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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our Three Year Old Preschool Plan


We would be considered a Charlotte Mason homeschool. I knew very strongly what I believed about how children learned and what childhood should be like based on my experiences as a teacher and many years as an older sister and babysitter. As I looked at different homeschool curriculums and beliefs, I couldn't find one that fit what I thought....until I found Charlotte Mason. Maybe I will write about that later (in fact, I can almost guarantee I will write about Charlotte Mason education as that's the way we plan to school our girls and is a form of education I am passionate about). But for today, I want to share what we are doing with Meghan for preschool - the school year when she is three and will turn four.


We have been using most of these resources for at least a few weeks and several of them for closer to a year and we are simply adding a bit more structure to their use this year. I recommend these things as things we truly enjoy. (Also, I will link to as many items and resources as I can - I make no compensation for this, I just want to share these awesome resources that we are using and loving!)

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The most important thing for a three year old to do is PLAY. There is so much time built into the day for Meghan to just engage in imaginative play. I am very careful about guarding my school plans and our social lives to allow plenty of time for the girls to engage in free play. For Meghan, this includes independent playtime in her room, playtime in our play room where she can engage with Katie and with me, and playtime outside. 


That's the other most important thing - time outside. As much as possible I love to let my girls spend lots of time outdoors. We enjoy walks on the nature trails in our neighborhood where we can observe trees, flowers, birds, other wildlife, and water. We garden heavily - both for beauty and for food. We also have a large open space for the girls to engage in exploring/observing nature or in imaginative play. 


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Much of my focus in the next three years - from age three until first grade starts at age six - is to spread a feast of beauty for Meghan. To expose her to the wonder that exists and ground our homeschool in the beauty that is easily forgotten in traditional education models that focus on basic literacy, math, and science. (Not that basic literacy, math, and science aren't important - they are incredibly important! They just aren't all that matters or the entirety of what children should be exposed to.)

We will be studying literature using the following resources: 

  1. Childcraft: Poems of Early Childhood - This book includes Mother Goose rhymes as well as many other poems that are appropriate and understandable for young children. Illustrations are beautiful - and include many from Eloise Wilkin, one of my favorites! (Note: We inherited the entire Childcraft collection that was my mom's as a child. These books are proving to be a wonderful resource for our homeschool and I am so excited to use these books that my mom read, I poured through during visits to my grandparents house, and still smell like my grandparents house!)
  2. The Children's Book of Virtues - These stories also emphasize positive character traits. 
  3. Usborne Illustrated Classics for Girls - These are abridged stories of some classics that I think Meghan will enjoy. While long-term I'm not a fan of abridged stories, we have this book, I think she will enjoy it, and with the illustrations it is a good bridge to learning to listen to chapter books. 
  4. Several Mother Goose Rhyme Picture Books (One, Two, Three, Four)
  5. Reading books from our children's book library. (We read 10-20 of these per day, easily.)

As far as learning to read, I am not pushing this at all at this point - she's only three. She is continuing to enjoy Preschool Prep dvds of sight words and letter sounds when she has some TV time. We play games with letter and sight word flashcards, letter tiles, and with letter magnets. Aside from that letter play and lots of ABC books, I am not doing anything formal for reading lessons. Reading lots and lots of good books is enough.

We will be studying art using the following resources: 
We will be studying folk/children's music using the following resources (these also support literacy/poetry):
We will be using the following resources for fine motor strength and writing skill building: 


We will be working on math & logic skills through play using these resources:

  1. Farmland Math (we are part way through this, we will keep moving forward as she's ready)
  2. Day and Night Logic Game (plus others, if we acquire them - there are several on her Amazon wishlist - one, two
  3. Pattern Blocks and Printed Shapes to Build 
  4. Jigsaw Puzzles (she is currently working on 24 pieces - but I think she will move to more pieces soon)
  5. Saxon Math Kindergarten (this is what we will use when sh finishes Farmland Math)

If she shows readiness (if she shows no desire, we will not move forward in this area!), we will work on pre-reading and reading skills with the following resources: 
  1. Get Ready for the Code, Get Set for the Code, Go For the Code (We will use these in a discussion manner, she will not be writing)
  2. Scholastic Guided Science Readers (these are sight word based predictable texts)
  3. Learn to Read with Easy Peasy (these are the McGuffey readers, enlarged, with word lists - just a simpler format than the small books in my opinion) 
  4. Endless Reader App (fun way to learn Dolch sight words!)


We will be doing lots of nature study outside. A few additional resources we will be using include:

  1. Our nature study supplies (I will share more on this at a later point)
  2. Simple Preschool Nature Journals (I will share more on this later, too)
  3. Raising Caterpillars into Butterflies
  4. Root Viewer (and helping me in the produce & pretty gardens)
  5. National Geographic Big Books of Bugs 
  6. Gerda Muller Season Books

We will, of course, continue teaching our girls about the faith we hope to instill in them. Most importantly, we pray for them. In addition we are going to be using/continuing to use the following resources this year: 
  1. Jesus Storybook Bible 
  2. Everything a Child Should Know About God
  3. Wee Sing Bible Songs 
  4. Songs for Saplings ABC 
  5. New City Catechism (The app of this has songs to help with memory!)
  6. Praying with Meghan - we do this at set times, but also spontaneously for things that concern her, boo-boos, things that we should thank God for, etc. 
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I hope that it is evident by looking at this list of resources that our "school" lacks rigid structure. We read a lot. And then we read some more. And some more. We explore the world around us. We enjoy listening to and singing music. And we play with beginning academic concepts. It's a wonderful preschool. 

Meghan loves school. Whenever she is told that it's time to "do school" - usually when we're going to do math maniupulative play, letter play, or fine motor skill activities - she makes rapid speed to her spot at the table. She LOVES school!

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You may be wondering when we do school.....here's what it looks like right now: 
  1. Depending on the season, we play outside in the morning or afternoon. 
  2. During the last part of Katie's nap, Meghan and I "do school." 
  3. During lunchtime, I read to the girls while they eat. We usually read 10-20 books during this time. 
  4. Meghan listens to one of the listed cds during her playtime in her room during Katie's afternoon nap. We also listen to music during the day during free play time or when we work on house work. 
  5. We read stories (me to them, them to themselves, or Meghan to Katie) throughout the day. 
I am hoping to add "Morning Time" to our days this fall. Right now we are working on our family morning routine and Katie is working to transition to eating breakfast at the table (rather than only take a big bottle). When the necessary transitions have taken place I hope to move our Bible story reading, catechism, and Bible verse memory work to morning time. If they are patient during that time, it would also be a good time to which to move our art books and poetry/nursery rhymes.

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And, with that, I think I have gotten to the end of our current plan for Preschool (3 years old) schooling. 

Any questions?
Comments?
Recommendations or ideas? 

Please, share below! 

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