Sunday, 9 September 2012

Our Homeschool Curriculum (Preschool 1 - ages 3-4)

Leyla is getting to the age now where everywhere we go, we have people asking her if she is in school yet and when she says no they ask why. I am planning to officially start her in Mammy's Preschool tomorrow so I have been looking quite a lot into what I can teach her. My confidence in my ability to homeschool both of my kids has been seriously shaky this last year. You may have noticed my homeschool posts have been pretty much non-existant. I have given myself a shake and read a few homeschool blogs and I am confident again that I am the best teacher for my kids, despite what others may choose to say about my decision. I need to remember that it is mine and Paul's decision alone, and everybody else who has an opinion is entitled to it, but I do not need to let it affect me and make me doubt my abilities. With that in mind, I sat down one night last week and came up with this...

Our Homeschool Curriculum (Preschool 1 - age 3-4)

What to Teach:

First of all I had to decide which lessons I wanted to teach. I wanted to focus a lot on teaching Leyla to read and write so I made those lessons the bulk of our homeschooling. We will be doing a little bit of it every day, with structured lessons once a week. She knows 1-10 and is nearly perfect with 1-20 but I wanted to get her a bit further on with her numbers so I decided to add that in. I wanted to make sure to add home economics aswell even though most schools don't offer it as a class anymore. I definitely want my daughters to grow up knowing how to cook, clean and sew! Both of them are very creative so I knew we would have to have art and music in there. I will be making an art corner in the school room as soon as I have the chance so they will probably play with that every day. Again, I will be doing a more structured lesson once a week. I added science since it is an important subject, added physical education and role play and finally I added Turkish. So our lessons are as follows:
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Maths
  • Home economics
  • Art
  • Music
  • Science
  • Physical education
  • Role play
  • Turkish
When to Teach:

I decided to make each day have two lessons. I felt that any more than that and it would become boring. I wanted to have plenty of good old fashioned playing together aswell and I didn't want too much of our day to be taken up by official teaching. Also, Leyla's attention span at the minute is pretty shocking so I don't think she would tolerate more than that. I will probably increase it as she gets older though. The plan I have written is for weekdays with weekends off, but I will probably change that week by week as I find out Paul's rota for work. He usually has Thursdays off so I will likely take Thursday off and teach on Saturday instead.

Our Schedule:

Monday - reading and writing
Tuesday - maths and home economics
Wednesday - art and music
Thursday - science and physical education
Friday - role play and turkish

Those lessons seemed to fit well with each other at first glance but they are easily changeable if they don't gel together in practice.

I looked around on the internet a while and came up with a good long list of activities to do for each lesson. I will do one activity for each lesson and drag it out as long as possible without forcing it. I still want it to be fun!

  • read plenty of books that relate to what your child is interested in
  • take your child to a public library and have her select a few books to bring home and read
  • when reading, make sure to keep your voice interesting
  • do not discourage the reading of the same book over and over - this promotes feelings of security and helps your child regain a sense of control
  • use a story aid to make books more exciting (puppet or doll)
  • have plenty of props available for your child to use while you read
  • make a designated reading corner in your school room with comfy cushions and bookcases for easy accessibility - allow your child to take books out to read whenever they wish
  • encourage them to memorise nursery rhymes
  • teach your child the alphabet song and other letter related songs
  • encourage your child to 'read' to you - have her tell the story as she sees it through pictures
  • interact with your child through books by having her point out certain things in pictures for you
  • encourage your child to retell familiar stories
  • read things aloud for her in day to day life, cereal packets, signs, adverts etc
  • encourage your child to ask questions based on things you have read together
  • flashcards - whole words and matching pictures

  • start by teaching your child to write her own first name
  • draw the outline of a path and have your child draw lines following the path without going outside of the lines
  • whenever you need to write something (eg. a list) give her a piece of paper and have her write her own 'list' next to you
  • let her have her own personal notebook to practice her big girl letters in
  • encourage her to write letters to grandparents, siblings, friends etc - do not worry if she wants to use her own set of letters at first
  • make your own book by stapling pieces of paper together or hole punching and tying together with string or ribbon - have your child decorate the pages and write out a story for her as she dictates
  • practice letters with chalk on the pavement
  • help her to make a name sign for her bedroom door
  • sandpaper letters (as shown here)
  • draw some big letters on a piece of paper with a highlighter pen and have your child trace over them with a pencil

