Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of Pre-K: Homeschool Style

My natural inclination is that 4 year olds should be playing, exploring, and learning naturally.  My husband and I don't necessarily have a problem with public or private schools, and we realize there are wonderful teachers who share great ideas and motivate and inspire their students.  However, we have come to the conclusion that homeschooling is the best option for us at this time.  We feel it is what God wants for our family.

So although we have officially decided to homeschool, we’re not officially homeschooling yet.  With Elliott only being 4 years old (almost 5 if you ask him), he is only old enough for Pre-K by “school” standards, and since I don’t think he needs structured lessons yet, we are taking a very relaxed approach to this school year.  I have been extremely drawn to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, and this philosophy also stresses the importance of letting children learn from their natural environment without contrived lessons, particularly through the ages of 6-7 years old.

However, he realizes that his cousins and most of his Sunday School class are starting either Pre-K or Kindergarten this year, and he is slightly curious about school.  In order to satisfy his curiosity, we decided to have a formal "First Day" and let him choose what schoolish activities he wanted to do.

 So what did we do today?

Well...we took pictures for mommy's scrapbook.  :)

We read Jack and the Beanstalk, which is one of his favorite stories.

He chose to do a page out of a workbook called Sequencing.  He doesn't like traditional workbooks, but this one is different--he gets to cut/paste the pictures in the order of the short story, which I read to him. 

He can color the picture on the back if he chooses, but since he doesn't particularly like to color, Emory "works" by coloring in the pictures.

We played counting and number games with giant foam dice.  He ended by putting them in order for me.  When we were done, Emory used them to practice his colors.

Then he wanted to make a pattern, so he used the links.  He chose his, green, blue, blue, red.

It had to be long enough to wear!

My goals for our preschool year is not to work through a preschool curriculum or a checklist of skills.  Instead I am aiming for a Year 0 as outlined on Ambleside Online.  I want to develop good habits and begin working on the "extras" so we have a solid foundation when we start formal academics later.  I want Bible Study, Nature Study, Music and Art to be part of our routine.  I am beginning to think that Elliott may be a kinesthetic learner, and so we will be doing a lot of hands-on and interactive activities to develop pre-reading, handwriting and mathematical skills.

While we are having a relaxed, informal and fun preschool year, I will be reading Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series.  I have read a couple of books that introduce her methods, but I want to see how I relate to her actual thoughts and ideas.  There's plenty of time for structured academics later, so for now I want to validate my decision to incorporate the Charlotte Mason philosophy into our lives.

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