By Janny Jackson
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Have you read my blog post Homeschooling For Toddlers? My son was three at the time and asking me every day to do “school” with him because he saw me doing school with his older siblings. I created a busy book for him using mostly free printables found online. He loved it! I wasn’t too jazzed about doing “school” with him, as I was already busy with my older kids, but I made it a fun, hands-on way for him to learn.
That being said, I don’t think it’s any surprise that I would continue on with a fun, hands-on approach to doing preschool with him. I purchased the Playing Preschool bundle during the pandemic for my middle child, and I am so thrilled that, years later, I can use it again with my youngest. This time, however, I am schooling two additional children full time, which means I HAVE to be prepared ahead of time for everything that this curriculum requires.
I found these scrapbook boxes at Michaels and they are the exact storage solution I needed to prepare for Playing Preschool lessons. They fit perfectly on my DIY closet shelves also! Playing Preschool is not an open and go curriculum. Because it is very hands-on it requires quite a bit of preparation that includes collecting a variety of materials and books, though if you are a parent of a toddler you most likely will have the majority of the materials on hand. There is also some leniency, as far as the book list and materials needed goes, and you do not have to follow each lesson exactly as it is written. You can improvise as needed.
However, I know myself. I know that if I do not prepare for the lessons and gather all of the materials and books beforehand I will not do it last minute. Especially if we are in the thick of our homeschool year and I am busy with my big kids. So, I created my lists, shopped my home for materials, purchased some used books online at Thriftbooks (my favorite place to buy used books), took a couple hours to go through all of the lessons for the first eight weeks, and organized it all into the scrapbook boxes.
These boxes hold everything, including all of the books needed for each lesson! Each box holds two weeks (one unit) worth of materials and books. My plan is, once we finish a unit and have cleared the box, to look at the next unit and prepare for the following two weeks and put that scrapbook box at the bottom of the pile. I’m hoping that if I continue with the prep that it will keep me motivated to stick to doing school with my preschooler, and not fall behind, so as to not impede his learning.
I want so badly to be consistent with this for him, but I am honestly nervous about the added commitment and energy it requires onto our already busy day.
This is what one of the unit boxes looks like already prepped and ready to go. Like I said, all of the books and materials are included inside. If there are activities required I set them up as much as I can beforehand so that all I have to do is pull the materials out for the lesson and we can do it easily and quickly, without me fumbling around for what is needed.
I am loving this setup and it makes me so excited to start schooling with my little guy!
I purchased this Leapfrog Learning DVD Set for additional learning opportunities independent of the time I spend with him with Playing Preschool, most likely when I am doing our group subjects with the big kids and he isn’t interested in following along. We have already been watching them throughout the summer and my son loves them. The songs are catchy and fun. I think these will be very beneficial in helping him with letter recognition and sounds.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is without a doubt in the top 10 of my most favorite homeschool books we’ve ever used! My daughter had great success learning to read with this program, and we only completed half of the book before she started kindergarten! It is so easy to follow along with, and does not require many additional materials.
I look forward to introducing my son to this program. If he’s not quite ready for it I will not push it on him, but because of his eagerness to learn I would not be surprised if he picks up on it pretty quickly.
There is nothing colorful and fun about this program. It is very straightforward, repetitious, and may seem dry, but it is incredibly effective!
Unpopular opinion: Curriculums and books do not have to be colorful and full of fun games and stories for them to be effective, and I believe that the people that say they don’t like this program are looking for a more dramatic and animated approach to teaching reading, when it isn’t necessary at all. What it does require is consistency. If you can do that, you can teach your child to read using this program.
And last but not least, we will be starting out morning time using this Melissa & Doug Magnetic Daily Calendar. The creator of Playing Preschool herself said she wrote the curriculum using this exact calendar with her son. I want to make sure that I am getting the full use out of the curriculum and teaching my son in the most effective way, so it just made sense to me to get this calendar for him as well. I know we will for sure get many years use out of it so it’s a good investment in my opinion.
That’s it! That is all I have planned for my son for this school year. I know for a fact that he is going to love doing school with me, and I am so excited to see him learning and growing as we do it. I’m proud of the work I have done to prepare for school with him, and I am honored to be teaching him for his first official school year!
Do you have any ideas for fun (already prepared) learning games we can do when we are not schooling? Drop them in the comments below!
And as always, thank you for being here!