Boring title, I know, but that’s what this post is all about!
Before I jump into our schedule (with a rundown of topics for my next few weeks of worksheets) let me give you some background on what I’m dealing with, so you can compare to your own family and figure out what works best for you. I know when I’m trying to figure out something new, the first place I go is Pinterest or Google, and I research how people in my situation do things!
I have a 10 month old, walking-around, thank-goodness-she-take-regular-naps baby.
I have a 2-year-old, running amok, stubborn but also ridiculously cuddly and loving boy.
And I have a 4-year-old, can do anything his older brother can do, sharp as a tack boy.
I’ll be juggling very different personalities and age groups as we get started on home preschool at the new house. It’s a juggle I’ve done before, but with different personalities–my oldest is an eager-to-be-the-big-kid type, so he jumped into schooling quite happily, and he and my second son could just do the same activities usually (“anything he can do…”). My youngest son is less competitive, and less ambitious, which makes him a fantastic and totally normal two year old and it’s GREAT but it does mean letting my four year old really dig in deeper into subjects while covering the basics with the two year old. It’s a much broader juggle!
PSA: Attention Spans, Patience, and Little Brains
Quick Public Service Announcement.
These kids are LITTLE. Even my very bright four year old is FOUR and he doesn’t have the attention span to spend all day learning! So much learning is done through play, and I can’t say I recommend drill-sergeanting your children. That being said, they can learn a LOT in a LITTLE amount of time, if you make it important and fun and worthwhile.
Keep yourself flexible, because I promise it won’t go the way you want everyday. You may skip a lesson, or redo one, or change what you intended. They won’t cut it out right, or paint it Instagram-perfectly, or even understand what you’re teaching. Come back to it later. Take a break. Play a game. They learn as we spend time with them.
And seriously, who’s going to know by college who knew their alphabet first? We all get there eventually.
That’s all, folks. Getting off my soap box (a soap box I gained by doing a lot of that ^ –not being flexible, or understanding, or patient–myself…just sayin’, we’re all learning here).
On to the schedule.
Teaching At Home Preschool with Two Kids and a Baby
You may have noticed by now that I stick with a weekly theme. I make worksheet packs in sets of 5-8, only 1 or 2 for each day. This is how those all fit in with my regularly schedule program.
After the morning chart is done, and getting the oldest to school is done, and my exercise for the day is done, I put the baby down for a nap (who, I am happy to say, is naturally a very scheduled baby…thank goodness) and we get started on At Home Preschool.
We sing a song to get started, or sometimes recite a poem or scripture we’re memorizing. But songs are fun and can be interactive, so that’s where we usually start. This takes 2-5 minutes, depending on how long they can get me to repeat the ABCs or Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam before I insist we move on!
Second, we read. My four year old often reads to himself, but sometimes we do double-duty and he reads to the two year old. I try to keep our books with the theme, but not always. Theme usually runs second to whatever the kids are interested in. This is a 5-10 minute activity depending on the day, the book(s), and the interest level (including my own interest in reading little kid books).
Next up is the worksheet, or just writing in general if we’ve run out of worksheets on day one or they just aren’t feeling them that day. As you may know, some of my worksheets are interactive, meaning we walk around the house or neighborhood, but usually I save that for last if that’s the case. For the most part, this is our fine motor skill practice: writing, cutting, gluing, etc. Usually a 10-15 minute activity.
Our fourth order of business gives me some focus on one of the other of the kids. Usually I focus on my four year old while giving my two year old a mental break from formal learning. I give two year old a puzzle, or a block set to build, just something to do with his hands, and then my four year old and I have a mini-lesson. Again, attention span!
For English, I usually use some sort of free curriculum: I’ve liked the Good and the Beautiful, though only generally, and I use “What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know”/”What Your First Grader Needs to Know” for history lessons.
Math I’m much more blasé about, and tend to just review concepts or go over the next one (he likes addition, so sometimes I throw subtraction at him; my first grader can do both of those, so we work on place value and simple multiplication, just whatever is interesting that day). We also like Prodigy (an online math game for 1st graders and up, technically), so sometimes I’ll play with the two year old (“Build this! What sound does this make?”) while four year old plays on that. There are lots of great online preschool programs that could fill in this space as well (ABC Mouse comes to mind, and we’ve liked that when we’ve tried it at the library).
This may be the loosest section, and sometimes the longest. Even still, when I say longest, mini-lessons are 10 minutes at most, and playing a computer game–even educational!–is a 30 minute event, tops.
Last but not least is our theme activity. This one is fun, but least important to me. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. It involves a craft, game, video, or walk usually. Very rarely (because nap schedules) does it mean a field trip, but as the kids get older I’m sure there will be more.
In total, learning time takes about 45 minutes to an hour, with a break in the middle for the two year old.
Example Week Schedule
For example, my theme this next week is WEATHER.
I’d do a weather song (there’s some cute ones on Pinterest!) or the ABCs, because my two year old is still learning that song.
Next we’d read a weather book: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Budgie Goes to Sea, Magic School Bus, etc.
Time for a worksheet from our Weather Worksheet Pack!
Then two year old gets a break and plays with the ABC blocks or his ABC/123 poster (did you see it on Instagram this morning?) while I review English/Math/History with my four year old. While my four year old writes something or calculates a problem, I hop to the floor and check in with the two year old: what color is this letter? What if you turn this piece? What sound does the cow make?
Finally, our theme project! This next week’s projects are:
Monday: Rain in a Jar experiment
Tuesday: Watch a lightening video on YouTube
Wednesday: Scissor skills rainbow
Thursday: Cotton ball cloud review
Friday: Watch Magic School Bus
And that’s it!
I hope that our schedule helps you organize your own, and I’ve included my sample planner with a blank one as well so you can plan your own at home preschool! I’d love to hear about what you do, so please comment and let me know what YOU do for your preschool!
If you’d like to follow along with our themes, here’s our list for the next few weeks:
- Fairy Tales
- Community & Service
And that’s when I finally catch up with myself and can go back to my one-theme-a-week gig! (Remember that whole “I’m still working on being flexible” thing…?) Sigh.
Don’t forget to check our theme projects and worksheets on Instagram @cookiesandracecars!