Preschool, fall 2013

So we’ve celebrated not going back to school. I’m feeling a bit inspired to organize the bit of stuff that we do though, so here it goes…

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Reading

Bob Books by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John Maslen – These were the first books Lily ever read (starting a year ago!), and she can get through most of the first set now. She’s still working on sight words. Well, I ought to be working on sight words more with her. Or then again I’ll probably just wait until she’s more ready for memorizing them since they don’t follow the short vowel rules she currently knows.

Now I’m Reading, Playful Pals by Nora Gaydos – Simple and similar to Bob Books, but they have color illustrations and prompts for parents at the end of each book to cover comprehension. I really like this level 1 set; I would totally buy more when she’s ready for moving beyond short vowels.

Hooked on Phonics old school Level 1 readers – I just picked up a hodge podge lot of these on Ebay, but they look like they’ll be a nice addition of books she can read with only short vowels under her belt. She’s really proud when she can read a book by herself 🙂

She’s just started with wanting me to read longer chapter books to her too, and that’s been very enjoyable. We finished Charlotte’s Web and have started The Wizard of Oz. I’m excited that she’s reached this point of listening to stories!

Writing

Handwriting Without Tears, Letters and Numbers for Me – We just started this, but I really like that it’s not the typical dashed/lined paper method of learning to write. The letters are formed on a starting dot within a grey rectangle, and visually it seems to make a lot more sense to Lily when she’s forming letters. They even acknowledged left-handed writers in the beginning of the book!

Math

Math U See,  Primer – I loved the idea of the incorporated manipulative blocks, and they seem to be a hit so far. We’ve been doing this for a few weeks, usually at least once per week. While each chapter is meant to be broken up into a few smaller lessons, she likes doing the whole thing (and then some). Having a math curriculum has shown me how much she actually does know  now (like how high she can count, that she understands greater than and less then). I’m looking forward to continuing with Math U See.

Science

I pull from the free resources at Green Kid Crafts sometimes. Pinterest helps out other times. I have some preschool science project books taking up space on our bookshelves; I ought to pull those out and see what’s fun in there (Simple Science and Science Arts). I should be better at doing more fun projects and experiments regularly. We do read science-y books though about our bodies, the solar system, animals, etc.

Art

Lily has free access to all art supplies and makes her own projects multiple times a week. Sometimes I get an idea off of Pinterest, but not all that often. Our local HOUSE chapter is starting art classes twice monthly though this year too and we’ll be attempting those, so long as the projects can be made age appropriate for a 4 year old. They will be alternating using Meet the Masters and Atelier…Not sure which levels they have purchased or will be using.

History

We do nothing formal here other than talking about whatever comes up in normal living. I’m considering getting Usborne’s Encyclopedia of World History. I think it would be a bit more visually stimulating to read through than, say, The Story of the World (which I like the idea of for ages 7+). Edit: I just spent some time putting together a chronological list of history related read-alouds, borrowing a little from Story of the World’s suggested reading (from a friend) and just filling in the blanks otherwise from suggestions on the internet. Here’s my Kid History Goodread’s shelf. Since our library has most of the books I found available for checkout, I’ll just pick up a handful when we’re there anyway, starting with prehistory/evolution and working our way to modern times. I simply think it’d just be fun–a good way to introduce various topics in history in an age appropriate way. My list is by no means complete (she’s FOUR). This whole idea is mostly for my own sake 🙂

Music

I feel guilty that this is lacking. She recently expressed interest in taking voice lessons (uh, what?) and I was able to spin that into joining a choir, but the only children’s choir for ages 4 and 5 conflicts with regular Thursday HOUSE activities (Culture Club and art classes). Their ages 6 and 7 choir meets at a much more convenient time, so I’m thinking if her interest stays she will participate in that down the road. For now she sings to the radio, can turn on Pandora to any station she chooses (which is usually No Doubt), and she has unlimited access to the musical instruments in the house.

Physical Education

For now? Being a normal kid 😛 Though she is doing an 8 week session of park district gymnastics because she asked for it. Otherwise it’s running around like a fool at the park, bike rides, etc.

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Now, having said all that, we sit down together for 10-20 minutes maybe one, two, rarely three times a week, and work on any one of the more formal lesson-type things together (reading, writing, ‘rithmetic). She’s FOUR. I’m trying not to go crazy with it all…just because she CAN do it doesn’t mean she should have to on a schedule every day of the week. Most of her days are spent in free play, and we go out pretty much every day in the afternoon to do something interesting or play with friends. Next year for kindergarten I might try to establish a daily routine that involves 10-20 minutes of working together. I suppose I’ll see how her attention span and ability has evolved.

Aaanyway…

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Miscellaneous

We pick up Five in a Row every now and again. There are monthly nature classes and Culture Club through our HOUSE group. We go to the library, museums, zoo, and nature sanctuaries. The HOUSE group also has monthly parties like bowling, miniature golf, and roller skating. She has access to maps and a globe and her Leapfrog Tag reader pen and her MobiGo with educational games and shelves and shelves of books she asks me to read all the time.

She’s four, and I think things are going pretty well 🙂

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