Back to School.

So this week is “back to school” in our area. While Yaya is old enough to be in her second year of preschool, we’ve opted to keep her home until she begins kindergarten next year. It isn’t because we think preschool is evil or anything of the sort; it’s just because this is what works well for our family and has been a good fit for Yaya.My at home plan for educating Yaya has been that I don’t really have one. I’ve tried following a couple of different preschool curricula I’ve found online, but I’m not much of a worksheet person and as I’ve admitted to in the past — I’m not good at following through with things. So our past year of “home preschool” (which is what I tell people we do so that they don’t judge me when I tell them she doesn’t go to preschool) is basically just us reading a lot together, doing art projects and playing outside most of the day.Now that we are one year away from kindergarten (sigh), I’ve decided that I need to tame my hippie ideas of education and pull together a bit more so we’re not “that weirdo family” once we start school. But let’s be real — I’m still not a worksheet mama. And I still want her to have plenty of time for free play and just being a kid.So I designed my own weekly planning worksheet.
preschool planner

I’ve seen some of these online and on Pinterest, but I’ll be honest — they intimidate me. They have all these categories for daily work and all these subjects and character goals, and I know it wouldn’t work long term for us (and by us, I mean me).The planner I put together is a weekly one that covers a variety of topics. Reading and music are something we do every day, but I need to also set some goals for other subjects — like math (blech). This helps me broaden our learning subjects at home.
This is the kind of thing that is more apt to work in my household — something with goals and ideas that we can come up with on our own. A loose framework, if you will.Here’s what our first week looks like, all filled out:
preschoolplanner

Here’s the categories you’ll find on our planner:Memory Verse: Yaya’s starting to get memory work in her Sunday School class now, so we will spend time throughout the week working with her on that. (Before she had assigned memory work, we also liked to use these CDs to help commit Bible verses to memory.)Hymn of the Month: Our church’s website has a suggested monthly hymn to sing at home with your family, and then it is sung during the church service on the last Sunday of the month. I’ve been negligent about this the last couple of months, but I’m hoping that including it here will help me bring it back to part of our daily devotional routine.Musical Activities: Yaya has been taking piano with me for a year and will do so again this year before we begin her with a different teacher. So part of her music activities will include practicing her pieces. I’m also including some musical listening activities. (This is above and beyond the club-like booty shaking we do while rocking out to Michael Jackson or incessant show tune singing we do throughout the day.)Sight Words: I’m picking out a couple of sight words each week to help strengthen her sight word vocabulary, and we’re also going to practice writing them. (This website is a great resource for sight word activities, some of which I hope to incorporate in Yaya’s learning.)Social Studies Focus: I picked out Martin Luther King, Jr. this week in honor of the anniversary of his “I Have A Dream” speech. We will be reading some age-appropriate books about him, doing an art project centered around his speech and hopefully attending an event that commemorates the day the speech was given.

Reading Sections: This one is a pretty easy area for us to incorporate into our routine. Yaya and I spend time reading before her nap and bedtime — after her noisy brother is all tucked in, of course. I subscribe to this blog and follow the author on Pinterest, and have gotten a lot of really great ideas from her for books for beginning readers.

Math Stuff: A subject I’ve totally neglected. Because I hate math. So I’m hoping that by having it on here with all this other fun stuff will help me be less likely to neglect the subject entirely!

Sensory Play: This one is fairly new for us. Yaya has spent so much of her childhood outdoors that I never really thought about deliberately setting up sensory activities, but once we began physical therapy with Baby Boy his therapist provided us with lots of sensory activities to do each week to help encourage brain and fine motor development. As it turns out, Yaya LOVES these activities, too. So we’re making them part of our weekly learning. Sensory activities also often incorporate science, which keeps me from having to plan out a separate science activity. (You can read more about the importance of sensory play by CLICKING HERE.)

Field Trip: Don’t think I’m pulling out the big guns here, because by field trip I basically just mean some type of fun outing. This week, we’re headed to the library…mostly because I have a stack of overdue books that are burning a hole in the front seat of my car.

You can download your free copy of the planner by clicking the link below:
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  1. […] a lot of researching and writing for GlobalPost Parenting and The Bump , and sometimes I love to share the learning activities we are doing at home. We’ve also taken on a family challenge to participate in one act of service each month, […]

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