Hey there, hard working parents! My goal in this series is to save you time and money. There is nothing worse than plunking down big bucks for a curriculum that your kid hated or that bored you to tears. I will share my favorites working from the early years on up. These are great whether you intend to homeschool or not.
By far my favorite resource for teaching young children is the Five in a Row (Five in a Row): Volume 1 series. We started our little co-op (more on the how-tos of a successful co-op coming soon) with Five In a Row, which takes classic pre-school must reads like Blueberries for Sal and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and pairs them with simple learning activities that emphasize character. We supplemented with lapbooking activities from http://HandsofaChild.com to practice fine motor skills like cutting. Lapbooking is creating little fold outs, charts and booklets that are glued into a colorful folder, making sharing and review of studied concepts easy and fun for students. There are some terrific free lapbooks out there on the internet, too.
My grandmother, a retired media specialist (a/k/a school librarian) and teacher introduced me to these fun little treats: Paper Stories by Jean Stangl and “Cut & Tell” by Jean Warren. They are no longer in print, but if you can get a hold of these little gems, they are lots of fun. These are little stories and poems that you read and cut a piece of paper at the same time (always take a trial run before attempting in front of your pint sized audience) that finishes by unfolding some snowman or squirrel related to the story.
For preschool and early years science is all about observation. The skill of learning to observe and then communicate what has been observed is crucial to school, and more importantly, life skills. I love Charlotte Mason’s ideas about keeping a nature journal. I sent my kids into the yard or took them to a park or beach in the preschool and elementary years and let them find a bug, flower or anything else in nature that interested them and had them draw it in their notebook. I was not concerned about how realistic it looked. The idea is that to draw something, you need to really look at it and analyze what it is composed of. Then I had them, as they were able, write the date, where it was observed, then as they grew older, a brief description of it.
Now, if your little ones are like mine, they may beg to experiment on things. Science Is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers is perfect! It even introduces little ones to the scientific method.
If you are the parent of a preschooler or a toddler and you regularly play with your little one, you are already homeschooling! Be intentional with your time and enjoy every minute.
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