Homeschooling Moms

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Hello Homeschooling Mamas! I need direction!
September 2, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Hi! I just started homeschooling my son early august. He just made 4 on mid August. I started with this Preschool workbook I saw at walmart. And my mother in law came in town for his birthday, and we went to our local teacher's supply store, and I got a calendar, a chart with 1 through 100, and a north american map. Also a mini-banner of the alphabet and 0-10. This is all hung up in his room. So far he really enjoys doing schoolwork. I got these manipulatives and he is working on his patterns so far. Also, I noticed he has poor areas like number (doesn't know 7-20) recognition, but better on letter recognition. I don't have a concrete lesson plan. I feel incredibly disorganized even though mentally I am taking notes on things. 

I don't just feel disorganized, I feel like I should be devoting more time to it. I inched his homeschooling into my daughter's nap. She is 15 months. But once she wakes up, the schooling is either resumed later with some nickjr. educational games, or some discontinued until 24 hours later. She rarely naps over 2 hours. 

I think all of this chaos in my head about it is because our "office" isn't organized in the house. And I just feel like I need guidance. So I am wondering, for prek level, how much time do you usually devote to homeschooling? Including bookwork, and online activities, and hands on crafts and such? We came to the conclusion that we were homeschooling in late july. and by that time, my son was already enrolled in school. We are homeschooling out of necessity, but I have always wanted to do it, so I just want to make sure I am giving him the best homeschool experience I can. I think because of my daughter acting her age and into everything, its very distracting homeschooling my son with her getting jealous and such. We also read every night, but I don't think that counts on the homeschooling wheel. 

I also wanted to know if there were any affordable secular curriculums out there. It would be so much easier if it was all spelled out for me. What did you all do your prek year homeschooling? Thanks for reading, and sorry for the length! 


  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:02 AM
    thanks! I know every little bit counts but its fun for me too, so I was wondering!

    Quoting Maridel:

    And reading time definitely counts as school. Almost every preschool I've ever worked at had a scheduled reading time.

  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:03 AM
    thanks for the suggestion! we live 5 minutes away from our local library. I will look for that next storytime we attend.

    Quoting ablackdolphin:

    Check out preschool prep DVDs from you library.  We are using right start math for dd she is four in sept she loves it.  I also have a son 19 mo so we too try to do stuff while he is sleeping.  We rent read along books with cds from the library too and lots of I can read books.

  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:06 AM
    I have to do something with him. he needs to be engaged. when we skip lessons or activities for a few days, I pay for it. he misbehaves and doesnt use his listening skills. most days its just me and the kids at home, and going in the backyard to play is not enough for him.

    Quoting Leissaintexas:

     I personally wouldn't be doing preschool, my educational philosophy is that it's unnecessary to do formal lessons till much later. But if I were going to do it, for his age, I wouldn't be doing school any longer than about 45 min to an hour. At htis age, school should be more play, less seat work. I'm sorry I'm not much help on secular programs, I've only ever used Christian.

  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:10 AM
    thanks for the suggestions! I really do need to get organized because its all in a large box. the paint, the workbooks, the manipulatives. he enjous doing the worksheets so much, I really ended up putting games on the shelf. thanks for reminding me what a valuable tool they can be.

    Quoting marrionsmommy:

    2 hrs is plenty enough time to do a full prek curriculum. My first grader does 2 hrs sit down and 30 mins to an hour independant work. I prep everything on sunday or at least the night before so that I have everything we need down to extra pencils and crayons. You might want to look into workboxes they definitly worked for me for prek for my son and made me get in all my concepts easily. Also it made me realize how much of a time waster little things like looking for worksherts or gathering materials was. With the workboxes I didnt worry about it any more so I was able to complete the same or more work that I was doing before in half the time.

    As far as number recognition and all that the best way to get these concepts is games games and more games. My sons favorite things at this age where stacker cups, and varied manipulatives. Mini erasers from the dollar store where the biggest hit. I lined up the stacker cups and had him write the numbers 10-20 on a post it and stick it to the cup. Then he would have to try to throw that many items in the cups. You could easily do that with regular cups too. We played hopscotch with those numbers, sang silly songs etc. At this age games are the best for learning.

    I would also make up learning games, and put them in zip lock bags, that way if yr daughters nap ends early or u have a phone call, its easy to grab one and he can continue to learn. Puzzles are also overlooked at this age but are important skills so use those in yr learning. Also erica over at has a 4 yr old and she posts her activities so u can get an idea of things to do. She also has a full prek curriculum that is hands on and printable for dirt cheap. I used it when my son was 4 and he loved it.

