Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Considering Preschool...Homeschool? {PART TWO}

In my last post, I explained why I'm considering preschool at home. In this post, I'll explain how we are doing just that!

Taking up where we left off...

I knew I wanted to try the whole homeschool idea out. But where to start? I wasn't sure if I really had what it takes to be a homeschooling mom to a preschooler. I know traditional preschool can range anywhere from one day a week to full five-day weeks, but would the days I spend at home outside of work be enough to fulfill her educational needs? I felt like I could use an entire library of resources...

So I started my search online. I looked for blogs, articles, stories, cautionary tales; anything that could get me started in the right direction. I learned that there's a difference between homeschooling and unschooling, but both provide a similar at-home educational nourishment. I learned that some families follow a structured plan while others are more free-flowing. I learned that there are many great free resources for educational packets and printables online. But most importantly, I learned one thing was universal: there is NO one-method-fits-all when it comes to homeschooling your child.

Children learn in many different ways, and some thrive where others do not. Some children learn better with a structured schedule; others need more freedom and less pressure. Many homeschooling mothers cautioned against being too rigid, and just go with the flow when things seem a little chaotic.

The more I read about preschooling at home, the less overwhelmed I became. I realized there were such simple yet fun ways to incorporate learning at home. Many moms suggested to think of preschooling at home more of an all-day learning adventure, turning everyday activities into learning opportunities. This made me feel like my non-work days were ample enough for teaching at home.

It turns out there are so many resources out there! So many helpful tips and cool projects! A simple google search churns out numerous blogs and websites, and Pinterest has awesome links too. I was confident to make a start. But I really didn't want to start alone...

On a whim, I asked my friend Robin if she was sending her 4.5 year old daughter, Mila, to preschool this year. Turns out she wasn't 100% convinced to do so, for her own reasons. I asked if she would be interested in getting our girls together once a week on Thursdays for a home 'preschool' day. She was in!

So far, it's been a lot of fun! We've only been at this about a month, so we don't have a very solid structure (which may be good!). But our main plan is to start with free library story time for the preschool age group, followed by a learning activity and related craft back at one of our houses, and ending with physical activity like open-play at the gymnastics academy. The timeframe is approximately 10:30am-3pm.

Our girls seem to have a lot of fun! When we have the time to follow all of our basic plan, they get a thorough combination of listening, reading, learning, playing, exercise, skill building, and social activity! Whenever we learn something new and November later repeats back to me what she had learned, my confidence grows and grows. I totally can do this!

I still feel like I have a lot more to learn and a lot more research to do over the next few months to decide how to proceed as her learning needs become greater, and how to actively meet those needs, and decide if I want to continue homeschooling into kindergarten and grade school.

I definitely want November to grow into the little person she wants to be, and I want to tailor her education to her personality and needs. I intend to give her the option to go to public school, if and when she personally desires to. And, if the time comes when homeschooling no longer fits in with our life for whatever reason, I want to reserve the right to be free of any shame for changing my mind!

In the meantime, I'm trying to plan ahead for our preschool days and come up with some great activities, I've got a book from the library about unschooling which I'm excited to begin reading, and I've got a list of numerous other books to check out too. I'll keep you updated and look forward to sharing some of our projects!

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