Week one is in the books! We have officially made it through our first week of home preschool and I could not be happier with how well it went. Even though I did a significant amount of planning before we started, the days before our first day of homeschool were filled with anxiety, second-guessing, and ALL the doom and gloom. I had visions of meltdowns, tantrums, and activities gone awry. Would I be able to keep myself organized? Would I get enough sleep (spoiler alert – NO)? Would the kids HATE school and resent me for it? I went through it all. But, with a lot of prayer, we made it through and I am so thrilled to say that everyone is still happy!
So, while it’s all fresh in my mind, I thought I’d give a little run-down of how our week went.
I focused on getting into a good routine this week. I wanted something simple and consistent that we would be able to maintain throughout the year. My kids wake up VERY early (I’m talking 5-6 am), and I usually put on cartoons and we coast till breakfast and then coast again until we finally get around to getting dressed. I wanted to change that pattern and make a healthier, more productive morning for us so, on Monday, instead of turning on the TV, I kept the news on and set up some Z-dough at the kitchen table. Throughout the week, I also got in the habit of diffusing some Serenity oil in the mornings. I am not sure what effect it had on the kids, but I definitely had more relaxing mornings.
At 7am, we got dressed, had breakfast, and brushed teeth. I led them to their school area and told them we were going to start school today. My 2 year old was only mildly interested and I let her wander off to play. My son and I did calendar time, sang the days of the week, and got Fernando the Frog dressed for the weather. I introduced the Bible verse for the week and repeated it twice to the tune of “Are you sleeping”. I then read him a book. It took about 10 minutes in all, and that was it.
The kids played for awhile before I sent them in to get daddy (who works second shift, so he sleeps in the morning). While he was having his morning coffee, I introduced the kids to the preschool/tot tray concept. They each have a bath mat. I explained to my son that while he is on his rug, his sister can not bother him. When he wants to work on a school tray, he can bring it to his rug or to the table. He must finish the task and put it away before taking out a new one. Since my daughter is only two, I only expect her to put something away before taking out a new activity. My son was eager to start and I helped him work through a couple of trays.
Throughout the day, the kids played. When my daughter showed interest, I worked with her on her tot trays. It was a long week of reinforcing and training with the preschool trays. My daughter fought me on putting her trays away and my son often had to be reminded to finish what he started and put his away correctly. We still have some training to do in that area, but I think it is so important for them to learn to follow through and pick up after themselves.
At lunchtime, my husband led us in our Bible study for the week (Creation). He will take that role and do something different with it daily, whether it’s reading out of their toddler Bible or doing a quick activity.
In the afternoons, they played and read and napped. I worked special activities into the day when the kids would be most likely to be attentive and interested (usually on Arts/Science days). My son worked through his preschool trays here and there, sometimes on his own, and sometimes with a little help.
They ate dinner, had some playtime, books, and washed up for bed each evening. I reviewed their memory work for the week and we sang a couple of songs, and that was that.
At the end of the day, I cleaned up, started the dishwasher, vacuumed, and re-filled or set up new preschool trays for the morning. It was amazing what a difference it made to wake up with a fresh start!
We continued this routine every day. We focused on ABCs and 123s on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Science and Art were scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays. By midweek, my daughter started joining in on more morning time and by Friday, she was participating! I was able to differentiate instruction to suit both kids’ skill levels, and I couldn’t be happier with how well she did. I used Friday to make assessments and adjust our goals and objectives for the next week.
Truly, it was a great first week. I know hard weeks are coming. I know that there will be days that I don’t want to “do school” and plans fall apart. But I am so thankful that our FIRST week started off on the right foot.
Want to see our objectives for the year? Click here.