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Homeschooling Preschool: Weeks 5-16 or... the way we do it now

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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: Homeschooling Preschool: Weeks 5-16 or... the way we do it now

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Homeschooling Preschool: Weeks 5-16 or... the way we do it now

Ok, so it's been a while since I've shared our homeschooling preschool adventures... and a big part of that is because I've simplified significantly. Some of those "weeks" turned into two, and others were condensed to fit 2 units. I slacked off so much that I thought I was giving up on my goal to be done before baby came. Then I redoubled my efforts to finish in time and have slacked off simplified my plans to make it work for us. In short, though we are still following Hubbard's Cupboard's curriculum, I've axed a bunch of it and am sticking with the easy stuff basics. Please take a look at the lesson plans and resources available for each unit, but what I'm going to share with you is how I've simplified each and made it fit our lives, condensed schedule and energy levels (mine, not Tornado's... he probably could have done it all and then some, and learned even more in the process.)

I have exactly 12 units left after the one we're in... and exactly 12 weeks left to "D-day" (assuming this baby can read a calendar... since neither of my other children could in utero, not to mention now, I'm not holding my breath!) To go a step further, there was a time that I was 5 or six weeks behind (meaning I wasn't going to finish.) In order to get us "caught up", I had some condensing to do. Needless to say, we've doubled up some weeks. And really, when I dropped the labor intensive stuff, it didn't take a whole week anyway.


One of the things I've kept in my lesson plans is reading. I go through the quick reference sheet each week and request all the books I can find from our local library. For many of the stories, I am finding that the library doesn't cooperate with this list, so in those instances, I search by topic and pick my own books out. If I were staying on track with updating you, I could let you know which books we've liked... but I don't remember them now. Sorry. Suffice it to say that we have not read all the books we've brought home... but there have been some we've liked a lot!

The basic regime is to read the books to the kids. If Sweet Pea is interested, she sits and listens too. Usually with a book of her own in her lap. Otherwise, it's just Tornado and I. At the very least we read through 1 book (of our own or from the library) several times, but often there are several to go through, about our Bible story. We generally spend 2-3 days on a unit, whether that is spaced out to fill the week or back to back. As far as the stories are concerned, he does a great job with remembering them. He seems to understand them at the time anyway, and often brings up aspects of the stories over the next few days. I also try to refer to them in our daily life as character training moments arise (remember what happened when Jonah disobeyed, doing everything "just as God commanded him" like Noah, etc.)

Memory Verses
This is my greatest focus as we travel through the curriculum... and the thing that stays with us the most. I'm not saying we work on this everyday, and there are days that Tornado just doesn't want to work on memorizing his verses (so I have to sneak it in there somewhere), but we have been continuing to learn our verses. Though the author made some changes in the number of verses she would work on with her own kids, I had planned on trying to do all of the verses. There are a number of verses we've done that she only intended for us to learn about... and I'm glad. But some of the longer ones that were more specific to the story, I've decided to drop. I've found that for Tornado, one verse a week (give or take) is enough, and am not crowding more in when we condense two weeks into one. As of now, he's learned 9 verses out of the 16 units. For many of them I give him a cue or the first word... but others I can just ask him to "say Genesis 1:1", and he can do it. For all of them though, we are constantly reviewing. When he hits a rough spot, we work on it. And, as in all things, rough spots come and go.

There are several verses, too, that have been more difficult for him to learn... for those, I've made up songs and he's learned them nicely! Joshua 1:9 was one of those... and it has come in handy on more than one occasion. We often sing it when he's scared of something! I'm working on a way to share these songs and others with you in the future so that you can use them with your kids if you want to.

Each of the units includes a letter that somehow corresponds to the story. This week we've been working on "N" for news... as in spread the news of Jesus, or the angels gave the news of Jesus birth. Tornado really enjoys this part.

I always print out the "Letter Art", but rarely follow her suggestions as to how we use them. Instead I've been having Tornado do a modified "tracing" activity with them (as you see above). He does pretty well (better than tracing on a line since this gives him a little freedom for his untrained hand), but he still struggled with where to start. So you'll notice on the pic of "M", that I borrowed an idea from Carisa, and added "stop" and "go" markings after printing them out. (I adore Carisa's website... you will be hearing more about her soon!) This has worked great and is very exciting for Tornado who loves "stop-go" in everything. They play it around the house, he signs it, sings it, and tells us when the light turns to "go" in the car. It's an all encompassing part of his life right now, so when I added it to his worksheet, he was all over it!

The other "letter" aspects we've retained from the curriculum is the song. Each letter has a little song that brings the letter and the Bible story together... "Listen to the Word of God" for L, for instance. Both kids like this part, even our extra preschooler on the days she's here.

Science and Math
Often times these get dropped. Math fell off my checklist when we were in the midst of colors and shapes (something he's know for a while). I'm hoping that I'll be able to jump back in soon as there are some things I do want him to learn as we go through them.

Science is hit and miss. Usually there is a book or two recommended on the topic covered (mirrors or music or weather, for instance). We get those books (plus some sometimes) and read them all week long. If it inspires more conversation or exploration, we do that. When "weather" was our focus, we did all sorts of things. In fact, we're still talking about it every day. Tornado gets very concerned about thunder storms, so we are often talking about what type of clouds are in the sky and whether or not they bring thunder. (I will probably get a bunch more books on weather from the library after the baby comes [or when we finish this curriculum, whichever comes first] and do a special unit focused on it, as this is a real interest for him.)

Other stuff
Other than that, we pretty much skip it (other than the occasional nursery rhyme). If something looks especially fun to me, I'll print it out, but 9 times out of 10 we don't do it after all.

Outside of the curriculum, though, I've been adding things here and there. But that's for another post on another day!

So there you have it... more than you wanted to know about our homeschooling these days. Now don't you wish I'd broken this down over the last 10 weeks, instead of unleashing it on you all at once. Come on now... don't be bashful. I'm sure you do! :)



At May 13, 2010 at 1:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your kids are so little--have you ever considered taking the emphasis off letters, numbers, etc and trying units that will give them a simple base of knowledge about the world? I have a year's worth of traditional preschool topics listed on my might enjoy checking it out.

At May 13, 2010 at 8:36 AM , Blogger ~Babychaser~ said...

Hi Susan,

With Tornado, I really haven't considered it, because he enjoys it so much. He's always asking me to teach him the words and "let's do school". What we do is to let him decide if he wants to do it. If he'd rather play, we play.

With Sweet Pea, on the other hand, I haven't even considered thinking about starting letters and numbers. We play with colors and shapes sometimes, but only in a pointing them out and talking about them kinda way. She's just not in the same place Tornado was at the same age. I imaging her 3s preschool will look much different than his. I'm excited to check out your ideas, especially for her... thanks for the comment!!!

At May 13, 2010 at 12:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good place to start is here: "Unit studies for preschool and beyond". Later posts explain the elements that are commonly used in unit studies. After you read "unit studies for preschool" you could go through the archives for unit studies--there are quite a few entries, some for younger children and some for older.
I'd also encourage you to read "what a four year old should know" and "the truth about early academics".

At May 14, 2010 at 5:10 PM , Blogger Nikki said...

I love those letters! I have already bookmarked the page so I can print some off for my daughter. They look perfect for beginning the learning process of making letters.

At May 15, 2010 at 9:30 PM , Blogger Kristin said...

Sounds like so much fun and I'm glad you shared. (I think I actually like hearing this overview rather than a week-by-week breakdown.) Sometimes I get so caught up in the "big kid" school that I lose inspiration with ideas for the littler ones.


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