It is back to school time! The smell of new crayons, opening a crisp notebook and color coordinating folders are some of my favorite things.
I am super excited to start diving into new material with our 3 1/2 year-old daughter for our second semester of homeschool preschool. Our daughter is still pretty little so there is plenty of time to worry about school, but I wanted to start implementing some school-like structure into our day and she is LOVING every minute of it. Even more importantly, I am learning so much about homeschooling in general and how she learns best. Even if you are not planning on homeschooling but you have a toddler who loves an activity, this is for you!
At the beginning of January, we started Playing Preschool and have loved the structure it has brought to our mornings. It is 190 days of activities divided up into units and is incredibly easy to follow. There is a bit of preparation that needs to be done ahead of time, but once you get into the routine, it’s great. It only takes 20-30 minutes for us to get through, but sometimes my daughter wants to repeat the activities over and over again. If you want, you can break up the activities throughout the day instead of trying to do them all at once.
A typical morning for us looks like this:
We all get up around the same time every day, make breakfast and my husband heads to his home office around 9am. Then, the kids and I will go outside and feed our animals and water the garden.
At around 10am, my son, who has just turned one, will take his first nap of the day. That is when we jump into school for the day. We start by singing several songs, the days of the week, months of the year and then a new song that relates to the unit. Then, we read a poem and some books. There are a couple games or tasks to do that relate back to the books we’ve read and a letter or two to review.
At around 11am, the baby wakes up and we clean up the school things and continue about the day playing, cleaning, and prepping for dinner.
Some days, my daughter is really into school, but other times, she really isn’t, and that’s fine. My main goal is to keep learning fun and engaging, never having it be a chore or pain point in our day. I also like to invite my daughter to help me with just household things like baking, cleaning, and gardening. Sometimes I’d like to rush through and get things done, and I do on occasion, but she has learned so much by working alongside me that slowing down and including her has been totally worth it.
I have also been taking this year to dive headfirst into learning and reading as much about homeschool as I can. I am clearly very new to it, but below, I will list a couple of my favorite books and podcasts.