Revamping Our Approach to Homeschool Preschool

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I’ve recently been revamping our home preschool curriculum plans because what we were doing at the start of the year just isn’t working for us anymore. There are many reasons for this and I want to take time in this post to outline some of the additions and subtractions I am making in our home preschool plan.

But first let’s look at what prompted the need for change.

The Challenges

Challenge #1

I have really been struggling lately to find a routine that works for all of us.

As a work at home family, my husband and I share the load of all that goes into caring for a home, the children underneath our roof, and getting our respective work done on our businesses to pay the bills. We are still a work in progress in this area.

Since we’re moving in just under two weeks (back across the country!), I’m not going to worry too much about figuring out our routines right now. I just want to note that this is a challenge for us at this time, which makes home preschool with my oldest a challenge.

Challenge #2

Sam, my oldest, really needs the intellectual stimulation of “school” to thrive each day. He asks to do school constantly! He loves going in our school room and sitting down to his desk to learn.

In our current season, I would easily allow school time to go by the wayside, but I can’t because it would not benefit my child. It would do just the opposite.

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I give him blocks, dress up clothes, puzzles, etc., but he gravitates toward the desk and writing instruments. Me choosing to do school with Sam has less to do with my need to shove academia into our days and more to do with his need to connect with Mommy and learn something new in the way that he enjoys – at his desk.

Challenge #3

My youngest child is a rambunctious little thing. He loves to be involved with whatever brother is doing, and he is constantly imitating his brother throughout the day. It doesn’t matter what it is, Timmy imitates what Sam is doing and wants to be 100% involved.

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This brings me to my third challenge with our current home preschool plan. It doesn’t involve my now 18 month old. When we started our plan, my youngest wasn’t even a year old yet. He was completely unaware of what we were doing at the learning table. But not anymore.

I’ve tried letting him join us, but our current set up just means the table is overturned, he’s standing on chair throwing crayons, eating crayons, spilling glue everywhere, and dumping the bin that Sam just painstakingly sorted. It’s chaos to say the least. And it just isn’t working for us.

Challenge #4

I don’t have time for elaborate home preschool curriculum that requires a lot of planning on my part. Since we’re moving across the country, and life is crazy busy with two work at home parents, I needed to simplify our curriculum plans.

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Here’s our updated home preschool plan:

You can see our initial plan here. Below I tell you what we’re taking out and adding in to make our new plan.

:: Family DevotionsFamily devotions include scripture memorization and memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism. We have continued doing these together as a family, and now my youngest is involved, which has been a ton of fun!

We’ve also added in Bible reading and family prayers in the evening, which has been a sweet time together as well.

:: God’s Little Explorers & the Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum :: Even though God’s Little Explorers is really simple to work right out of the “box,” I found that it wasn’t challenging enough for Sam, which meant I was constantly needing to come up with additional learning activities.

Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for Toddlers!
Plus The Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for Toddlers is still completely applicable to Sam. I prefer the curriculum I created, so I’m just going to use it instead of both.

Also, I plan to incorporate some ideas from this series, Play Through the Bible Series from Simple Life Messy Life. We are about one or two lessons away from completing the Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for the second time. The only ones we have left are coming up for Easter. I love Liz’s series, so I’ll use it for Bible time moving forward.

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:: All About Learning Pre-Reading ProgramThe Pre-reading Program is incredible! This is hands down our favorite part of school time. My son LOVES this program and is really thriving on it! We currently work through about three lessons a week, and I could not be more pleased.

play with me before five in a row activities
:: Before Five in a Row Curriculum & Other Literature Based Led Learning

I have found that reading is a big part of my son’s life. He spends hours just looking at pictures and “reading” to himself each day. He also requests a library trip for more books about three times a week. This is why the Before Five in a Row Curriculum continues to work for us.

Therefore, I’ve taken this idea of reading a book five days in a row and am creating learning activities around other great children’s books that aren’t in the Before Five in a Row Curriculum. I’m very excited about how well this is working for us!

You can see a huge list of children’s books here. I’m using this as a sort of guide.

:: What’s in the Bible DVDs and Theo DVDsWe have eliminated almost all technology time for my oldest (post coming in the future). So these aren’t a part of our curriculum right now.

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:: Music – Music is a great way to instill truths into little ones’ hearts. Music continues to be a huge part of our day!

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:: Math – I have  put heavy focus on manipulatives and games for our math skills. You can see my collection of ideas for math on my 123’s Pinterest Board. You can see all the learning toys we use on this page. Just click each category I’ve created on the right hand side to scroll through.

I’ve not done a great job in the past with teaching math skills. This is probably one of the biggest changes I’ve made to our time together. I’m making an intentional effort to do something math related every day. Many times our math time is playing card and board games together.

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Math Skills I’ve Been Consistent With:

  • Number recognition – He can currently identify 1-10
  • Counting – My next goal is to get him counting to 20; he can currently count to 12 consistently
  • Skip counting – He’s instinctively picking up counting by two’s right now
  • Sequences & Patterns – I use various objects (blocks, counting bears, sensory bins, etc) to work on this skill
  • Money – I want him to be able to identify coins, as well as the people on each coin and bill
  • Puzzles

Math Skills I Want to Incorporate into Our Time Together:

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Science & Nature :: It is one of my greatest passions that my son learn all there is to know about God’s creation.

My mother-in-love gifted us a subscription to Green Kid Crafts at the beginning of this year. This has been a huge blessing to us!

Everything I need to teach my son is in the box. All the craft materials, information to teach, and add-ons are in the box and delivered to my doorstep each month.

I’ve been doing one activity in the box a week while following his lead on interests to explore the topic more. We’re both thriving with Green Kid Crafts as a part of our school time!

We’ll be taking a lot of nature walks and working through this Preschool Science and Nature Printable Pack from Living and Learning at Home!

With the winter, we’ve not been doing the nature walks, and I didn’t really enjoy the printable pack as much as I thought I would. So I let it go. We’ll incorporate more nature walks and outdoor time as the winter warms back up.

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Art Study :: I am using Artistic Pursuits: The Way They See It with Sam throughout the year.

I haven’t been moving through this as quickly as I hoped I would, but we continue to enjoy it as I work it into our time together. It’s a wonderful introduction to art study.

Geography & Social Studies :: We will be studying a different country each month throughout the school year. Again, this is about exposing my child to a world outside our own four walls, developing observation skills, and the start of instilling a biblical worldview. We will mostly cover these topics through living books, which I’ll share more about down the road.

I really want to study a country each month, but in this season, we just can’t. I had to let it go!

Instead, we are letting our time together on the road suffice for this area of study. We took a big road trip in the fall, and I’ve shared a little about what we did in Wyoming and South Dakota. I look forward to sharing more posts in the future. I keep forgetting to post about them!

christmas sensory bin idea
Sensory Bins :: This is one that has been added in more faithfully since outlining my original plan. Sensory bins are a great way for me to incorporate both of my children into learning time.

I did an entire post on sensory bins, and I encourage you to check it out if you’re teaching multiple ages or have a child who doesn’t prefer sitting at a desk.

So there’s the update of what we’re doing in our home preschool.

We still don’t have a good rhythm to when we do our school time, but we make it work for now whenever we can fit it in.

I still am incredibly challenged with having two children who want to be part of the action, and I don’t have all the answers.

But we keep plowing forward, doing the best we can, making adjustments where we need to and just overall attempting to have a lot of fun!

What about you? Have you made any changes in your home preschool curriculum choices?

Other posts you might be interested in:

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