Posted by: Vallere | March 29, 2010

Homeschooling Preschool

I thought that today, I would give an overview of how we are homeschooling.

In a couple of years, when Ian is old enough for 1st grade, we are going to start doing a more strict Classical Education. If you don’t know what a Classical Education is, I highly recomend reading The Well Trained Mind by Jessie Weiss and Susan Weiss Bower. In a nutshell, it’s a history-centric education that focuses on teaching children HOW to think and learn, instead of just memorizing random bits of information. History is the “spine” of the education, with literature, science, and writing assignments relating to what they are studying in history at the time. History is taught chronologically in 4 year cycles, so children learn the entire cycle of history 3 times from 1st through 12th grades.

But for now, we are in preschool.

Ian is 4 years old, and we’ve been doing semi-structured schoolwork for about 6 months or so. He likes to do worksheets (so he can show them off to Daddy when he gets home from work) and I’ve found a really wonderful set of preschool books made by Rod and Staff (www.rodandstaffbooks.com). Rod and Staff are a Mennonite publishing company, and all of their books are thorough and God centered, both of which are important aspects to us as we choose curriculum. For preschool, R&S currently has 7 books (A-G), and they are soon to be publishing the rest of the second set of six which will finish off through L. The books work 3 at a time in a set, then you move to the next set. So right now, Ian is working his way through books A, B and C, which he should finish up in April or May. Then we’ll probably take a break for a while after the baby comes and start back in August with D, E, and F. Then on to G, H, and I, followed by J, K and L, and those should carry us through Kindergarten.

Book A, titled Adventures with Books, works on things like matching, left and right, bigger and smaller, cutting and pasting, coloring and color recognition, etc. Book B, Bible Stories to Read, comes with a story book (each of which are a couple of pages long with some easy comprehension questions at the end) and associated coloring pages. Ian doesn’t really LOVE to color, so we usually skip the coloring pages. Zollie, however, LOVES to color, so he does these right along beside us! Book C, Counting with Numbers, is all about pre-math skills. It includes recognizing and writing numbers 1-10, counting, matching, and other activities. Ian really loves these! I just make copies of the pages we are doing each day and let him do them, so that I can reuse the books when Zollie, and eventually our daugher and other children, get old enough to use them.

Along with the worksheets, we are also working on phonics with Hooked on Phonics (www.hooked-on-phonics.com), which a kind neighbor GAVE us after we bought some bookshelves at her yard-sale and got to talking to her about homeschooling. I feel SO blessed to have this set for free, becasue it is expensive! We had taken a break with it for a while because Ian hit a point a couple of months ago where he got frustrated, but now we are back into it and he’s doing great again! I don’t want to FORCE reading on him, and have him dread it. I want him to LOVE to read. So if we get to another point where he’s frustrated, we’ll take another break until he is ready to try again.  We’re in the yellow box (apparently this is an older version of HOP, because what is on their website seems to have different colors) and this afternoon Ian should read his third book and add another sticker to his reading chart. Once he’s read all of the stories and books for the yellow box, he gets a big Optimus Prime toy, which seems to be a great incentive!

For more math work (Ian seems to really “get” numbers, so I’m letting him run with it) we are using the Math U See Primer (www.mathusee.com). Math U See is a fabulous math program that has a well rounded approach to teaching – they use videos, workbooks and manipulatives so that children of any learning style can learn. I also love that the program goes from preschool all the way through precalculus and also includes a section on stewardship. We are in the Primer now, and finding that we can go through a lot of it quickly because it is stuff Ian already knows, but at the same time, it is boosting his confidence to be able to easily finish a worksheet. He’s seeing that math is easy, not scary! After the Primer (which we should finish sometime mid-way through Kindergarten – or earlier, depending on how fast he picks place value up), we move on to Alpha, then Beta, Gama, Delta, etc. They teach concepts in logical order – addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. See more about the individual levels on their site!

So that’s what we’re up to at our homeschool!

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Responses

  1. That sounds like you guys are doing a lot. Nathan never did like Hooked on Phonics. WE have an entire set, he does love reading the books but not the work.

  2. For more ideas about homepreschool, you might be interested in my blog…I post about homepreschool/homeschooling.
    Blessings,
    Susan Lemons http://www.susanlemons.wordpress.com


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