When the time comes, we plan to home school our children. This decision is based on a few different factors including religion and Allie’s immune deficiency, but mostly because it seems to be the best suite for our family.
Allie is currently 2 and a half, but I wanted to begin to prepare her by making her sit down and do a small amount of school work during the day. I usually plan this during Andie’s morning nap. It gives us a little time to spend together without interruption and she is really enjoying it so far.
For now, I usually make it my goal to get her to sit down for at least 15-20 minutes each morning, then sometimes she may ask again to do her work during the day and we do. As she gets older, and can sit still longer, I will increase the amount of time and the number of times we sit down during the day to do work. If we miss a day, or have other plans, I don’t fret at this point because I am mainly just trying to get her comfortable with “school.”
I’ve read several blogs that did the “one letter a week” type training. I liked this but have found that we need two weeks per letter. At some point, when she can sit down for longer periods without getting bored, we may change this to one letter per week. As for now though, this works better for us for a few different reasons:
- While she can sing her ABCs, I want her to not only identify these letters, but also distinguish between capitol and lowercase, know the sounds each letter makes, and begin writing them (I’ve found for now, writing is easier on a larger scale like a dry-erase board or with chalk outside.)
- I’m incorporating many things other than just letters, so only a small amount of the twenty minutes is spent on letters.
- With 26 letters in the alphabet, spending two weeks on each equals out to one year.
I also make a point to teach her things throughout the day through play. She doesn’t realize she’s learning and doesn’t get burnt out. For example, playing grocery store and counting out coins or using the opportunity to teach her right from left, her full name, and birthday while playing doctor. I incorporate cutting with scissors, gluing, coloring, and some other activity during the day too. Today I used painter tape to make lines for her to walk on the floor. Sometimes these activities are more complex, but most often, they’re super simple and easy for me with an infant.
And by the way, if you need a few minutes to get something done, give your kid a roll of painters tape. Endless entertainment! The kitchen table, the entry into our bathroom, and her daddy’s boots were all taped up.
As bad as I hate to admit it, we utilize her tablet for learning too (y’all don’t go all anti-screen time on me now). We don’t have a set time for this, but usually about twenty minutes a day when I need her to sit still, such as when I’m nursing her sister or cooking super. She’s not at a point were she will sit down and watch TV yet, so this is very helpful sometimes since she doesn’t take naps. During that time, I usually use ABC mouse or find a fun, educational YouTube video to watch. I’ve found that ABC Mouse is still a little above her level, but she still enjoys “playing her tablet” even if she isn’t exactly sure what she’s doing. I debated on cancelling our subscription, but I figure as she gets older we will use it more and more.
Her letter worksheets are a mixture of free printables I’ve found on pinterest. My favorite resource is Easy Peasy Learners. I try to spend Sunday night before we start a new letter, printing worksheets and planning activities for the week. You can always get creative and make your own without even needing a printer.
The dryerase board we use was purchased from Lowe’s for $9.99 and my handy husband hung it for me. You can purchase yours here (not an affiliate link). The letters to hang on the wall (which I haven’t done yet) were purchased at the Dollar Tree. We use a sticker reward system also purchased at the Dollar Tree, but it would be super simple to make your own with a pack of stickers or as simple as drawing a smiley face. My favorite dollar store purchase, though, is the bingo stampers. We use these for printables that say “Color the A” and other craft activities. She absolutely loves stamping them!
I’ve found that there are plenty of free resources on the internet. If you utilize these and dollar store finds, you can homeschool preschool very efficiently, which is exactly what we are looking for as a one income family.