I am so pumped that this school year has begun! I feel like I have been prepping for it for a year now. Maybe that’s because I started in March when I began creating our Let’s Play School curriculum. When I started it back then, it was just going to be so she would have a curriculum that fit her learning style with lots of movement and hands on learning. I never imagined we would have sold almost 100 copies before starting our school year. I am so excited to have other families joining us this year.
I wanted to share our schedule and what other resources we will be using. Lilly Belle is learning at a pace that is hard to keep up with lately, so I am including a lot more resources on top of our Let’s Play School curriculum which will act as our base each week. When I started creating the curriculum, I figured that she would continue learning her letter recognition and sounds and that we would focus on numbers 1-20, as well as other preschool skills. She has almost mastered all of that already, so at this point, we are using the curriculum mostly as a review every morning and then she will love all the extra activities I have included – specifically the crafts and STEM work!
We do not really have a “schedule”; we will be fitting school into our daily life together. Most of the time, we get our school time in when Lilly Belle first wakes up and is ready to learn and get going. Other times, she does best at night after dinner. As she is going to be 4 during this school year, I still want her to play and play and play and am going to be making that a daily priority.
What I have done instead of a schedule, is to make a list of the tasks I want to get done each day and prioritize them. Then at the end of each day, I will write the tasks we did not get to on the side of my planner and we will do those together on the weekend when Matt can help with Lucy. And that is only if it is something I really spent a ton of time setting up or that I saw she needed extra help with or struggled on.
So, here is what we are doing for Lilly Belle’s year of PreK. These are the main resources we are using. I am constantly finding new shops on TeachersPayTeachers and Etsy that have amazing resources and am always adding them in here and there, but these below are our main curriculum resources. I will do another post in January to recap how this is all going and what we have added or taken away.
CORE: Let’s Play School Preschool Curriculum & Read Aloud Time
- I will be choosing 2-3 activities from our Let’s Play School Preschool Curriculum that we will do together each morning. She will do more if she would like or if I find there is an activity she struggled with on a previous day.
- We will always read aloud for at least one hour a day. This does not have to be all at one time, but throughout the day or all at once if that happens, I want us reading together for at least one hour. I have a list of books I want us to get through this year. She has started to really enjoy listening to me read chapter books aloud to her and on Audible. We also LOVE picture books in this house. We have a pretty big library here at home now and also check out around 50 books a week from the library. Reading aloud is the most important thing on my list everyday. For school and just as a mom. I want our girls to be filled with memories of us reading together. Always. I will still read aloud to them even when they are in middle and high school.
MATH: The Moffatt Girls Kindergarten Math, Math Manipulatives
- We will do a center and a worksheet or two from the Moffatt Girls Kindergarten Math curriculum everyday. I love this math curriculum so much. It is so easy to put together and really interactive. Lilly Belle has enjoyed worksheets and activities from The Moffatt Girls, so I am looking forward to using this for the year.
- We have now built quite the little collection of math manipulatives and we have fun playing with them everyday. We will continue to make this a part of our everyday as Lilly learns really well from moving and being hands on. The main manipulatives we will be using this year are: Judy Clock, Play Money, Dominoes, Legos, and Number Magnets. We also use small erasers from the Target Dollar Spot, Wooden Counting Sticks, Craft Pom Poms, Dice, Playing Cards, and plastic shot glasses from the Dollar Store (good for stacking).
- I am so glad that I found the Phonemic Awareness Bundle from The Moffatt Girls. I was feeling a little intimidated about teaching Lilly Belle how to read. I really want to make sure I am covering all my bases with her and that she is 100% confident in all the pre-reading skills before we jump in. This bundle covers all of that. We will not begin to use the reading curriculum I purchased for her until I know she has mastered everything in this bundle.
- Lilly Belle loves the Explode the Code series. She calls them her “magic reading books”. She is excited to work in them and feels confident with them. They are made to be so simple and to the point. The activities are both consistent enough and different enough to keep her attention. She usually does 3-4 pages in one sitting. She has already completed the Get Ready for the Code (book A) so now we will begin the Get Set for the Code and Go for the Code books this year. If she finishes those, we will begin on the Explode the Code series. I found these at the Florida Homeschool Convention this year and it was the best thing I purchased!
- We will begin on the R.E.A.D program from The Craft Classroom once she has mastered the Phonemic Awareness Bundle. I also want her to be 110% confident with all letter recognition and letter sounds before she starts learning how to read. I want to point to any letter upper or lowercase and have her immediately and confidently be able to tell me the letter and sounds it makes. This is what we have been working on all summer in preparation for the R.E.A.D program.
- We will begin working on the Let’s Play School Dolch Pre-Primer Sight Words Activity Pack and will be following along with the daily lessons throughout the school year. I created this in hopes that it will be a fun way to learn sight words. There are lots of games and hands on activities included to keep it interesting!
