After mentioning that I was doing an at-home preschool program, several of you asked to hear more about it. So I wanted to share what I am doing in a week-long series in hopes that it will inspire other homeschool rookies like myself to give it a try. Even though my son is autistic and a bit behind developmentally, I think that this program (or at least the way I went about creating it) can be applied to any preschool child.
In our particular situation, the motivation for this program is a set of concrete educational goals. I want him to improve his letter recognition, body awareness, hand-eye coordination and so on. Since we have very specific and measurable goals, my approach toward his program is a structured and scheduled learning environment. If you think your child would benefit more from an unstructured, play-based environment, you can take what you like from my suggestions and leave the rest. I honestly don’t think there is a specific right or wrong way of doing this. So long as it is developed around the needs and strengths of your child!
List Your Goals
Initially, I had only a sketchy idea of the educational goals that a typical preschool program might have. So I began with Google.
Good ol’ Google. What did we ever do without you?
I found a wealth of information regarding preschool curriculum, lesson plans and goals just by searching. So that was my starting point. I listed the goals I thought were appropriate for my child based on his development and a timeframe of 12 weeks. Your goals will likely look different, but here are mine:
- Cut with scissors independently
- Write name independently
- Recognize colors
- Recognize numbers 1-10
- Recognize shapes circle, triangle, square, heart, star, rectangle, oval
- Recognize letters and match uppercase to lowercase
- Daily exposure to gross motor activities to improve body awareness. Including: ride a trike, kick a ball, catch a ball, water the garden, jump, hop on one foot, throw a ball into a container, hit a ball off tee.
Most of these are things he is already working on, so it was reasonable to think he would be able to accomplish them by summers end. Even if it turns out that I am overly optimistic, I would always rather aim high and miss than aim too low.
So this is our list, and we’re stickin’ to it.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Once you have your goals in place, you can begin thinking about how to teach each of these things. Since this is my first home program, I began by pouring through the resources at Lakeshore Learning and trying to think of ways I could make some of this stuff myself.
Because, hello. Major sticker shock on the prices over there.
Case in point. THIS is a great idea. But it’s little more than 10 color flash cards and a handful of plastic dollar store fish. For $19.95 plus shipping. Ahem!
Instead, I printed off photos of common animals and made my own flash cards – Google to the rescue again!
See the nifty cow flash card in the lower left corner? Yep. I made that. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
I have also been searching the thrift store and dollar store for toys, puzzles, books and learning activities for these particular animals so I can use them in the program.
I have accumulated two drawers full of animal activities for a whopping $7!
In your face, overpriced educational store.
Come back tomorrow to hear about my learning themes. If you haven’t guessed, one of them is animals! For now, if you’d like to get started on a summer preschool program like mine you can:
- Decide on learning goals for your child
- Visit Lakeshore Learning and other similar sites for ideas