Back to (Home) School!

preschool

The fall and “Back to School” time has always been one of my favorite times of the year.  When I was younger and in school myself I couldn’t wait to get back into the school routine and be with my friends.  I guess it’s the teacher in me but even through college I would get so excited at the prospect of getting to go school supply shopping and pack my bag the night before classes started. This excitement was multiplied by like 10 when I actually started teaching in my own classroom.  Getting to set up the room, decorate bulletin boards, print off class lists, all in anticipation for that first day!

Now that I stay home with M, last year there wasn’t really much of that back to school excitement because it wasn’t happening for me anymore.  This year however, I’m feeling it again as I get her little school corner ready in her toy room and sift through all the different types of homeschool preschool curriculum that’s out there!!  I’ve decided to teach her a basic, 2-year-old curriculum to not only develop her learning skills in terms of counting, colors, shapes, etc., but also to build that early foundation for a love of learning with her.

Who knew there were so many different homeschool preschool curriculums out there?!  As I started doing more and more research, I was bombarded with different curriculum on all ends of the spectrum, from free and very basic, to complete preschool kits that arrive in a box each month and contain everything you will possibly need for that month’s learning (and by the way cost more than it does to send your kid to actual preschool!!!)  So I decided that just in case there were any other mama’s out there in my same boat wondering where to start, I would compile a list of resources that I’ve found online!  For the most part, there are 2 types of curriculum out there: just the curriculum (teacher lessons, schedules, supply lists, etc.) and curriculum kits (boxes that contain everything you’ll need to teach your little one including lessons and schedules, posters, craft supplies/materials, books, CDs and more).

Low Cost Basic Preschool Curriculum

  • Brightly Beaming Resources – this curriculum focuses on early childhood learning for ages 0-8.  There are several curriculums to choose from depending on age and what skills you would like to focus on.  The one that I looked at was tailored for preschoolers ages 2-4 and was called Preparatory Curriculum.  The idea is that after completion of this curriculum, your child will be ready to transition into their Letter a Day program.  The Preparatory Curriculum follows a 5-day/week schedule and incorporates books, poems, songs and activities that go along with each week’s theme.  All materials are online and require you to either recreate them or print them out as needed.  There aren’t actual crafts that I could find, but if you are the slightest bit creative I think it would be really easy to come up with one each week!  Cost: FREE!  Sample lesson
  • ABC Jesus Loves Me – this is a self described “bible-based preschool curriculum through play” focused on ages 2-5.  The program is broken down into 3 different curriculum depending on age, so naturally I looked at the 2-year-old program.  What I really like about this program is that they have clear objectives for each age level and provide a detailed weekly schedule to follow.  The 2-year-old program follows a 3-day/week schedule for 36 weeks and includes a weekly bible story, verse and song, as well as a book, color, shape and self care/manners skill of the week.  There are multiple crafts and activities and although you have to provide your own materials, they do a really good job of providing you with an “Items Needed” list each week.  In addition to being able to print off all the activities and lesson plans online, you are also able to purchase the curriculum and workbooks for $30 so that all you have to do is tear them out each day if that’s the route you want to take.  Another thing that I really like about this particular curriculum is that they include both fine motor and gross motor skill activities to do each week!  Cost: FREE! (Unless you choose to purchase the workbooks/lessons so that you don’t have to print everything off)  Sample lesson
  • Preschool Palace – this is a great program if you are willing to put in a little work.  All lessons, materials, posters, etc. are sent to you electronically and you have to print it off yourself.  However, much like the other basic curriculums I’ve discussed, if you are willing to take on the printing, you’ll have a great binder full of activities and lessons!  This curriculum is designed for ages 3-5, with 20 lessons per month and 10 months of materials.  According to their website, “Daily lesson plans are easy to follow and implement. Materials needed are simple and low-cost. Most daily lesson plans include circle time activities/themes, a movement activity, sensory activity, craft ideas, and a printable worksheet.”  There are two curriculum options available: one where letters are taught in order and one based more on a Montessori approach where the letters are taught based on relevance, rather than order.  Cost: $10/10 months of materials  Sample lesson

