Tag Archives: preschool

A Whole New World

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Preschool has come to an end for my oldest. The next few months will hopefully be full of fun and play and preparation for homeschooling in the fall. It will be our first year and a whole new world for us as a family.

So thankful that I am able to make the choice to homeschool and that I finally have a peace about it!!

Here’s to new beginnings and all the adventures to come!

Stay tuned for more homeschooling plans at the Lane homestead!

Getting Back into the Groove of Things

I’m gonna be honest, my creativity with preschool at home has suffered a bit through the holidays. There were some Christmas crafts throughout December but they weren’t well thought out, which I suppose doesn’t matter if they were well received by the kiddos but still. Something has been off with my organization and I just haven’t felt like I’ve put my best mommy foot forward. Yesterday I decided it was time to make a change.

So….

I have approximately 3 cabinets full of learning, crafts, games, puzzles, activities, etc for the kids. These 3 cabinets are pretty much a tornado of stencils and glitter when they are opened so yesterday was dedicated to organizing and categorizing. Now instead of 3 cabinets in disarray there is some sanity to them.

Puzzle and game cabinet which is pretty self explanatory. Arts and crafts cabinet which isn’t just materials but books on science, holiday, and pretty much all subject crafts. And then the homeschool cabinet which has all the workbooks and learning materials that we use weekly. Ta-dah! I’m organized for at least a month and then I’m sure that my cabinets will become a crazy disaster again, but I’m gonna enjoy them until then!

We started the day right with a craft that suited both my 4 year old and 2 year old. 4 year old is learning to read, working his way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and then my 2 year old is on her letters. What better way to add a little fun to the learning process than making alphabet and reading monsters who only eat letters and words.

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The idea for this came from a page I had pinned a long time ago and just now got around to doing. I mean like 2 years ago. You can find that here. The kids had a blast with creating their own then playing with them. It took about an hour out of our day. An entire hour my kids were focused on something, that’s just unheard of! So with a great start to the week I’m hoping my creative juices continue to flow and we can get some more awesome and educational crafts done in the next few months. Next time though we will be using the table, I had quite the time with the vacuum after this little project!;)

Here’s to creative juices flowing and such!:)

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Defeated by High Expectations

Today I learned from my sons part-time preschool teacher that he is extremely smart academically. He’s 4 and can read sentences, knows how to spell small words etc, etc… but… his hand writing isn’t very good. His letters are two big and sloppy. My son is 4 and he has bad handwriting… was I surprised? Yes. But not the way you may be thinking. I was surprised, not that my sons handwriting was sloppy (I homeschool so I’m aware) but that this was even an issue. I nodded and said I would work on tracing more and using scissors and I smiled and I got in my car and that’s when my brain clicked back on and I started to think and wonder…

Why are public school’s expectations so high?Don’t get me wrong I’m all for having expectations for my kids. I expect my 4 year old to have manners, to be kind to others, to try his best, to have good listening ears. I expect him to still have an eagerness to learn after the elementary years are over. I don’t expect him to stay seated for more than 20 minutes without getting wiggly butt, I don’t expect him to write his letters in 1 inch lines that are always legible. I don’t expect his cutting skills to be immaculate, all of that will come with time and patience.

A little background on our schooling plan. When we decided to homeschool full-time about 6 months ago I had already put my sons name on the waiting list at our public school’s preschool. So when I got the call about him getting in I was a little apprehensive because of our homeschooling decision but my husband and I prayed about it and decided that since we wanted to eventually do a hybrid homeschooling plan that we would go ahead and start part-time preschool and see how it goes. And all in all it’s been great. His teacher is awesome and the activities they do are fun and its only a total of 4 hours a week and I homeschool the rest of the time.

Until this latest update I’ve been pretty happy with how it’s been going but now I’m feeling a little stumped. While we were talking I immediately felt deflated, not only as a mom but a homeschooler as well. When my brain clicked back on in the car, all that deflation went away and I felt frustrated. Frustrated at the school system for making me feel so defeated. Frustrated that my child and his abilities are lumped together with 10 other kids his age and they are all expected to go at the same speed. All kids excel in different areas, kids do not learn the same. While my child excels at reading and is more visual, another child may do poorly in that area but excel in hands on activities such as writing. Knowing all of this, again I have to ask the question why does the school system expect so much?

