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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Our Preschool

About three weeks ago, Wendy started preschool. We are homeschooling this year as a kind of trial run to help us figure out whether we'll enroll her in public school next year or continue on at home. After three weeks, I must confess: I love homeschooling.

Granted, this is just preschool, which means that our schoolwork takes maybe two hours a day and consists of reading and art and play. Who wouldn't love that? But I am also really enjoying seeing Wendy grasp new concepts and develop a real enthusiasm for learning.

Here are the top ten things we are doing for preschool:

1. Five in a Row - this is a homeschool guide for teaching children based on reading wonderful children's literature. We read the same book for five days in a row and have lessons based on the story. So far we have read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Storm in the Night, and The Story About Ping. This week we are studying Madeline.

2. Other Books - going along with our book of the week, we use other books as reference to highlight important points or give a glimpse of another culture. For example, last week, when we studied The Story About Ping, we read books about Chinese culture and about ducklings.

3. My ABC Bible Verses - I choose a letter of the week based on our book of the week, and then we study the corresponding verse from My ABC Bible Verses. This book has a simple devotional story outlining the concept presented in the verse. We read the story on Monday and then work on memorizing the verse and talking about what it means.

4. Dolch Sightwords - I made flashcards based on this list of Dolch sightwords. We look at the flashcards and talk about them, but it's pretty low-key. Wendy is still at the pre-reading stage, so we aren't spending too much time on this, but I figured that early exposure wouldn't hurt.

5. Pattern Blocks - we ordered this set and I am so glad that we did! Wendy loves working with them, and she can already do all but the hardest cards by herself. I do wish the set came with more blocks; there aren't enough blocks for Wendy and me to do cards simultaneously. We'll probably be adding some blocks to our set in the near future.

6. Worksheets - I couldn't find a link to the exact workbook that we have, but there are so many good ones out there! I got ours at Sam's Club and it is great. It goes through shapes, colors, numbers and letters, and also has concepts like basic patterns and matching and relative size.

7. Art - lots and lots of art! Wendy loves to draw and color and paint and work with play-dough and pretty much any other kind of art you can think of! Some of our art goes along with our story of the week or our memory verse, and some is just for fun.

8. Writing Practice - in the last two weeks, Wendy has learned to write her name! I am so proud of her. Her "d" turns out like a "b" most of the time, but with practice I know she'll get it just right. We focus on writing the letter of the week and copying some basic sightwords starting with that letter.

9. Starfall - if you haven't used Starfall, then you're really missing out! Wendy loves doing the first level of activities, and she can do them by herself; she's learning computer skills as she learns to read!

10. Read-aloud - as you can see from the rest of the list, we do a lot of reading! We just started reading chapter books aloud, starting with Little House in the Big Woods. We read a chapter (or sometimes half a chapter) at a time, and for the most part, Wendy pays attention and understands what we're reading. I'm hoping that it will help her develop a love of reading and enhance her creativity!

What kinds of things do you do or have you done for preschool?

For more great Top Ten lists, visit Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda!

Top Ten {Tuesday}


Crisc said...

I'm on week to on Pre-K homeschooling and I am loving it as well =)

Nichole said...

I'm so glad you're having fun! We're using a couple of books by Mary Ann Kohl for our art lessons. Her projects are based on works by great artists, so we get a little fine arts study in along with our creative work! We have "Discovering Great Artists" and "Discovering Great American Artists."

carrie said...

Todd loved Starfall. He also loved a video by LeapFrog. It completely taught him his phonetic sounds and he loved every minute of it. I am glad that you are enjoying it!

Ashley Pichea said...

I'm definitely adding some of these activities to our homeschool! We're on our second year of "preschool" - though we're working on finishing up kindergarten this year, hopefully - so a lot of these activities will be perfect!

P.S. We *LOVE* Starfall!

MaryAnn F. Kohl, art author said...

Thank you for recommending my books about the great masters. My website has free sample ideas from those books (and all others ones I've written too). Another thing I've done is put up a "click to" artwork resource... you click on the artist's name and it takes you to one of their best known artworks. Go here to see the resource:

1. American Artists:
2. Great Artists:

Anonymous said...

What fun you must be having! I homepreschooled all 4 of our children and those memories are some of my fondest. I blog about homepreschool/homeschool based on the 4R's: Relationship, routine, readiness, and reading aloud and hope you'll visit me there. I have lots of links, articles and resources with ideas about art, music, choosing great picture books, and more.

Susan Lemons
Homeschooling mom of 4
Author, Homepreschool & Beyond

Amy said...

Great list! I will have to check out Starfall, as I am homeschooling my 4-yr-old.

So far, homeschooling is going well with both her and her older sister... but we are only one week in. Ha!

Muthering Heights said...

It sounds like you have a great program set up! :)

SpitFire said...

I'm doing kindergarten, but my ex had her during pre-school, and she has a wishy-washy foundation. She's great on her alphabet. Numbers she struggles with. But we're doing lots of reading too. This latest batch of library books has "High Rise Glorious Skittle-Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angle Food Cake", "The Tale of Miss Moppet", & "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs".

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

My son LOVES pattern blocks. I found some that are magnetic and come with a little board. FABULOUS.

legendswife said...

I love mike mulligan. It's one of my favorite stories to read to my boys. I have a lesson plan somewhere on it. If your interested I can zap it over to ya! Starfall is a great website. A must for any family.

Cheryl Pitt said...

Homeschool, homeschool, homeschool!! No I'm not biased, why do you ask? ;) I'm so glad you're enjoying it!

Melissa Angert {All Things Chic} said...

those are some great ideas!!! love it! i'll have to try some with my 2-year-old who is DYING with jealousy over his big sis going to school.