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Pre-homeschool chat

post #1 of 314
Thread Starter 
Anyone want to join me in this thread? Anyone who is homeschooling children before the kindergarten level? I would like to have a designated spot for us to come and discuss what we are doing homeschooling wise, etc.

I'll go first: I'm a sahm to one 40 month old ds~planning on starting peak with books in a couple weeks. Right now we work on basic letters, numbers and a bit of writing.

My biggest problem is sticking to a schedule. My dh works a non-traditional schedule, so I plan to formally homeschool when dh is at work, Monday, Thursday and Friday, I hope the Peak with Books curriculum will fit well with this schedule. I tried doing activities on dh's off days but that didn't work out too well, now those are just designated family days and sometimes we do fun trips as a family.

I want my ds to have the opportunity to learn at his own pace, i don't push him and when he is tired of one thing we stop. Although he does enjoy workbooks etc. just not for very long time periods, so we are taking it one step at a time.

anyone else?
post #2 of 314
I have a preschooler He turned four in sept. I also have an older child do I still get to play?
He wants to do what ever big sissy is doing so he has, his own journal (he draws me pictures and I label and date them, very cute keepsake ), the first ETC primer, and HOP kindergarten edition. He asked me to learn to read which is the only reason he has the last two items. He uses them when the mood hits. I actually hid the HOP for now because he rushed to the second book and I don't think he is really ready to move on. He is very excited to learn to read so I want ot make sure he does not get frustrated. Generally once a week or so he will ask for the ETC then do like 5-6 pages. The HOP he asks for a little more because he really wants to learn to read.
I feel like he is doing to much bookish type stuff so I'm trying to plan better more age appropriate preschool activities that go along with what I am doing withh my DD1. She is only six so she still enjoys most of it too. This week, I got some feeder corn for our sensory bin, and the kids shelled it and have been playing harvest time at the farm and stock up food on the "mayflower" with it it all week. The shelling is a great fine motor activity . Next week we are going to grind some of it up and make corn meal Then we will paint with the corn cobs and sprout some of it too. We will try sprouting a cob and a couple corn kernels and see what happens. We are also making cranberry bread(goes with our five in arow book cranberry thanksgiving), marble painting with cranberries, and I think we are going to turn some of the cranberries in to paint too. We did it over the summer with blue berries and he really got a kick out of it.
post #3 of 314
I'll pop in, although I'm quite a bit behind you. DD just turned 2.5 years old. We're planning on homeschooling down the line, but weren't planning on doing anything official for a while. But then DD started asking to go to school, and we had to try to convince her that some kids learn at home from their mommies and daddies (where she got the focus on going to school, I have no idea), and we finally agreed to do school with her at home. So she asks to "do school" pretty much every day.

Right now "doing school" means learning letters. We do one letter at a time at her easel, introducing the sound and drawing pictures of things that start with it. Then we do Starfall.com. We're nearly done -- just Q, V, X, Y, and Z to go! And she's been asking to do Q for the last 2 days, so I promised we'd get to it tomorrow.

We play the "begins with" game a lot, and she's started wanting to count everything since we introduced her to Sesame Street's Count von Count. It's amazing what a cute character will do for a toddler's motivation! We knew she was capable of counting, she just refused to do it. But one of us had the brilliant idea to introduce her to the Count via a Sesame Street book and a YouTube clip (we don't do TV), and now she's obsessed with counting everything and laughing.

I've taken a Montessori teaching course, so we use some of those ideas around the house. We're planning on setting up a more official Montessori area with materials, but can't afford the investment right now.

We do the occasional worksheet, weekly library storytimes, and LOTS of reading. DH focuses on the outdoors (hikes, observing wildlife, helping tortoises cross the street, etc).

