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The unfortunate truth is that working moms often miss seeing much of their younger children's development (first steps, first words, new discoveries, etc.) Homeschooling, especially as children get older, allows moms more time to interact and get to know their children better. Many working moms are tired from their workday, and the few concentrated hours in the evenings, when energy and emotional levels are low, are not ideal times for interaction.  J. Michael Smith, President HSLDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to start preschooling at home?


The major underlying commandment of homeschooling preschoolers is that it MUST be fun.  After all, the 2, 3, or 4 year old that you're teaching is the one that thinks it's fun to empty the dishwasher, sort laundry, wash windows and take out the trash - so if something as simple as "school" is not fun for them, you're definitely doing something wrong! But before we get into troubleshooting what to do if they are not enjoying themselves, let me share with you what I have used or am currently using that has been successful (or we're anticipating to be successful this school year) for my two girls. I am not writing this from the point of view of an expert, I've only homeschooled a two year old for one year, now she's three and we're starting her 18 month old sister. The reason that I'm writing this at all is because I have struggled to find excellent resources for preschool (they are out there; they've just been hard to find).


Please note: I am exceptionally ambitious with our schedule in terms of content and perhaps even the time frame of two hours a day with my three year old. I do not recommend this schedule or set of curriculum for every parent and I STRONGLY discourages you from judging the merits of what you are doing based on what I am doing. I'm sure most would scoff at all that I've included in our day, the only reason that I offer it for you is so that you can glean what's useful, fun and beneficial for your child without having to do as much digging as I have had to do.


One more secret closely related to keeping it fun is to stop before your child WANTS to stop. I learned this lesson from Glenn Doman and his book How to Teach Your Baby to Read. If you stop each day before they want to stop they’ll look forward to doing it the next day and even consider it a reward. As your child gets older you won't have the option of "cutting out early" in order to keep it enticing so take advantage of it now and it shouldn't be hard to fit everything in if you're keeping it fun.


Now you might be asking what your child needs to learn in preschool and how to know you've picked he best preschool materials to teach this information. The most complete list of basic skills by age that I have found is at http://www.handsonhomeschooling.com. This will give you some goals for the year and some great ways to assess your child for areas where they need some extra work - FUN work! If your child is very young I would suggest starting out with some Kumon workbooks. These are available from www.timberdoodle.com as well as most booksellers. Buy the ones that are appropriate for your child's age (they start as young as two). We started with the coloring book and every day I would tell my daughter it's time to do school and let her do just
ONE page r maybe two, this takes just minutes. (Don't let them do the whole book in one day, they won't build their skills and they will grow bored.) There are cutting books, pasting books, letter books; number books, mazes and they have been a huge hit with my older daughter.


The number one item that I have seen parents using with their preschoolers are preschool workbooks. They teach shapes, colors, comparisons, letters and all kinds of other good preschool "stuff". You can buy them very cheaply at stores like Costco and even at the dollar store. These are a fun way to get started very easily. While I have not used the Rod and Staff preschool books, they are a great price and come highly recommended from some of my homeschooling mentors. Visit www.rodandstaffbooks.com and click on the preschooling section. They have the added benefit of being biblically based.

Now, if you'd like a little more than workbooks here is the absolute best website because it gives you a
FREE curriculum for your child starting when they are less than a year old. www.letteroftheweek.com it’s done by a Christian woman and is just excellent. You cannot beat the price and what you receive is quite comparable in quality to other curriculum that I've purchased for a considerable price...  if only I had found this site first!

This year we are using a series called Developing the Early Learner. It is not a traditional preschool workbook in terms of learning shapes, colors, etc..., but it gives children specific activities (workbook pages) to develop motor, visual, auditory, and thinking/comprehension skills. It is to help build the foundational skills needed for successful reading. It is NOT teach your child to read book! It teaches them the skills they need to read BEFORE they learn to read.) I bought it because it claimed the research had been done showing that training such as taught in this book increases IQ and after having done a number of pages with my three year old I can see how it does. It is available from one of my favorite websites http://www.timberdoodle.com.

