Homeschooling Preschoolers - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 01-18-2007, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to look into a possible curriculum for preschoolers... We have several friends who are interested in doing a little more with our playgroup, but don't have the extra money to enroll our children in a school. I'm not sure, developmentally what would be needed, but would like any suggestions.

Thanks!
Heidi
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#2 of 16 Old 01-18-2007, 10:44 PM
 
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I think it should stay well within the realm of just lots of playing and using the imagination. This page that has lots of articles in the box at the top (many discussing the crucially important developmental benefits of lots of play and imagination-based activities rather than 3Rs), and links underneath to websites that have lots of great ideas for age appropriate activities: Preschool/kindergarten

Have fun! Lillian
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#3 of 16 Old 01-18-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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We do the above with our DS for HS preschool - just lots of play and imaginative things...I think you'll find that small children will learn a TON this way. DS' favorite thing to do is pretend he is an explorer in the jungle. We go around with our binoculars and scope out all the different types of animals...talking along the way about what they are eating, the environment they are living in (land, water, trees, etc.) and the like. I think it's important at the preschool age to keep everything FUN FUN FUN.
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#4 of 16 Old 01-18-2007, 10:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloth4Colin View Post
We do the above with our DS for HS preschool - just lots of play and imaginative things...I think you'll find that small children will learn a TON this way.
Isn't that the truth! Not only is it the way in which they learn best, but the process itself is so profoundly beneficial for later learning. Lillian
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#5 of 16 Old 01-18-2007, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, thanks. I was leaning more toward a learning kind of playful thing because I can't imagine my son focusing in on anything too serious (or sitting still for very long) so thanks, this may be what I'm looking for.

If I can add to my question, I was wondering if anyone has tried to do similar activities as what goes on at a private school like waldorf or montessori etc. Any experience with this would be cool

Thanks,
Heidi
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#6 of 16 Old 01-19-2007, 11:42 AM
 
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My son likes letteroftheweek.com which is really fun. He doesn't sit down for anything!
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#7 of 16 Old 01-19-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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dd (almost 3) loves starfall.com (if you haven't seen it, it's a learning ABCs/learning to read site with a lot of cool stuff). I think it is very possible to get "academics" in at this age in a fun and playful way. I don't see play centered on learning letter sounds, or how to count, etc. as being fundamentally different than other play - every game or toy teaches something and it's our culture that marks out certain information as "special". So I would go ahead and introduce these things if you are so inclined, just don't make it a chore.

I don't use a curriculum, but there are several things I do with dd. The most important is just to read a lot of books - I try to read at least 5 a day (more if she asks). Our collection of books contains many which have "educational" value, such as books about animals and nature (we especially like the "Smithsonian's Backyard" series), or books showing other cultures and times; and of course we have a few abc and counting books.

Weather permitting, we go outside and look at plants and other wildlife, and identify and talk about them. You could view this as a sort of science curriculum, though it isn't really any different than what most parents would do naturally when outdoors with their child.

We recently introduced "geography", by which I mean we have an inflatable globe of the world, and when we see a mention of a place in a book I get the ball and point it out (e.g. "Zebras live in Africa... look, here's Africa!). She may not get the abstract concept, but by the time she does she'll know where a lot of things are. And what animals live there. dd enjoys this and will even bring me the globe and ask me to identify places.

For "math" I just take opportunities to count things, and occasionally read a counting book (we really like "Counting on Calico" because it has cute cats and goes all the way to 20).

For reading I take several approaches. We go to starfall.com, we read abc books, occasionally I will sound out a word when reading or point out short sight words. Sometimes when we are drawing or painting I write words - I take requests, and dd loves seeing her own name and our pets' names. We also have a set of magnetic wooden letters to play with. I don't do all of these things every day, I just try to pick the one or two that she is most interested in (and she often initiates these activities, especially starfall).

I also think it's important to involve her in what I do. She can learn a lot by helping to bake or clean.

I hope this post was helpful and not overly long! How to handle the preschool years seems to be a very individual thing, and how people think about what they are doing even more so (e.g. my "science' is someone else's "playing outside"). In the end you just have to go with your gut about what will work for you and your dc.
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#8 of 16 Old 01-19-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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I agree that you would be well advised to avoid "curricula" per se with little ones. However, that doesn't mean that you need to be cast adrift if you're feeling like you want a little more guidance with regards to activities and organization. Sometimes all we need is a little push to open up our imaginations!

I've enjoyed the Everything for Winter/Fall/Spring books very, very much. They have all kinds of songs, activities, games, recipes, crafts and so on geared for the preschool set. Every library I've ever used has had copies. Some of the activities are geared toward groups and others are more one-on-one and almost all can be adapted for your specific needs.

You might also look into Everybody Has a Body and Mudpies to Magnets. These are both science-related activity books for younger kids and chock full of interesting little projects that are easy to accomplish with household items.

