Friday, February 10, 2017

Thoughts on Preschool and an Update....

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 CardsPlay-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.


  1. I would love to hear what you think about the better late than early thing with regards to learning differences such as dyslexia. I don't hear Charlotte Mason-ish folks (of which I am one!) talk much about LDs, but I hear a lot of dyslexia folks saying that the earlier intervention can happen, the better. I'm not sure what to make of it all!

  2. Well, part of my attitude about better late than early is stemming from my experience with dyslexia. We started kindergarten with Ruben at age five and it was fairly immediately apparent that something was different from Riley. He did receive intervention at what we've been told was young, testing at age 7, tutoring beginning at age 8. I have seen so much maturity since that time, especially around age 10-11, when he finally started to read. He is soon to be 12.

    With Levi, I plan to hold off on formal education until around age 6, such as recommended by Charlotte Mason. Now, that doesn't mean we will sit idle in the meantime, but rather spending time in nature, reading good books, and habit training. After ten years of homeschooling, I don't think waiting that extra year, especially with a boy, is going to harm him one way or another.

    Truth be told, it's kind of an experiment so check back in a few years and I'll let you know how it goes ;-)

    I should also note that my boys have April and June birthdays, whereas our daughter has a September birthday. There is a huge difference in being the oldest in your class to being the youngest.

  3. Thanks for responding! My head is kind of swimming with all the education philosophy that I already know plus the knew stuff I'm learning with regards to discovering our 7 yo son has dyslexia. I have a very precocious 2 1/2 yo son so I am thinking ahead for him as well. With homeschooling, it is easy to think yourself in circles.
    Love it that you update in detail about what the kids are doing!