Now, for our devotional time I've recently started using www.cbhministries.org. It's got a little five minute audio presentation called Keys for Kids, it includes a song, scripture and a story. We've been listening to archived lessons because the current lessons are currently unavailable, but the archived lessons re new to us! Bible time is for teaching Bible stories and I love the felt board we got from Betty Lukens, which not only includes all of the felt figures you could ever possibly need to tell every imaginable story in the Bible, but it also includes a book of 182 Bible stories with the scene arrangements for each. The caveat is that it's rather pricey and you have to cut out all of these figures yourself. (We asked for it as a Christmas present from Grandma). The huge benefit is that when my daughter was two and a half this REALLY helped with her retention of the Bible stories even better than picture books, I let her help put the figures on and move them around. This is also available through http:///www.timberdoodle.com.

I am VERY hesitant to recommend our reading book because it is designed for some 4 year olds, but mostly 5 or 6 year olds. It's the only "subject" that I have to do a little bribing with and I have greatly modified their lessons to take it appropriate for a 3 year old. It's called Teach your Child to Read in 100 easy Lessons and is available through www.timberdoodle.com as well as most large bookstores and websites. We leave out the writing part entirely and split each lesson in two (so it'll take us more than 100 lessons). I did this to make sure that it's still fun and easy to get through, yet she's got something that is challenging too. I am persistent in teaching reading early because I believe the earlier a child learns to read the more they will love to learn. It's also the most vital skill to master in order to succeed in school/learning in ANY other subject. If you order this book and find that your child is really not enjoying their time reading, just put it on the shelf for a month or two and then try again.

For math/numbers we are using Kumon numbers 1-30. As well as Math U See's primer book. Again this book teaches many skills people would not teach a child until first grade, but because of the way they teach it with manipulative (blocks) it's something that my daughter enjoys and is capable of learning (lots of counting to begin). www.mathusee.com



When my daughter was two we started teaching her geography because we have family that lives all over the country. By two and a half she could locate half dozen states on the map and tell you who lives there. Who would have guessed that preschoolers would be so into geography? So I kept teaching them to her and was thrilled to find Fifty States Under God For Young Learners at the most recent curriculum fair we attended. Find it at www.statehistory.net.   This is a cut-color-paste workbook for children age 3 to grade 3. Again we skip a little of the writing activities, but it is one of her favorite subjects. We supplement this book with maps and state flags for her to color. These are printed out at www.enchantedlearning.com, a membership is cheap and gives you access to the entire site, but there's a lot available for free.  For Spanish, yes we're starting a foreign language; we're using El Espanol Facil Junior Level available through www.timberdoodle.com. I read something somewhere about how children who are exposed to a foreign language (by native speakers) at a young age are able to speak that language without an accent even if they learn it later in life, something about programming their brains to hear and speak the range of sounds involved in that language. Please don't quote me! So we found this program which does not feel "schoolish". No drills or things that would make it boring. The lessons are SHORT and intended to be listened to daily. It's also a Christian program, and I'm all for incorporating Christ in as many subjects as I can beyond Bible and devotions.


You certainly don't just have to take my word for it, when it comes to curriculum you can read lots and lots of reviews at http://www.homeschoolreviews.com. This is an excellent way to get a feel for what others are saying about a certain curriculum just remember in order to actually go to a website to write a review about it you're probably really passionate about it either positively or negatively and there are probably a lot of people that are in the middle that just don't take the time to write a review so read them for what they're worth.  I'm sure there are tons and tons of wonderful sites out there for learning, but my suggestion to you is that when you find some that works for you, don't spend hours searching for more. The computer is a wonderful resource and also a huge time consumer. I love to spend time surfing the internet for homeschool related info, but I try to stick to what's already working and checking out only what comes recommended by others.


Blessings,
Rebekah B.