The Kick Off to Our Homeschool Year

Is it just me, or is the beginning of the school year ABSOLUTELY CRAZY?!?! We've been doing school for two weeks now, and I feel this three day weekend is the first time I've actually had a chance to catch my breath! Are you with me?

Every year I know it's coming, and yet every year I seemed to be shocked by the onslaught of activities and ensuing exhaustion! However, despite the busy start, we are so excited and have actually been able to get quite a bit done (for the most part).

This year I'm homeschooling a kindergartner and doing homeschool preschool for my almost 4 year old! Wow - if you're homeschooling - you are amazing! It is hard work! So, for the sake of my sanity, at least for now, I'm just going to be sharing some of what we've been doing for preschool - with a little sprinkle of kindergarten on the side.

We started our year by working on writing and identifying our names. Here's a little sampling of some of the activities we did. NOTE: I actually completed these activities with a sample name because I try to keep my kiddos' info fairly private, but they really enjoyed their own activities with their names.

We also work on a memorizing a Bible verse each month. Our preschool co-op (which I will share about in another blog post) has selected verses to practice each month. For the month of September we are working on Galatians 6:9. If you'd like to learn it with us, grab the free printable below!

So, I know there's a ton of options out there when it comes to selecting a "curriculum" for homeschool preschool - Letter of the week (with multiple ideas on the order you should go), themes for the month, or what I did when I did "preschool" with my oldest - just grabbing whatever I could for the day without any rhyme or reason. And if you're there - it's totally okay! For us, we are moving through the alphabet a letter at a time, beginning with A and ending with Z. We're also working on number sense, shapes and colors, and incorporating some fun toddler science too! Needless to say, this first week, we began with the letter Aa. 

I know - A is a vowel - which sound do you focus on? Do you teach both? What if they find items with both sounds when you're doing your house hunt? Don't stress, momma, I suggest focusing on the short vowel sound (as in apple or alligator) this year. You'll get to the vowel stuff when it's time, but for now, focus on really nailing down that short vowel sound. And if they identify or bring you items with the long vowel sound? Great! You can simply say something like, "Wow! That's great! We are learning about the short /a/ sound, but you found something that has the long a sound! I'm impressed!" Validate their thinking, but don't feel like to need to get into an in depth discussion. 

So, we starting with talking about the letter Aa and the sound it makes. We practiced writing it in the sky, on Mommy's back, on the whiteboard, and finally on paper. HINT: Highlighters are awesome for tracing practice - especially the smaller pencil sized ones. They can practice tracing while still seeing the dashes!
We also worked on identifying the capital and lowercase letter Aa. On this page, we used two different colored dot markers. One color was designated for capital A, and another for lowercase a. Of course, he wanted to color the astronaut as well!

If you have a preschooler, you know you have to be on the move - they're not going to sit at a table for long. So, we also like to do a "House Hunt" for our letter of the week. The boys run - literally - throughout the house looking for items that start with the letter. Here's what we found this week. 

In case you're wondering, it's an apple, an alligator, a book with an ambulance, the Captain American mask (I think the A on it was a hint), and a picture of our friend, whose name begins with A.

And if you want to expand upon it, do Letter Aa Hide and Seek - where you hide the items and your student tries to see how quickly he can find the items. Not only does it get them moving, but it's also great for building memory skills. It's a whole lot easier to find things, if you can remember what you're looking for. 

Now, this was definitely a favorite for the week. 
Give him a die, and let him go for it! Each roll corresponds to a different activity. He thought it was so cool!

And speaking of activities he loves, the Spin and Graph for Letter Aa was also a hit!
We also spent some time focusing on the short vowel sound. We sorted pictures that started with the sound and pictures that didn't. 
While the alphabet guides our weeks for our language/phonics skills, I also spend time focusing on numbers and developing strong number sense. This whole month we are working with numbers 0-5, and I'm really focusing on number cardinality (one-to-one correspondence), Here's one of the activities we did:

A is for apple, right? So, we just had to do a science experiment with apples! We used this awesome idea from Karyn at Teach Beside Me to investigate apples turning brown. You can find the full experiment HERE. Here were our results after 24 hours. The boys loved making predictions about what could keep the apple from turning brown. 

 Now, before we start to wrap up this post, I want to make sure I clarify one thing: preschoolers - in fact all kids - need to have time to PLAY!!! So, while we do have our (semi) structured time, I always incorporate imaginative play into the day - and I never cease to be amazed by the ideas they come up with. So, each week, I'll post a "play" idea to incorporate into your week. Since we were working with the letter Aa, and most kids are fascinated by space, we spent time playing astronauts.

Now, we have some pretty awesome grandparents who purchased these Melissa and Doug astronaut costumes (affiliate link) last year, but seriously, throw on a pair of sweatpants, a t-shirt, and a cut-out box or paper bag for a helmet, and you are good to go! 

So, there you have it - a little glimpse into our week. I'd love to hear from you! Comment below with what you've been working on this week. Do you have any other great ideas for the letter Aa? How can I help you with your homeschool preschool? Let me know - I'd love to chat!

If you're interested in the materials above, you can find them (and a whole lot more!) in my August-September Preschool Packet and my Bible Letter A Activity Pack

Enjoy the rest of your three day weekend!

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