This year my oldest is 3. She will turn 4 in February. Because of the laws in Michigan, she won't be eligible for kindergarten until she is 5 1/2. A lot of her friends were headed to preschool this year and we started to look into it ourselves. It seemed like the right thing to do. But the more we looked at prices and locations we realized K would have to be in preschool for two years before she would be going to kindergarten.
And then I had this "ah-ha" moment. I am a teacher. I have two teaching degrees. I chose to leave teaching to be at home with my daughters. So why would I send her off this year for someone else to work with her when I have the skill set and the desire to do it? She is finally old enough to "work" on stuff so I want to enjoy that right now. My husband and I decided that she would stay home another year, go to preschool next year and then kindergarten the following year. I know this isn't the best choice for everyone but this is what works for our family.
To be able to pull off homeschool preschool, I knew a few things needed to happen.
1. I would need to plan the units and have everything copied and prepped so I could quickly pull out an activity when we had the time.
2. I needed to build school into our schedule so that K knew to expect it and hopefully would help keep me accountable.
3. I needed to create activities that could keep M, my almost 2 year old, entertained as well.
So far, here is how I've handled those concerns. I mapped out units that I wanted to cover for the year. At first I planned 2 units per month but I think one theme for the month will probably be more practical. Depending on the unit maybe it can just be a two week unit. I've found ideas on Pinterest and different blogs and I've created the rest of the activities we need.
For my first unit, I planned and prepped most of it ahead of time. There were some sensory activities that I tried to prep the day of. I still would like to get it all completely done before we start the unit. That way I don't have to say "Oh let's go play with rainbow playdough, oh wait, go watch tv for an hour so I can make it." I need it all ready ahead of time.
I made a schedule for the fridge to help K see what we are doing each day. That has helped me build school into our schedule. These past few weeks have been the first weeks of swim class and storytime at the library so we are still trying to find our routine. We go with the flow. Some days we get in a few activities and books, sometimes only one, sometimes we get nothing school related done. We also get some work in at night or on the weekend when Daddy is home with us.
With most of the activities, M has been wanting to participate and do what big sister does. For many of the activities, she can join us. There were a few times throughout this unit that I needed to distract her and get her involved in something else since she wasn't able to do what K was working on. So far it seems to be working but this will continue to be a struggle for us I'm sure.
In the coming weeks I will be blogging about some of the activities we've worked on during our color and shape unit. Be on the lookout for the following headers as we explore books, sensory ideas, art projects, fine motor ideas, gross motor ideas and extra practice ideas.