Previously published post on Tot Tot Goose / Home with Savi. Post has been updated before reposting here. If you have any questions, please let me know as I did not transfer all blog posts on to the new website.
I am so excited about our upcoming school year! I think that we have picked some awesome themes to work with and amazingly fun activities to go along with them.
After some planning, I have finally decided on our curriculum for the school year. This will be our first year completely homeschooling before making our decision on whether to homeschool for the upcoming years.
Savanna will be three in September (she turns four in January) to give you an idea of the age range. As I have in the past, I will take her lead on activities, especially if she is not up for one on that particular day.
However, I am creating this curriculum along with a weekly schedule because I am someone who needs things planned out. It’s just the way I work. If I don’t have a schedule with lesson plans, we will get lazy (at least I know my weakness!).
Curriculum created for:
Age: 3-5 year olds
Time needed each day: 60-90 minutes
Children should already know their alphabet and numbers 1-20 for some of the activities. You can always switch out our English and Writing activities for something at the skill level of your children if they are behind or ahead of us.
2016-2017 PRESCHOOL MONTHLY THEMES
Interested in the curriculum? Here is a sample of the two prep months to get an idea of how it is set up.
We will be working on two “prep months” over the summer. I am using these two months for both of us to get used to a new schedule and routine in our day.
JULY // Dinosaurs
Over the past year, I have been regularly doing activities with Savanna at home on the days she does not go to school. However, I never tried to formally plan a series of activities around a common theme which is what we will be doing starting next school year. So I decided to take the summer months to take my plan for a “test drive”.
In July, we will be focusing on Dinosaurs. This was a theme that I did not select for the upcoming school year, but I had some awesome activities from Legacy Learning Academy that I was going to use this summer anyways. Might as well put them to use within a theme, right?
AUGUST // Fairy Tales
For the month of August, we will be focusing on Fairy Tales. Savanna is obsessed with Disney princesses and many other fairy tales we have read so I thought this would be another great mini-theme to do the month prior to our official school year.
4 YEAR OLD PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM
SEPTEMBER // All About Me and My Body
An awesome way to start off the school year is an “All About Me” theme. Plan some activities that you child can do and then do again at the end of the year. You’ll be able to compare and see an amazing growth!
Unit activities for the month:
OCTOBER // All About Earth
There are a lot of instances where location come up in our day to day activities or trips. For a long time when we went to my parents vacation home in North Carolina, she thought the house was just called “Carolina” and didn’t understand that the entire area we were at was actually a different state than where we live.
After we spent last month learning about ourselves and where we lived, the perfect transition was to move on and talk about Earth and all the states and continents that exist.
We will be using our Intro to Biomes activity pack as well this month.
NOVEMBER // Outer Space
After our month learning about Earth, I wanted Savanna to see the bigger picture. Where is Earth in the grand scheme of things? So for the month of November, we will be learning about Outer Space!
We have been to Disney a bunch of times with her and she loves going to Epcot. Her favorite ride is the big ball (aka Spaceship Earth). Most of the ride is of course about the evolution of life on our planet. However, at the very end, you get to look up at the sky and see all the stars in a planetarium. It’s her favorite part; she loves looking up at all the stars. I’m very excited to teach her about everything that is up there with the stars!
We will also be using our space activity pack.
DECEMBER // Swim with the Animals and Holidays Around the World
This month we are going to swim with the animals! Not literally, but we are going to learn all about the oceans, lakes and rivers as well as the plant and animals life we would find there.
JANUARY // Hiding in the Rainforest
Savanna has been thoroughly enjoying learning about different animals. I think her favorite last month was the pufferfish. As we move from Oceans to Rainforests, I am definitely going to make sure we learn about a lot of new animals with YouTube videos and crafts. If that is what she enjoys, that is what we will focus on!
FEBRUARY // Running through the Grasslands
Painting is definitely a hit and by far our favorite activity. We are moving away from worksheets, even though we still do a few. I am incorporating Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons because I have heard great things from it. I’ll let you know how it goes!
MARCH // Discovering the Desert and Exploring the Tundra
With our Tundra theme, I also purchased this kit from Green Craft Kids to supplement the activities we have listed on our Pinterest board.
APRIL // A-Zoo Animals
Last month, we decided kind of late in the afternoon, to drive down to the zoo. For some reason, I always felt the zoo was far away but it only took us thirty minutes to get there. And once we got there, I decided to get the annual pass! Besides the fact that it will pay off after the second visit, I figured it will also give us a new place to go and explore once in a while. The month of April will be all about Zoos! Now that we have learned about all the habitats of animals, we can see them in person and review everything we know about them. We will also be using our A to Zoo activity pack that you can find here, FREE!
MAY // Farms, Gardening, Seeds and Plants
Savanna loves nature. I think most kids do. I love when we get to go up to my parents vacation home in North Carolina to collect different leaves and seeds that we don’t see at home in South Florida. Lately, she has also been excited to help me cook dinner every night. I thought doing a theme on Farms and seeing how the food she eats is grown would be exciting.
JUNE // Insects
If you purchase the full curriculum, the monthly calendar will have a (P) next to the activities that you can find on the Pinterest board. We will also be using activities previously purchased from Legacy Learning Academy as well as some of the activities from our Very Hungry Caterpillar activity pack (La Oruga Muy Hambrienta in Spanish, but the activity pack includes both languages).
