Wednesday, September 16, 2009

we made the plunge!

into home-schooling that is!

we had every intention of bubba attending a pre-school this year, however that just isn't possible. there simply are not enough schools for the number of toddlers in the area. he is on a wait list at the one I really want him to get in to, but she (the woman who runs the preschool) said it is a long list and my best move is to get him on the wait list for 4 year old preschool when that list opens in FEBRUARY! so in february i would have to get pooks on the 3yo wait list, then get bubba on the 4yr old wait list and hope they make the cut. being on the list, doesn't guarantee a spot! every kid who attends preschool here must attend a private or church based school, as preschool is only provided by the school district for need-based students. it is really frustrating!

what adds to that mounting frustration is that bubba really, really, really wants to go to school. he wants to learn and he wants to have friends and it's hard. i try to work with both older boys at home, they do love to learn. whether it's books or flashcards, trips (like questing) or crafts they pay attention and they take it seriously. i sneak learning into everything i can. trips to the grocery store we talk about the color and shape of produce. we talk about vitamins and healthy food, we count and we talk about opposites. on walks we talk about nature, animals, the weather, etc. even watching something as simple as ''Home Cooking with Paula Deen" we count how many eggs she adds, whats in each little dish, etc.

so after researching a bit online, looking at other preschool/daycare curriculums and lesson plans, i decided that i will homeschool them, at least for now. it's not a complete shocker; i was going to school for early childhood education...i do have an interest in teaching and i think it will be good for all of us.

we started this on monday and will do it monday-friday for 30-45mins each day. normally 3 year old preschool is 2 hours, twice a week. i know my kids and i know that i would never get them to pay attention for 2 straight hours. i am very much following their lead on this, i want it to be fun and educational!

so, every morning when peanut goes down for his nap (around 10am) we have ''school time''. they each go potty, wash their hands, we pick up all the toys and turn the tv off, then we sit at the kitchen table. each week follows a simple structured routine so they know what to expect. each week we focus on a theme, followed by learning a vocabulary word about that theme, as well as a letter, a number, a shape/color, and a nursery rhyme or song.

on monday's i put together our ''learning board''. i show them each thing that we will learn that week. so for example here is this weeks board:
(the theme is cows, the vocabulary word is 'calf', the letter is A, the number is 1, the shape is a square and the rhyme is 'hey diddle diddle')

on monday they watched me place each thing on the learning board and i briefly said what it was. then we learned all about cows. while they colored a picture of a cow, i read them 2 short books about farms and animals, adding in extra tidbits about cows: what they eat, drink, where they live, etc. we talked about what colors they can be and then i introduced the vocabulary word: calf. i sang ''hey diddle diddle'' a few times and then we roamed all around downstairs acting like cows. mooing and pretending to eat grass, corn and hay. they *loved* it!

it is kind of freaky how much information these kids retain! they told B (and nanaw and papa too) all about cows later that day.

tuesday we said 'hey diddle diddle again' then talked all about squares. after talking about them, looking at a few on flashcards and in their workbooks, we went on a square hunt. we walked, crawled and ran all through the house finding every square that we could. on rugs, the backsplash of their kitchen, potholders, blocks, name it and these kids found it. bubba even corrected pooks several times when he pointed to a rectangle but called it a square! ''dat's not a square [pooks], dats a wecktangle. it's got yittle sides and big sides. see?"] they were more than happy to point out all the squares when B came home too!

today was ''letter A" day. (for now, we're working just on capital letters) this actually worked much better than i thought, and i think i will probably do this every wednesday on letter day.

basically, i needed to multitask and had to do so creatively. i needed to go grocery shopping and do ''school time'' both before peanut's nap. so i combined them! before we left the house i told them how today we were going to find all the letter A's at the store. in signs, on cereal, posters, toys, etc. when they saw an 'A' they needed to tell me and we would take a picture of it. (i took our old point and shoot digital camera and an 'A' magnet with us). we needed to find lots of A's so we could take the pictures home and make an A poster.

holy cow did they do awesome, bubba especially. pooks caught on and found a few all by himself but bubba was pointing them out left and right. on big signs, little bags, boxes--he even found one on Barb's name tag which he promptly took a picture of:
nevermind the blurriness, he is 3 after all!
so now they are napping and i'm getting ready to print off all of their letter A's. on friday, which is a review day of the week, we will make our poster.

overall, it's going really well. they are genuinely excited when i say that it is school time and actually listen to me! what a concept, right??


  1. How awesome are you?! I love it. You are so stinkin' creative. I think I need to take a class from you :)

  2. Awesome idea, Shan. I'm so glad it's going well for both of them. They seem to really love it, and this will definitely have them prepared for school when the time comes.


  3. Wait to Shannon! That's awesome! It is VERY true that Manhattan is very short on preschools when it comes to the number of kids needing them! When we moved to Columbia and I started checking out preschools here for Parker when he gets older, they looked at me like I was crazy for asking about a wait list and when I needed to get Parker on one. They just have TONS of schools here so it's not an issue. Here they're just like, "oh, just let us know about a month in advance and we should have a spot" (and that's pretty much what they told me everywhere I asked about)! Sounds like you should start up another preschool in Manhattan!

  4. You are such a good mommy! You are so creative. I still would like to know where you find time to do all of this and keep up with 3 boys, 3 and under. Looks like Pooks might be left handed by looking at his picture.



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