    Good luck and remember have fun

  • baileyquarters
    September 3, 2013 at 12:12 AM
    Preschool is a little early for school. A little bit of workbook, numbers, letters, crafts, is good, but don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Preschool is still day care. If you're interested in a good program I would recommend It's fantastic. Watch a demo. I signed up and I still didn't realize how good it wa a until I used it.
  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:12 AM
    thanks so much for the list. it really simplifies things. I will check those out. and that is a budget my husband can appreciate!

    Quoting AutymsMommy:

    Keep in mind that the walmart work books were never intended to be completely comprehensive (no matter what they ADVERTISE) - which is probably why you're feeling a bit disorganized.

    For pre-k you could go in at well under $100 (secularly):

    What Preschooler Needs to Know ($15) <----- this as your base

    Picture Book Activities (used on Amazon for around $5)

    Phonics Pathways (get last years' edition at about $10 on Amazon)

    Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD set ($15 at Costco)

    Singapore Essentials A and B ($20)

    Art supplies! ($30)

    We spend around 3 hours daily on my 4 year old's work. I create our own lesson plans, and I use an eclectic mix of curricula (not necessarily all of what I listed above, because we're Catholic and our curriuclum reflects that; I only listed secular resources for you).

  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:13 AM
    thanks for the resource! I will check that out!

    Quoting romacox:

    How To Home School The PreK student has grade level requirements.  Young children especially  learn best with play  (Whole Brain Teaching which strengthens the health of the brain))

  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:15 AM
    oh yea he definitely needs structure. what we r doing now isnt stimulating him enough. I see him get bored multiple times throughout the day.

    Quoting AutymsMommy:

    Some children thrive with structured formal lessons :)

    It sounds like the OP's son is one of them (she stated that he enjoys his lessons).

    Quoting Leissaintexas:

     I personally wouldn't be doing preschool, my educational philosophy is that it's unnecessary to do formal lessons till much later. But if I were going to do it, for his age, I wouldn't be doing school any longer than about 45 min to an hour. At htis age, school should be more play, less seat work. I'm sorry I'm not much help on secular programs, I've only ever used Christian.

  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:22 AM
    yes organization is an issue. our guest room and office are unevenly distributed with random things that need to be sold or moved, and of course a large box full of his school supplies and workbooks. thanks for the resources. I see one of them is free. thats definitely up our alley. I see you listed timberdoodle. I was on their site and I liked what I saw. it sounds so much simpler to purchase curricula instead of creating your own.

    Quoting oredeb:

     hi cleigh!

    ok first off get your office organized!!!  then begin!!!

    time on prek, only about an hour to 2 hours a day is all i have ever spent,  maybe going over shapes, colors, learning songs, poems, reading to child, doing some pasting and cutting crafts, making cookies(baking), dancing, playing, chasing or digging up bugs in the garden,counting rocks, candy, signs, bugs, marbles, toes and fingers, etc, take nature walks, pointing out bugs birds etc, even drawing them on a notepad and looking them up on the internet,  painting on large paper, games, starting kids on chores, having lots of fun learning, you can disguise the learning as fun!! lots of hands on learning

    my kids werent ready for phonics till 5-8 years old, so we just did the above stuff till they were ready.

    a secular curr. for prek, hmmmmm looked up a couple places that might help

    not sure how secular this one is

  • cleigh717
    September 3, 2013 at 12:28 AM
    I think I really needed to read that. you are always learning new things with your first child. we just stopped playing engagingly recently. I have to add that back in. I think I get caught up too much in the "school" aspects. I really could just be overthinking things. its not like there will be a test or anything. learning is an ongoing process. and it should be fun right now. thanks for the advice.

    Quoting KrissyKC:

    I admit, each kid is different.

    I lean toward play based and not really doing formal stuff, but having formal stuff available for when we wanted to informally sit down and be formal...   LOL!!!

    We've learned over the years that trying to imitate "school" can be successful, as long as we aren't always trying to be a school.    

    You said he just turned 4?   Don't judge your or his ability to "do" school as your basis for whether or not you homeschool.  (I'm taking a stab in the dark)...

    He may not even be ready to do much on a regular basis until he's 5, 6, or even 7...

    Take this year to play to learn, have some stuff available, and completely enjoy it.   There really doesn't need organization this year, and you don't HAVE to sit down for any set time at just turned 4 yrs old.

    My suggestion is to do things for BOTH of them that help their motor control (both fine and gross).   Experience lots of things with them.   Show them how fun it is to read and enjoy books.   Demonstrate learning yourself by finding out new things to share with them.   

    As I learned with my first, she might start out really gung ho and do lots of school, but then it was old news and she lagged behind.

    Don't expect him to have to recognize numbers 7-20 at four.   Really, I think the old number or letter of the week is perfect.  There are a TON of play based games you can get for the letter of week and number of week type stuff.   

    Read like crazy, let him play educational video games and TV (moderation, of course), take them places and just make learning about their world the focus.  

    In other words, give your preschooler permission to BE a preschooler.


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