July 22, 2014

A Simple Pre-K Plan

I know. The words "back to school" make you kind of want to scream right now. It's only mid-July!

And yet, in Chandler, school started up yesterday, apparently (I am not complaining, because there is nothing I love more than going to Target and the library in peace). So I'm starting to think about school this fall.

Last year, I wrote about my plans for doing preschool with Ella.

We kept it up most of the year, although it ended up being more like once or twice a week, rather than three times. It was really a good experience for both of us, and I'm excited to do a little bit more this year.

Ella still has one more year before she starts kindergarten, and some of you super long-time readers may know that I've been seriously considering homeschooling for many years.

My ideal scenario would be for her to do dual-enrollment and have her attend public school part-time (probably for specials, like music, art, and PE) and do the rest at home with me.

So this fall kind of feels like a trial year.

Like last year, I want to keep it low-key (especially since we'll be in London, which means I don't exactly relish the idea of hauling over boatloads of school supplies).

Here's the plan:

A super simple curriculum for your pre-k child

Reading: I've been really incredibly happy with Phonics Pathways, and I'm finally going to buckle down and buy my own copy instead of using the library's. I feel super stressed about teaching different rules, so it's been really nice to have it just lay them out one at a time, with a clear explanation and then plenty of practice. I seriously love this book. (We've also been using the BOB books and some easy readers from the library for additional practice).

Math: Ella LOVES math. She finished the first kindergarten book and we ordered the second one, which she's also cruising through. Bart also does a lot of mental math and counting with her too, mainly when we're driving around.

Out-Loud Reading: When we're abroad, I'll probably have to move over to mostly digital books to read-aloud to her. We've been blazing through the Toys Go Out series, and then next up is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I'd also like to find a few books set in London to read aloud this fall (Paddington Bear being one of them). Any suggestions welcome.

Art: Look, I'm totally lousy in the art and art history department, but since we're going to be in London with some of the best art museums in the world within walking distance, it's time to be a grown-up and learn something about art. I've been looking into some of the children's programs they have at the various art museums, and I think it'll be really fun (and good for me too).

Handwriting: I've heard great things about Handwriting without Tears, so I'm ordering the Grade 1 book for Ella (kindergarten is letters and numbers, which she's sort of beyond at this point).

Science: I mentioned in the preschool post last year doing science, and it was hands-down Ella's favorite thing. But there's just no way I can handle the supply gathering and stuff parts of science while we're abroad. I was really impressed with the few projects we did out of Mudpies to Magnets, so I'll order a copy once we're back in the states.

Misc: I grew up on Singin' Smart, so I ordered a copy of it for Ella for her birthday. I think she'll love learning the states, capitols, planets, US presidents, and major bones of the body. And I'm excited to brush up myself.

Anyway, I'm getting excited about the whole thing. Wish us luck!

23 comments:

  1. Maybe Aunt Merrick can step in as an art professor. :)

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    1. Ha, the commute might be a little long for me ;)

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  2. Sorry if this shows up twice- I hit publish and it went away!! Anyhow- I'm in the same boat as you with homeschooling. Whenever your little lady is ready to start kinder look for a family school or a half school. Most city's have charter schools where the kids attend half days or part time at school and then are home schooled the rest of the time. The teachers do frequent trainings with the parents so that everyone is teaching the same curricula in similar ways. They're great!

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  3. I found a blog post about children's books set in London, including Mary Poppins and Peter Pan: http://themousehunter.com/uncategorized/london-in-childrens-books/. When I was little, Bobbsie Twins were popular. The only one I ever owned was The Bobbsie Twins at London Tower.

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  4. Have you seen Sesame Street's Little Discoverers with its STEM focus? http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/stem

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  5. The Gruffalo is not set in London, but it is British. My son loves it. Might be more for Ani than Ella though. I think that is about the age my son got hooked.

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  6. I used the book "How to teach your child to read in 101 easy lessons" as it was recommended both by a home school mom and a teacher who both believed children should be taught to read phonetically. I used it both for homeschooling a kindergarten child and also to teach my 2nd grader to read (as she came out of 1st grade not being able to read) and the school district informed us that it was not the teacher's responsibility to teach children to read--it was the parents!

