Our Homeschool Preschool Plan

I know this might come a tad bit on the late side, but I just didn’t have the time to plan out our school year until just recently.  (Or perhaps I was just avoiding the responsibility because I didn’t want to add one more thing to my already filled plate.)  Hopefully this might help some of our procrastinating readers or maybe some of you that are way ahead of schedule for next school year!

Though we haven’t completely settled on homeschooling our children for good, we did decide to homeschool our first born, a 4 year old boy, this year in preschool.  (Gulp.) We do love Montessori methods and will certainly incorporate many of them into our daily activities, but I also felt like I wanted something else.  Something Biblical, something service-conscious, something structured for days I just felt like having more involvement with him.  Plus, our 19 month old daughter is too interested in all of the Montessori trays and the items often get “misplaced.”  This can be very frustrating to my son (and to me).  Besides that, we don’t have access to every piece of necessary Montessori “equipment” for a full Montessori program, so we needed to supplement a bit.

So what have we decided on doing?  

Well, I’ll tell you!  It’s really a compilation of things, but it’s what will work best for us.  First of all, I refuse to be tied down to just one thing.  If things need to be altered a bit here and there to fit our daily schedule and needs for the day, it will.

Our preschool won’t look like traditional preschools, Montessori preschools, nor any other one I know for that matter.  Some weeks will go smoother than others, and I will even allow myself to forego school altogether on other weeks, especially when baby #3 makes his or her appearance this November.  And since my daughter will most likely be “joining” us for school, I have decided to stretch the 1-week lessons to 1.5 or 2 week lessons on many occasions (for letters with more than one sound) and even tweak it a bit to include things for her level.  I will even allow for spontaneity (gasp), which is completely unlike someone as structured as me.  In other words, I’m giving myself permission to “give myself a break.”  And I’m okay with that.  Finally.  I think.

I keep having to remind myself that preschool is not a forced learning time.  It’s a casual time with plenty of “free play” breaks inbetween and is meant to merely expose the child to a “school” setting  My biggest problem in the past has been “dropping the ball” and giving up when the schedule starts to fall apart.  I will certainly fight that with a vengeance this time around.

OUR CURRICULUM:

Most of these items were passed down or given to me for free, and I’ve adapted them to make it work for us.  I have been very blessed…

Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve by Laura Coppinger (available in printable form or hard copy)

Hands down this is my absolute favorite curriculum, and not just because the author is a dear friend.  It’s simple for any mom (but certainly not basic), and non-time consuming (which I love), and it focuses on what’s really important.  It’s gets kids in the kitchen; it gets kids helping and serving; and it gets kids learning. This definitely takes care of the service-oriented portion of our curriculum and some of the biblical aspects I wanted to integrate.  If you only have money for one preschool curriculum, this would be the one (plus, it’s affordable)!

Teach Me About God: Hands-On Bible Lessons for Active Preschoolers by Michelle Caskey

There are 28 weeks worth of complete Bible lessons and memory verses for Monday through Friday.  We won’t do every lesson and definitely not every day (since we have other options on this list as well), but we will get a majority of our Biblical lessons from this book.  There are lots of good ideas and activities to get children really applying these Biblical concepts and stories to their own level of understanding.  Some require prep and others don’t – overall a very good resource.

Learn and Grow: Hands-On Lessons for Active Preschoolers by Michelle Caskey

Like the Bible lessons book above, this book is designed for 5 days a week, though you can decrease it to only 3 days if flexibility is needed.  There are 26 weeks of lessons of English, Pre-Math, Art, Science, Gross motor skills, Fine motor skills, Music and Geography/History, and it can be previewed here.

Gotta Have God 2: Fun Devotions for Boys by Lynn Marie-Ittner Klammer

I actually like the layout of this book.  Each short (love that!) lesson focuses on one important life issue (examples: stress, avoidance, gossip, judgment, encouragement, control, example, consideration, teasing, etc.), and there are a bunch of them!  It starts with a Bible verse, then a relevant story.  Discussion questions follow, then a prayer and then some sort of activity.  Perfect for my short attention-spanned son.

