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8.24.2010

Back to school

I'm not sure just how it happened.  I've been hanging on with all my might, but summer ~ well, the relaxed summer mentality, here in NC we'll be in the 90s well into October ~ is slipping right through my fingers.

This week marks back to school for older siblings of my kids' friends, and so I figured it was as good a time as any for us to begin "M____ preschool" right here in our own house.

Yep, we're having a home preschool year.  With three kids.  That belong to me and therefore know EXACTLY how to push my buttons.  Am I crazy?  

I've joked several times that having three kids within a year of each other makes for our own preschool.  Combine that with the cost that would be tuition to send all three AND the fact that I taught three years of preschool after spending ten in middle school and it just seemed logical that we have our own school here at home.

I've been thinking about it for a while, I just needed the right program to get me kick started.  Enter one of my friends inviting us over one day last week to share a biblical based curriculum outline that she found online (FOR FREE!).  She treated my kids to a "trial day" at her house and their reactions made me realize it was time to get started.

The outline features one bible verse a week, along with a focus on one color, one letter, one number, and one sight word a week.  There are a few craft type activities that go along with the bible verse and some letter and number practice.  (Now all I've gotta do is convince Daddy that we really do need a color laser printer for some of the fun reproducibles I find online).   Then it gives some starting suggestions for centers.  That's where the fun comes in, figuring out how to use all our craft supplies in an educational way.

M Preschool opened to rave reviews yesterday.  We practiced our verse, sang a few songs, and reviewed our number (1), our letter (L), our sight word (see) and our color (yellow).  Then it was time for centers.  Yesterday's centers were:

Letter building.  They practiced our letter of the week ~ L.  And then because they all recognize "their" letter AND their siblings' letters, we threw in C, D, K, and M.  

Number recognition.  Placing the correct number of sequins on numerals 1-6.  For now they have dots on the numerals because I realized (from the assessment) that they only recognize the number 1 and the number of their age.  (Yeah, poor Caleb.  When you have two sisters your school manipulatives are bound to be flower and butterfly sequins.  He didn't seem to mind too much).
Color scavenger hunt.  They were given a basket and told to search the house for yellow items to fill it.  This exercise was mostly created for Darcy (right now she ALWAYS gets pink and purple correct, but any other color is a toss up), but Kylie and Caleb really enjoyed it too.
Reading corner.  I took advantage of the board books at our library and checked out several color, number, and ABC books to keep in the reading corner.  They also had their backpacks filled with books they selected from the library and enjoy flipping through the pages and telling the stories.
Fine motor skills.  They used my pickle tongs to transfer yellow pom poms from one container to the other.  And when they finished, they switched hands and moved them back.  I also had an empty spice jar (that I keep for them to play with in their kitchen) and a cut up yellow pipe cleaner.  They fed the pipe cleaners through the shaker holes in the jar.
Play dough.  This center serves two purposes, building hand strength and practicing letters.

And the possibilities of what to do with centers is endless!  You'd be amazed how educational you can get with a pile of random craft scraps and recycled containers!  Today we kept each child's favorite center from yesterday and I just created variations of the others to keep things familiar yet fresh. 
 
The most exciting part of our preschool is going to be the memory verse component!  This week the verse is Matthew 5:16. "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in Heaven."  Kylie already has the entire thing memorized, Caleb just needs the first word of each segment, and Darcy at least can get out the first part without help.  In addition to the memory, there is much discussion of what the verse really means. We began with a discussion of ways to let your light shine, and ways to keep your light from shining.  We've discussed both hypothetical situations and real situations as they've come up.  I actually heard Caleb tell Kylie he was sorry that he didn't let his light shine when he took a toy away from her last night.  I'm sure that when there is a new verse to add next week that they will get them a bit confused, but oh how excited I am to begin laying a foundation for them to internalize God's word.

23 comments:

Jennifer Taylor said...

Way to go Kristi! Preschool looks fun in your house! Liem and Lyla would be totally jealous if they knew the fun you guys were having :)

Jenn said...

Love it :)
I teach K in a very poor public school where most of my children have spent the past 5 years sitting at home doing nothing. I have to start at the real basics with them and get a lot of things off line from sites like prekinders.com, hubbardscupboard.com and the virtualvine.com. All 3 are free :)
Hope yal have a great school year. Can't wait to see what the year has in store for your little ones.
<><
Jenn

Laurie said...

