A few months ago I began writing my Considering Homeschool series. The series addresses the questions that often come up when someone asks how to begin homeschooling. One of those posts, Home From the Start, covers homeschooling preschool and how my thoughts on preschool have changed through the years.
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In that post I wrote that I had no plans to start preschool with Prissy anytime in the near future. I wrote of building towers and having tea parties. I actually said that I had no immediate plans to start working with her.
“I’m now approaching this stage with our daughter and I can honestly tell you that I have no immediate plans to start working with her. She’ll be three next month, but I’m going to follow her lead. I’m going to continue letting her play and observe life and nature. I’m going to continue having tea parties with her, reading books, coloring, and doing puzzles. The formal stuff will happen on its own.”
That was November 18. If you’ve been following our Week in Review Posts, you know that I lied. Yep, you read that right. I lied. January rolled around and my three year-old has had her own spot on my lesson plans ever since. So much for “no immediate plans,” and the formal stuff happening on its own, right?
I wasn’t actually as dishonest as it may seem. At the end of the post, I wrote that we would be doing tea parties, reading books, coloring, and that I would follow her lead on the “school” part of preschool. That’s exactly what happened and it’s one of many things that’s wonderful about homeschool. When you follow your children, you can go lots of unexpected places.
Even though I didn’t expect her to be ready for preschool and in principle I wasn’t ready either, I realized that she was close to grasping so many concepts. She just needed a little nudge and that’s why we started doing a Letter of the Week focus in January. We used Kathy Hutto’s A to Z Toddler and Preschool Curriculum as our foundation and it was the perfect match for us at that point.
Throughout each week, she did do-a-dot pages, a couple of letter crafts, and worksheets that focus on letter recognition, hand control, and shapes. Along with several books that emphasize the letter of the week, we also read a Bible story that corresponded with the letter. Flash cards, puzzles, and her Handwriting Without Tears Wooden Letters were on her agenda somewhere within a week too. It may sound like a lot, but she was usually finished after 30 minutes each day. She looked forward to all of this and was happy to be at the table with us.
Yeah, so Prissy made her way on to my lesson plans so much sooner than I expected. She’s an independent little thing and very much so a self-starter. Transitioning to some gentle instruction just made sense.
Don’t worry, there are still plenty of tea parties happening and baby dolls being nurtured. She’s still scouring the yard for the perfect flowers and sticks. I’m just taking time each day to help her connect the dots around her. After all, it’s all about finding that sweet spot. When curiosity and playtime come together, learning is effortless.