I briefly mentioned how I am planning preschool using several different curricula in our Preschool Curriculum post, but I realize many of you are like me and need a few visual aids to really make it make sense. This post is meant to give you a better idea of how I plan and execute preschool, pulling from several resources and making it easy to grab an activity and run with it! (I’ll be adding a video soon as well.)
I start by choosing curricula that fit my homeschooling personality. I prefer a relaxed homeschooling atmosphere that has a very organic, nature-based feel to it. I want my kids to enjoy being kids, to run and play, and be filled with awe and wonder by the little things in life. They don’t need to reach the pinnacle of academia by age 4. There’s time for that once I’ve filled their little hearts with a love for learning.
After searching high and low (on Google, that is) for preschool curricula that truly fit ME, I ran across two that fit the bill, and I loved them both. So, I got them both.
On the left is The Peaceful Preschool, a digital preschool curriculum I downloaded and printed. On the right is A Year of Playing Skillfully, a hard copy curriculum that comes ready to put into a binder.
I am drawn to PP because of how simple it is. The activities are very easy to put together, and they flow well with my day. AYOPS, while a bit more involved, still has that organic, simple feel and is full of ideas that spark creativity and imagination. It does require more crafty resources, but it has been worth it (and not stressful), and as you can see in this post about our hot air balloon ride, it doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun!
I also knew I wanted to pull in seasonally-themed projects from Pinterest, so I needed a functional, yet simple way to figure out what I was doing.
Before I show you how I plan, there are a couple of things you should know about me –
- I don’t like to plan extensively.
- I like my plans to be flexible.
I’m a large family mom. Life happens. A lot. I cannot make huge plans that will likely fail and do nothing but make me feel bad. Likewise, I need what plans I do make to be something I can put together on the fly.
So, the gist of my planning is this…
- Choose activities.
- Write them down on a schedule in blocks without putting too much in one day.
- Don’t bother with putting down days or dates on the schedule – do the activities when I can.
- Add in themes and activities from other sites, Pinterest, and family traditions.
- Pick and choose from the daily activities I have created based on what kind of day I am having.
- Feel good that I spent time playing skillfully with my preschooler!
Here’s a peek at my planning notebook:
As you can see, I’ve already marked out the top one because we’ve done it. The other thing I marked out at the top of the page is a note to myself to get honeycomb at the state fair, but I ended up getting some from a friend, so I just marked out that note.
Let me address that whole honeycomb thing lest you think I’m putting random craziness in this notebook…
In AYOPS, every month has a verse, and this month’s is:
See! Not random at all! We go over our verse, eat some honeycomb, and sigh happily! By the way, if you are using AYOPS, you MUST join the Facebook group! That’s where this print came from. There are some super creative, super generous mamas there! One mama made this print for everyone to use. I printed mine on cardstock and sticky-tacked it to my cabinet door next to my sink.
One thing you might have noticed on my notebook is where it says, “Johnny Appleseed this month!” With it being September, I wanted to incorporate some apple-themed projects from my Autumn board on Pinterest. For themed projects, I use this free printable or I just write them down in the same notebook I’m using for everything else. I also sometimes use Evernote, but that is usually reserved for projects that have a lot of online links because it is easier for me to keep track of those in a place where they can be hyperlinked.
I like to group similar activities together, so when I’m looking through the curricula I have along with the extra projects, I try to put things together that won’t end up being too stressful or overwhelming to any of us. My 4 year old is not a sit-down kind of guy, so things need to be fast-paced and short.
To give you an idea of what yesterday looked like, I chose to do the set of activities near the bottom of the planning page. The All About Me book is something we have done with every child using a curriculum I did with my oldest son – Home Education Curriculum was the name of it. (So many memories came flooding back when I opened those pages to find the template for the All About Me book!) This meshed really well with an activity listed in AYOPS, and then I tweaked another activity so my 4 year old (and many of his siblings) could make a letter to place beside their beds. You can see Creed’s “C” on Instagram:
Creed is painting a letter “C” to put beside his bed. This activity is a spin-off of one mentioned in A Year of Playing Skillfully. To see more simple ways we are doing Preschool (including a “hot air ballon ride!), check out the blog! RaisingArrows.net (link in profile) #preschool #raisingarrows #homeschool #homegrownpreschooler
And here’s his All About Me book (and a little taste of his personality to go along with it!)
I keep a basket full of crafty type resources near our school area so everything is in one place. I also keep a running list of books to grab from the library.
There are some days I don’t get to preschool. When I do, it is usually after lunch, and sometimes even after I’ve finished Tapestry of Grace with my older kids. I like to do it right about the time Creed hits crazy town. It gives him something to think about beyond pestering his siblings.
Like I said at the beginning, I’ll be doing a video very soon that shows the whole process. I’ll post that here when I get it finished. Until then, if you have more questions, feel free to leave me a comment!
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