Anders, who is almost 5, will be going to Kindergarten in August. Him and I have had two full school years home together since he was born. One of those years he was 2, and this year he was 4. The other years I was working as a Kindergarten or 2nd grade teacher. This year, I knew we really had to step up what we were doing, or he would be way behind going into Kindergarten. He still isn't completely where I want him to be, but we have until August!
The year he was 2 and we were home together, we did very basic things. We watched educational YouTube videos, played with shaving cream, put his name in magnet letters on the fridge, learned our colors and basic shapes. I have two 2 year olds at home this year, and I don't even do all of that with them. They are learning those things through books we read, watching him, talking to them, and MDO. I have a feeling they will get by much easier. One of my younger ones is a sponge. He remembers everything I read to him, and he can mimic several books we read. My other two (Anders' included) need a lot of reinforcement. Which is ok!
So coming into our Preschool Homeschool year, Anders' did not know anything past basic shapes and colors. He didn't know the letters in his name, or how to write them. He could count to 10, but could not identify any of the numbers. Now I can't take full credit for how far he has come this year, because he has an amazing teacher at preschool two days a week that has done a great job catching him up.
If you are a stay at home mom, this is what we have used as a model this year to catch him up and get him ready. If you work outside the home, I imagine, your child is getting these things at preschool, and I wouldn't suggest much more at home. Burnout is a real thing.
Our morning schedule looks something like this:
6:30- he gets up and picks a show before his brothers get up so I can finish my Bible study, coffee, shower, etc.
7:00- breakfast for everyone
8:00- get dressed and head downstairs where our "school" supplies are
8:15-9:00- Homeschool time- sometimes it is MUCH shorter- or longer..like this morning when he had to write his name on his Valentines but wanted to tell me a story about each person in his class. I eventually had to implement a no talking policy so we could finish!
Language- we always start with a language activity. At first it was simply copying his name, and now it has evolved into missed first constant of words. We have used: markers, stamps, letter cards, large paper, crayons, colored paper, magnet letters, white boards, and regular writing paper. We used letter flash cards everyday until he learned those. I hold up the letter card and say "M, mmm, mouse" and he repeats. I also have a few Dr. Jean CD's that we listen to in the car. Name writing and letter practice were everyday until he mastered those about 5 months in.
Math- I keep it very simple. We count calendar days, we count orally, we skip count, we count objects, we pair objects to a number, we trace numbers, we write numbers, and we sing about counting. He can count to 100, count to 100 by 10s, and recognize numbers 0-10 mostly just from oral work. We are still working on writing numbers. He is a lefty, and writing things is not easy for him (or me!)
Bible- We use our Bible time to practice books of the Bible, memory work, or write notes or cards to those who may need them
Now, what to do if your preschooler doesn't want to do any work at home. Believe me, at first, it was maybe 5 minutes. But overtime, he started to enjoy some of the fun activities I would incorporate into his learning, and he didn't mind sitting to do it. At first, I would let him pick a game to play after he worked, and I would play that with him.
Another thing, I always try and do is stay on top of whatever they are doing at school. If I see work come home, I make sure we cover that to some degree. They are learning about a sight word every week at his preschool. I tape the ones for the month on his bathroom mirror and he says them when he brushes his teeth, and then I put them with his school work after the month, and we say them each everyday. He knows all but about 5 doing that. We are working on recognizing them in print not just on the card.
If you are struggling for ideas, pinterest, and teacher pay teacher are my go to's. I also love the big Kindergarten workbooks you can buy at Walmart that cover a lot of different subjects, and they can work right in those. No pages to print!
Main thing to remember, they will learn SO MUCH in Kindergarten. Really! I had students who couldn't write their name when they came in, and they were beginning to read as they left. Their little brains need time to develop. If your child is pushing back, they aren't ready. Once Anders' was ready, he took off. Same with most "milestone" things for your child, if you let them take the lead when they are ready, they will soar.
I am excited to see how Anders' does in Kindergarten, and I am excited to watch all three boys develop and grow over the years as learners of all things!!
(Picture below is our setup for learning)
Next up on the blog... my favorite Advocare products and why we use them!