- I will have Lilly Belle trace her Chalkfull of Design Trace n Erase ABC Board each morning as part of our Morning Time. She has the travel set and I cannot wait for this new board to arrive. It is absolutely beautiful and I love that it is mama made! I love that it will last through Lilly Belle and Lucy’s childhood, too. I hope to eventually have all of the boards for the girls.
- Every morning Lilly Belle will write in her Storybook Journal. There is a place on the top for her to draw a picture. Then underneath there are lines for her to practice handwriting. She tells me what the picture is, I write it out skipping every other line, and then she copies what I have wrote on the line under. It is good handwriting practice and fun to do some storytelling. I like to see where her little imagination goes.
- The Moffatt Girls has a free A-Z Handwriting Practice download on their Teachers Pay Teachers page. I downloaded it, printed them all out and put them into page protectors in a small binder. Lilly Belle will work on a few letters every day. This is such an incredible free download and perfect for preschool and beginning writing skills.
- We love, love, love Bitty Beginnings. We have used ALL of her products and will continue using the A-Z Write n’ Wipe Activity Cards this year. I think they are adorable and Lilly Belle thinks they are so much fun. I like to bring these with us when we are out and about. I have them laminated and looped onto a binder ring.
- Every morning while the girls are eating breakfast I am reading them one story from their Jesus Storybook Bible. It has become a great way to start our day together and Lilly Belle and I really look forward to it each morning. The stories are perfect for her age. Once we get through, we will start from the beginning again.
- I found these Bible Study Worksheets on Etsy for $1.00 from Teach at Daycare! They are a great resource as they work on basic preschool writing skills as well. We will do some memorization work with these too. I’m really excited to start on them this week!
- Disney School every Friday
- I will take the girls somewhere new on Disney property to learn. You can find my posts about this here on the blog each week! We are annual pass holders and live just about 5 minutes away so I am really excited to utilize all of the educational experiences Disney offers!
- Field Trips
- Once a month we will take a field trip to a new area of Orlando. We have a lot of exploring to do here and a lot of educational resources around us including The Crayola Experience, The Orlando Science Center, The Orlando Reporatory Theater, The Orlando Ballet, and just local parks.
- Ocean Days
- Once a month we will take the girls to the ocean to play and explore! We want to start exploring Florida and will start to go to a new beach every month. I’m pretty excited about this!
- Game Schooling
- I have built up a little collection of preschool appropriate board games that we will be playing together. I am working on a post about our favorites!
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:
- Music & Drama
- Once a week, Lilly Belle is in an hour long class with 5 other children. They learn to sing different songs, play instruments, and do little drama/acting activities.
- Lilly Belle has a private 30-minute piano lesson every week. She just started and we are really excited for her!
- She is taking voice lessons once/week in a group with 3 other girls. She loves to sing and perform so we are taking advantage of all the time she has for these activities by not being in traditional school.
- Soccer starts here in a few weeks and last for a few months. Both Matt and I played soccer growing up and she is beyond excited to be old enough to play!
- I have been a dance teacher for over 15 years. I owned a dance studio when Lilly Belle was born. She is the reason we closed it down – I missed her too much. I am starting a program up again here in a few months and when I do, she will be in those classes with me as well each week. If all of the classes I am asking to offer get approved, she will also be in Ballet/Creative Movement, Hip Hop, Musical Theater/Tap, and Cheer!
- Story Time at the Library
- Our library offers a free 30-minute story time every week and Lilly Belle loves it! We have a couple other homeschool friends who also go and she loves getting to play with her friends during class and then we check out all the books! It is one of the highlights of our week!
- Stroller Strides
- We go to Stroller Strides 1-2 times/week now. This is mostly for Lucy and I as Lilly Belle is a bit old for this, but she likes to be around all the babies and she likes to talk to the moms. She likes being the big kid. I used to be the owner and started the franchise here in town, so a few of the current moms are still from when I owned it and she loves to be with them as they are some of my close friends.
- Our Village Playdates
- Along with Stroller Strides, there are free weekly playdates planned here in town and around the area. We are starting to go to those again and she has been loving it.
- Playdates with Friends
- She has a few friends here in town who are also homeschooled and we have 1-3 playdates a week with her friends. Even more in the summer!
So pending all the dance classes are a go, she will be in about 10 classes/week. I am not worried about her missing out on being around kids at all! We would never be able to have her in all these activities if it were not for some of these reasons. I feel really blessed because Lilly Belle takes all of her music classes from one of my friends here in town and we do an exchange. I babysit for her littles during all the classes on Wednesdays and then Lilly Belle gets all of her lessons. She will get her dance classes for free because I am the teacher. And my parents paid for her soccer as her birthday present this year!
This is going to be the best year. We have only done a week of school so far and it was perfect!