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  7. You should check out the series Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists. My sister had a few and gave me the Picasso one when I was younger and I was so into it (and graduated in Art History). It's a great introduction to art in a lot of ways, especially when you can pair it with visits to see the art in real life.

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  8. This is so fun! I really admire how hands on you are with your girls! Which has led me to be more hands on with Kyle and reading chapter books aloud to him! Do you know of any good preschool type websites, books, or resources to work on with a two year old? I'd love to start doing more things like this with Kyle, but obviously geared down quite a bit!

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    1. Paige, I have a page of Early Learning websites at: http://www.teachthechildrenwell.com/early.html. Also, here is an Only 2 Clicks page I put together to use with kindergarten: http://www.only2clicks.com/pages/kinder

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    2. Oh perfect! Thanks so much! I'll definitely be taking a look at this!

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  9. So this is kind of random as I don't even have kids, much less home school, but someone I follow on instagram - atticseventeen has also decided to home school this year and expressed the exact same concern about art/art history and another user suggested this book - Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters. I have not used it myself so this isn't a personal recommendation, but it seemed silly not to share when it was so apropos.

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  10. As a homeschooler, this blog has been one of my go-to's. http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/ I also love, LoVe, LOVE Rainbow Resource for ordering curriculum.

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  11. We homeschooled our son last year for kindergarten, but are sending him to first grade in the public school this coming year for a variety of reasons. So this year will be me doing homeschool with my daughter who has one more year until kindergarten and we will be doing a similar pre-k program. My biggest challenge as a homeschooling mom is consistency. (Add having a baby last year and a toddler to the mix and schedules go out the window!) I tried doing school during nap time, but often I need a nap or a break then too! How do you stay consistent with school time?

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  12. I'm so happy you posted this!! I'm planning on holding my son back for kindergarten, but I wanted to start some things at home this year just in case I change my mind and because, well, it's a good idea. hahaha. I will have to check these things out! Have you looked into anything Montessori at all? They post a lot of cool activities for kids but I'm too lazy to read all the books that explain its pros over other stuff.

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  13. I'm a long-time (ninja) reader of your blog who used to live in the UK, so I'm psyched that you're getting the chance to move to London for a bit!

    There are tons of great places for family days out in London, and the children's programmes at the British Museum and Natural History Museum are really good (I don't know much about kids but my mom is an elementary school teacher and she highly recommends it.) If it helps, I recently wrote a post about the NHM for kids: http://tinywalletadventures.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/family-days-out-the-natural-history-museum-london/ .

    Also, do check out the Drina Ballerina series of books by Jean Estoril - it's set in London and has been one of my favourite series' since childhood! (It's a YA book so this may be more for you than either Ani or Ella.)

    P.S. Sorry for the spammage, I'm very easily excited.

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  14. I take my kids (age 5 and 2) to a monthly children's program at an art museum, and I really couldn't be happier with it.

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  15. Thanks for sharing this pre K plan. I am planning to homeschool through a charter too so I can still sign up the kids for classes but do most at home. And I love the article you linked to about how you were homeschooled. The end made me laugh!

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  16. Good for Great Clips for supporting schools and teachers!

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  17. Get Science Experiments You Can Eat by Vicki Cobb and also Arts and Crafts You Can Eat by her as well.

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  18. You should check out the Katie books by James Mayhew. They are about a little girl who goes to museums and climbs into famous paintings. I believe they are set in London

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  19. So interesting and helpful! I did "Mommy school" with my two year old this year, which only entailed learning a letter a week and a song to go with it... Time to step it up for a more official mommy preschool this year! Thanks for the resources.

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  20. My sister has been homeschooling for a few years now, and when I talked to her two days ago, she probably mentioned at least four of these books and how much she liked them, too. So nice to get similar recommendations without having to slog through reviews, since I seriously have no idea what I'm doing and am starting to freak out that I only have two years before kindergarten-age.

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