At mid year, a few weeks ago, I posted reviews on Riley's Beautiful Feet Ancient History study and Ruben's HOD Creation to Christ study. Today, I'm going to share a bit about what we've been doing for Preschool (4K) with Levi.
The longer I homeschool, parent, and live life in general, the more I've come to realize better late than early is best. I have not read Raymond and Dorothy Moore's book because I've been unable to obtain a copy, but I'm willing to bet I'd be in agreement with much of what they have to say. I can now see areas where I pushed my other kids too early with tragic results, after all, hind sight is 20/20.
Preschool is a time for play. I don't believe in scheduling early childhood. Instead, reading good books, hands on activities, and time in nature are the way we spend our days. Because Levi asked and wanted to participate with the older kids, I did give him new supplies such as colored pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, paper, coloring books, etc, at the beginning of the school year. We keep a stack of scrap paper in our school room, which is basically any one sided page that is no longer needed. This comes in handy for cutting, drawing pictures, math scrap paper, etc. and it is used by all the kids.
In addition, I collected oodles of items at thrift sales in the past to create what I call 'time occupying totes'. We keep these totes off to the side in our school room and Levi can play with them anytime throughout the day, provided he plays quietly if I'm working with one of the other kids. These have been a life saver for me and Levi loves them! The totes contain things like Lauri Dot-2-Dot Lacing Cards; Play-Doh with design supplies; Wikki-Stix; a variety of Lauri and wooden puzzles, including shapes, right/left hand, letters, and numbers; Discovery Toys Playful Patterns; and Lakeshore Craft Scissors.
Aside from the totes, we have many puzzles, flannel board stories and fraction pieces, wooden blocks, an abacus, tangrams, and other math manipulatives that he plays with. Again, these are not scheduled and I don't have lesson plans. Instead, Levi simply chooses something, sits down and quietly explores on his own while I'm working with the other kids.
Over and above this, we read a plethora of picture books and he plays outside pretty much daily. More recently, Levi has been asking to participate with the other kids in their assignments, particularly Ruben. When Ruben is narrating, Levi asks for a turn to try. When Ruben is coloring, Levi colors. When Ruben illustrates his poetry, Levi creates an illustration, and so on and so forth. It's interesting to see him acquire a desire for learning as he watches us in the day to day.
Preschool shouldn't be structured with busy work and lesson plans. This will lead to burnout for both you and your student. Keep it simple. Create a love of learning by allowing exploration and imagination to happen. There will be a time and place for intentional reading and math lessons, but preschool is not it!
By the way, I did buy Before Five in a Row, intending to use it with Levi this year, but after trying it, I've decided to simply read and enjoy the books, rather than do all the planned activities.