Sunday, September 9, 2012

Our Preschool is in Session!

Awhile ago Brian and I decided not to send the boys to preschool. I have the time and I love to teach them things. I also have the opportunity to watch little Alexandra for extra money and to give the boys a built-in playmate and pretend little sister. We’ve had her a few days a week since she was four months old and we are all in love with her. I think the three of them get enough socialization with each other and all the other friends we have. Sometimes it’s so much socialization it makes me want to plug my ears and curl up under my bed in the fetal position, but it’s usually healthy socialization.

This fall many of the boys’ friends are off at preschool, which takes away the option of morning playdates with those friends. Meanwhile, I’ve been looking at a whole bunch of preschool units and activities to use for the boys (and Alex!). Pinterest is brilliant. As I’ve been doing this I’ve also been organizing a bunch of our pictures. I found pictures of the past year and noticed all the ways that we work learning into our days, even without all the museums we visit and not counting our road trip learning adventures 

So far the boys love this. 
We have community center classes starting this week, but I’ve also been doing more preschool-y things with them.  They’re so obsessed with Sid the Science Kid that they’re throwing around words like elasticity, inertia, estimation, and investigation. The other day Clark leaned over toward the toilet and said his poop looked like animal communication. Weirdo. Those 30 minute Sid episodes actually introduce some great ideas for activities to do on the topic. I often pick out library books that go along with something we’ve been hearing about—something that interests us. I feel like this is such a natural way for kids to learn. It is authentic learning. Buzzword.
I’ve been giving the boys reading lessons from the book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. My aunt and mom recommended the book and it’s been great. The lessons are around 10-15 minutes long. I first started doing it with both of them at once, but now I’ve figured out that they do better when I go one-on-one with them. The book recommends starting kids at age five, so I wasn’t sure how they would do since they’re only three. I figured I’d try it out and see. I think it would be too much to do one lesson every day but they do well with having one every couple days and we do repetition of the sounds pretty much every chance we get. They’re interested in knowing what words say—on signs and shirts and packaging. It’s an amazing feeling to see the lights go on when something connects for them and sounds become a word. So. Awesome.
Anyway, I’m pulling out my homeschool preschool for the fall and am excited. I thought I’d share some of the pictures from the spring and some from recently that show what we’ve been up to. Much of this is prompted by what the boys are curious about. Maybe I’ll be a teacher some day. J Wait...
I'm keeping binders with the writing parts of their
reading lessons so we can watch it progress.

They practice their sounds and they're already sounding out words like pros!

Juice-making party

Tracing letters combined with sidewalk art

Physics! (sometimes painful)
Picnic after fountain-running

You would know all your planets if you slept under them too.


Painting their rocket ship birdhouse

Exploring the ponds by our house: Science.
Exploring the ponds by our house while sprinting: P.E.

GIGANTIC flower!

Butterfly-watching at the ponds (Cal said the butterflies
were saying, "Calvin, you need a dog.")

After reading The Busy Tree, I drew a tree and they drew spiders and
squirrels and owls and ants on it...and then...

...we watched water absorption in our celery with food coloring.
Blue celery spots!

Picking things up with tongs: hand-eye coordination
Running in swim shorts in the sunny rain, looking for rainbows

Tracing letters- they love this

Exploring water

Getting set for some experiments

Dumping salt on an ice block...

and squirting watercolors into the salt ice sculpture!


Tracing bodies after reading about body systems

Give Cal anything and he'll paint it.

Going on metro adventures...learning to read maps and navigate

...using Smart cards

Playing baseball with Dad after his games

Activity I tried for a class I took

More color mixing

Painting guitar picture frames

Paper space shuttles

Real astronaut gloves and boots!

Shopping on a $10/each budget

You seriously can't tell what I just drew? Baseball field. Duh, Mom.

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