Structure is not my strong suit.
I like to be laid back and flexible. Sometimes it’s the only way I can manage to keep my patience with the chaos surrounding me.
But I also long for a bit of a schedule, a plan, an idea of what to expect.
So as the new school year approaches, I’m re-evaluating what we did in our home preschool last year.
I can’t believe we’ve been doing this homeschooling thing long enough to have different years to compare to!
When we started out, we did a very relaxed “Tot-School” that revolved around books and play and had no structure. (I’d plan an entire MONTH in one hour!) Last year, we tried to follow a bit of a daily schedule that included a lot of sensory input since my son has SPD. Now my oldest son is four and ready and eager for more learning! His two year old brother wants in on the action too. Oh, and we’re adding baby brother number THREE in November. (See why I’m wanting to get things under control?)
Changes to our Four Year Old Preschool Curriculum…
A Year-Round Schedule (Sorta)
We live in Texas. I’m not from Texas. I kind of want SMASH things it’s so dang hot here in the summer.
So I figure, why not have our school breaks during a time of year when outside survival is an option?! I decided we’ll be taking the whole month of December off as well as Thanksgiving and the first week of January. It works out perfectly this year since our third son is due at the end of November. I also plan on taking a large three week break in May (before it’s too hot) and then a week sometime in August.
Here’s the weird thing. The first “semester” (Jan. – Apr.) we’ll do a typical five day school week. But come June through November, we can still get all the required days in by doing a FOUR day week! I’m pretty stoked to have that flexibility for the majority of the year!
A STEM Focus to Pair with the Unit Theme
We’ll still be doing a monthly theme and renting a gazillion books about the topic from the library. We’ll still do fun crafts and activities around that theme. But this year, I want to be more intentional about having a science or math focus each month. I haven’t worked out what each month will hold but I know during our Ocean themed unit, we’ll pair that with lots of water related science experiments. When we research Trains, we’ll especially focus on patterns. (Can’t you picture a cute train pattern activity!)
Charlotte Mason Habit Training
My good friend told me about the book “Laying down the Rails : A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook“. Basically the idea is to focus on one particular habit for 6-8 weeks and once it is mastered, move on to another. When things like truthfulness and attentiveness are a habit, every day life should be much less of a hassle. I’m certainly willing to give it a shot! We all could use a little more discipline around here. We’re a bunch of wild banshees, myself included!
Book of Virtues
Along those same lines, I want to supplement our Jesus Storybook Bible time with some additional tales from “The Book of Virtues“. I love that it’s a mixture of classic fictional stories from folks like Aesop as well as stories from the lives of historical heroes like Abraham Lincoln. The boys seem to be relishing each story like I did as a kid when my mom read it to me!
The New City Catechism
A catechism is a series of questions and answers that covers the essential doctrines of Christianity. It’s meant to be memorized. The New City catechism is pretty cool in that it has both an adult and children’s version, videos, prayers and even catchy songs to go with each of the 52 questions (one a week for a year, perfect!) My oldest blows me away with his memorization skills and he’s always asking deep questions about God. I can’t wait to get started!
We will continue to read a ton of books, do thematic language and art activities, and do tons of sensory therapy! We’ll be adding a bigger emphasis on math and science while implementing some new character building tools on top of Bible time.
Who wants to laugh at my ambitious goals PRE arrival of baby number three!?! I don’t blame you. We all know I don’t handle the baby phase like a pro.