Wednesday, October 13, 2010


(Our little "schoolroom." In this tiny apartment, our little "dining room" will have to do. It works, for now, but hopefully someday, I can have a schoolroom!!)

This year, we have decided to start Maddy doing preschool at home. I was not homeschooled, so I had a lot of studying up to do on how to get started. In talking to some other homeschool moms, I learned that I didn't need to be so structured and rigid for this first year of preschool. In other words, I didn't need to run out and buy a huge curriculum and make a huge deal out of doing "school."
I have started talking to moms, reading up on Christian homeschooling, and trying to figure out why I want to homeschool Maddy, what I feel is important in a homeschool education, and how I am going to carry out doing school at home. I want to reference a blog I have cited before,, because she is a mom about my age with 2 young kids, and she has a whole section of her blog dedicated to learning at home. I actually ordered a small curriculum for learning letters after reading about it on her website. This year we are using "Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve" which is a great, Christian based curriculum for learning to write letters, the sounds of letters, and learning to serve people with names that start with each letter. For example, for the letter "A", there is a corresponding verse, recipes and crafts that start with "A." You come up with people you know whose names start with the letter "A", pray for them, and bring them something (craft or recipe in section) at the end of the week, pray for missionaries who are serving in "A" country or state, etc. It's a great way to not only teach your little ones about their letters, but get them thinking about other people and what they can do for them!! It gets you and your family outside of your box!!

If you would like to check out the website for this curriculum, you can do so here. I just want to let you know that it is in downloadable form, which I didn't know ahead of time. So you just have to print it all out. But it isn't very pricey, and it is well worth the money. It is a wonderful curriculum.

This is Maddy working on making Apple Bread for the letter "A." We have had so much fun doing activities together with this curriculum. It is our special time together, and with me not being a very crafty person, it has given me so many fun ideas to do with Maddy. It is all layed out for us and I just have to pick which ones we will do, and make sure we have the supplies. And by the way, they are all very easy too!

Making Brownie Bites for the letter "B." Let's just say that we had to make more because they were so good. We made some for Boopa (Grandpa Crandall) and Bill and Briana. Delicious!!

Another curriculum book I am using is called "Mom's Big Activity Book For Building Little Characters." My mother-in-law gave me this one, and it is simple and fun. There are 5 little activities for each week, focusing on different areas of growth and learning. I love that it includes Bible stories and things to build character and to teach it simply to a preschooler. For example, one activity has you put a vegetable in some water and watch and wait for sprouts to form, and to teach James 5:7 as you watch together patiently day by day. It's hard to teach abstract concepts like that to a child, but this has concrete objects to help get the idea across. Love it!

It also includes activities like this one where she colored 3 different pictures and when folded they make different pictures, teaching the words short and long.

Homeschooling has been good for us. I will be honest, it does take up a significant amount of time in the morning where I could get things done, but I love the structure, and I have found that Maddy does too. She asks when we are going to do school (she will ask after a nap because she thinks it is the next day already!), and what we are going to make. We enjoy picking our people each week for the letter we are learning, and anticipating what we will be making for them. Before, our day didn't have much structure in the morning, especially since Judah was born and has his long morning nap. But now, as soon as he goes down for his nap, Maddy has to get dressed, make sure her bed is made, and we usually do a little 5 minute room cleanup. We start school around 9 and usually have it for about an hour. That sounds like a long time, but each little "segment" is only around 5 minutes or shorter.

I have charts up where we review the season, what day it is, we go outside and check the weather and put that up, review her chore chart, and review the month, day of the week, and day on the calendar. Then we pray, go over our verse that goes along with our letter, and sometimes her verse for Awana. I usually have several little activities that we do, a craft or recipe, writing the letter for the week, practicing writing her name, and sometimes a coloring activity.

We have had to work through some attitude issues, obedience issues, and respect for mom/teacher. It's not always easy, but I feel like she is getting better and knows that we have so much fun doing school, and it's better to have a good attitude. I remind her that if she has a bad attitude, then we won't get to do the fun things I have planned, because we will have to deal with discipline. Sometimes if she does something with a great attitude, or does really good the first time I ask her, she will get a sticker on her page or her chart, and she LOVES that. I don't know what it is about stickers and kids, but it works every time.

It's been really fun having our special time together, having planned fun things to do everyday, and to see Maddy learning new things all the time. At this age they are such sponges, wanting to learn, asking questions about everything, and picking things up everyday. So homeschooling is a fun way for me, as a mom, to teach her about all kinds of different things and to see her growing and learning, and really enjoying it. It's so fun to see her learn something or understand something new and getting excited about it. The other day someone asked her if she was in preschool and she responded "we are doing the super fun homeschool..." which made my day.

So, I'm still learning and figuring out what will work, and what won't. Some moms told me not to be super structured this year but I am pretty structured and Maddy seems to really enjoy it. We do homeschool Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Every other Thursday we have a Moms group at church and the off Thursday will just be catchup day or playdate day. I thought of doing 3 times a week, but I thought that might be kind of confusing for Maddy, and we are enjoying our time. Plus, I like to work on one letter a week so she can really get the idea of the letter, the sound, and words that start with that letter.

So if you are still reading this long post, bless you. This is probably too many details but it's good for me to outline what we are doing, and to let people know what it's like, whether you already homeschool, are thinking about homeschooling, or wonder what the heck people do when they homeschool (I'm still kind of in that boat.)

I may do another blog post sometime about why we homeschool, but that is a whole other story altogether. Let's just say that Tad was homeschooled all the way through, I went to public school for half and private Christian school for half, and Tad was all for homeschooling. It has been a struggle for me, and I'm not against sending the kids to school, but for now, it is working for us. So we will see what the future holds!! And if there are any changes, you know you can read about them here!!

Thanks for reading!!

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