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.
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. :)
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