Monday, August 30, 2010

And it begins...

Rachel here. So today began our official first day of Home Preschool. We decided I would homeschool Reese for Preschool after applying for a Preschool here in town. Our conclusion... why spend hundreds of dollars per month on something I could EASILY do with her myself? HA! Leading up to this point I had high expectations. My goals for this "year" were to learn to use the calendar, understand weather, learn to recognize the alphabet, write her alphabet, recognize/spell/write her name, recognize/understand digit to object/write numbers up to 30, all shapes and colors, and introduce her to nursery rhymes. I immediately became overwhelmed. I have my Master's degree in Early Childhood Education, and I was overwhelmed. I can teach 3rd grade with my eyes closed and my arms tied behind my back. Preschool... different story. I'm in charge of all the core knowledge... that's a lot of work, understanding, and stress. I was soon under serious freak out mode. Bryan told me I should talk to one of his coworkers whose wife homeschools ALL of their children. I got the opportunity to talk with her last week, and the best advice she gave me was to love Reese. Love and support Reese so much that she felt safe learning with me. She pointed me in the direction of the Montessori theory, some great articles/literature, and resources. The idea behind Montessori is to teach the child to do it themselves. Everything is hands-on. While it covers the arts, language, math, geography, science, music and movement, it also covers sensory learning and practical life skills. This coupled with other resources I found online like the ABC Home Preschool Curriculum, I hope to create something that Reese will love to do, and something I'll love watching her do.
Right now Reese is big on puzzles. She started with her simple Melissa and Doug color puzzle. She mastered it in just a few days and has moved onto her alphabet, shapes, and numbers puzzles. This is definitely a basket that will always be one of Reese's favorites. Basically anything that Melissa and Doug create is gold in this house.

The following ideas are ones that I got from this amazing blog I stumbled upon. As I'm still figuring this all out, I believe this activity falls under the sensory learning topic. The idea is to lay out the color cards and match the objects to the color cards.

Reese dug it for about 3 seconds. She got the gist, showed me should understood, and then decided she was done. :) This activity along with all the following ones will go out again tomorrow along with a few new ones.
This next one falls under the practical life portion of Montessori. It teaches them to do everyday things. The way this activity works is Reese takes the spoon and transfers the rice from one bowl to the other. Sounds boring, but she LOVED it and played with it ALL day.

She even had a blast sweeping the rice up that she spilled all over the floor. :)
All these nuts/bolts are different sizes and shapes. The goal is to match the correct nut with it's bolt.
Reese got 3/5 of them done before she was "done." :)
We went outside a handful of times (If you say the word outside in front of Emma Grace, she gets this goofy grin on her face, she runs to the back door, and beats on the glass. PRECIOUS.), had plenty of time for play doh, and even watching our "shows" on PBS.
We headed over to the library early this morning, where Reese tried out the computer for the first time. She just kind of goofed off, so we tried it again once we got home. Here is where I learned we need to purchase a one button mouse ASAP. She'll love the games and activities that I've found on NickJr.com... but first the perfect mouse must be found. :)
She'll continue to work on some of these skills and others, while I continue to research and learn how to implement some of the language activities and Montessori materials. This is such a great adventure, and I can't wait to continue down this long road with my girl. There is nothing more rewarding than teaching my children. :)

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