Since last fall, I have, off and on done some preschool lessons with my children. After my oldest turned 4, and also him participating in a local co-op, it became even more realistic that I needed to kick things in higher gear and get him better ready for more formal education AKA Kindergarten. :)
When I did lessons before, I would do some on the cork board and marker board in the living room, do some at the little table in the living room, some at the dining table, and some at the couch. I found it mentally frustrating to not have all my teaching resources together in one area. So, after having scoped out all of my house for the best underutilized spot with the most potential, taking measurements and doing some mental planning, I shared with my hubby Tuesday evening that I wanted to establish the homeschool at the end of our dining room and he said “whatever you want to do is fine with me.” So, that evening, I began my quest for setting it up and here below is what homeschool for my preschoolers has become.
The left side of the “homeschool nook,” as we have already begun to call it, is the marker board. It is mounted high enough for me to do some teaching from with some leaning (of course I usually end up in the floor right beside them) and still short enough for the kids to draw and write on. My youngest particularly loves it as you can see some of her handy work already in the picture below. (Did you know that writing standing up on a vertical surface is helpful for different motor development skills?-I didn’t til recently-cool!) Also on the marker board I keep a set of magnetic letters called Fridge Phonics by Leap Frog that their Grandma got them. I like them-they sing “M says mmm, M says mmm, every letter makes a sound M say mmm.” And as a bonus, if a letter says more than one sound, it will say both sounds. Awesomeness!
In the middle of the homeschool nook, I have been using a pie safe my hubby had gotten several years ago for supplies and miscellaneous curriculum.
On top is a blue/teal basket that I plan to develop this year for nature walk treasures. (I like Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on nature walks for kids.)
Next is a woven basket with:
The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick (an excellent resource that I TOTALLY recommend to any homeschooling parent or to teachers in the younger grades. It shares skills needed to teach little ones about letters, sounds, writing, and math); a Christian craft book of ideas for 2-3 year olds (that ideally hope to do one per week); Slow and Steady Get Me Ready, by June Oreblander (It has one activity per week from birth to age 5).
Next to it is a set of Bob’s Books and a set of books like Bob’s Books by Thomas and Friends which is super because my oldest loves Thomas.
Beside that is a box my Mom gave me which helps build awareness of one day as well as counting and placement value-that’s a lot!!! :) We move one dowel per day, then, once we have 10, then it moves to the next place, then 10 10′s moves to 100. A
lso there is my lesson planner.
Inside from left to right and top to bottom is a basket of paint supplies, paint paper, crayons and marker basket, with a school box for each child with their own supplies handy and ready; coloring books; and a basket of craft supplies.
On the second shelf is a laminator, more paint supplies; math and letter manipulatives (I do have more, but stored where the kids can’t easily access them-I am too OCD to deal with 5 kinds of manipulatives mixed together daily!)
On the bottom is resource magazines, the start of units, books on Classical and Charlotte Mason education and my binder of well-everything homeschool. Also on the bottom is curriculum I am not currently using or may use down the road that I got cheap or free.
Beside the pie safe is the bulletin board and bookshelf. On the bulletin board is the calendar, etc. It also has “The weather is…” and the Scripture verse for the week. The sheet of paper is prompts for me for what I feel is so important from The Well Trained Mind on teaching preschoolers. I am working on these goals and so it is good for me to be reminded of it frequently!
A special note about the calendar: I used velcro tabs (thanks to a tip from my Homeschooling Mom buddy!!!) to mount the days of the month. I also used hooks to hang all the months of the year and simply use a Post-It for the year. I also have the days of the week and the weather cards on a hook as well. On the ring of cards is all of the holidays of the year that came with the calendar. I also used the blank holiday cards to add immediate family birthdays to, as well as Christian Holidays that weren’t represented in the calendar packet. For all items on the holidays calendar, I placed a label on the back, before I laminated them, that has the day or date that the holiday falls on so I always know when to prepare for it and keep them in chronological order. Wikipedia was a very good resource to make sure I didn’t miss any holidays! On the other ring up with the holidays ring, is the days of the month that aren’t in use yet. This all took time to prepare but makes it very handy! I do have every component laminated. I am hopeful this will last us a very long time!
The book shelf has the kids CD’s and the CD player on top (I have mine stashed there too for when I’m cooking, cleaning, etc.). Between the CD’s and the CD player is the Jesus Bible Story Book “where every story whispers His name”. I so love this Bible!!!! It speaks to me as I read it to them-WONDERFUL!!! Each of the kids have their own copy. They recieved a third copy at Easter from a friend of my Mom’s. It came with a 3 pack of CD’s with this Bible in audio. It is wonderful!
In the basket on top is all things writing. I have a stash of Kumon books for both kids as well as wipe off boards with and without lines, tracing books, etc.
In front of that is an introduction to Bible with A is for Adam by Answers in Genesis. It is written for the preschooler/kindergartener and is Biblically sound.
The middle shelf is curriculum:
Before Five In A Row, an excellent all around Pre-K curriculum where you read one book per week, as many times as you would like, and the curriculum shares various activities, drama, art, nature, science, crafts, etc, just various things you can do based on that book. I have done several with the kids and they like it! (I got it through Rainbow Resource. Note that some books in the curriculum are out of print, but I have found all but 2 online through Alibris.com or ebay.com.) I have all BFIAR books with the curriculum in this basket and in order with the curriculum so I don’t have to search out the new book each week.
My Father’s World-Preschool Curriculum. It contains multiple puzzles and manipulatives that develop pre-reading and pre-writing skills. With the set is a stack of activity cards that show various ways to fully utilize each set of manipulatives and puzzles. I cannot say how much I love and recommend this set!!!! (I purchased it directly from My Father’s World website.)
Handwriting Without Tears. Well, it isn’t in the basket yet. I actually just ordered it this week directly from Handwriting Without Tears website and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. My Homeschooling Mom buddy told me about it, sat down and showed it to me and I am very impressed with it. She sold me on its benefits and I really love the music that can be utilized with it as well. I can’t hardly wait to get started! :)
On the bottom shelf is:
Hooked on Phonics. I got this older version for uber cheap at a used book sale. I haven’t fully integrated into my teaching but it is soon to come. Right now I am simply teaching letters and their sounds and haven’t started blending yet using the techniques in Ruth Beechicks book, The Three R’s. I hope to do more with HOP soon to.
My basket called A Tiny Introduction to Math (You can read that post here. http://pleasantgroveliving.net/2013/04/23/a-tiny-introduction-to-math/ )
And play dough. Yes, play dough and play dough toys. For smooshing, mashing and creating.
On the hearth by the table is just fun educational toys that are easily played with at the kids table. Things like puzzles, board games (working on cooperation, taking turns, etc), Aquadoodle, magnetic board, My Quiet Book, electronic phonics game, etc. Just overall good learning toys. We have quite a developing puzzle collection, from animals to transportation, letters, numbers, dressing and colors. We have a lot and the rack from Amazon.com made it handy to store them all in one place!
So, what is the biggest thing missing? Did you notice? The best thing is all the books! My kids have been fortunante to have a LOT!!! of books in their rooms. I have even gotten them sorted by type. This picture above is my son’s collection! For cuddly reading, they both have a bean bag chair in their rooms, or if it is Mommy and kid reading time then we will usually sit at the couch or recliner. Reading is such a special time! Using BFIAR and reading The Well Trained Mind has helped me to better grasp how wonderful reading is for a child-it makes me want to do more and more and more!
So, there you have it. A simple home school for preschool. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you have any questions on any curriculum or products I shared here, please post it in the comments and I will reply accordingly.