21 November 2013

At-Home Preschool: Two Months Down

When I decided to do our "preschool at home" curriculum this year, I kind of made the decision a little ... late. 

Although there are no "assigned" dates on each day's curriculum, thumbing through some of it suggested following a "normal" school year. But of course, I didn't have the materials in hand until early October ... making that start date a full month later than most schools start. 

We went through October following to a T, and only adding in a few Halloween themed crafts when we had a chance, and a break, in some of the work. 

But as we started the month of November ... and the second month of the curriculum, I started to notice that the "themes" for the daily learning might not be holiday specific, but definitely lent themselves to the idea of that month's celebrated day. 

Bats, the colors black and orange -- both were in the second month, and clearly meant for study around Halloween. So I picked up the third month, which we were no where near getting to, and breezed through to scope out the topics. Things like being thankful, family ... those were the themes near the end of the month. Cleverly placed, since Thanksgiving falls in November. 

So I made a decision a couple weeks ago. I dropped everything and we have only been focusing on the letters for the days. Our goal is to completely catch up and be in the 4th month of curriculum by the time December 1st rolls around. 

Essentially, we are squeezing 6 weeks, or so, of study, into a month's worth of time. Luckily, S will have an additional year at home before S is eligible to start Kindergarten, thanks to a late birthday. Which means we have the time to break some of the work down even more than suggested.  

Instead of focusing on recognizing and learning to write each of our letters, I chose to first introduce them so she can recognize them on her own. She can't write them from memory if she doesn't remember what they look like. So now, we get extra time to associate. 

We've gotten through D, E and F already in the past two weeks. And already, S has had an easier time with the projects -- she doesn't get as frustrated, or seem to goof off as much. There are still moments, and some days she doesn't want to come to the table for our project, but for the most part, we aren't struggling with not wanting to put pencil to paper. 

Because we just aren't even approaching that yet.

The goal in the next week and a half is to finish up G, H and I. Which we already have a little head start on. When we started, S was writing her A's, but they were often coming out like H's, disconnected at the top. So we talked about it then ... and now, she knows that an H is like an open A ... and will randomly come tell me she found an H, and that H says house or horse. 

Kids are little sponges, I tell ya! 

But anyways ... that's where we are at. We're trucking along, speeding along, really. Soon, we'll be able to slow down. And do more -- really look at the themes. Take related books from the library. Do cooking projects. Watch videos. Play games and music. All dealing with the themes ... more than just the letters or shapes. 

For now, I'll leave you with a few pictures of some of her work. 

D is for Dinosaur ... 

We also were able to read a story on different types of dinosaurs, where she learned about how to sort them into different groups: big vs little, meat eaters vs plant eaters. And we got addicted to We Are Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner {its a catchy song ... and we now hear it 20 times a day} 

E is for Easy 

Call it a mom cop-out. But because this letter was easier for S to recognize, we didn't do as much with the craft. I had her glue some foam shapes to the letter, and we colored some, as well. She also covered the letter multiple times {without gluing down} with some popsicle sticks, since they are all straight like E parts. We talked a little about Elephants, but mostly about eggs, because the shape at the time was the oval. I made some egg-shaped puzzles out of construction paper, so she could learn patterns and matching. And the kids have both been playing with them a lot. I only wish I had a laminating machine already. 

 F is for Fun

F is quite similar to E, so it didn't take as much work with this letter. We decided to do a few coloring pages -- fruit, flowers and fish. And talked about the "fffhhhhhh" sound. And then we used yarn and glued it to a cut-out F. S thought it looked like hair! 

We're having fun, and even bringing L in to enjoy the crafts. Granted, he mostly wants to color everything ... or smear glue stick on the whole room {his is the blue F above -- covered in glue, but practically no yarn!}. But he's having fun too. And who knows, maybe when the time comes in a year or so, to really delve into this stuff with him, too, it will be that much easier! 


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