I'd love to know what you think of Peak with Books. I've thought about getting that or Before Five in a Row, but DD is still SO young... I don't know if I want to go with even a semi-formal program. Plus, our schedule is also so weird -- DH works weekend nights, so we have all week free and do lots of things out and about. AND we have a baby due at the end of March. I'm not sure I'm up for something that requires consistency.
post #4 of 314
I have a 4 year old but I am also hs his 12 year old brother.
He is an emergent reader at the moment. He loves to sit down and try to sound things out for himself and when he gets tired of that he just makes up stories by using the pictures. We take lots of walks and collect things then make art out of the things we find. I'm an herbalist, so I teach him all about the herbs we see on our walks.
We aren't using a curriculum with him although I did look into CM and Waldorf. My older boys are unschoolers (one has graduated already) but this one needs more guidance although I do follow his lead in what he wants to learn about and we are on his timetable.

I tried doing activities on dh's off days but that didn't work out too well, now those are just designated family days and sometimes we do fun trips as a family.
We don't schedule anything on dh's day off either...we just hang out and I let them spend time doing things together which is usually video games.
post #5 of 314
DD's almost four. we're not using curriculum and i'm not "teaching" anything.

we read. and we read. and then we read some more. all initiated by DD, whatever books she chooses, which range from classic chapter books to Berenstain Bears to Magic School Bus to whatever else we found in the library. she has tons of art supplies and uses them however and whenever she likes. she writes books and then reads them to me - just squiggly lines right now. we bake a lot, explore the outdoors, go to the zoo and the children's museum.

i see her learning and growing every day and i don't plan to change this approach anytime soon, if ever.
post #6 of 314
This thread is an awesome idea.

I have a 35 month old DS. We lean towards unschooling, but I just set up a mini-workbox system for my own sake so that I have something to go to when he gets bored.

My husband was deployed for a long time and DS is an only child so a lot of our life centers around getting out of the house for the sake of my sanity. We do a playgroup 2 mornings a week, a music class, and a gym class weekly. He also goes to the YMCA childcare 4-5 nights/week so I can workout and take swim class. We try to do a nature hike, beach trip, or botanical garden tour once a week in addition to the occasional zoo, aquarium, and children's discovery center trip. My son is very high energy and has a hard time sitting still (except for reading and movies) so all of this busyness really helps.

So far he knows all of his letters and sounds and can sight read several words so I'm not pushing academic stuff at all. I am trying to emphasize numbers more because it would be easier for us to play games

Things we do in the workboxes or spontaneously:

Playdoh, moon sand, puzzles, cutting with scissors, Cariboo and other games, lacing beads, water and sand table, pattern matching, sorting activities, block building, making Thomas train layouts, videos like Mighty Machines and Popular Mechanics for Kids, practice gymnastics moves, read, read, read, etc.

We just went to a dinosaur exhibit so we bought a really cool book about them and enjoying looking together (I'm learning so much!)
post #7 of 314
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jenfl View Post

I'd love to know what you think of Peak with Books. I've thought about getting that or Before Five in a Row, but DD is still SO young... I don't know if I want to go with even a semi-formal program. Plus, our schedule is also so weird -- DH works weekend nights, so we have all week free and do lots of things out and about. AND we have a baby due at the end of March. I'm not sure I'm up for something that requires consistency.
I actually just got the book in the mail today, i really haven't had a chance to read any of it yet, we were at the zoo all day, so i'm pretty pooped. I am hoping this will fit both of us well, ds loves reading so i thought it would be good for him.

I thought this thread would be good for us who have under-k learners. Glad to see so many posts already.

Ds is getting into playing board games. I bought him candyland and he loves it, he can only play 1 or 2 times in a row w/o getting frustrated, but i love how it helps reinforce colors and counting and taking turns. I plan to get him a few more games for xmas.

