Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Preschool Schedule

When homeschooling a preschooler it is important to have a daily schedule so your preschooler can know what to expect day to day. Having a daily schedule can also keep you on top of teaching the lessons you'd like to teach each day, and the goals you'd like to meet each year of school. 

As you can see our daily preschool schedule goes as follows:
- Wake up
- Name sign in
- Circle time
- Worksheets
- Dramatic play
- Science + scientist of the month
- Math
- ?
- Music + musician of the week
- Sensory play
- Crafts + famous art of the day
- Reading
- Nature study
- Exercise

The ? is where we do our rotation days activity. So on the schedule for a Monday when it comes time to the ? we would do social studies. Tuesday we'd do geography, Wednesday foreign language, Thursday cooking, Friday family newspaper, and Saturday foreign language again.

As you can also see from the picture I have our daily schedule hanging up on the wall. It is in our play room/class room and I tried to draw little pictures/symbols for each item on the schedule so it gives my daughter something to visualize and feel accomplished of (that's also why I added waking up and having breakfast even though they aren't really part of school), it gives her something to see she's already accomplished when she goes down to start her preschool day.

Name Sign In:
So, first thing we do when we go down for her school day is "name sign in" and that's when she practices writing her name. I usually write it for her first in pencil and then let her trace it with a highlighter and then write it on her own a few times.

Circle Time:
Then we move on to circle time, sometimes we just sit together on the floor and other times she brings some baby dolls to join us, either way it's fun! We have a interactive Melissa & Doug calendar like this one . First we use it to discuss what the date is, then we talk about what events we have coming up on the calendar. After that we sing the days of the week song followed by the months of the year song.

So the first thing (name sign in) being a in desk activity, and the third one being as well, I think having circle time in between breaks it up well. But after circle time we start doing worksheets. We have a few workbooks we use everyday usually (covering a variety of subjects) but sometimes we switch it up and do a lot from one book, do books we don't usually do, or do worksheets from Princess, Sparkle World, or Strawberry Shortcake magazines. She likes to work with a highlighter for her work.

Dramatic Play:
After sitting down and doing some worksheets I let my daughter have some play time before we get into our other subjects. This isn't free play though, it's different because it must be a dramatic play. We have tons of toys and tons of things I've made DIY to give us endless options for dramatic play. Dramatic play is important for preschoolers because they get to act out so many scenarios that might be going on in their life, and it's a way to practice doing things, learn roles of other people, and so on. We can do tea parties, play dr, have a sandwich shop, a restaurant, etc.

There is so many things that fall into the science category. We can do science experiments, learn about plants and animals, the human body, etc. etc. At the beginning of each new month I also print out a picture of a scientist for our scientist of the month. We talk about them and their accomplishments/inventions everyday during science time as well.

Coming up with ideas to bring preschool math concepts to life, other than just doing worksheets can be a little challenging but it doesn't have to be. We measure things, compare objects, do shape work, simple addition and subtraction, etc. Drawing shapes is also a great activity for pre-writing.

This is where our rotation day activity takes place.
M: Social Studies:
This is where we learn about traits of peacemakers, community helpers. We talk about social skills, what makes a good friend, giving compliments, thinking before we speak, manners, etc. We also will do history lessons at this time if I chose to do that instead.
T: Geography:
On geography days there's much to chose from. I like to do units on different continents/countries/states. There's learning capitals, learning where our food comes from, gaining understanding of the concepts of neighborhood vs town vs state vs planet and etc. We also talk about different land forms, and work on our map skills.
W: Foreign Language:
My daughter is learning French and we'll often watch a Little Pim DVD at this time.
T: Cooking:
I tend to give little cooking lessons on a day to day basis, but on Thursdays I make it a full on class. We can pick out a recipe and make it together or she can experiment with creating her own recipe. I also give her lessons on things she'll have to do one day like handling meat, chopping, knife safety, etc. There's actually lots of important kitchen safety things to go over and that in it's own could be a lesson for some.
F: Family Newspaper:
On Friday's we go over what's happened that week and write about it together. It gives her another example of how we live in a print-rich environment and also saves our memories while working on her literacy skills.
S: Foreign Language:
Two days a week to learn the language seems good to me!

And then on Sunday's we have a break day.

During this time she is free to explore with her instruments, listen to music on the computer or iPod, sometimes we talk about musical notes and instruments from other countries and watch videos on them. We also have a famous musician of the week that we have a picture up of and discuss. We listen to music from them when we introduce them, usually they are classical musicians.
In the coming year or two she'll be starting an instrument and getting lessons so she may practice that at home during music time, but by then our whole schedule may be different!

Sensory Play:
During this time she can play with any of her already made sensory bins, or we will sometimes make a new one based on a theme or concept we're learning. Sometimes we'll do play dough here. Or messy sensory play outside with shaving cream and colored ice cubes. Water play counts as well.

Craft time is so important for all kids. My daughter has amazing scissor skills at the age of 3 because she's been doing crafts so long, her fine motor skills in general are just great. This time can be painting, process art, product art, cutting and gluing, coloring, etc. Sometimes it is planned based on a theme or concept we're learning as well. We also discuss a famous artwork of the day everyday. We can look on the computer or I'll print them up sometimes. This way she learns about different types of art, and names of famous artists and paintings too. They also inspire her, as well as being a part of history.

We usually read a chapter book or two during this time and this is always in addition to our other reading throughout the day.

Nature Study:
We like to get some time outside and explore nature! There's so many things to do outside and learn about. Birds, trees, flowers, bugs, etc. There can be entire units/studies on each.

This can continue outside and we can play soccer or basketball, etc. We can take a walk around the neighborhood, or go inside and do yoga. If there is a certain gross motor skill or game I've planned we work it in at this time too.

This can be later in the evening and it's just a time for her to build and explore those skills and tap into that creativity and learning how to put together different structures and things. There's several toys I love for this. Legos of course, but Candy Construction is a serious favorite. There's also Bristle Block StackadoosLincoln Logs, Magna Tiles, cardboard building blocks from Melissa & Doug . You can also make/provide your own materials for this. Toothpicks and marshmallows can be fun, painted popsicle sticks with velcro dots on them, etc. I also like block sets and magnet sets with pictures for the kids to recreate.We have Pattern Play and it is a fabulous one. We also love our Imaginets.

We don't always get all of these things done every single Mon-Sat. but this is the general outline we try to stick to and the subjects I find important for her learning and want to cover during the preschool years.

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