I have decided to document the home-school journey my children and I are making. What I document is mainly for my own memories (like an online scrapbook of sorts) so that I can organize our lessons, improve upon them next year, and continue on. Normal people do this in binders and with paper – currently, my efforts of that sort are swamped and buried in and out of a bright yellow binder (that ended with the letter C). Maybe I’ll finish it one day. Until then, here’s the sitch.
(Also, I’ll still be posting super cute photo collages/bullet-point lists on my Insta and Facebook for family and friends, so no worries if you were just in it for the cute pictures.)
I bought the program “Peaceful Preschool” in February on the recommendation of a FB mom group I’m in. I liked its gentle approach for toddlers, with each day based around a book and each week a letter. It also allows for a lot of substitution, which I love.
So today, we started letter G.
We began the day with a story (no circle time – my kids were too little when we started. We may begin to do circle time after the summer). Peaceful Preschool suggests “Go Dog Go” by P.D. Eastman.
Only, our town is very small and so is our library. So they don’t have any P.D. Eastman books. And mama wasn’t quite as prepared as she would have liked to have been (ahem) and didn’t order the books via Amazon until Friday. Afternoon. So they hadn’t arrived just yet.
Our only recourse, then, was YouTube. Which, for the purpose to storytime with older books, is actually not that bad. We used this video to “read” the story. The lighting was a bit dim, but the voice was passive and calm and at least we didn’t have to look at a middle-aged woman’s toned legs in a ridiculously short skirt at the beginning and the end. *ahem*
After our story, we got out out PP printable cards and used our fingers to trace them. Damien traced his correctly without arrows or prompting, which was incredibly surprising (and touching). His glitter-glue looked like big globs of worms still – all over and in piles, but at least he traced well today. A proud-mama moment indeed. Both kids mainly just squirt the glue out onto the cards in piles, by the way. Oh well. At least it’s good for their grip. (We use the lower-case cursive cards only, a la Montessori method.)
We moved onto the flimsy little journals that I quickly scribbled a hat into (to reflect their later art project) and asked them to “decorate” with crayons. An attempt to introduce the idea of thinking about a project before partaking in a project. It ended in a mass of scribbles. Because of course it did.
We did verbal sequencing next, presented as a game. I spoke a string of three words (nonsensically) to my son and had him repeat it back (snail. spoon. truck.). He, of course, thought it great fun to see that I was just naming things I saw on the ground (hah), and blurted them back to me as fast as possible (very him). So I used my aching, rusty brain (with only one cup of coffee-flavored lubricant ingested) to come up with completely random words in a sequence and then required him to wait until I counted to three to answer. He had more difficulty, but not much, so we moved onto a random number sequence, which was even easier. Baby Z did not participate, she was too busy scribbling on her hat.
I then decided to deviate from the curriculum and dragged down from the closet a bag of eggs that I’d locked and loaded months ago but hadn’t brought out for Easter. They contained some candy, but mostly cute farm animal figurines from Amazon. I thought it appropriate to hunt these eggs as part of our large motor skill/counting/fine motor skill (in snapping them back together and putting away) segments. Both kids loved hunting the eggs, of course, and each was able to easily count their eggs to ten (eleven in D’s case). After putting the empty eggs away, we used the farm animal tokens and some bugs I bought from the dollar store on our counting mats (from PP printables), and it was a disaster. The animals and bugs were too large, numbers got squished and forgotten – ugh. But Z got some more fine motor skills in by placing her figures on top of each number and D enjoyed sorting and making the fake fly land on everything in sight.
We also used the animals for a game of “memory” or “visual sequences.” I placed three objects (first random from the playroom and the other times a set of the farm animals) under a hat. I let D study them for about ten seconds then put the hat back down and had him repeat the sequence to me. He got them right each time, but the candy from his eggs were major distractions so it took forever. Lesson learned. No more candy during school.
By this time we’re all tired and kind of done. But we press on. We play the “pronoun game” with the pronoun printables from PP. Using the laminated cards (printed, laminated and cut by yours truly just the night before), I read the card to him and helped him figure out what it meant (not a problem with “up,” but “beneath” and “between” is a little tricky for a toddler). We went through the cards once and both kids got into it by the end. It was a fun, active learning experience.
Our art project, though. What a disappointment! Using the suggestion in PP, we decorated hats inspired by “Go, Dog, Go” (“Do you like my hat?” “No, goodbye.”). Instead of straw hats (which I couldn’t find at the dollar store), we used foam cowboy hats. Neither child was interested in using feathers or flowers (suggested in PP), and instead used foam stickers (yay, fine motor skills!) and buttons (yay, mommy hot gluing forever!).
Z finally decided she would just sort her buttons into shapes (fine by me), and D, after being banned from using his 21st button, lost all interest. And neither cared about the hat after the fact. So, oh well. A bust, but at least we all got to play with buttons.
The kids had their (thoroughly unoriginal snack) while listening to “Gilbert the Great” on tape, and then school was over, and we had a visit from Grandma and Grandpa (yay!).
It was, all in all, a successful Monday, fueled by sunshine and, finally, a lasting taste of spring.
Bulk of curriculum is Peaceful Preschool. I make edits and additions to this curriculum, but other than a few original ideas, it is not mine.