What do you all think of the magic castle readers series(author jane belk moncure)? Ds had one of those books and it has been his favorite for a long time, I just bought some more off ebay, the manners, language arts type ones. There is also a full set of alphabet and numbers but those get pretty high in ebay bidding, I am keeping my eyes peeled for a good deal i think he would really enjoy those sets.
post #8 of 314
Originally Posted by ILoveMyBabyBird View Post
What do you all think of the magic castle readers series(author jane belk moncure)? Ds had one of those books and it has been his favorite for a long time, I just bought some more off ebay, the manners, language arts type ones. There is also a full set of alphabet and numbers but those get pretty high in ebay bidding, I am keeping my eyes peeled for a good deal i think he would really enjoy those sets.
Are the alphabet books the ones like "My F Book"? If so, we've got one of these (found at a thrift store) and DD loves it. I should've been taking them out of the library as we did each of the sounds, but they have them at the further library, not the tiny one we frequent.

My concern for those type of books is making sure they get the letter sound correct at least most of the time. Like all the stories that try to use xylophone as the X word, when that usage of X is not the usual pronunciation.
post #9 of 314
DD is 4.75. We started a very informal homeschooling a year ago. We have a picture choice board, and we'll do "formal" homeschooling whenever she asks, for as long as she asks. Right now her choices are:

Logic: Castle Logix, Mighty Mind, or BrainQuest cards

Math: Workbook, Uno cards with pennies (practicing counting and adding), or Boggle Jr. Numbers

Storytelling: using a special set of dolls reserved for this purpose, or using the Sequencing Cards

Arts: dancing to music, playing musical instruments, or painting

Each activity usually lasts about ten minutes and she can stop at anytime, but she can't skip to a preferred activity during "homeschool-" has to go in order. (she can certainly do similar activities anytime she wants we just don't call it homeschool. But we kept certain activities exclusive to homeschooling so that she wouldn't lose interest).

I don't have reading/writing on there because we read before bed, and also anytime she wants.
post #10 of 314
i have three sons - one will be 4 next month, one just turned 2, and one is just a few months old. i'm trying to do as much as i can with my oldest, but it isnt always easy because i'm so busy with his brothers. i try to do letteroftheweek.com (he already knows his letters, sounds, etc...we are doing the "blending" part of the website). we already did the first two sections of starfall.com. i got sonlight p3/4 for him, so we are reading those books and playing those games, along with plenty of library books. i try to do a weekly activity from slow and steady get me ready. we play around on pbs.org. we have just completed the comprehensive curriculum of basic skills workbook and a preschool math workbook that i got on amazon.com. we also do dot-to-dots and mazes. i also try to do crafts and activities when we can....lacing, bingo daubers, painting, etc. he WANTS to do all of this. most days, we spend less than an hour a day.....10 mins here and there.....doing these things. the rest of the time, he plays or watches pbs or colors or whatever.

i am researching my state laws, meeting local homeschoolers (online group), deciding on curriculum to use in the future, getting on the mailing list of companies like rainbow resources, reading tons of books on homeschooling, making a list of websites to utilize in the future, etc.
post #11 of 314
My youngest is almost 3.5 years old. His big sister will be 5 in a week and a half. She met the cut-off for kindergarten -- barely -- this year, but she would have been one of the youngest and smallest kiddos in her grade. Eek. So I have one preK and one K(ish) kiddo at home.

We're eclectic unschoolers, and for my son, we're definitely falling more on the unschooling side. He was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and an articulation disorder this year, so this year's theme has been us scrambling to figure out how best to help him greet the world. I haven't been formally introducing anything with him outside of speech therapy and OT activities. I've been practicing stepping back and letting him lead the way. Swimming, outdoor time, building marble runs, reading stories, dropping most group activities for now, movies, computer games and video games, e-books, playdough, let's pretend, building blocks, lots of kinesthetic activities. He responds really well to screen time, which has definitely changed my "ideal" approach to learning. It's about him, not me, so I'm adapting.

