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Start Smart: #Homeschooling Preschool & Kindergarten Fast & Fun?

Start Smart: #Homeschooling Preschool & Kindergarten Fast & Fun?

Getting Started – Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten

Getting Started – Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten: I’ve had several young Mommas (so young I could be their Momma!) ask me about homeschooling preschool and kindergarten recently. The biggest challenge for littles is keeping them engaged. Most still have a relatively short attention span, are quickly tired, and need to be fed and watered at regular intervals. Habit is key- routine is your safest bet.  

(Still considering homeschooling? Check out our post on three reasons we love homeschooling.)

So what are my tips for getting started – homeschooling preschool and kindergartners?

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Tip #1 – Morning Baskets

I would recommend developing a morning basket for littles. This method means they get your attention first thing, right after breakfast.  This basket is a great way to think about what you want your littles to learn and how to organize it. Morning Baskets for littles can include card matching games, Kumon workbooks, Memory CDs, Poetry, Simple Bible Stories, Phonics, and math games if they are ready for them.

After years of doing this, I recommend over-planning before you get started and then going with the flow once you start. With littles, like with anything else, you don’t get what you want; you get what you plan for. With littles, you often get lots of surprises, too, right?!

Tip #2 – Add in age-appropriate chores.

Kids do what you inspect, not what you expect, BUT they do need to know what you expect, too! One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from Andrew Pudewa is that if your child keeps asking for help, they need help. This seems simple- well, it is, really, but it might not come naturally! Life skills are a big part of homeschooling preschoolers and kindergartners.

Tip #3 – Add in Some Books

If you live with books and magazines, your kids will think having them around is normal. My kids love books on tape. We use Sonlight, Bethlehem Books, Memoria Press, and Veritas Press catalogs as reading lists. Ranger Rick, National Geographic for Kids, Ladybug, and Boys Life have all been favorite magazines around here.

Pre-Reading: Read aloud 15 min a day. There are so many adorable books on everything under the sun; don’t limit your read-aloud to baby books.

Curriculum Suggestions for Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergartner

I think some table time is good at this age because it helps kids get acclimated to regular study. Art or History Cards are great to look at, even for pre-readers. Usborne, Memoria Press, and Veritas Press all have beautiful ones.

Christian Studies- Arch books are a fabulous way for your littles to get a great introduction to basic Bible stories with pictures that they’ll remember for a lifetime. We also loved and read out loud to our kids a couple of different Children’s Bibles, including the Golden Children’s Bible.
We had tons of felts, and teaching Bible stories through felts is always an attention grabber.

IEW Language Acquisition through poetry memorization– this is a fantastic program and easily accessible for littles, especially with the CD. There are four sections of 20 poems each, starting with simple, short poems and ending with epic dramatic re-tellings. Andrew Pudewa (who put the program together and recites the poems) has incredible diction, so your kids will hear fantastic vocabulary and superb storytelling.

Letter and Number recognition– we used Kumon and Usborne workbooks, colorful, easily accessible, and fun. There are tons of complete programs available.

Phonics- We always used Alpha Phonics in conjunction with Explode the Code. There are other great products out there. We took the low-cost, no bells, and whistles, practical approach.

Bible Study– Arch books, Bible Memory, reading a good quality Children’s Bible, Veggie Tales, Veritas Press, or Bible Study for All Ages Bible cards.

Memory Work – When our youngest was four, she learned 160 VP history cards that year (even though she was a pre-reader), along with 24 history sentences, several hundred facts related to grammar, geography, Latin, poems, and more because we regularly and diligently used CDs and table time to review. She also learned the letter sounds and started on a notebook-sized timeline. I say all of this so that you realize your littles are capable of learning a LOT.

This is NOT to say that you should set them at the table and force information down their throats. Kids this age, however, can learn a ton through CDs, good DVDs, books, and great visual aids such as flashcards. Also, if you have older kids, why not include your younger kids? They are sponges. If you start early “training their brains to retain,” you’ll be amazed at how much they really can and do retain as they grow older.

