We are debating about whether to send her to the HSAP options program once a week which is a class of homeschooled kids and they go to music, art, P.E., history, science, lunch and recess. I think it's about 4-5 hours once a week. I think she would really enjoy that and I would love for her to get more out of some of those specials areas than what she might get at home the first few years, but we have a few reservations as well, so we will see which way it goes! 
I was going to try to find some recent school pictures, but I think I am going to just leave this as a true "brain dump" post and end it here! 
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