I'm feeling comfortable with his rate of learning. Without formal introduction, he can still count well past 20, knows his ABCs, has a bunch of songs and stories memorized, is telling knock-knock jokes (sooooo stinkin' cute!), can do some basic addition, groks cause and effect, can identify tons of animals and birds and plants and colors and shapes, has a pretty good idea of how community works.... As long as I don't force it and he doesn't have to do it in a group setting, he's good.
post #12 of 314
Have a 5 yr old son (just turned) and 2 yr daughter (will be 3 on Nov 21). They have siblings being homeschooled and they call themselves and their baby sister "Little Explorers" So...they are exploring God's world and studying God's Word.

Nothing really formal, but I allow them whatever activities they want to participate in. Mylee is loving writing letters and her name. She is so cute!

Angelo is taking a break from letters and been really into playing outside and sports.

We are reading Charlotte's Web altogether during the day. They are assisting in planning a Charlotte's Web party where we will do crafts and watch the cartoon and movie.
post #13 of 314
I have a 4 year old ds and we are pretty casual about lessons with him. I also have a ds 9 and dd 15 at home. I have hooked on phonics, HWOT (that he is starting to like now), a few kindergarten primer workbooks, a lot of easy read books, some manipulatives and the computer. I don't push it with him though..a lot of his learning is play and crafts.

I have tons of ideas for lessons for him..but he doesn't always want to sit and do them. He loves drawing and painting
post #14 of 314
post #15 of 314
I'm a pre-homeschooler! DS is 4 1/2 but doing K work for the most part. I don't always feel like a "true" homeschooler though because he's not school age yet. But then everyone who doesn't HS expects him to be in preschool because he's 4. I feel like I can't win.

I was going to unschool him, but we both do better with a little more structure and direction from me, so we're like 50% unschool and 50% me actively teaching lessons I come up with (no curriculum here).

Right now we're working on:

Math-addition, subtraction, more advanced shapes (cone, pyramid, octagon, parallelogram, ect), and fractions. We're still working on counting too (he still skips some numbers).

Reading-we're on to chapter books for bedtime stories and he's sounding out short-vowel words.

Writing-he's mastered uppercase and now we're working on lowercase.

Social studies-mostly U.S. history and geography

Science-whatever we can come up with! Yesterday we dissected a pumpkin that caved in and started to rot.

We play lots of games and do lots of artsy stuff!
post #16 of 314
we just made play dough and banana bread. I love preschool!
post #17 of 314
I have a PreK student too!

We do a mix of activity based stuff and workbooks. We are learning about the different animal habitats with Moving Beyond the Page and so this am, we made a cactus and owl for the "desert". This is the science stuff.

Math is a workbook curriculum - Singapore Earlybird K currently working though Book B. She likes to do her more "thinking" stuff at night. (I think it's a combo of getting to stay up later and the energy burst she seems to get at night). After EB B, we are going to move to Horizons K so I can decide if that or Singapore is better for us when she begins 1st grade math.

We also have been doing stuff on Safety and phonics. She uses starfall.com and readingeggs.com.

She also loves doing the Critical Thinking Company books. Also Evan Moor books are a favorite too.

Then of course, all the other stuff....reading, playing, baking, crafts, toys, playground, etc, etc!!!

At first we were going at her pace - 5 days a week...I recently bumped it down to 3 days a week!! (I needed to catch my breath for a minute!! LOL!)

I'm not following any particular HS philosophy. We do what we do and what the state regs tell us to do as well!

Bandgeek- are you using a math curriculum?
post #18 of 314
Hello everyone!! I have a 3 year old dd who I plan on homeschooling as well. We are a military family, and while that played a part in the decision process, we are also planning in traveling extensively by boat from about 9-15 (her age), so I didn't really think that starting public school and then taking her out would be easy. Then after all my reading and learning, I now feel that homeschooling is the best possible choice for her and us even if we weren't going to travel or if we weren't a military family.

What we do:

She loves workbooks ( I don't push her to do it, she does what she can and what she can't we skip over), Starfall.com, reading books and being read to. We go to library storytime occasionally.