More Fun Ways of Getting Started Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten

Outside play, exploration, and nature walk – Nature journaling and nature tables are an excellent way for kids to display the cool things they’ve found as they explore the great outdoors! Homeschooling your preschooler and kindergartener should always be fun!

Read-aloud – At least 15 minutes a day; more is better ; )

Crafts and Art – There are so many fun art books, but in any case, an easel, paper, and paint is always appropriate. Colored shaving cream is excellent for bath/shower painting. And hey, how about a shower tile wall- works great as a whiteboard and for painting- easily wipes off- all for $15 bucks.

Gardening – This can be in the yard, with containers, or how about a Fairy Garden?

Open-Ended toys – Brio Trains, Playmobile, Duplos/Legos, Stuffed Animals. Pinterest has some adorable pins of old entertainment centers rehabbed as play kitchens. Add some felt food; and old pots, pans, and measuring cups.

Art Supplies – Easels, paint, glitter, glue, pipe cleaners, colored paper, stickers, colored rice bins, colored shaving cream to “Paint” in the bathtub, Whiteboards around the house (make a whiteboard wall with shower tile or several smaller lapboards), chalkboards and magnet boards (easily made with some chalkboard or magnet paint).

Unstructured Outside Play – Trampoline, playhouses, daily walks, parks, swimming, Gardening, Sandboxes, Swings,

“Sound exploration” – Musical makers. Kids love making sounds.

Cooking- My kids have all loved to help cook in the kitchen. Usborne’s First Cookbook is full of fun and simple recipes.

Gross motor skill development–  For years, we had a “Step 2” playscape, complete with a ladder and slide, IN our house.

Sandbox or table– a friend built a sandbox in their basement for their kids, and we had a sand table on our front porch for years.

Fine motor skill development – Have plenty of pens, pencils, and markers around for the kids to play with, sewing cards, and small toys (once they are past the “everything in their mouth” stage- legos, of course.

Travel/ field trips –  What better way to learn about the mail than actually visiting the Post Office? These types of learning experiences make learning fun AND educational.

Singing – the Wee Sing series, with books and CDs are full of old favorites.

Daily Prayer – Family evening prayers, with everyone snuggled in a bed together, is a gentle way to teach your littles about what’s important to you. We have each child pray, youngest to oldest, ending with Daddy blessing each child. If your kiddo doesn’t know what to pray for, just help them along following ACTS (Adoration, Confessions, Thanksgiving, Supplication). We would have them repeat a simple sentence or two, such as, “Thank you, God, for this day.” This year, we made an Easter garden.

Finally, as a word of caution…..Limit screen time for Preschool and Kindergarten!

There are so many apps, computer games, DVDs, etc., and they are all fascinating. We use some but in limited quantity. You want your pre-Ker neurology to be hard-wired to people and words, not electronics. Studies have shown that kids learn language skills by interacting with people-NOT screens.

For littles, almost everything they encounter is new and amazing. It’s so fun to explore the world together and to see it through fresh eyes. You don’t have to be super planned, but some planning does help, and kids, again, thrive on routines. So what are you waiting for? Take the leap to homeschooling preschool and kindergarten today!

Like what you see here but need more? Check out our post on Homeschooling Basics.

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The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review: I first came in contact with the Homegrown Preschooler when Leslie and I were vending in Duluth this spring. I loved the booth! As a closet artist, it is everything I want my house to be: warm, inviting, neat, hands-on, practical, and beautiful.

This is pre-school at it’s best. Charlotte Mason inspired, classical methodology, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, all wrapped into one beautiful package that is guaranteed to inspire and encourage parents of preschoolers! Educating one’s kiddos is do-able. More than that it CAN be fun, lovely, and cause one to push beyond their normal to something truly inspiring.

Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb. Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay fields, pinecones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries, and hornets, and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of education. ~Luther Burbank.

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review: About the Curriculum

I received The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live by Kathy Lee and Leslie Richards, along with A Year of Playing Skillfully, by the same authors.

