Homeschooling Preschool Article

I enjoyed this article about preschool. I do find it odd that so many parents feel the need to send their kids to preschool. Not that they want to send their kids to preschool for some reason, I can understand wanting to give your toddler more time with other kids and totally understand Mommy wanting a break from all toddler all the time. What I don’t understand is that some parents feel that they need to send their child to preschool, as if their toddler will be ruined if they miss this opportunity. It makes me feel sad that so many parents feel that they aren’t capable of providing the education, especially preschool education, that their children need. (The parents that don’t want to homeschool is a completely different subject.) At this age most of what a child needs to do is PLAY, and be read to, and talked to.

Not that I don’t have doubts about myself as a teacher (especially when MBS is insisting that everything is green!), I think that it is  completely normal to question your abilities, but I truly believe at the preschool age most of what your child needs is your time and attention. And possibly your being tough and saying no to the question of  “watch Toy Story?” and your letting go of the thought of the huge mess and saying yes to the request to paint.

So today we’ve turned the tv off (after one episode of Thomas) and we’ve got the paint out. MBS is having fun painting (and splashing the water everywhere!) and calling every color green.

Painting in pajamas.
Switched from using the brush to his fingers. So much fun!

Why homeschool preschool? Cause I don’t want to miss one bit of this adventure!

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Tot SchoolMister Blue Sky is 28 months old.

We have a new addition to our family. 8 week old Worf. He is a rottie-mastiff-English shepherd mix (aka mutt) and we’re expecting that he will be a giant compared to our other dogs, Poppy Seed and McCoy.

Worf and his very big paws!

Most of our learning right now is focused on how to play nicely with a puppy. MBS and Worf love each other but right now they are not good playmates, as they both play much too roughly. We’re working on it. For the most part Worf is getting along well with his canine siblings, they both enjoy and find him annoying– just like any little sibling.

We’ve been reading books featuring puppies. So far MBS’s favorite is

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill. This is a very simple book about a mother dog looking for her pup. MBS loves lifting the flaps.

Happy Birthday, Biscuit! by Alyssa Satin Capucilli & illustrated by Pat Schories features Biscuit the dog celebrating his birthday. It has cute pictures and the text is nice for a beginning reader.

A Little Puppy by Jane Feder & illustrated by Amy Schwartz is a very short and simple board book. Perfect for my little toddler, he loved seeing the cars in several of the pictures.

Love is You & Me by Monica Sheehan is a book about love showing a dog and a mouse. I think older kids might enjoy this but MBS was not interested at all, the only part of the book he liked was when they were in a car.

Dog Biscuit by Helen Cooper is a wonderful story about a little girl who eats a dog biscuit and then believes she is turning into a dog. It was a little long for MBS but I just loved this and I’m sure he will too when he’s a little older.

The Best Thing About a Puppy by Judy Hindley & illustrated by Patricia Casey is the perfect puppy book, listing all the wonderful things about a puppy and all the not so wonderful things too. The puppy in this book is so cute! We’ll definitely be reading this again.

Other tot activities have mostly been car and train related. Inside the house MBS really likes lining up all his vehicles in a row. Outside he likes to cover the cars in dirt and then wash them in his pail. On our few sunny days that is how he has spent his time– digging in the dirt with his cars while the dog pack races and wrestles around him.

Linking up with Tot School and the Picture Book Challenge. Please visit them to see what other tot’s are doing and reading. Thanks for stopping by.


Our Sand Pail List

I’ve seen several other blogs with a summer bucket list. I really like the idea of a summer goals list but I cannot be the only person who finds calling it a bucket list (as in “to do before I kick the bucket”) just creepy. So instead we have an empty sand pail and we are going to fill it up with fun things this summer.