There are so many studies showing how preschool and kindergarten in the US are getting it wrong (and public school in general) less recess, more academics when in all actuality it should be the reverse. Here are a few articles I love on the subject and what caused me to ultimately choose homeschooling.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/09/01/the-decline-of-play-in-preschoolers-and-the-rise-in-sensory-issues/

http://www.woodlandadventurers.org/news/forest-kindergarten-finland

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2011/09/13/15-key-facts-about-homeschooled-kids-in-college/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pauline-hawkins/my-resignation-letter-teaching_b_5160721.html

All that being said, I have some great friends that are great teachers in the public school system and my son’s preschool teachers are great teachers. So my concerns don’t fall on those awesome teachers out there.There are a lot and they don’t get enough credit, that’s for sure. I am questioning the school’s expectations only because they do not make sense to me nor do they make sense to impress on my little ones. We actually moved to a great school district to make sure that if we don’t homeschool through high school that they will be in good hands. And I’m hoping that the expectations they have in high school will actually be something that is attainable. Please, before I get any haters out there, research for yourself, check in and see how many expectations your little one has to meet to move on to the next grade. I’m only looking at elementary so please to do not chastise me for coddling my old children. All that I want is for my children to be excited about learning throughout their schooling years. I don’t want them to have so much pressure to live up to their peers that they lose that joy and that love of learning.

Lessons Learned at Home

1 month down of preschool at home and I’ve definitely learned a few things as a homeschooling newbie. I think I’ve actually learned more than my 4 year old this month although I must say he has read several sentences all on his own and we are only on lesson 15 in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons Super proud of my little 4 year old!

Anyways I started out thinking that during my little ones nap me and my preschooler would sit down and do some workbook and reading and themed activities and about a week in I realized that the attention span of a 4 year old could not hold up to my expectations. My expectations were in fact outrageous. I learned this after getting frustrated with him during his reading lesson and not only getting frustrated but letting him see that frustration which only made him get frustrated and want to quit reading even more. I was reminded that preschool is supposed to be fun. I’m supposed to be a fun teacher and getting frustrated and threatening nap time was not the type of teacher I want to be. After spending the rest of the evening feeling like a pretty crappy mom and homeschooler I decided to make a couple changes in the following areas.

DAILY STRUCTURE

While I’m all for having a schedule especially as my kiddos get older I’ve realized this month that the structure of a 4 year olds school schedule needs to not be so structured. I ended up keeping the sit down and work section of the day in our routine but now I limit that time to no more than 20 minutes. 10 minutes on workbook and then 5 to 10 minutes on reading. And after really focusing on what was getting him so antsy during his reading lessons I realized that the fist 5 to 10 lessons were too easy for him and very repetitive so I cut out a few steps here and there and didn’t repeat everything so much and now he’s much more focused and proud of himself by the end of each day.

THEMES

Honestly I hadn’t really thought about themes. I was just excited about the books and the learning but I realized very quickly that the way he needs to learn is through a more hands on approach that is made to be fun and educational. And quite frankly I was getting bored myself. So the googling began and now weekly and monthly themes are coming out of my ears. I’m so excited to dive into a certain subject and make it fun and exciting and educational all at the same time.

So while I had one very structured way of teaching in my mind it turns out it’s not what either of us needed or wanted. I kind of forgot one of the main reasons to homeschool is to make what our kids learn and how they learn fit their needs in an exciting way. I want learning to be an adventure as much as possible and I know that this isn’t always possible but while they are still young I’m gonna try my hardest to make it as exciting as I can.

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Desert Lapbook Printables

So the last few weeks have been Desert themed. We made our first lapbook which I’m kind of in love with lapbooks now. He loved getting involved with it and wants our theme to be Batman next week. I said yes to that, especially when I found lapbook printables for Batman themed preschool week online.(link posted below) My daughter is even getting involved, we are focusing on learning her letters and also getting involved in whatever theme we come up with.

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I’m even more excited now than I was before school started. The idea that we can tweek our school at home to fit all of our needs and to do it in a way that makes learning an adventure, and a fun adventure at that makes me very giddy! Super excited to see what unfolds in our school year.

Here’s to happy schooling!

Preschool Lapbook Themes