Cost Involved Curriculum Kits

  • Funshine Express – this is a 2-month at a time, boxed curriculum that gets sent to you in the mail.  Your starter box contains an attendance chart, weather chart and color/shape chart.  Then, each curriculum box contains a curriculum guide, board books, puppets, vocabulary cards, story props and more, as well as materials for 12 crafts.  There are 2 kits available: one for ages 18-36 months and one for 3-5 years.  Daily lessons are divided into language development, cognitive development, physical development and social/emotional development.  There are also specific colors and shapes focused on in each box.  This is an all inclusive preschool curriculum complete with materials and step by step directions on how to go about instructing your child.  Cost: approximately $380/year (not including shipping)  Sample lesson
  • Mother Goose Time – “Mother Goose Time is a research-based preschool curriculum that fosters a joy for learning through sensory-based experiences.” (Mother Goose Time website)  This program is a complete preschool curriculum boxed kit delivered to your home each month.  Each box contains activities, crafts and materials for 20 days worth of lessons.  Not only are there skill building activities, but also circle time activities, a CD with corresponding music and hands-on projects for your child to explore.  Also included are a teaching guide, planning journal, skills checklist and materials list for each month.  This really is an in-depth, comprehensive program that can make teaching easy even for parents with no education background themselves!  Cost: $569/Sept-May (including shipping)  Sample lesson
  • Timberdoodle – this particular curriculum comes in a variety of different kits depending on the age range being targeted.  I looked at the Preschool kit, created for 2-3 year olds.  Something nice about this curriculum is that there are two ways to complete it based on your child and the pace you choose to take with him or her.  You can stretch the materials out to cover two full years of learning, or take the fast track and complete all the lessons in one year.  You can also choose from a basic kit, complete kit and elite kit, depending on the amount of materials and activities that you want.  Like the other curriculum kits that I’ve talked about, this kit is comprehensive and not only includes the Curriculum/Scheduling Guide, but also workbooks, puzzles, books, manipulatives/toys, science experiments and more.  This one time kit literally includes everything you will need with the exception of some paper and crayons!!  The only downfall that I can find is that I don’t see much in the way of arts and crafts.  It seems like this particular curriculum may be more science/hands-on/manipulation based rather than art based (which might be perfect depending on your child’s personality!) Cost: $189-$549/year (depending on which kit you choose)  Sample lesson (I couldn’t really find a sample lesson, but the link takes you to what’s included in the kit!)
  • Learning Box – much like many of the other curriculum kits, this program offers different types of kits depending on the age group being targeted.  For 2-4 year olds, Learning Box has what they call the Little Box Program.  Each box arrives monthly and includes supplies for activities 3 days a week.  Included are: curriculum guide, monthly displays including a calendar, weather chart, color/number/shape posters, vocabulary cards, action stories, sensory items, music CD and an “assortment of Projects, Crafts, Books, and Activities!
    (with materials included)”  Daily lessons include circle time, music/songs, stories, activities and crafts and more.  Cost: approximately $414/Sept-May (including shipping)  Sample lesson

I’m sure that there are TONS of other options out there, but these were the ones that I came across in my research.  Now, maybe you’re way more creative than this mama and if so, you might be able to come up with your own activities and write a curriculum to use.  But for the rest of us, hopefully this list will give you somewhere to start at least, like it did for me!

Have a great school year!

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Do you homeschool your preschooler and use a curriculum that you LOVE?!  I’d love to hear about it!!

 

Bzzz into Summer!

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Summer is just around the corner and I only have 3 days left with the two little boys that I watch.  Today we made a fun, “summery” craft that will bee (hehe) perfect to decorate the fridge with to welcome in summer break!

Here’s what you’ll need:

materials

Paper, yellow craft paint, a marker, googly eyes & a paintbrush

Here’s what to do:

  • Paint the bottom of your child’s foot yellow and press the footprint onto a piece of paper – I cut the paper into 5×7″ pieces.
  • Turn the paper so that the toes are pointing down and draw on the antennae and wings – your child can help with this depending on their age!!

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  • Apply 2 googly eyes to each bumblebee and then draw on stripes.  With a black crayon or marker, have your child color in the stripes on the bee.

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  • Lastly, draw on the facial features – eyebrows and mouth – to complete your little bumblebee!!  I love how they turned out – SO CUTE!!  And, they were really easy to make and the kids loved it, too!! 🙂

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Happy crafting and WELCOME SUMMER BREAK…3 days and counting! 😉

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Watercolor Butterflies

Alright mamas, I’ve got another fun and super easy craft for you to do with the kiddos today!!  It was Miss M’s first time painting and she loved it!  Hope your little ones have as much fun as she did!! 🙂

Here’s what you need!

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  • Coffee filters
  • Clothesline clips
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Watercolor paints/paint brushes

Step 1:  Paint the coffee filter.  **Be careful though because if it gets too wet, it’ll tear easily.  Allow to dry before moving on to step 2.

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Step 2:  After it’s dry, gather/bunch up the middle of the coffee filter – you can do it accordion style, or just pinch it into the middle.  Clip the clothesline pin around the center of the filter so that it makes “wings” on either side of the “body” (clip).

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Step 3:  Fold pipe cleaner in half, curl the ends and clip into the clothesline clip to make the antennae.  Ta da!  That’s all there is to it!  See, I told you it was easy!!

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Happy crafting! 🙂

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“Stained Glass” Easter Egg Craft

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What better way to welcome Spring than by doing some fun Springtime crafts with the kiddos?!  Yesterday we made “Stained Glass” Easter eggs to hang on the windows.  So cute and so much fun!!

All you need is:

  • Contact paper
  • Tissue paper in a variety of colors, cut into little squares
  • Scissors

Cut out a square piece of contact paper and lay it on the table sticky side up.  Then the kids can stick the squares of tissue paper on however they’d like:

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When they’re finished sticking on all the tissue paper they want, cut out another square of contact paper and put it sticky side down on the decorated piece.  Essentially you’ve just laminated the tissue paper! 🙂  Here’s how it will look:

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The last step is to cut out the shape of an egg.  You can make them as big or as small as you’d like! If you cut them a little smaller, you could probably get a couple out of it!  This is what you’ll end up with:

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In addition to hand-eye coordination, you can work on color identification while making the eggs or after, patterns if you have the kiddos stick on their tissue paper in a specific order, and shapes by pointing out the differences between squares, rectangles and ovals.  Not only is it an educational craft, but you’ll love getting to decorate your windows with them!  Have fun & Happy Crafting! 🙂