Rookie Homeschooling a first year Preschooler
Three Lessons learned by a rookie homeschool teacher! It took a full school year to figure out what works best for me & my daughter.
Thank God for summer! Little does my daughter know but I have put her on a summer break from planned homeschooling. I need time to regroup and apply the lessons I learned to a more productive and smooth second year preschool. (Of course yesterday she eagerly set everything up then came to me smiling "Let's do a reading circle!". It was nice. I just had to show up and read with no learning objective.)
Lesson #1: Planning
Even with homeschooling, and it only being preschool, I must plan ahead and have the weeks set. This past year I was planning the week/day the couple hours I had to myself before she woke. My printer took the brunt of my angst for my poor time-management. Lack of planning on my part does not constitute an emergency on yours, I'm sorry Epson CX9400.
The month of June is my planning month. Since this will be her 2nd year as a preschooler I will be reusing much of what we did last year saving me TONS of time. She turns four June 17th so a main planning tool I am using is Active Learning for Fours. I used the version for Threes, more as a last minute reference. This time it's a manual!
Lesson #2: Winging it
Even with the best plans, it's OK to wing-it when necessary. This was a big lesson for me. My Type-A, slightly OCD side wanted to stick to whatever last minute plans I made. Near the end of the year I learned it's OK to throw the day's plan out the window and do something else. I can incorporate the learning objective on the fly. Example: chucking the day's plan, jumping in the car and go to the mall. While walking and during our intense conversations asking pertinent questions like "What letter does that store's name start with?" "Which color bracelet do you like?" "Let's count the steps to the next store." etc. all were opportunities to reinforce what she already learned and teach new stuff as needed.
Lesson #3: Relax, she still has 18+ years of schooling to learn everything!
All parents want their children to accelerate at learning. When I was feeling flustered B wasn't learning as quickly as I, her MBA mother thought she should, a close friend and fellow homeschool mom would remind me "Kim, she's ONLY 3!" Then I'd look at B and let it sink in that less than a year ago she was still in diapers! Reading the encyclopedia is not necessary right now; learning to wipe her butt is!
Though I've taken the summer off from active homeschooling, B has a very filled one! She will be attending a preschool-like program through the park district one day a week. My goal is for her to learn more discipline and group behavior with other kids. She is also registered for swim lessons and dance. This girl will be busy starting Monday!
If you are thinking of homeschooling and it seems overwhelming or that you are not capable, learn from me. One, yes you can teach your children. Two, the best plans are organic and ever evolving. Leave the static plans to the schools!
Foreign Language Learning
We took a break from Italian School for the summer so it is on my & my in-laws shoulders to keep her moving forward in her bilingual education these next few months. Mondays will still be Italian Day and I have the curriculum book from last year to use. Also there are many ways to immerse foreign language throughout the day, even if the parent does not speak it! Stay tuned for my next CEO Series post "Language Immersion The Mom Standard Style".