  • sing songs that involve numbers and counting
  • have your child count fingers / toys etc
  • count out blocks or lego as you build something together
  • practice shapes and colours
  • draw some big numbers on a piece of paper with a highlighter pen and have your child trace over them with a pencil
  • teach maths language by using words such as big/little, heavy/light, add/subtract, pair, dozen etc
  • help your child learn to identify shapes by pointing them out in your day to day activities
  • make some sandpaper numbers and use counters to explain the quantity of each number / '2 is bigger than 1' etc
  • play with puzzles that teach shapes, numbers and colours
  • go on a scavenger hunt in your garden - ask for 1 stone, 2 leaves etc
  • teach your child what coin values are and practice counting with them
  • practice writing out numbers together
  • flashcards - numbers and matching pictures
  • go on a number spotting walk around the house

    Home economics:
    • teach your child how to fully clean one room in the house 
    • cook something together
    • teach your child how to do the laundry
    • teach your child about basic hygiene and why it is important
    • teach your child how to set the table and how to clean it up again at the end of a meal
    • take your child on a grocery shopping trip, talk through why you need each item
    • have her help you while you put the groceries away, show her where everything is stored 
    • explain the difference between the recycle bin and the regular bin, provide a few pieces of rubbish and ask her which bin they belong in, explain why recycling is important
    • have your child help you to put the laundry away
    • teach your child how to change the bedsheets
    • teach her how to wash the dishes
    • teach her the proper way to welcome guests into your home
    • teach her how to sweep / hoover the floor
    • show her how to tidy up, make sure everything has a home
    • craft something together
    • teach your child how to cross-stitch - provide her with a blunt needle threaded with some embroidery floss and a piece of aida cloth, thread the floss through the first hole to get her started but don't instruct her too much, let her do it her own way
    • show her how to do basic repairs, buttons, hems etc

    • provide art smocks or aprons to protect clothing
    • teach her to clean up after use and to lay an old sheet down on the floor before starting to play to limit mess
    • keep a junk box in your art corner filled with old cereal boxes, empty toilet roll tubes, scrap bits of paper etc
    • provide a few different types of paper along with other materials to promote creativity - watercolours, brushes, sponges, crayons, glue, beads, buttons, googly eyes, scissors, sticky tape, hole punch - obviously with some of those materials they will need close supervision
    • include things like old diaries and notebooks
    • take care not to give too much direction - encourage natural creativity to flow
    • provide colouring book pages that relate to your child's interests
    • do texture rubbings by laying a piece of paper over the bark of a tree or a coin and drawing over it with a crayon
    • tape a large piece of paper to the floor, lie your child down and draw around them, have them colour themselves in and add features/clothing etc
    • allow your child to cut pictures out of old magazines or patterned paper to make a collage of things they like
    • make a shoe box doll's house together
    • help them to make seasonal decorations for your home
    • draw pictures based on a favourite story book
    • put water in plastic containers, give your child a large paintbrush and have her 'paint' the pavement with the water
    • play with homemade play dough
    • provide a shoe lace knotted at one end and encourage your child to thread beads on the other end to make a necklace
    • draw several shapes on a piece of paper and encourage your child to practice colouring within the lines
    • have your child trace pictures in a colouring book to promote good hand eye co-ordination

      • spend lots of time singing, dancing, and listening to music
      • keep a basket full of instruments to bring out when needed, both of you choose an instrument and make a 'band'
      • compare how different instruments sound
      • sing nursery rhymes and do finger plays
      • play some music for your child then ask her to describe it - fast / slow / loud / quiet etc
      • fill an empty (and dry) water bottle with dried pasta or rice and glue the lid back on to make a shaker
      • allow your child to bang away on a saucepan with a wooden spoon
      • go on a music hunt around your neighbourhood - listen out for birds singing, radios, wind chimes etc