Can I come over? Can I? Can I? It sounds like SO much fun! And you're SO right about being able to teach a LOT of great stuff with very few materials. You just have to get creative, and I know you already have that going for you. PLEASE post regularly about what you're doing, okay? I'm sure many of us would love to steal some of these ideas.

Heather said...

Looks like FUN FUN FUN! Would love to know what free site you are using ... do tell. :)

Pam said...

Ok, you are SO homeschooling, K. Seriously, though, they are going to THRIVE with what you are doing with them!

Our school starts on Monday. Kindergarten for AC, with Charlie and Kate following along for most. And Grace, too. :)

Anonymous said...

Letter of the Week is another FREE curriculum. It's by Brightly Beaming Resources.

Could you tell us the curriculum you're using please? :-)

Emily said...

When I get back to school computer, I can send you some of my favorite teacher links. I teach in the public school preschool here in Danville. I would love to know what curriculum you are using. I am always looking for new ideas.

Laine said...

Oh Kristi what fun! Preschool is the BEST! Kindergarten even better! And 9th grade algebra? The BOMB! (okay not really)

I love hearing about your school day. Mrs. Miller. Hee hee.

Your 3 pupils are certainly adorable! Teacher's pets for sure!

Annie said...

Wow! I have lots to learn! So many great ideas, Kristi!! I am nervousw about teaching one! I cannot imagine tackeling 3! You go girl:)

Jess and Tim said...

Sounds like a lot of fun to be had!!

Andrea said...

It looks like so much fun! Way more organized and purposeful than I ever was with LeighAnna. I liked the site. Once I get 1st grade squared away, I want to do this with Lydia when she turns 3.

Heather said...

That curriculum sounds great and you didn't even tell us, silly girl! I'm glad you are homeschooling your little dumplings. They just grow up way to fast!!!

Donna said...

Good for you!!!!! Looks like so much fun! I may swipe a few ideas and those links from one of your commenters since Gracie is being homeschooled for preK this year too (along with Matt for 11th and Andrew once he gets home).
If you're thinking of doing this for the long haul, I can't recommend Sonlight Curriculum high enough if your kids like to read.
Enjoy and keep us posted on how you're doing!!!!

Nancy said...

I love M Preschool! Do you mind sharing that free online resource please? Do they have stuff for 2 year olds? Noah's definitely not ready to memorize stuff since he is still learning to talk. Thanks!

Our Journey said...

Love it!!! Good for you - and yes, you're brave! I've thought about this back & forth - but with just one, I wanted her to get the social part so we're sending her to preschool again -- but I LOVE doing things at home - maybe I was meant to be a pre-school teacher?! Would love to know what you're using.

Amy Murphy said...

Wow! You must have way more energy and patience than I have! Question though, how long is each activity/lesson, in other words, how often do you change "stations?"

Kathy said...

This sounds so exciting - you are incredibly creative!! I'm so glad the kids have this enrichment. And I was very touched by Caleb's admission to Kylie - how sweet!!
Love, NaiNai

a Tonggu Momma said...

The Tongginator would LOVE being your teaching assistant.

Leslie said...

Wow! This sounds like the best preschool ever. I'm glad that you will have a few years to perfect your curriculum before you mentor me to start the F___ preschool. ;-) Those kids are lucky to have a mother who puts so much time and energy into them. I LOVE it!

Sharon said...

Good for you Kristi!!! I homeschooled for several years and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your OWN kids "get it" and LOVE learning....looking forward to following your preschool adventures.

Traci said...

That is cool... I would love to have a home school... but for now I am happy with the place the kids are... who knows what the future will bring?

Grandma Shultz said...

Looks like you have three great students. My hat if off to you, that just wouldn't be my "cup of tea". How neat that you were told of a Christian curriculum. Kylie, Cabel and Darcy - Grandma is proud of you. Can't wait to have you tell me all that you are learning.

Melissa said...

Wow Kristi, I am totally impressed! This sounds like so much fun - can you add in some sign language and then I can Matthew to your school?? :) I am seriously so excited for you, and can't wait to see how your preschool year goes. We go one hour sessions in the evening of speech, and we are working hard on learning what objects are and starting colors!