Thursday, September 5, 2013

After Two Months of Preschool at Home

I have been doing preschool at home for more than two months now. I haven't been good at writing down my lesson plans here, and probably won't be. But you can always check out my pinterest page if you need ideas.

There have been things I have learned and little triumphs. I just want to write them down here.

1. Kids love to learn! They love it.

     Exhibit A: My kids ask every day, "Is it circle time yet?" or if I am taking too long getting around to it, "Mom! Let's do circle time!"
     Exhibit B: We are learning about butterflies this week. On Tuesday, Jane came to me complaining that we had learned about caterpillars but she still didn't know how a caterpillar turned into a butterfly.
     Exhibit C:  Today both kids requested (several times) that next week we learn about sea horses. I was personally hoping to do a week just on insects, but you know what? Seahorses sounds good too.

2. It is possible to keep learning, even from preschool.

      Last week we learned about spiders. I can't tell you how much I personally learned that I wouldn't have otherwise. For instance, do you know HOW spiders make their silk? I Did you know they eat their silk? I didn't. Do you know the names of a spider's body parts? I'd forgotten. How about the Bolas spider? Crab spider? Trap-door spider? Have you forgotten how cool they are? I remember now, and it was fun to see my kids get excited about it too.

3.  The world really is our classroom. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes.

    We took a week or two off from a really focused homeschool. We still did some circle time and reading and art projects, but we had family visiting and were in the mountains so it was spotty. But we still got to talk to the kids about Redwoods, and fire, and animals, and caterpillars, and birds, and California, and a whole bunch of other stuff. The learning didn't stop, we were just more aware to show our kids things when we went out on our walks. We talked with them more and helped show them just how awesome the world really is. And in turn, it became more awesome to me as well.
    Just last week we went hunting for spiders. And when I was really looking for them, I found them. Not just found them, but I found them catching and eating insects. I found their eggsacks. It was totally cool!

4.   Loosey-Goosey is okay.
    I started off planning out every day a week in advance. Now I just plan out the subject, gather my materials, and then go with the flow. We still hit everything. But on hard days we might do more art projects, or book reading. On more focused days we can get to those lapbooks. Flexibility is so nice!

5.   Lapbooks! Lapbooks! and more Lapboks!
       I didn't know what these were until I started looking at more homeschool websites. But they are a great way for me to make sure I cover certain topics with the kids, keep a record of it, and review it with them. We add to our lapbook for the week every day. Then when Rob comes home, the kids read what we put in there both the old and the new. It is a great way to reinforce concepts. The kids are proud of their work. And we can pull them out a week or two from now and review. Awesome!

6.   Kids love spending time with their parents.
      I know. I know. This is a no-brainer. But I think one of the biggest reasons my kids love preschool is that it is guaranteed focused time with me. And because its intentional, it actually happens and I don't end up distracted at the end of the day wondering if I spent any time with the kids. Some days are still hard. And there is still sometimes yelling. But I feel a strengthened bond. I feel like I am better able to understand and relate with my kids. I've noticed things about them that I hadn't before. I love that.

7.     My kids are learning.
      When we started 2 months ago, neither one of my kids was very good at number recognition. Today I realized that they both recognize and can count 1-10. We are working on 11-20, but still. Progress! Two months ago lowercase letters were hopeless. They aren't 100% yet, but we are closer. Progress! On top of that, Jane has blossomed into this artist. She mixes her mediums, creates all sorts of things. She's started mixing colors when she paints. She tries all sorts of techniques. It's amazing!

Learning is amazing.
Kids are amazing.
Being a part of it is amazing.