Pre-K Homeschool Plans & Priorities | 2017-2018 School Year

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This year with my youngest is kind of a kindergarten year, but next year probably will be, too. So I guess that makes it Pre-K. She’ll be 5 in November, and she wants to learn how to read and do “real math.”

So, dragging my feet a little, I’ll be incorporating the fifth child into our homeschool routines with her own little 15-20 minute lesson time 3 days a week.

Pre-K Homeschool Priorities

My rule of thumb for starting young kids out with school work has been that they don’t have to do school until they’re 7. Before that, they do school when they want to. If they don’t want to, they can look at books, play outside, play with toys, draw – whatever wholesome activity they do want to do. But lesson time is never mandatory before 7 with the exception of joining the family for Morning Time.

If they are going to do school, they do have to do it well – and if they aren’t in the mood, I’m not going to force the issue.

Often, they do want to do their minimal school – especially those with older siblings. They want to be big, and school is what big kids do.

An eager learner is receptive while a resistant learner is not.

When my first and second kids were kindergarten age, I was worried that only doing lessons when they wanted was letting them be in charge. I was afraid it’d be a bad precedent, a bad habit that we’d then have to break. But, a summer break, even a short one, allows for new rules to be set – and the fresh start of a school year with its own excitement helps the children see it as the next step in getting bigger and growing up.

In other words, not forcing lessons when they’re young has not created bad habits, but it has helped us avoid learning the habit of fighting over lessons before real lessons have even begun (they learn it well enough when they’re 9 and again when they’re 11 anyway).

Instead, it helps us keep up the atmosphere of learning being a fun privilege – one you can’t have if you’re grumpy or stubborn. Fussy children get naps, not reading lessons.

Pre-K Homeschool Plans

So my plans for Geneva, soon-to-be-5, are quite simple:

  • Participate in Morning Time, including memorizing one poem per term (she did this last year, too)
  • Memorize Catechism for Young Children Q&A 1-45, practicing one-on-one during couch lessons.
  • Practice phonics with TATRAS and alphabet books, possibly moving to BOB books if/when she’s able to blend sounds.
  • Learn to write the alphabet and her numbers, starting at the top.
  • Have lots of stories and poems read to her, including by siblings & audio book.

P.S. My favorite phonics program (TATRAS) is out of print, but if you want something similar and even more easy-to-use, check out Teaching Reading with BOB Books.

How much time do you spend teaching reading?

So three times a week I’ll sit with her on the couch and we’ll read a page or two of poems or nursery rhymes, practice the catechism, and practice phonics.

She’ll have a number practice and letter practice page in a laminate holder on her clipboard which she can practice when the other kids do their math or whenever she feels the need to “do school.”

Ilse will have “read Geneva a picture book” on her checklist four times a week and Knox will have “read a chapter from Vos Story Bible” on his checklist three times a week.

What’s in the Pre-K Bin

  • Clipboard with catechism Q&As & copies of the first & second TATRAS phonics charts.
  • Alphabet book (Usborne, out of print)
  • Poetry book (rotate each term)
  • Vos Story Bible

I also bought Math-U-See Primer for her, but my plan is that she won’t start that until January. Until then, she’ll practice writing her numbers with Pam Barnhill’s free number sheets and tracing pages I make with StartWrite. She also has tracing pages with the alphabet, her name, and her siblings’ names made with StartWrite (we do the Italic hand).

And that’s it, that’s Pre-K Planning – took me longer to write this post than make the plan. :)

Need to Know How to Make Your Own Plan?

Making a homeschool plan can be fun, but how do you know whether or not it will work in your home with your kids? How do you know whether or not you’ve make a workable plan or an idealistic plan that’s bound to crumble in the day-to-day?

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Plan a homeschool year you can accomplish sanely.

Read more about pre-K at our house:

10 Responses

  1. Anne
    | Reply

    I’m with you. Learning is a privilege at our house. Fussy kids do not get to do school.

    So far, doing school has remained a privilege at our house far into the schooling years.

  2. dawn
    | Reply

    No! She’s still a baby!! Right? Feeling old.

  3. Laura
    | Reply

    I searched and found TATRAS available here: http://www.verticalphonics.com/ I’m glad you mentioned it. My four year old has been asking me to teach her to read as well.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Yes, that is the program, but the website has not been updated in 6 years and I’ve sent emails to the address and not received replies and been told by others that they tried ordering it and the phone wasn’t answered and nothing ever shipped. Exodus Books used to keep it in stock, but never has it now, either.

  4. Hilary
    | Reply

    We love these first catechism songs, my kids request them in the car! Very well done and easy to memorize. http://www.askmewhooo.com/home.html

    We also use these songs for memorizing WSC, I love songs for memory work :)
    https://www.amazon.com/Westminster-Shorter-Catechism-Songs-Vol/dp/B00320J86C

  5. Lynn Bolin
    | Reply

    My first is 6, going to be 7 in September & I haven’t been good at making school a privilege. She struggles with both reading & math and gives up easily when it gets tough. It’s hard to know when to push & make her do it or just let it pass. Your thoughts make sense to me but I’m not sure it’d work if I only ever waited for her to want to do it. But I guess she’s close to 7 as well. Any other tips for making school a privilege? She doesn’t have older siblings to look up to. Her 4 yr old brother is probably more motivated to learn (because it comes easier to him). Thanks!

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      That is harder than when they’re motivated and eager. One of mine was still in phonics at 7, but we only spent 5-10 minutes a day in reading practice and then one math page at her pace (not her at the math book’s pace). Since your daughter will be 7 in September, I’d just tell her you’re going to do it for x (small) amount every day before she x (something she likes to do). Just practice and don’t worry about “keeping up.” Things click at different points with different kids, but mom’s stress can contribute to mental or attitude shut-down. So make it regular, cheerful, and short and just keep plugging away, knowing it’ll come when she’s ready.

  6. Serene
    | Reply

    “If they are going to do school, they do have to do it well – and if they aren’t in the mood, I’m not going to force the issue…An eager learner is receptive while a resistant learner is not.”

    So, so true! And that’s what I tell the new and eager bunny homeschool moms!

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