Over the summer when I decided to start "homeschooling" with Peter I made sure that I had the right perspective and realistic expectations. He is only two years old but his desire to learn is evident. So I did my research and found some preschool curriculums (ages 2-4) that I wanted to try and ordered them. I looked up a lot montessori activities on Pinterest and wrote down a list of supplies that would come in handy. The boys and I took a trip the dollar store and loaded up on a ton of supplies and other random things that we needed. From there I looked at the two curriculums and pulled from them the activities that would work for his age. In the end, each lesson plan consisted of songs, poems, crafts, montessori activities, and counting. I like to say it's Sesame Street in person. Lord knows I can do a great Cookie Monster impression.
I soon realized that if we were going to get a lesson in, that it had to be pretty soon after breakfast. Peter has a "golden hour" for homeschool fun. If we try to do it too close to lunch or after his nap it is usually disastrous. Sometimes it's disastrous anyway but that's ok. Going into this I knew my intentions weren't to push him or help him "get ahead", I mean like I said... he's two. I'm doing this because I love how he lights up when we sing together and when he figures stuff out for the first time. I'm doing it because he is so proud of his crafts/activities and can't wait to show them off when Daddy comes home.
Our lessons take about 30-40 minutes max. Sometimes he's really into one thing more than the others so I let him spend more time on it. Annnnndddd sometimes he could care less about pretty much everything and we whip right through it. I'm not sure how much he's absorbing but you never know right? I'd like to think his subconscious is taking it all in and saving it for later!
These are the curriculums (and the notebook where I combine them) that I'm using. So far, I love them both!
On Monday we introduce the "Letter of the Week". Then everyday after that, we focus on just that letter and do some activities that connect to that letter. A typical lesson will look like this:
~Opening prayer/songs (Catholic Icing).
~Talk about the Letter of the Week (Catholic Icing).
~Find the letter of the week in a pile of other letters.
~Draw letter of the week on the white board.
~Find letter of the week in a small pile of wooden letters.
~A craft/activity or two usually having to do with the letter of the week (26 letters to heaven).
-Practice counting (hopefully with something that starts with LOTW).
~Read our bible verses and poems for the week (26 letters to heaven)
~Closing songs and prayer (Catholic Icing).
~Then through out the day we are reading books and dancing to the Frozen soundtrack.... at least three times a day.
There is a lot of repetition in what we do each day of the week. I think that for this early on in Peter's learning development, consistency is key. Thats why we take a whole week to focus on one letter, not just a day or so. The activities will change from day to day but for the most part, everything (and the order we do it in) stays the same. It's really sweet because he'll come up to me and ask to do homeschool (aka point at our LOTW white board).
Sometimes we just don't get to homeschool on certain days and that's ok. Somedays our "homeschooling" is simply making cookies, or going to the store and counting the produce as we put it into bags, or coloring pictures for family members, or even going outside and blowing bubbles! I don't want Peter to have any negative feelings about doing his lessons. Next year I will use the same books and follow the same pattern but obviously the activities will match his age (3) just as they do now (2).
Being a stay at home mom can be tricky but I truly believe that structure and routine is the key to sanity. With that said...I also believe that understanding that sometimes your routine can become completely wrecked and THAT'S OK.
So far Peter (and James) and I are really enjoying our little lessons. Here are some images from our first couple weeks!
Peter loves this little Montessori activity. He matches the colored balls into the corresponding cup. You could easily recreate this with simpler materials. This activity is from House Mountain Natural.
We did an Angel (Catholic Icing) at the end of "A" week. The wings were supposed to be Peter's handprints but he was NOT a fan of having paint on his hands. It was hilarious. So we just took a sponge brush and used that instead. Peter glued down all the pieces and Mommy drew the creepy face. Obviously art lessons will be with Dad.
While I work with Peter, James listens to all the songs and poems while coloring or playing with his blocks. Now, I'm not trying to make James memorize the periodic table of elements! It's just fun to think that by playing with these blocks, he will be familiar with them and someday he'll have that "Aha!" moment. Maybe.
It usually ends up like this....
When it was the letter "B" Peter spent time stringing big beads onto pipe cleaner.
Friday's lesson is usually a bit more relaxed but Peter always does one very important activity...
Peter arranges flowers in a vase for Mary!
"To Jesus through Mary!"
When Aria gets here our lessons will probably be a little more sporadic but that's ok. As far as homeschooling goes, we have a very exciting adventure ahead of us!