Let me start off by saying that this is kind of my “tester” year to see if I will be able to continue homeschooling during his grammar school years.
I am about to start the journey of PreK with my son and while I’m super excited, im slightly scared. I want to make sure I give him a good foundation (if I decide homeschooling is not what’s best for him) but want to make sure I make it fun since it is only preschool.
I just purchased the Letters of the Week printable and am excited to start it come fall. Aside from that printable packet; what are some curriculum ideas that have worked well for your family? Suggusted age appropriate field trip ideas? What are somethings that were a major fail and why do you think they didn’t work out?
Any advice would be appreciated since I’d really love to continue this for years to come. Thanks!
I think with preschool, keeping it fun is largely about attitude. Your desire to keep it fun is a great start! Keep in mind that even in public school kindergarten, they will start the alphabet, numbers and colors at the beginning, so if your child goes in knowing all of that they will be starting with review. I think that takes off some of the pressure on preschool. If your child just isn’t getting something or needs a break from the usual routine, it is OK! Preschool is mostly about learning to do school and it should be fun!
You shouldn’t need more curriculum than Letter of the Week. You may want to add in a few alternative activities from Pinterest to spice things up partway through the year if your child needs a little more variety, but I found the included activities to be sufficient and provide a long enough school day for my three year old. I also have two older kids I was teaching though, and sometimes she jumped in on some of their school (she especially enjoyed their hands-on activities). You can also have your child repeat what they really enjoy or could use improvement on throughout the week if you want to stretch it. I did also grab some inexpensive preschool workbooks and purchase and create some inexpensive educational games for her to play with that I put in her school bin so she could play with them after she finished her other activities for the day. Instead of relying strictly on the lesson plan schedule, I did also let her choose the activities she did each day from the activities she hadn’t done yet and I let her repeat things like puzzles and games that were repeatable without reprinting as many times as she wanted. This helped her have more say in what she did and kept her more interested.
In terms of field trips, you might look for a coop group in your area that includes preschoolers and does field trips or a play group. I highly recommend the library, also a great source of enrichment activities and reading material and they may have free kids programs as well, but even if they don’t it is always a great outing and helps build a love of reading and learning. We have a great local zoo which we have a membership to, they also have educational classes available, but we have learned so much just by going to the zoo and some special events. Our kids love animals and fresh air and exercise is always a good idea. We also have a children’s science center that we have a membership to that is a great indoor field trip and has traveling exhibits that keep things interesting. They do science classes for preschoolers sometimes that used to be included in membership but now have a small fee. We find memberships are a big purchase, but we get our money’s worth with frequent field trips and we don’t feel the need to go for the whole day so we can focus on whatever area strikes our fancy that day. We have also received memberships for kids as a Christmas gift which also meant fewer toys taking up space! Taking nature walks is also a great free educational thing you can do. We also enjoy the pumpkin patch in the fall. My kids also enjoy playing sports at the YMCA. Whatever your child is interested in, explore places you could go in your area that would help them learn more about that, and you know your child will have fun! That is the beauty of homeschooling (especially preschool), your child can explore in depth things that they enjoy, and if the usual routine gets stale or it is a gorgeous day you can decide it is time for a field trip instead of the lessons you had planned or after they are over. My kids are never more focused on finishing their work than when they know they get to go to the zoo if they finish early!
Good luck! You’re going to great and you’re going to love it!
Also, I forgot to mention, my preschoolers favorite part of the day was calendar time, so you won’t want to neglect that! She enjoyed Erica’s songs and going through the days and her daily learning notebook. Erica has some great posts about that. We didn’t do all of her routine every day and made a few tweaks, but I really encourage you to make a routine that works for you. Plus, it is a great way to teach school habits like routine, sitting still and waiting to be called on before answering (can still be done with one student but will feel more awkward). I got an inexpensive pocket calendar on Amazon that I hung from the door in our school room with command hooks. It has cards for all of the pertinent information including weather and holidays and is super easy to change out with little effort and no supplies and the kids can easily help. I got the one with English on one side and Spanish on the other, so sometimes we do calendar in Spanish to keep things interesting and educational for my older kids. Don’t skip the songs either, even if music isn’t your thing, add actions and go for it with gusto and it will make it fun! Like I said the morning routine was a favorite and essential to setting the tone to the day.
I think you’ll find you don’t have to try hard to make preschool fun because it is fun. I love doing preschool at home with my kids and even though you have fun I think you’ll be amazed at how much your child ends up learning. I’m sure there are tons of different ways that you could choose to teach preschool and they would probably all be good choices, but I’ll share with you what has worked great for our family.
I like to choose a different theme for each week. For example, This year our first week’s theme will be me and my home. So we will learn all about the things that make my child special, where we live and who is in our family. I only do preschool two days a week you could of course do more if you like.
Each day we start with circle time. This is where we do calendar, weather, the pledge of allegiance, and I introduce a letter for the day. Then we read a children’s book together that focuses on our theme. We also sing a song. I also plan a fine motor, gross motor, and then three other activities that go along with our theme. I usually try and mix up the activities so they aren’t super similar to each other. Like maybe one craft, one science activity and one math activity. The activities are usually pretty simple though. For example, If we were doing airplane an activity could be putting together an airplane puzzle or making a paper airplane.
I collect ideas on the themes I want to use on Pinterest. Then I just use a daily planner I created to fill in activities under each choice so it’s super simple to plan. I like that this give us a routine but I still get to customize our choices for each week. I hope that you find something that works well for you and that you and your daughter love. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll have a great year.