Last spring I was on a search for a home, faith based preschool program that I could do at home with my son. Although, I knew I was going to send him to PK 2 mornings a week this fall (yes, it started this week…sniffle!), I wanted something I could do to supplement what he was learning academically with what I wanted him to learn spiritually. I came across Little Saints: A Catholic Preschool Program with Classical Disciplines by Cynthia A. Blum and Julie Kelly online and knew this was it! (cost $50 plus tax and $4 shipping) This curriculum included 3 lessons per weekly theme (takes about 1-1 1/2 hours to complete).
I know, I know, for all you modern mamas out there, the name sounds awful…”classical disciplines”…UGH! Sounds horrendous! But as soon as I opened up the curriculum, I knew it was for me and my son! This curriculum teaches traditional morals such as being kind and loving one another, generosity, compassion, understanding, friendship, etc. while presenting them in appropriate weekly PK thematic units (some examples: Alphabet, 5 senses, Safety Friends, Zoo animals, winter fun, various holidays, Insects, Plants, and so on…you get the idea). Now if you have read my Tip Tuesday post this week on Thematic Therapy, you know how much I LOVE thematic therapy so this of course is right up my alley.
The one criticism, I have read about this program online is that it requires a lot of prep work. Well I guess if you follow each activity exactly as they are written (which come on now…I’m an SLP, my life is all about “modifying”) it could require much prep work. For me, since I am used to making many of my therapy materials myself, making adapted/modified PK materials is not much of a challenge. And whenever I make something that can be reused, I make sure to do that! I do NOT believe is reinventing the wheel!!!
Also the books on the suggested reading list are numerous, however you can supplement them with whatever books you choose. I found some nice books at my public library and my church’s library actually so…that is a plus!
I thought, since I am taking this journey with my son this year, I’d bring you all along with me! This week I’ll explain my pk process/schedule as well as the fun activities we’ve been doing relating to the week’s theme of “Belonging to God”.
So what is my process for doing PK at home? Well firstly I want to say that I have taken every single idea you see below from the many wonderful early childhood teachers I have worked with in the past. I’m not nearly this brilliant! 🙂
Name “Sign-In”: I know this isn’t a classroom full of kids, but even though we are at home, I still want my son to practice writing his name daily, so I tell him he needs to “sign in” so I know he’s here! This way we works on letter naming (we ID each letter and the sound they make), letter writing (as best he can to work on fine motor skills), and name recognition (I actually have several names on the name cards and he has to find his own).
Morning Hello and Prayer: My son and I begin by singing a “Good Morning” song, followed by saying the Our Father and a special prayer of thanks that we are able to be together that day. (My goal: beginning each morning in the presence of God)
Calendar Time: This is when we go over the DOW, MOY, Weather, and Date. We also do some counting (1-20). I use Steven and Greg-We All Live Together (Vol 2) to teach these skills (you can find out how to get your own copy by clicking on the link). My son loves the Addam’s Family version of Days of the Week so that is what we do (check it out on youtube). Here’s a cute MOY song you can check out too.
Daily Scripture and Lesson Emphasis: Each lesson of this curriculum comes with a daily scripture to focus on. I write it out on a dry erase board, I read it and we discuss (mostly I explain at this age) what it really means. That turns into me emphasizing what I feel is the most important thing about that day’s lesson.
Storytime: At this time, my son and I snuggle up and I read either some of the recommended books from the curriculum or a few books I so choose that relates to the theme. This weeks theme was “I belong to God” and we have been discussing how God made us all special and that we are His children. My son LOVES this book I borrowed from my church’s library so we have been reading and re-reading it all week.
Fingerplays/music fun: After books, my son and I spend time saying curriculum made nursery rhymes as well as playing some fun kid friendly music and dancing around the house. We follow directions in songs, make up our own dances, or just get wild and crazy and shake our wiggles out! Here are some of my favorite kid CDs we play (click on each picture to take you to the amazon page for more details):
We spent time snuggling today and looking at photos of my son growing up while listening to these child friendly hymns and it was so nice!
Art: There is always a daily art project suggested for each lesson in this curriculum. B/c I have so many craft materials already that I use for therapy, I have yet to find an art project I will have to buy materials for (and yes I’ve looked through the first semester of lessons…so until the new year, I’m set. Yay!).
|Did you notice my son is still wearing his PJs?! That’s his favorite part about doing Pk at home…he doesn’t have to get dressed right away if he doesn’t want to and today was a PJs day I guess! Ha!|
Learning Games: Art is followed by learning games which are academically focused.