I mentioned last week that I decided to do some homeschool preschool this year with Cupcake. She is only two and a half, but ready to learn, so we are doing some toddler preschooling-or as some like to refer to it, tot schooling.
I was really overwhelmed by the idea, but thankfully, my sister and greatest resource has gone before me and, as an educator and homeschooling mom, told me what was important to do and handed down free Montessori materials her children outgrew. She's the best.
So, homeschooling will not overtake my blog, but I will post what Cupcake and I are doing in case it may give others helpful ideas. My plan for this year is to teach lower case letters and sounds with a curriculum of phonics, counting, sorting, Bible time, and art/music. If we have time, we will try to do a sensory activity one day too. We are doing two days a week for two hours, which leaves 20 minutes for each activity (toddler attention span permitted!).
Since there are 36 weeks in a school year, we are doing a letter a week theme, with 9 weeks being book themes, and one week themed on a holiday. I am incorporating other holidays with the letters that fall on the appropriate week. I am particularly excited that the letter "r" happened to fall on the same week as Chinese New Year and it will be the Year of the Ram!
I am not going in alphabetical order, but instead am doing the suggested Montessori order of teaching preschoolers letter sounds:
a s m e t c o p u d f j g l b i n w r h y q z k v x.
This order is based on what letter sounds are easiest for children to learn first.
Books we are using for the book themed weeks include:
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
Little Pea by Amy Krousse Rosenthall
Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Leaves by David Ezra Stein
The Snowy Day Ezra Jack Keats
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
(Or as Cupcake refers to it, "Bear Wake Up Snores")
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Here are some other tidbits of resources and materials I am using:
Each week, I plan to set up a "Letter of the Week" play area with toys representing the letter sounds and let her play, name objects, etc.
For daily Bible reading, we read to Cupcake from The Jesus Storybook Bible or the Read and Learn Bible. But, for homeschool, I wanted to do something different, so we will be learning attributes of God. I am adapting some Discovering God for Kids lessons for Cupcake's age comprehension and using the God is Awesome book from dg4kids.
We will also use the abcs scripture songs by Songs for Saplings (which is FREE via digital download right now!)
we are doing various activities, many of them including the famous counting bears.
Cupcake already loves these things. She likes to make them dance and kiss each other. My sister warned me this would happen. My 10 year old niece and 6 year old nephew recently set up a battlefield with theirs-complete with rainbow loom band sashes.
We are doing various activities t sort by color, size, shape, type.
ART AND MUSIC
Music will basically be us singing songs because we do that anyway. we will probably include her little instruments-and dancing, of course, because I am her mom.
I am a firm believer in letting kids be creative-even at a young age-by not putting them in a box. So I am trying to avoid "copycat" crafts where Cupcake simply looks at pieces I cut out for her and places them together-or rather i actually glue them together while she watches. :-) There is NOTHING wrong with doing that-it is just not my style. I may use some "copycat" ish ideas, but try to make it more free for her.
Most importantly, I plan to be flexible and not hold tightly to plans. We all know toddlers can be moody!
Tutorial Tuesdays with Hope Studios