Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Day in Our Homeschool Preschool

As I mentioned in some previous posts, I officially started Homeschool Preschool for L and E (37 months) last week.  Basically it involves doing many of the learning activities we've already been doing, but adding a little more structure and calling it 'Preschool'.  This week, many homeschooling bloggers are sharing 'A Day in the Life' posts on the 'Not Back-To-School Blog Hop', where others can get a glimpse of a typical day in their family.  I thought it would be fun to join in.  Here's how our first day of 'school' went...

5:30am:  Baby H wakes up.  I nurse him, play with him a bit, then let him play on his own while I sit in the same room working on my computer.

6:30am: L and E wake up, so I take all the kids downstairs, let the dogs out, and start prepping breakfast for everyone.

6:30-7:30: Kids eat breakfast while watching Barney, and I start cooking breakfast for my husband, who comes downstairs at 7:30.

7:30: I made a big deal about starting Preschool last night, so this morning they keep asking when we can "play Preschool".  I try to arrange the furniture so the dogs won't bother us in our preschool area.   L and E sit on the floor with me for 'Circle Time', while Baby H watches from his crib.

7:30-10:30:  First part of 'Preschool' (I didn't keep track of exactly how long each activity took, so here's the summary of the full 3(!!!) hours..)

-We sing a name song (learned from Kindermusik), and do a different action for each person as they are introduced.  Baby H claps along.  When it was time to do something for me, I sang, 'jump, jump, for Mommy' and L corrected me and said, "You're not 'Mommy', you're 'Teacher'".

-We read One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss.

-I introduce the girls to our Activity Trays:

I set up these trays the previous night.  They include eight fun learning activities that we try to complete every day.  I made two labels for each tray - one goes on the tray, and another has a velcro dot on the back.  We put all the activity labels face down on the table and then randomly pick one and stick it on our chart:

In Montessori classrooms, kids select their own activities, but I figured that this way, the kids would complete all the trays in a random order instead of always going to their favorite activities, and there would be less arguing about what we do next.

-The first tray that was picked was animal matching:

The girls matches little animal figures (from Toobs) to laminated animal cards as we discussed the various animals (what do they eat? where do they live? how are males/females different? etc..).  Even after they'd completed the matching activity, E wanted to play with the animals some more, so she made an animal parade:

-While she did this, I played a game with L where we tossed a ball back and forth and counted to 30.  Baby H went upstairs for a nap.

-The 2nd tray that was picked was Geometric Blocks:

E worked very diligently on a lion, while L made a dog, and I made a giraffe.  They worked completely independently on their own projects, and I noticed that their precision has improved a lot.

-We turned on some music and did some stretching and dancing for a couple minutes

-For the next tray, the girls had to place the correct number of clothespins on number cards:

L did the activity correctly and enjoyed counting, but E elected to put the clothespins around a plastic basket (which was OK, too).

-We put the tray back and sang the "Hokey Pokey".

(Honestly, I was only expecting us to do 2-3 trays in the morning, but the girls kept asking for more)

-The next tray was a pasting activity from a workbook:

-We had a snack.

-The next tray included two 12-piece puzzles:

Both girls were very proud that they could complete their puzzles without any help from Mom.

-We went out on the deck and blew bubbles.  By this time, Baby H had woken up from his nap and joined us.  He thought that popping bubbles was hilarious, and we all had a good time.

-There was still some time before lunch, so I played a quick game of "Magic Eraser" with the girls.  I wrote some letters on the whiteboard and each girl had to run across the room and erase the letter associated with the phonetic sound that I called out.

10:30-12:00 pm - I prep some lunch, and we all eat.  Then L and E play on their own.  They're always making up such creative adventures.

12:00pm-1:00pm - Girls take turns playing on the computer in Baby H's room, while I play with Baby H on the floor.

1:00pm-3:00pm: After reading approx. a dozen picture books to the girls, they spend some quiet time in their rooms, while I play with H, work a bit, and take a nap.

3:00pm: L just fell asleep, but E is up, so I take her downstairs for some one-on-one time.  First we do a workbook:

The content (colors and shapes) is very easy for E, but she feels a great sense of accomplishment as she completes each page and asks for more until we've done almost 20 different pages.  Then I bring out some paints for her:

E paints an elephant, a bear, and some cookies with sprinkles.  Since L often tends to take the spotlight when we're all working together, I think this special time for E to spend with me by herself is really important.  She really shines and behaves so much better than when she's around her sister.

4:00pm- When E was working and I asked her if it's time to wake her sister up, she kept saying 'No!', but I figure it's getting late, so I wake up L.  Both girls drink some milk and have a snack.

4:00-6pm- Go on a walk to the park and play at the playground.

6:00pm-8:00pm - We eat dinner, and then the girls play independently.  They make up some story about Daddy Crocodile and a mermaid who is running away from an orca.

8:00pm - Girls want to do more activities before bed, so we do some of our Preschool Trays upstairs.

-Making words from velcro letters:

L wanted me to call her "Magic L-" when she was making words (I think she got that from the Super Why show).

-Then we sorted animal cards by the number of legs they have:

8:30pm-9:00pm: Lots more stories, and then bedtime for the kids.

9:00-10:00pm: Work on my computer a bit, play Sudoku on my Kindle, and then go to bed.

This was an exceptionally good day.. Usually there are at least 2-3 fits or sibling fights, big messes for me to clean, and things don't generally go that smoothly.  I do have to say that our new 'Preschool' system has been working great all week.  I switch the activity trays up every M/W/F, and while the girls are free to work on the trays on their own (or with me if they want) the rest of the days, I try to make Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends more open-ended with time to focus on other projects.


  1. Your whole day looks great! I love those laminated animal cards to match up. Did you make them yourself? Brilliant!

  2. Great ideas. You should link to Tot School or Preschool Corner via

  3. I have 3 year old twin boys and a 11 year old daughter who i homeschool. We use Mother Goose Time for the boys plus stuff i made up.


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