So, I have been scribbling lists of goals and learning ideas for months now, bookmarking favorite curricula or printables, and subscribing to other homeschooling mamas' blogs. But, today I did what I do best: shopped. (Side note: if you have an Office Max near you, go get some paper and notebooks! At least at our store, packs of lined paper cost 1 cent, full sized notebooks are 5 cents, and composition books are 50 cents!).
I am ridiculously excited about this set of drawers that I just ordered and am hoping to use to house our daily activities this fall. Isn't it beautiful? I also bought a refill for my label maker, and I'm ready to go to town with the planning and labeling! The trouble is, I still have to make up my mind about how to focus everything I want to do. Although I have always enjoyed following along and occasionally sampling preschooler alphabet book crafts, I don't think this is the way I should go with the Bibliophile.
He already knows his letters and phonic sounds, so the letters would really just be a way to theme his activities (and have some crafty fun). I do plan to do some of that. We are super excited to be starting an informal homeschooling playdate with some like-minded friends this fall, when we'll probably do a letter-themed craft per week. But, I'd also like a way to organize other types of learning that aren't letter-focused. A lot of the great kindergarten curricula I have found use a literature-based approach (hello, kids books to teach?! we're there!). I love this idea (of course), but in a way I don't want to "waste" it until he is fully ready. We could obviously start an approach like this now, but I think I'd have to write it myself to really match his current abilities - otherwise, some of the kindergarten level things will be perfect for him and others will be over his head.
So, I am still in a brainstorming phase. He is still so young that I figure this first year will really just be a time to get our feet wet. My biggest goal is to avoid extinguishing his natural love of learning. I'm boldfacing that to keep reminding myself! My primary motivation in using an organized system is not to teach him structured learning, time management, or anything like that (afterall, he is only 2, soon to be 3) or even really to increase the amount that he is currently learning (he's exceeded my expectations up until now, and seems to learn best through games and fun activities). I would just like to have a place to put ideas as I find them, rather than filing them on a mental "someday when I have time" shelf. And I think the structure might help us to KEEP learning as a new baby is thrown into the mix.
So, back to the file system. The cart will have 10 drawers, which he will have unfettered access to, and I have a few ideas of what I'd like in them. I'm still debating whether to fill them weekly, daily, or on an as-wanted basis (leave them full and just replace as he does a particular activity). I'm leaning toward the last of these options.
I'd like the categories to be broad enough to give me flexibility as to what I put into each box, but also still be engaging/appealing to him. I have been trying to think outside the box (no pun intended), and to use categories that I know will specifically interest my child, rather than that necessarily make sense to everyone else. Afterall, that is the beauty of homeschooling, right?
Here are the category ideas I am toying with:
- Fun with Numbers [Math, Measuring, etc.]
- Physical/Active Play
- Places [Geography]
- Animals [I guess I could cut this, but it seems like he'd enjoy it]
- Games [I could just make game activities appear occasionally in his other drawers. But we like to invent games. Not daily though. So this would likely be more of a once/week thing.]
- Reading and Stories [Some days I'll include a story journal for us to write in, other times just books for him to read me; also want to work on comprehension more, maybe some sequencing]
- Word Play [Word Searches, Unscrambles, etc.] - arguably not necessary, but he loves games/puzzle type learning, as I always did.
- Art Fun
- How Things Work [Science could go here?]
- Food Box [Recipes, New Foods to Try, learn about his allergies]
- Surprise Box [Treats, Activities that don't fit]
Please Comment! "Been there, done that" moms -- do you think these categories will work? Am I missing anything important? How do you organize your learning? How did you get started? What has or hasn't worked for you? Any other advice for us?
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