Some other titles I like:

- The Children's Year (Cooper and Rowling)
- All Year Round (Druitt and Rowling)
- Festivals, Family and Food (Carey and Large)
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#9 of 16 Old 01-19-2007, 12:56 PM
 
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You don't really need a curriculum to 'enhance' your playgroup. I did a preschool co-op with some friends from our playgroup when my older kids were preschool age. Basically, each week one family would host a get together. The mom hosting would plan a theme for the day- the kids would learn about the theme (from a library book, website, etc), do a craft, sing a song, have a snack, etc. It was very laid back, but the kids had fun. We usually spent about a half hour on the 'theme' of the day, and then the kids just had a snack and played the rest of the time.

The perpetual preschool site has lots of good ideas for different themes:
www.perpetualpreschool.com

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
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#10 of 16 Old 01-19-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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It looks like your child is just over 2 years old.

I think for 2 and 3 year olds, just playing and maybe setting up a craft, is more than enough! I, too, like the Mudpies to Magnets book that someone mentioned. It has ideas for "science experiments" for ages 2-5, and lists which activities are better for which ages.

If you would like to do Montessori stuff, this is a great book:
http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Monte.../dp/0452279097
I have done lots of Montessori-ish practical life stuff in our home, and it is lots of fun! For 2 and 3 year olds, most of the activities are things like scooping and pouring, sorting small objects, and cleaning up with child sized mop/broom/cloths.
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#11 of 16 Old 01-19-2007, 02:19 PM
 
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A couple ideas ... What about the LLL book Playful Learning? It has some great ideas.

When I was involved with a preschool co-op , we set up themes that we wanted to cover. Also, we tried to follow a familiar format to include ways to develop different areas.
We usually tried to include large movement activities for those wiggly little bodies, fine motor activities such as crafts or fine motor play, social things such as games and story time for auditory processing, attention and vocabulary development. Even in the dead of winter, we tried to find ways to get the kids outside.

For example, in the winter ... We would read a book/story about winter, such as Animal Tracks. We would go outside and look for animal tracks. We would have a craft to relating to that, such as making tracks in modeling clay with unusual materials we could find. We would have snack time. We would pretend to be the animals that we read about.

For March, we did a St. Patrick's day theme, read a story relating to it, did an art/science lesson by making green paint from blue and yellow, then did an art project with it. I think we baked something that day.

we tried to find ways to get the kids outside.

In addition to PLayful Learning, I found a periodical at the library meant for preschool teachers. I can't seem to find the name of it, but it had great ideas for different activities on a theme. I often used it when it was my turn to lead.

Hope this helps.
Ellen
Homeschooling mom to 13yob, 10yob, 6yod
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#12 of 16 Old 01-19-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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No curriculum suggestions but you could rotate planning a special activity for your playgroup. They could do arts and crafts, make a snack, go on a nature walk, bring a favorite book to share with the group etc.

-Pam
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#13 of 16 Old 01-19-2007, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you all so very much. These are wonderful suggestions and resources. Just what I was looking for. I think adding a little something to a playgroup, like a theme, would give them some direction that sometimes they seem to really enjoy. Plus I think it's great to give me ideas to be more creative and try out my homeschooling skills. We're still not decided about sending ds to a school or having him at home.

Anyways, thanks thanks again for the great ideas.

Heidi
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#14 of 16 Old 01-20-2007, 12:01 AM
 
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I really like www.hubbardscupboard.org or ideas.

When I taught preschool to two and three year olds, we had a long time for free play (and I often set up Montessori type practical life activities), ate snack, played outside, came in and did a craft, and then had circle (songs and a story, maybe a group game or talking about a theme: body parts, colors, etc). Then we went home. No major curriculum or academics (although they did learn colors, shapes - including trapezoid, octagon, and ellipse, letters, numbers, body parts, continents, about animals and volcanos and space and dinosaurs, how to sweep and sort and put on their own jackets, and lots of other things, mostly through playing and talking). The focus was always on motor skills, social-emotional growth and oral language.
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#15 of 16 Old 01-20-2007, 12:21 AM
 
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Our group enjoyed the activities in Bev Bos's books, in particular Don't Move the Muffin Tins.
http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Move-Muff...e=UTF8&s=books
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#16 of 16 Old 01-20-2007, 12:44 AM
 
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When DS was 3 I started a homeschool program with him. I did set up an entire curriculum, but only because he demanded it - I went by what he was requesting and showing interest in. I took a "Sesame Street" approach and set up each day around a letter. For example with the letter A I had red, yellow and green apples that we sampled, and we read about Johnny Appleseed and took the seeds from the apples and planted them. With the letter C we made construction paper caterpillars and caterpillar crawled around a masking tape outline of the letter C. So while there was "learning" involved, it was primarily activity based and fun.

K.
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