She goes to music class once a week (Kindermusik). She goes to a local homeschool resource center for "preK" once a week for 3 hours which includes ballet/dance.

I have Hooked on phonics/math/writing. (It was a package deal, Hooked on Kindergarten that I got a super duper super deal on and I couldn't pass it up). I started the HOP with her and she's not ready so we put it aside for a while.

I have the Peak with Books book and several of the readers. She is not old enough at this point to really go forward with this. Some of the questions will ask her how she feels about things, and other questions that she is not developmentally ready to answer yet, so we put that aside too. We continue to read the storybooks though (goodnight moon, angry caterpillar, brown brear brown bear, etc.)

She friggin loves arts and crafts, which is great, because so do I. She has tons of art supplies and likes to create. She loves music and dance so we incorporate a lot of that in our daily lives.

I do really like the unschooling philosophy but I'm not sure we would follow it completely.

Lately we've been reading the beginner Hooked on Math books from the library. I really like Montessori for math/physics and we do a lot of those activites (like pouring sand from one container to the next, sorting beads/shells, etc.)

She does like the Magic Castle series, we get them from the library too.

I just got Ruth Beechick's book about beginning reading/phonics from the library and hope to work with that this week.

I have no set schedule, besides the scheduled classes we go to, so we just do what she feels like doing, or what I feel like doing.

Most of her days (that we are at home) is spent thumbing thru books, being read to, doing arts/crafts, dancing/playing music, riding her bike, playing outside, chasing the dog, doing puzzles.
She spends the most time playing (kitchen play, dolls, puzzles, sticker books, running, playing with the neighbors, playdates, parks)
I encourage creative and open ended play.

Things upcoming:

I got her Candyland and Chutes n Ladders for xmas, hoping that will help with the math.
More nature time/outside play.

Well, she's cranky now so I've got to go....geez, I already wrote a novel anyways....
post #19 of 314
Thanks for this thread! I have a 3.5 year old boy and a 19 month old boy and another baby boy coming in Feb.

My DS1 would love it if I would do more homeschooling with him but right now I just don't know WHAT to do. We do a lot of crafts and coloring and he loves mazes so we do a lot of books of mazes but we're so out of ideas.

He told me the other day he wants to learn to read so he can read to his brother but then today we were looking at a book and he didn't know most of his lower case letters. But he knew them all like 6 months ago so I guess he forgot? I'm thinking of getting hooked on phonics but I dont know. I would love some ideas on indoor things to do now that it's freezing cold and we won't be going out much unless it's to play in the snow.

I also wanted to bring in their sand and water table to set up in the house but I can't think of anything to put in it to play with that won't attract bugs or be really expensive. Any ideas?
post #20 of 314
You can put rotini pasta in the sand and water table. I don't know how expensive it'd actually end up being, but I would picture filling the tables I've seen wouldn't take THAT much money - or you could buy a little at a time, and mix other pastas in too. I would suggest lentils too, but that could be messier.

I guess I'm more of a pre-homeschooling unschooler (although I think when the kids are school aged I like a classical/CM/montessori/unit study type idea). My DD is 3 3/4 and DS will be 2 in December. I am really leaning towards homeschooling, but my DH is not. My current "plan" is to start more official homeschooling next fall or so, since my DD will not be old enough for kindergarten here, but her brother will start school at about that age (because of the way their birthdays are). That way I will get one year done, and my DH will see how awesome it is, all before she would be in kindy anyway. Then he'll be happy to agree and want to keep the homeschooling lifestyle. That's my plan.

I do really want to get the before five in a row (or is peak with books better?) to check it out and see if it fits us well. I think it will.

As far as what we do - my DD is now in swimming lessons with a friend. I had her in a little ecological fun camp thing (1.5 hr/week) before the swimming, but it finished and she was so glad it was over that I am not re-enrolling her in anything like that again soon.

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