View Full Version : Anybody homeschool for preschool?

01-10-2005, 03:20 PM
Hi Everyone!

I have been thinking about homeschooling for a while now and would like to start up for preschool. I am interested in hearing about experiences others may have had homeschooling their 2-3 year old. There is so much info on the internet it would be nice to hear what specifically has been helpful and not so helpful.

Thanks so much,
Cheryl :)

01-10-2005, 11:49 PM
A little background: Noelle has been in a 'nursery school' (more like Mom's Day Out at our church) for a year and a half now (2 & 3)and we will be moving between end of school this year and beginning of school next year (back to the states, yay!)

DH and I have decided to home school her for at least pre-school and kindergarten so I have been doing a lot of research. Luckily we have a ton of home-schooling families in the area and a couple of different co-ops so I was able to get some different opinions. The program that we have decided to use is Sonlight (http://www.sonlight.com/). From my research what I can tell is that which curriculum you pick is based more on your style.

Sonlight was a good match for us for a couple of reasons:

1) They provide most of the materials you need to do your work (i.e. no running around to different drugstores trying to find the "glycerine, stocked at all drugstores" and the "craft sticks, at your local hobby shop"). This was important as many of the places we are stationed (like here) are limited in what I can get (have you ever tried translating glycerine into Japanese?).

2) They provide a schedule to follow and give you a flexible 4 vs. 5 day a week option (so if you want to leave one day free for a co-op, field trips, piano, etc.) This was very important to me as I could probably spend 3-4 hours/day on "lesson planning".

3) They are definitely Christian, but not USA centric. Some homeschooling programs (and most public school ones) require 10-12 years of USA history/government. Although I am very proud of being an American as a military dependent I can (and do) get stationed all over the globe and I want a program that reflects that.

I spoke with one homeschooling family of 6 (kids) that uses Sonlight and loves it, another of 3 that uses it with great success, and another family of 1 that enjoys Sonlight. The other name I heard over and over as a good option was the A Beka system (http://www.abeka.com/). This is a workbook based system that some parents found to be a much better match for themselves.

My suggestion is to look for local homeschooling families (when in doubt check your yellow pages) and ask around. Don't just ask what system they use, but WHY they use that particular system. Some reasons they give may just not apply to you ("we use this because we find it easier for multiple children" or "we use this because we move a lot")

Also, give yourself a little leeway. A 2 year old is a little young for sit down instruction. I would start with trying to schedule one or two things a day - we'll read together after our breakfast and do an art project together after naptime.

Jen in Okinawa
Mom to a wonderful preschooler,
who just turned three, Noelle!

01-11-2005, 02:37 PM
Wow Jen thanks so much for the great references and advice. You are right in that DS is not ready for sit down instruction. But I can't wait until he is a little older to start a system that suits us. It is a challenging time for us right now because he seems like he needs some stimulation beyond his toys and videos. I hate to see him bored. I do like your idea of doing just a couple of things a day for variety. We already do a daily walk and I try to make errand-running interesting.

By the way did you reference a book for the art projects? I am looking at First Art or Scribble Art by Mary Ann Kohl, but would love to hear reviews of others that have worked well for you.

Thanks again for the info,

01-11-2005, 07:38 PM
We've been using "365 Ways to a Smarter Preschooler" to jump start our art projects.

One thing they do that is helpful is label each project with 2 different labels. The first tells you if it is "Adult help necessary", "Child independently", or "Adult set-up then Child independently". The second label tells you if the activity itself is easy, medium, or challenging.

They have their activities divided into chapters such as "Exploring & Experimenting", "Imagining & Pretending", "Observing & Listening", "Moving & Manipulating", etc. The ideas are good though it will probably be necessary to check in advance that you have all the required materials for each project. The beginning of each activity starts with "What You'll Need" and gives a very good indication of the materials involved.

I would allow at least an hour per activity (though some might last longer if you want) for set-up, play, and clean-up. A lot of the activities are more labor intensive than that, but most of the ones that involve more set up then end up being ones that you can return to time and again ("I'm on TV" where you make a box into a TV that children can then act like they are news reporters or "Geoboard" where you take a board and hammer a bunch of nails in rows then give the child rubber bands to make into patterns.)

Keep this book out to refer to or you'll end up sticking it on a shelf and forgetting about it. The only negative thing I have to say about it (and this is very minor) is that to save money they printed the inside of the book in just two colors so to me it looks like a cheap workbook on the inside...

Hope this helps!

ETA: I forgot to mention that we purchase most of our art supplies through Lakeshore Learning (http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/LSHomeSelection.process?def_page=home&referer=&clearTracking=&uniq=2005yr%3A1mth%3A11day%3A16hr%3A42min%3A41s%3A 438ms%3A+). You can probably find all the supplies you need locally, but since we live overseas it can be a pain finding what we need. Lakeshore is a school supplier so I find that their materials are the heavier grade/sturdier stuff that you'd find in an art class. We just got my daughter the no spill paint cups with a caddy to carry them and matching paintbrushes for Christmas. Along with the easel (not a Lakeshore one - even they won't ship large/heavy objects over here) from Santa these have been the biggest Christmas hit.

Jen in Okinawa
Mom to a wonderful preschooler,
who just turned three, Noelle!

01-11-2005, 08:59 PM
Thanks again, Jen, and I wish you well on your move back to the states!