      • take your child on a nature walk around your neighbourhood - go slow and give her time to explore, make sure not to hurry her along
      • learn about animals living in the area and learn their different body parts, what they eat, what they like to do etc
      • teach your child all about flowers, names of different parts etc
      • read books relating to her interests and go on plenty of field trips
      • show her how to plant flowers/vegetables in the garden - help her to look after them, teach her what they need to survive
      • discuss wild animals and their habitats and diets
      • teach her the names of the planets and tell her a few facts about each
      • collect pictures of mother and baby animals, mount them on cardboard and have your child match the mother and the baby 
      • take a large piece of card, divide it in half then label each side with an opposite (hot and cold / hard and soft / day and night) help your child to cut pictures to stick on the appropriate side
      • fill some jars or the bathtub with water then have your child drop things in the water to see what will float and what will sink - have her guess first what she thinks will happen

      Physical education:
      • encourage your child to get 2 hours of moderate activity every day
      • play hide and seek / tag / follow the leader / simon says etc
      • tape masking tape in a straight line in your backyard and have your child play walking the tightrope, you could also make wavy / zigzag lines and have her walk them if she gets bored quickly
      • on a sunny day have a water balloon / pistol fight
      • take your child to the park
      • set up an obstacle course in your garden
      • teach your child how to play skipping games
      • play ball games in the garden
      • dance around the front room
      • go for a walk for as long as she will tolerate
      • take her trampolining

      Role play:
      • provide dress up clothes for a couple of different jobs and discuss the different responsibilities held by people in these positions, how they help us etc
      • play shops - provide a till, a shopping trolley and some play food and play shop, encourage your child to go round and collect which food she wants then bring it to the cashier (you) who will scan it and take the money for it
      • assign your child a baby (doll) which she should provide care for - show her what needs to be done then have her repeat the actions
      • have a tea party or picnic for her dolls and teddies
      • provide a doctors kit and have your child check to make sure you are not ill
      • have her pretend to be mammy and you pretend to be the child, play a day in your life with her making you breakfast, taking you out for a walk, reading you a story before bed etc
      • put some cushions on the floor to make a car, sit on them and have your child drive you to the shops / restaurant etc, play shopping trip or meal out, make it as fun as possible
      • practice a fire drill

      • write out some familiar English words in Turkish along with a picture onto index cards, use as flashcards
      • play alphabet games using Turkish words, eg. "a is for araba", "b is for balik" etc while showing the letter and a picture
      • put a language CD on and listen to it, explain to your child what they are saying and doing
      • sing some Turkish nursery rhymes together
      • make up a number counting song in Turkish
      • teach your child how to greet in Turkish and how to say goodbye
      • teach your child how to say her favourite foods and drinks in Turkish

      I used quite a lot of websites in my search for the perfect curriculum for us, all of which I have pinned to my pintrest board so be sure to check them all out here.

      Bring on preschool!


      Bat Ma'am said...

      OMG, I was just complaining about preschool in my area, its either low income, which we don't qualify for, or cost more than we can afford. I do everything else DIY, why not homeschooling?! I don't want to do it through all of their school years but I pretty much do all the things you listed anyways, just not in a structured format. Thank you this post, very informative and inspired me to get a schedule for official school time :)

      Magda said...

      Hello, We don't use homeschooling in my country but I've always been a fan of that idea. My daughter is 14 months now, and I stayed home to take care of her, I would love to do the homeschooling thing when she's older but it's just not used in my country.the only thing that sounds weird about it to me is the fact that children don't get to spend time with other children like they do when they're at school... how do you do for them to have a more social life?

      Unknown said...

      You are an amazing woman Adele! Homeschooling is what I consider doing in the future. I'm due with my first baby in a couple of months and I'm pretty excited!

      Adele said...

      I will be taking the kids to the local children's centre quite a lot and they also have a few friends already that they socialise with. I actually read once that it is much better for a child's socialisation to interact with people of different ages and abilities, rather than just children their own age, as they are more likely to pick up skills they wouldn't necessarily get from children their own age :)

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