Our sand pail list in no particular order:

  • Go to the beach and play in the sand.
  • Go to a playground and slide and swing.
  • Take a walk along the river (Pioneer Park).
  • Get a potty chair. I am so ready to say bye bye to diapers, hope MBS is too!
  • Try scissors, first with play dough.
  • Go to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium to see the meerkats.
  • Go for a hike in the forest.
  • See a waterfall.
  • Play in pool.
  • Visit Grandma and Grandpa in eastern WA.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Run under the sprinklers.
  • Squirt bottle painting.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Ride train. (this or this or maybe just Amtrak down to Salem to visit Nana).
  • Help wash car.
  • Go out for ice cream cone.
  • See a movie in the theater for a dollar! Despicable Me is showing on my birthday.
  • See the dinosaurs (and lots of animals) at Woodland Park Zoo.

Hopefully we’ll get to most of these. What are your fun plans for the summer?

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum

A little while ago on one of my email lists someone new to homeschooling was asking for advice about curriculum. I responded and part of my response was to recommend 2 different books that I  remembered liking. I even went to Amazon to read the description to make sure that I remembered the books right and then decided I should reread them so I put them on hold at our library. The first book was 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy.

What I remembered liking about this book was the very first section where she talks you through establishing your “philosophy of education”, what you want your children to learn, and how you want your homeschool to work. She also has a great section on different approaches to education (examples: children working as independently as possible, highly structured resources that tell the parent what to say and exactly what the children should be doing) and then once you answer all these questions about your approaches you can add up the scores and see what styles would fit you best: Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, Unschooling, Classical, etc…

The next section is about figuring out your children’s learning styles and your teaching styles. After you figure out the learning styles she then rates the different curriculum based on how it works for different styles.

The rest of the book is reviews of her top picks for each subject area. So now my review.

What I did not remember was that this was a very Christian resource, that in itself doesn’t rule out books for me but, hmm, how can I say this. This book seems very in your face about it and it’s not just religion but political leaning (right) so it makes her recommendations (especially for science and history) worthless for me. I also feel that if you really want to get to know your children’s learning styles that reading a more in depth book instead of the short summaries in this one would be much more useful. That said I still say this book is worth reading just for the first section alone but if anyone knows of other books that help you figure out your educational philosophy and plan out your long term goals I’d really like to know the title (please!).

Art for Rabbits

Last weekend (before our chicken massacre) we went to the feed store for supplies and as we walked in I saw the rabbits and asked if MBS had already done his Mother’s Day shopping? He hadn’t so I asked if instead of the dehydrator I had asked for if we could get rabbits? Ryan and MBS were agreeable to that so we severely overloaded our VW Bug with not only all our chicken food and bedding but also a large bag of rabbit pellets and a bale of alfalfa– oh, and 3 rabbits. Until we get a hutch built outside they are living in a dog crate (now wrapped in chicken wire– they fit through the bars!) in our living room. While messy, that is actually good because it is giving us a better chance to get to know them and make them more tame. They are amazingly tolerant of MBS’s enthusiasm.

Drawing a picture for the bunnies.
Showing them the picture he drew.
Watching rabbits is exhausting (we didn't take them out the first day).
Sadly this is the best photo of the bunnies I have so far.

Toddlers and Death

We had a chicken massacre on our little farm this week, the neighbors dogs dug under the fence and killed 5 of our 7 chickens. Mister Blue Sky was with me as we searched for chickens and saw one of the corpses. He really cares for our chickens, wants to feed them and pet them, but he didn’t even seem to care about the dead chicken. It was like he didn’t see the body as one of the chickens. He didn’t try to pet it or ask why it wasn’t moving, nothing. Okay, not totally nothing— he thought all the feathers on the ground were neat and wanted to collect them all.

He’ll be 28 months on Sunday, is this a normal reaction at this age? He did catch on that I was upset (crying hysterically while talking on the phone with my dh) but he just didn’t seem to understand why. I thought about putting some picture books that deal with death on hold at the library but if he truly doesn’t get it at this age maybe that’s for the best and I shouldn’t dwell on it with him.

Mister Blue Sky and some of our chickens.