A few weeks ago, I shared on Instagram that I’d be starting to homeschool Claire for preschool. I got a ton of interest in what my plan is and why we are doing this so I thought I’d share.
If you’re here to find out giveaway winners for the Happy Guide giveaway, see the original post here.
Firstly, I will say I never in a million years thought I’d be wanting to do anything with home schooling. You know that meme that’s like “I’m not the Pinterest mom I’m the Amazon Prime mom?” Well, that’s usually me. I truly think there are a lot of people out there that would be better at this than me. I have never been the “crafty mom.” I also wasn’t a runner and never thought I’d be, but here I am almost 4 half marathons and one marathon later! Anyone can do anything if they put their minds to it, right?
Secondly, I know there are a lots of ways to education children. And it seems like whenever there are a lot of options, there are a lot of opinions. No part of this post is putting down if you have your kid in a preschool, if you let your kid watch TV all day (been there), or anything. Literally the last thing I want to start on my blog or partake in is mom wars. So if you have a vastly different opinion than me, that’s okay! Just please don’t turn this into some kind of “do you think you’re special because you’re homeschooling your kid” kind of conversation. Because no, I don’t. I’m a normal mom just like you 🙂
Anyway, disclaimer over. I am very excited to share this and hope that if you have a toddler or preschooler you at least find this interesting or are inspired in some way.
I have quite a few reasons for this, so hopefully this makes sense!
Why not just send her to a preschool here? Do I not trust public schooling or fear her being away from me? Nope. It’s just too expensive and wait lists are very long here. By expensive, I mean anywhere from $7-10k a year for even some part time programs.
Preschool is not free or included in regular public education in the state of Hawaii. Most preschools are through a local church and there are a lot of private ones which price tag is through the roof. While I feel education is important and we could probably find a way to pay for preschool, I want to do preschool at home to save money for sure.
However, even if I signed her up for a program, some of them have year waits. We may eventually still do this if we end up living here longer than expected. But it won’t do me any good now so I figured why not start at home for the time being and see if we like this.
Another big reason I want to do this is to build a better relationship with Claire, give her activities that will build her confidence and give us more opportunities to give her positive reinforcement. Toddlers are hard, guys. And with a new baby around the last year and doing most parenting on my own, there hasn’t been a lot of positive reinforcement but instead a lot of “no! Don’t do that!” and just general frustration.
Just in the past few weeks that we’ve done some work together, I’ve already seen a huge change in her behavior. I crave more structure for our days and absolutely see homeschooling as a way to direct all her energy and growing mind to something valuable.
Overall, I’m trying to cut down on screen time for her too. The last year has felt largely about survival mode for me as I transitioned from mom-of-one to mom-of-two. I feel ready to help her learn and do more. I know I am not a teacher, but I believe every child’s first teacher is their own parent and I’m excited to take on that role with more intention.
So – all of that to say, for our particular situation right now, preschool outside the home won’t be happening. I have nothing against preschools like I said above but am also not doing homeschool out of fear of anything. It just makes sense for the season we are in. Should a spot in a reasonably priced preschool (do these exist?!) open when we could take advantage of it, I’d love to have her in a program like that too, but it seems like a slim chance.
What’s the plan?
I am making my own curriculum for Claire to learn from. There are pre-made curriculum you can buy, but I don’t think she’s quite old enough yet. She is only just turning three soon. Technically, real preschool (to me) isn’t until age 4-5 – think actual before school (kindergarten) starts. If I plan to keep homeschooling and she never does go to a traditional preschool, I probably will look into purchasing something an educator has actually made, but for now, I’m okay with my own plan and resources I can buy a la carte.
Right now, the plan is just to get her used to the idea of school and having some structured time with me at home. Originally, I thought 45 minutes a day three times a week would be a good start. She doesn’t have the attention span for 45 minutes straight and with a baby around I rarely have 45 minutes straight to just say we are devoting time to one thing, so I am breaking it up throughout the day.
My loose plan for a day of school right now is:
- Sing (and/or play on YouTube) the letters of the week song before we do the calendar. I like this one.
- Change out the calendar magnets & talk about the weather, our activities for the day, mood, etc.
- Letter of the week activity – could be with tracing practice in a workbook or dry erase board, we usually sing the ABCs at this time with a book I have and I try to point out letters. So far she is able to recognize the ones we’ve worked on!
- Craft to correspond with letter of the week – i.e. we did A is for Apple and used an apple cut in half as a stamp (above left painting). I have a bunch of other crafts pinned on Pinterest and am just trying to keep it simple. Next week we start the letter C, so we have some hungry caterpillar crafts as well as the book to read to go along with it.
- Other activity if she has interest (or save this for later in the day): sorting game, workbook pages from various preschool books I got, free drawing/coloring or painting, work on tracing, etc.
Here’s one of the workbooks I got her (set of 5 off Amazon). She looooves these. They come with stickers so when she’s done I give her a sticker on the page and that’s really helped motivate her.
Right now, the most important aspect to me is to keep this fun. I am not wanting to sit her down and say “here, do 5 workbook pages” just to have something to show that she did work. She has her whole life ahead of her to work out of a workbook and do that kind of thing when she’s in actual school someday.
I want this to be all about having fun while learning, so right now it’s less about if she can trace the letter A perfectly and more about her learning sounds and identifying letters and having more meaningful creative play time. I hope that as time goes on and she gains more understanding and skills, we can work on more actual “school” related projects. I’d like to start doing themes of the month at some point too and really understanding some fun subjects like the human body or space.
I have a lot of fun resources not mentioned here, but if this post is a hit, I will plan to share my favorite preschool resources in a few weeks if that sounds interesting to anyone.
Questions for You:
- If you have kids, do you plan out educational learning for them? If so, what’s your favorite activity?
- What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this weekend? Easter plans?