Wednesday, August 4, 2010


No, I'm not sending Ava to preschool. We're doing it at home. That's right, Homeschool Preschool. We had considered sending her to a preschool, but it's ridiculously expensive and Ava said she would prefer I just teach her. Since I'm strongly considering homeschooling her next year (kindergarten) I was fine with the request and am looking at it as a learning/preparation period for what could come next year.

So, we started "preschool" last week. I had the opportunity to chat with/correspond with several friends who homeschool and all gave me great ideas regarding age-appropriate curriculum and activities. Basically, they all said the same thing, at this age you don't need to sit a child down and "teach" as they would in a public school setting. Rather, teach by example, activity and interest. Keeping this in mind, I did have some specific goals (which I went over with Ava). First of all, helping Ava learn to read. She's already doing this quite well on her own, but obviously, still needs some help and direction. That being said, we do a letter of the week. We go over all the sounds that letter makes and Ava practices writing each letter. She's had all her capital letters down since she was three, but we're working hard on the lowercase letters. This also helps Jax with letter recognition and sounds. In addition to our set letter work, I've decided it best to have a theme each day, that also corresponds with our letter of the week.

Last week, we started Preschool with the letter "A" (obviously). Our first day, our theme was ART. So, I read the kids several children's stories I found at the library about art, artists, etc (Bridget's Beret by Tom Lichtenheld and Art School by Tomie dePaola were Ava and Jax's faves). Then, we looked online at different works by famous artists: Mona Lisa (da Vinci), Georgia O'Keefe's flowers, Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, The Ballet Class by Degas, etc. This was a great activity for both kids because we could discuss what they liked about the pictures, why certain colors were used, what colors they liked best, etc. Ava, of course, loved Degas's ballet paintings, while Jax liked how messy Pollock's paintings looked. Then, I gave the kids each their own paint set and several pieces of paper and asked them to create a "splatter paint" like Jackson Pollock and a flower like Georgia O'Keefe. They loved creating and I loved watching what they created. About 20 pieces of paper and 45 minutes later, my counter covered in art work, they were done.

As the art dried, I gave Jax some letter A's to trace with his fingers, pencil and crayons as Ava and I practices her lowercase letter. I had never noticed until that moment just how very much like me she is. She's a perfectionist and gets easily flustered when she doesn't do something perfectly the first time. Several times I just had to urge her to take a break from her paper and come back to it when she was ready. Sure enough, each time she did and by the end she was writing her little a's like a pro!

We only did two days of preschool last week, our second we learned about ants: all their parts, why they bite, different kinds, etc. and even went on a bug walk, complete with bug-catching kids.

As I expected, the kids have received our little at-home preschool with open arms. Each day, they ask if it's preschool day. And Ava has given me several ideas of things she'd like to learn about when we get to a certain letter. I'm so grateful both of my kids love to learn. They're eager and dilligent, so much like their dad!

This preschool "year" will play a large role when it comes time to make the decision to homeschool Ava or send her to public school. Until then, we'll just enjoy our time together. I'll occasionally post updates here of fun things we've done and the progress the kids have made... that's mainly for the grandparents :)

1 comment:

The K Family said...

This is great! Sounds like the kids are having fun. Nothing wrong with homeschool, I strongly encourage it. Public schools are terrible nowadays, and I think kids can get such a great experience if they are willing to work with their parents.

We have our kids in private Montessori schools because I love their small class sizes and how they cater to their individual strengths.

You are doing a terrific job.