My Simple Preschool: Our Homeschool Corner

Since I was a K5 teacher in a former life (that seems years and years ago, but really was less than 5!), and before that had worked in a school environment for several years, education is something about which I am quite passionate. I love seeing little light bulbs flicker on, and eyes light up with the excitement of learning something new.

In particular (probably once again due to my stint as a K5 teacher), I get really excited about teaching little ones to read. I don’t know; there’s just something about opening up a whole new world to a young learner who is curious and adventuresome and always ready to find out more. That moment when my students discovered that they could read books beyond their little phonics readers was absolutely my favorite moment every year.

So it’s no surprise that the prospect of teaching my own little curious boy is an exciting one. A little scary, I suppose, but exciting! Maybe I got a little carried away, but when he had learned (mostly by himself with the aid of the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Alphabet) the entire alphabet – including each letter’s sound – by the time he was 2.5, I determined that he would benefit with a little informal schooling at home. 

Honestly, I don’t think that preschool is truly a necessity. In my K5 classes, most of the children had gone to preschool of one kind or another, but there was always a student or two with no prior education experience. Those students may have been at a disadvantage at the very beginning of the year, but by the end of the school year, I would have been hard pressed to notice any significant academic or social difference between the preschooled and the non-preschooled children.

However, if a child wants to learn, I believe they should be given every opportunity. And learning can take place at home as well as it can in a pre-school environment. Possibly even better.

Like everything else in life, I keep our pre-school sessions pretty simple. Last year, when he was 3, they lasted no longer than 20 minutes. Now that he’s almost 4 and able to maintain concentration for longer periods of time, we spend about half an hour on our lessons. I have a very focused routine with clear goals in mind, which I will share with you over the course of the next few weeks. This enables us to move very quickly through the essential learning elements for his age and get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time.

When I first decided to start pre-school with him, I was stymied momentarily by the issue of space. We live in an apartment that is spacious, but not huge! Finding a spot to school him was a little tricky, but in the end, I settled on an empty corner in the dining room. 

I can’t find the original source anywhere, but I came across the idea for this corner from a pin on Pinterest (naturally). I really need to find it so I can give credit because I almost copied it exactly.

 

The round black circle (from IKEA – unfortunately, I don’t think they carry it anymore) is a magnet board that I used last year mostly like you would a bulletin board – I posted his papers as he finished them, especially the really good ones. I also would use it occasionally with magnetic letters and numbers to play different games. This year, though, I’m using it specifically as a place to hold charts: right now, it has a weather graph and a days-of-the-week calendar. Later in the year, it might have a monthly calendar or a number chart.

By the way, I absolutely love the little round magnets that we bought to go with the magnet board! They just flesh out the circle theme perfectly!

Underneath the magnet board isa rod that holds 4 or 5 tin buckets (I found the buckets in the dollar section at Target.) containing supplies like letter magnets, crayons, and alphabet flash cards. (A trick I learned when teaching: punch a hole in the top of flash cards and thread them onto a ring. Flip the cards around the ring as you go through them, then hang the ring on a hook to store.) We will be adding to the collection of flash cards as we go through the year!

On the left is a magazine rack (also from IKEA) that we use to hold the workbooks and reading books. I used to let him keep his coloring books on the bottom rack, but that just got way too messy for my liking, so now we have a new space for those.

His little desk was a thrift store find (but very much like this one at IKEA!) – one of those plain wooden frames with a white top. My DH and FIL very kindly sanded them down and spray-painted them a nice happy green color.

Underneath the little table is one of those cheap pressed-wood shelving units from Target. The top shelf is where his coloring books now reside, and the bottom shelf is reserved for Mommy’s school books. Little children are not allowed to touch the items in the bottom shelf, and so far they’ve been very good about that!

Above the magnet board is a shelf (also from IKEA!) where I store all the things that need to be kept out of reach of the littles: scissors, tape, manipulatives, curriculum, stickers, etc. I used some upcycled jars to contain the counting bears, letter tiles, and stamps.

So this is where we spend about half an hour every morning, working through our letters, numbers, handwriting, reading, and Bible lesssons! Next week, I’ll tell you more about how we “do school” in a little more detail. Just because I love it and I get all excited just thinking about it!

Do you do any pre-school work with your children at home?

Sharing at  Simple Lives Thursday, Thrive at Home Thursday, Fellowship Friday, Homeschool FridayFrugal FridayBetter Mom Mondays, Back to School MondayTitus 2sdayTraditional Tuesday, Teach me TuesdayDomestically Divine Tuesday, Hip Homeschool Hop Women Living Well WednesdayWorks for Me WednesdayThe Mommy ClubFrugal Days Sustainable Ways

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Comments

  1. Kylie says:

    We do preschool at home too! We are basically doing the Little Hearts curriculum from Heart of Dakota, just at a much slower pace. It works well for us!

  2. Looks like a great little corner! We don’t really do pre-school just because we do more of an unschooling approach for that age…or the younger child is learning from the older.. But I definitely agree with the idea of teaching them if they want to learn. I think that philosophy has caused both my boys to be essentially a grade ahead!

    • Anne says:

      Yes, at this age, I’m mostly following his lead. Occasionally a gentle nudge in one direction or another, but mostly just going as far as he’s interested.

  3. Sarah says:

    My son is only two and a half, but it seems like all of his friends are starting some sort of pre-school/daycare program. I would much prefer to start lessons with him myself at home. I look forward to reading more about your lesson plans for some ideas. My son knows the entire alphabet and sounds too, and I’m not sure what the next step is.

    • Anne says:

      Oh yay! You’ll like next week’s post which is all about where to go from there. That’s my wheelhouse! I loooovvveee all things phonics and reading!

  4. Jami Leigh says:

    Anne, I had no idea that you were a K5 teacher!! Wow, guess I’m behind the times!

  5. I love your cute little corner! I have my degree in Elem., I love “school-y” stuff too!

  6. We have always done pre-school coops. They are so much fun. We love getting ideas from http://www.everythingpreschool.com and http://www.letteroftheweek.com

    • Anne says:

      There is a pre-school co-op here that I briefly considered, but I decided I didn’t want to make the time commitment. It’s a great option!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing with Fellowship Friday! I love the desk…we are working on ours too (our room) and a thrift store find like that would be grrreat!

  8. Found you via Fellowship Friday on Christian Mommy Blogger.

    Looks like you packed a lot of storage in a small amount of space {which I love}! You’ve got my wheels turning… trying to figure out how I can adopt some of these ideas for our homeschool…

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