The book is divided into nine chapters in two different parts:
  • Homeschooling- Harvesting a Bountiful Life
  • Learning Through Play
  •  Sowing the Seeds- Preschool Learning
  • Setting the Stage
  • Home Life=Learning- Slow Down and Teach
  • What has Time for this?
  • Organizing it All
  • Days and Seasons that Don’t Fit in the Box
  • Special Circumstances

Part Two – the Activities

  • Home Life
  • Science
  • Gross Motor
  • Fine Motor
  • Math
  • Language and Emergent Literacy
  • Art
  • Social-Emotional

Each chapter is chock full of activities, suggestions, ideas, recipes, adorable pictures, quotes, and color!

It is visually delightful and crammed full of ideas and resources.

The Appendix is wonderful as it gives you building plans for the awesome play/activity tables that Homegrown Preschooler has in their booth. The tables are perfect for sand, water, little animals, colored rice, cork letters, and more.

The Activities portion is, again, full of ideas and pictures of kids enjoying themselves as they build language and number literacy and life skills. I love this book- it would be a wonderful shower present for an expectant Mom who already has a pre-schooler, especially if you included provisions to do some of the activities.

The Homegrown Preschooler – Curriculum Review: It’s also a lovely homeschooling primer for those who compelled by homeschooling but are not sure where to start. If you have a pre-schooler- this is where!

It would also be an amazing Grandparent gift! Have this at the ready at Gramma’s house for fun and wholesome engagement when you are watching the littles. This is a great way to build memories across generations.

Over the years we have done many of the activities that are included, but the beauty of this book is that you can pull it out and have ideas at the ready. Also included are supply lists. How perfect is that?

A Year of Playing Skillfully is what really caught my eye. This is an actual Charlotte Mason inspired, classical curriculum for preschoolers.

I took my copy out of the packaging and put it in a 2″ binder. Some of the pages are cardstock/printables and I put those in page-protectors; other pages are 3-hole punched, but if I was going to use this for multiple kids, in a co-op or day-care, I would definitely put those pages in page protectors as well.

What You Will Find – Nine Months of Activities

Each month has a FacePage printed on cardstock that outlines and details the month. Each month includes a Theme and a Character Trait as well as ideas in each of the following areas:

  • HomeLife/ socio-emotional
  • Art/Music
  • Language/Literacy
  • Math/Manipulative’s
  • Field Trips Science/ Sensory
  • Outdoor/Gross Motor
  • Scripture Verse.

The pages are visually lovely and colorful but not cluttered. You can use the face pages as a checklist if you like or they can be a general guide.

Next comes a month-by-month detailed Activity Guide.
The guide is a detailed, month-by-month plan of activities, books, music, chores, inspiration, recipes, living skills, reading and math readiness, art and science projects, nature journaling, gross motor play, field trips, and more. Complete with lovely pictures of adorable kids participating in them. In other words, these things are DO-ABLE for real Moms, like us. At the end of each month’s activities is a supply list by activity as well as a place to record memories.  Brilliant!

What You Will Find in the Activity Guide

  • Activities
  • Books
  • Music
  • Chores
  • Inspiration
  • Recipes
  • Living SKills
  • Reading Readiness
  • Math Readiness
  • Art Projects
  • Science Projects
  • Nature Journaling
  • Gross Motor Play
  • Field Trips
Also included are printables, ready to use multiple times as they’ve been printed on cardstock. This includes games and other age-appropriate pre-school activities like cutting practice and garden planning.
Again- brilliant. I don’t have to go searching, it’s readily available and I can make multiple copies as needed.
Have I mentioned I LOVE this curriculum? It’s more than curriculum- it life prep for littles. It is lovely, well thought out, pragmatic, and thoroughly delightful. KB and Mr. V can’t wait to use this with little V and I have high hopes to jump in with and do some of the activities with them every now and then.Get A Discount NOW!

Find the Homegrown Preschooler on Social Media:

Check out more ideas on Getting Started Preschool and Kindergarten resources and ideas. Need even more support! We offer live online kindergarten classes that are fun and engaging as well as Charlotte Mason inspired Art & Music Level I and Level II

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.