Thursday, May 5, 2011

An Introduction

For several weeks now Princess A and I have been "playing" school.  Poor girl watches Little man J and Happy Girl H leave every morning and go to school and she wants to go so bad so I decided to put some of my college education as a Pre-K-6 educator to work.  (disclaimer:  princess A's surprise arrival led to a degree postponed so that I could be home with her.  One of my core beliefs is that family is my priority second only to God) 

For about an hour 2-3 days a week we have "school".  Now I am a frugal educator, so there are no expensive props in my house.  For the most part we use what we have or what we can find on the internet or the Dollar Tree.  We do one letter every couple of weeks with lots of review.  That being said, I don't ever push her.  I want it to be fun and when it isn't fun for her we stop.  After all, she is only 2 and school should not be a chore at 2.

So, today I just wanted to give you a few of my pointers
*Establish a School supplies area
          I bought one of those plastic 3 drawer shelves to store ours in.  It sits in the dining room where we have school.  Makes it a lot easier to gather what I need for that days activities.  In it I keep crayons/markers, water color paints, dry lima beans, cotton balls, homemade playdough, scissors, and so much more.  Princess A is not allowed in this unless we are having school.  This helps to establish boundaries (which will be vital when she does start school) and makes these items "special" which lends excitement to the activities.
*use as many free resources as possible
         Preschoolers aren't always know for their attention span or their neatness.  For the most part, if I can get it for free, I do.  It makes no sense to me to go out and purchase a CD of activity songs when I can find tons of them on youtube with a video to boot!  With the abundance of free conversion software, if Princess A grows especially fond of a song I can convert it and save it to an mp3 player or cd.  You can also borrow CD's from your local library.  Same idea for books.  The local librarian and I are on a first name basis.  This is great because Princess A now has a HUGE variety of books available to her and the librarian even keeps an eye out for books that might interest her and sets them aside for me.  I don't know about all libraries, but with my card I can long on to the library website, search out books, put a hold on them and the librarian then pulls them and has them waiting for me to pick up on my next visit.  I can even order books from other libraries in the county and have them waiting for me at my local library!  Even better, I don't have to store them all.  Again, if we come across one we really enjoy we purchase it for her library.  There are also a lot of free books you can read together online as well.  Also, use what nature provides.  If it is fall, use acorns as a counting manipulative, or dandelions in the summer.  You can even make water color paints from flowers, grass, onions etc.  Not to mention the outdoors is great for science learning.  Go on an insect hunt, gather seeds and compare, mix colors using spray bottles and the snow outside.

*Don't overlook your Dollar Tree store
          These stores have really begun to cater to homeschoolers and teachers.  I stop in every few weeks to see if there is anything new I can use.  Flash cards for a buck, alphabet/colors/shapes window clings, even writing papers, stickers, foam shapes etc.  I have a window in my dining room that has become Princess A's school window.  You can tell what letter we are on by looking at the window because it is covered in alphabet window clings up to that letter.  We use it every time we have school to review. 

I will add to this as more comes to me.  It is my intention to post 26 lesson starters (1 for each letter).  I call them starters becuase I am not planning to give plans, just resources and a general idea.  What works for Princess A may not work for your little prince or princess. 
Until next time,

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