Beginning of Pre-K Year

Homeschooling Pre-Kindergarten 2011-2012

We began our Pre-Kindergarten homeschooling year on Wednesday, September 7th for my oldest because of the simple fact that was the first day of school for all of the public and private school going kids around here. It was a good motivator for me to get things rolling and I definitely needed the motivation because of how relaxed homeschooling was last year with my third trimester and the new baby.

A lot of the learning came from watching educational shows such as leapfrog, super why, team umizoomi, etc. He also used the leapfrog Tag books, some learning games, puzzles, blocks, legos, and I threw in as much learning in every day activities as I could.

He actually managed to learn the remaining bit of the alphabet that he didn't know and all of the sounds. He learned about patterns and other math skills too. He grew in his writing and drawing skills just by sitting down with a paper and crayons or pencils. He basically went from scribbling one day to drawing actual pictures and coloring in the lines the next day, it was pretty amazing!

We've been talking about the days of the week each day, though we need to keep working on that because he says the days in random orders each time. He can count to 23 in the correct order, which is great because that's a skill that is expected by the end of kindergarten.

He has been tracing ABCs and his name with a special wipe off board that is transparent and you can place paper underneath. He enjoys that and it saves on paper and ink! We also have other wipe off stuff: a learning book, sheets of paper with the alphabet, a phonics book (not ready for that yet), and even a board on a wall.

Along with that he's been excited about a workbook, doing all kinds of different activities from letter tracing to matching to pre-reading to cutting and pasting and more. When he first started he didn't want to stop at all.

Learning through play. We've been spending quite a bit of time with tinker toys, lincoln logs, legos, blocks, games, puzzles, and such. They each help him to learn different skills and to think about how to make things and what works with what. There are a lot of different skills involved with these activities and spending hours on them is a great way for him to learn those skills.

When I play with him that adds to the learning even more as he watches what I'm doing and learns how to apply those skills himself. I have him look at what I made and have him figure out how I made it and have him do that himself.

We've also been playing with counting tokens and he's been placing them into color groups, adding numbers, and more.

He loves his art time so he's been having a lot of fun with drawing, coloring, painting, gluing, using pipe cleaners, folding and cutting paper, play doh, pencils, crayons, pens, stickers, and so much more. He's very creative!

Sensory. We've also gone to a park several times during the really warm weather. The park has a “splash pad” with a lot of water activities for the kids – that's much better than a water sensory table! Also bath time works very well for water sensory, learning about how things float or sink, how bubbles work, etc.

The park also had a huge sand box and lots of other typical park stuff like swings, climbers, teeter totters, etc. More ways for him to learn how things work and great opportunities for exercise as well.

We took a field trip to the children's museum where there were plenty of learning opportunities. Many more than we had time to explore with just that one trip, we will definitely be going back! There was a floor piano for stepping on to make music. There were puzzle games to figure out, there was a glow in the dark room with many activities to work on, focusing mostly on creating designs from shapes. There was a water room, an airplane to pilot, a bus to drive, and so much more!

The funny thing is that it feels like we haven't really done all that much but when I sit down to write out what we've done it shows me that we've really done a lot of learning activities in just a week! Also the more that I write, the more that I remember that we've done. I'm sure there's probably even more that I've forgotten and will write about later! I'm glad we're doing so well so far!

Pre-K is not a time where we have to worry about intense curriculum but it is nice to know that there are so many hands-on things that really provide good learning opportunities. My goal is for him to be at least a grade ahead of where he's at, if not more than that. It seems like a lot of homeschoolers are ahead of the game like that and he is already doing very well.

I don't want to push him or have him feel pressured, if he needs extra work and is behind in an area then I want to work with him on that as needed. That's one of the great things about homeschooling, being able to work with the child where they are at and not forcing them to work at the same pace as everyone else.