Thank you for This Day: Action Prayers, Songs, and Blessings for Every Day by Debbie Trafton O’Neal

This book is mostly for our little one to be able to participate with her brother.  It’s a short, illustrated book of songs and prayers, some of which have motions for them to learn.

I often refer back to these highly recommended (favorite) websites for relevant books and lessons (specifically Montessori ideas and younger “Tot School” lessons for my toddler):

We have also added weekly 30-minute private (but casual) violin lessons for our musically-inclined son, twice a month violin group lessons (also casual and for our son), weekly gymnastics classes for both kids, and times for planned outings and field trips.  Hopefully that will get them tired out!

OUR LOOSE SCHEDULE

(I will have to continually remind myself that we will not be slaves to it):

Each day he still has to complete his “chores” as well, and I may give him some choice as to a few of the activities he gets to do for the day (so some of these may switch around).

Monday:

  • Thank You for This Day prayer/song
  • Letter intro, song, writing practice, and memory verse intro from Learn Your Letters
  • Library visit to pick up the corresponding books (we will request these in advance to save some time and then spend time picking out some recreational reading books that the kids will want)
  • Book reading and short discussion session
  • Art from Learn and Grow
  • Self-snack and clean up session
  • Ending prayer
  • Gymnastics

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Field trip day
  • Memory verse practice
  • Writing practice

Friday:

Monday:

  • Thank You for This Day prayer/song
  • Book reading and short discussion session
  • Service project delivery
  • Geography/History from Learn and Grow
  • Self-snack and clean up session
  • Ending prayer
  • Gymnastics

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Field trip day
  • Memory verse practice

Friday:

  • Violin lesson
  • Finish up any leftover projects from the week or Montessori trays
  • Final memory verse recitation
UPDATE: We started our first day with no hitches and everything on the schedule (school and non-school related) was accomplished!  I wish everyday could be this productive and successful.  Not that not checking off all your goals for the day means you’re not successful or productive.  Sometimes other things are more important and take precedence (like cuddling a sick baby).
I also wanted to add a few of things that we will be doing that are not on the schedule above.
  • Learning about weather, the date, the day of the week, seasons, months, telling time, and holidays.  We’ll do these daily, as applicable.
  • Once a week he will work with the corresponding alphabet drawer trinkets.
  • He’ll also work with the membership section of the Starfall program for easy reading words (he can actually already read phonetically when he concentrates) once a week.
  • I will also make a few of my own worksheets for him.  For instance, a worksheet with words containing both the long A and short A sounds (with pictures) that he will have to distinguish and circle correctly for the sound.
  • We will also play some “games” and work on matching simple words (with the corresponding letter of the week) using bottle caps with written letters on them.  (You can find this activity here on Counting Coconuts.)  And then eventually have him make them on his own from scratch when he’s ready to do so.
  • And I forgot to let you know that the snack for the day will always be a food that starts with the letter for that week.
I’ll needs lots of prayer and encouragement throughout the school year to fully see this through, especially when #3 comes along!

Comments

  1. 3

    Hi, this is a great post! Thanks..

  2. 4

    Thanks for sharing your curriculum. I’m thinking ahead for our 15 month old daughter that loves to sit and “read” her books for hours. :)

  3. 5

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve actually been looking into some sort of more structured at-home learning schedule for my little one. I’d love to send him to our local Christian school, but it’s not in the budget. I’ll definitely have to look into these resources!

  4. 6

    Thank you for your ideas! I am currently looking to start homeschooling my 3 almost 4 year old and have an 8 month old, so it is definitely a challenge to get any type of schedule down! I also want to raise my children in a Christian environment and also use the Montessori method. Your ideas have been very helpful!

  5. 7

    Wow! What a well rounded curriculum! Great ideas! I taught for many years. Looks like you’re covering it all!

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