MOM’S DISCLAIMER: Let me first say that this here little guy in the ‘ing’ photo….that’s the baby of my babies. The littlest of my people. The forever youngest of my brood. So, I’ve been there, done that in more ways than one with my other kids. I’ve seen the ‘classroom environment help a child thrive. I’ve seen it completely drop the bomb. While I’m no expert, I’m no newbie either. The following is the observation and opinions of a Mama’s heart.
I read a new-to-me term the other day.
That’s right, not just Preschool or PreK but Preschooling.
It struck me and hasn’t left the soil of my MamaTeacher brain since.
Or my heart.
Instead, it has redefined the way I see my little guy’s academic future.
It spoke of that active, hands on time spent with a child, preparing them to learn.
The nurturing of their own unique little spirit.
Not the learning itself.
The fun, the intrigue, the interesting, the strange, the silly, the memories….those come from, before, after, and in between our ‘traditional’ school day. That, as we know, is the beauty of this homeschool life.
Either way, there are a few basics to look at before we go further, no matter how you homeschool in your family.
1. Age. Yes, this does matter. Even if you believe in completely child-led learning, there is a time that each individual child is ready to learn and progress academically. States differ in law as to when academics are required. With that said, each child has a natural, God given desire to explore the world around them. For the interest of this post, Preschooling is the year or years before we start a formal curriculum of Bible, Phonics, Math, Language Development, and Science.
2. Goals. Whether you are a ‘traditional’ family like ours, an ‘unschooling’ family, or each and every family inbetween….we all have goals for our kids. Call it what you will-you homeschool, send your kids to school, unschool, or train them for the Peace Corp with an agenda in mind. Again for the interest of this post, we’re going to officially call our PreSchool/ing goal that of preparing our children for said formal/informal introduction to curriculum/learning.
With #1 and #2 out of the way, let’s move on to the basics.
PreSchool…excuse me….Preschooling, to me is all about forming a foundation for their education.
Biblical. Real life skills. Academic.
The heart of this matter is letting them be kids.
They have the rest of their lives to grow up, meet expectations, and deal with the world around them.
So at the center of Preschooling my youngest child is nurturing his wonderful imagination.
Letting him thrive exactly where he is, and encouraging him to be who God made him today.
There’s more than enough God-given activities and basics surrounding us to worry about purchasing the perfect games and play items.
God gave this particular little man into a family with other siblings.
That there is better fertile soil to learn than anything you can buy.
Only child? Oldest child? That’s cool…rock where God has your child today. There are opportunities that child will have today that my little guy will not.
Like the one on one with Mom. Or the relative ease and smaller expense of more hands on ’field trips’ and activities.
God has you, and your child, exactly where you are suppose to be.
Embrace that. Give thanks. And let the fun begin!
We let our little guy venture in and out of the school room as he pleases. He enjoys learning and wants his own work to do at times. The following are some practical suggestions for activities to fit into your PreSchooling day.
TO HELP BUILD FINE MOTOR SKILLS
- Dull Tip scissors with old newspapers and let them go to town
- Teach them to pinch instead of grabbing crayons/pencils with a fist
INTRODUCTION TO PHONICS AND MATH
- Singing the alphabet together
- Counting everyday objects as fun
- Educational cartoons and apps
- Letting him/her play ‘school’ with older siblings
PRE-WRITING ACTIVITIES (Tons of free printables online)
- Tracing different lines and patterns on dry erase boards
- Tracing then writing their name on dotted-line printouts
- Drawing in the dirt with sticks and such
Do these things sound familiar? That’s because most of you probably do some or all of these already with your kids for fun. All it takes is attention and time, fun and games. Play and lots of giggles. Consider Preschooling before the formal curriculum begins. We naturally fell into this approach and I see him being more and more prepared for school everyday. So, until then….we are enjoying the ing of this age and stage! And I so hope that you will too!