Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Big Reveal! Our Homeschool Curriculum

I kept promising to post about our current preschool curriculum. Little did I know how hard it would be to write this post! I struggle between giving too much information or too little. I do not want to sound like a salesman, but I want to include the highlights of the book we are using. So here is my weak best attempt at describing WHAT we are using and HOW we are using it.

Answers for Preschoolers

Evan, our oldest, is 3 years old, and Reese is turning 2 this week. So, obviously our kids are very young. Our personal philosophy regarding our kids and preschool age learning is that they don't NEED any formal education yet. They are kids, we mainly let them play and learn by experience. I involve them in cleaning house, cooking and baking  [sometimes] , taking walks & wagon rides, playing with educational toys, and reading aloud to them. Life stuff. But (could you feel that "but" coming?) we do believe there is no time like the present to teach them. Their little minds are like sponges, so why not gently teach basic things? That is why this we picked this curriculum, because it fit our ideas so well. (By the way, we focus on the 3 year old; our younger child is just so close in age that she gleans a lot from what we do and whenever she wants to I let her participate).

The introduction (pg. 7) to the curriculum describes it's format this way:

"Answers for Preschoolers is based upon the most perfect source available, the Bible. You and your students will be studying the world around you from the viewpoint of the Creator. Lessons begin with a Bible concept and flow into activities and academic subjects..."

What we want most for our children is a Biblical foundation. We desire the Bible to be central to our children's life, not simply a subject to study. In our kids' early years we see the Bible as being the main source of learning, with other subjects flowing naturally from there. Answers for Preschoolers has that same viewpoint and designed their method in this way.

Each day begins with reading directly from the Bible. Then, the Teacher's Guide gives direction for discussing the passage through visual aids or object lessons, which flows into the rest of the day's subjects. For example: Lesson 1 begins with Genesis 1:1 and the topic that God was alive before all things, even time. This turns into talking about God as our father (a relational being that created/provided for us), leading into Social Studies and how we all have earthly fathers. Next you can do Language Arts and look through magazines finding pictures of families with a father, which turns into Arts & Crafts because you can cut out and paste the father pictures onto a poster, and so on.

Here are some of my favorite things about this curriculum (in no particular order):

  • Includes all subjects: social studies, science, language arts, phonics, reading, writing, memory verse, math, shapes, colors, story time, music, arts & crafts, physical education, outdoor activities, creative cooking, health & safety, and even field trip suggestions
  • includes resource packet (visual aids, flashcards, puzzle templates)
  • includes music CD
  • designed by educators with 3's & 4's in mind
  • adaptable for daycare, preschool classroom, or homeschool (so it's easy to adjust for including both of my children)
  • the content is arranged so we can have 3 days or 5 days a week lesson plans (they only introduce new concepts on 3 of the days)
  • there are enough activities to do an all-day schedule! (although, right now we only see a need for a few subjects and probably "do school" for about an hour)
  • there are 45 pages of introduction, suggestions on how to use the book, a resource list, a book list, the memory verse list, song lyrics, and several supplemental material lists to help prepare to teach

When I Lesson Plan, I simply use a highlighter in the Teacher's Guide to mark which activities I choose to do each day. I detailed how I lesson plan here and have a free printable (select the tab at the top). My son is more of an activity learner versus a craft learner. So I often select subjects related to movement or visual aids instead of cutting, pasting, and coloring. We use the Student Workbook pages that go with the activities I select. Rarely do we spend more that 45-60 minutes doing homeschool each day. Only when my son is really enjoying an activity or craft do I just let him linger on, I never plan to fill more time than that at this early stage in his life.

So that's it! There, in a nut shell, is our homeschool curriculum. We are really happy with it; my kids enjoy the material and activities, and it's easy to use from an administrative angle. If you're on the hunt for a preschool curriculum, I highly recommend Answers for Preschoolers!

And I will never again post about homeschool curriculum because it is way too hard!

OK, that's probably  not true, but it felt good to say.

No comments:

Post a Comment