WHAT DO I WANT MY CHILD TO LEARN?
We put together a list of goals for the year to keep us on track!
- Recognizing, Tracing and Writing all Upper and Lower Case Letters
- Recognizing Sight Words
- Reading CVC Words
- Identifying Rhyming Words
- Recognizing, Tracing, Writing and Counting Numbers up to 100 (Counting by 1’s, 5’s and 10’s)
- Understanding the Concept of Greater Than or Less Than
- Basic Understanding of Addition and Subtraction
- Identifying, Tracing and Drawing Basic Shapes
- Recognizing and Creating Patterns and Sequences
- Sorting and Classifying
- Tracing, Cutting and Pasting
- Understanding Concepts of Time (before and after)
- Understanding Concepts of the Calendar (Months, Days of the Week, Seasons)
- Recognizing Quantitative and Qualitative Change (getting taller, growth in plants, etc)
- Making Comparisons between Objects (length, height, weight etc)
WHAT RESOURCES DO I USE?
Pinterest has definitely been my best friend when planning out our STEAM and arts and crafts activities for the year. You can find so many activities there. I primarily search “kindergarten activities” or activities specific to the theme I’m looking at and then tailor activities that I find there for my daughter. I know she is very hands on so my focus has been trying to find activities and experiments that she will love to do.
For language arts, we will be using some worksheets for reading and writing. We will be working on writing one letter a week beginning with capital letters and then lowercase letters. We may move faster or slower than one a week depending on how quickly she grasps each letter (she already knows how to write a handful of the letters so we may group a few during one week as practice). Most of the activities will just be using things we have in our house (our easel, paper and pens) and we will add a few printables here and there when needed. The Reading the Alphabet bundle we will be using for reading also has some writing activities for example that we will be utilizing.
The order we will be learning to write them is:
Capital: FEDPBRNM HKLUVWXYZ COQGSAITJ
Lowercase: cosvw t adg uielkyj prnmhb fqxz
This is the order used with Handwriting without Tears and I feel like it will work best with Savanna as writing is one thing she doesn’t enjoy doing right now.
In addition to writing, we will also begin working on sight words and CVC words. The pace at which we will be working through these is entirely unknown. I’ll take her queues and go at a pace that she wants to go – after all, she’s only three!
- Reading the Alphabet from This Reading Mama (you can use her free version or her paid version)
- Sight Words Flash Cards from Kindergarten Toolkit
- Ready 2 Read (Level 1) from The Moffatt Girls
- CVC Fluency from The Moffatt Girls
- Word Work from The Moffatt Girls
One of the reasons I really like The Moffatt Girls bundles is that they are no prep. On Sundays as I am preparing for the week, the last thing I want to do is to sit there cutting or laminating to prepare our worksheets.
WHAT IS STEAM?
STEM vs STEAM
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEAM adds the additional element of art to the mix, representing liberal arts, language arts, social studies, physical arts, and fine arts and music. Research shows that children who study STEM gain a variety of skills including critical thinking, communication and innovation, as well as collaboration. By adding the arts, the child is supposed to improve their imagination and creativity by exploring art when it comes naturally in science.
Does the “A” make a difference?
Of course our kids should be learning about the arts, but should they be learning about the arts in the same context as science and math? The purpose of STEM is to focus on science and math and innovation is closely associated with these subjects. If we add the arts, are we losing the focus on science and math?
A great example of adding the arts in STEM is looking at software engineers. For those unfamiliar, a software engineer designs, developments, maintains, tests, and evaluates the software and systems that make computers or anything containing software work (source). And if this person is really lacking on their arts skills? The design of the software may be very clunky and not at all user friendly!
I believe that as long as the STEAM focus is still on science and math, with arts incorporated into those activities, your child will still be getting the skills intended through this study. If the focus shifts to arts while adding in science and math, it may no longer be balanced. Ultimately, a well-rounded child will perform better than one who has only been focused on certain activities.
While my intention was to already include arts as a separate lesson during our weekly studies, I believe that STEAM is the right decision for us and we will be including these activities a few times each week.
PRESCHOOL JOURNAL WRITING
Fostering the love of writing at an early age is important. Preschool is the perfect time to introduce a daily journal. They may draw pictures that tell a story – and encourage them to tell you that story! The may start to write their letters or even try to write words if they are more advanced.
We will be incorporating journal writing throughout our 2016-2017 school year. Our goal is to write in our journal three times a week. Each journal activity may take a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on her attention span at that moment. The only important factor is to limit the journal entry to one page. We want them to think about what they are drawing or writing and not mindlessly scribbling on every page.
HOW DO I PLAN?
We chose the themes for the year first followed by a rough weekly schedule. I printed off a Word calendar for each month and start jotting down ideas for each theme and eventually planned the activities for a day of the week. For STEAM, Social Studies, Music and Arts and Crafts, I have the entire year pretty much planned out. As we progress through the year, I make take out or add activities. Activities may even be moved around in the month depending on my daughter’s mood for the day.
The reading and writing is only roughly planned as I honestly don’t know right now how fast we will progress.