Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together


on March 22, 2012

As Little Bear approaches her fourth birthday, I’m gently adding more structure to our school days and incorporating more written work. I’m not fond of workbooks or rigid curriculum, but I want Little Bear to learn to …

  • follow directions.
  • complete tasks.
  • do her best.
  • attempt new things.
  • work toward a goal.
  • do what needs to be done, regardless of whether it’s a “favorite” activity.
  • develop a genuine sense of accomplishment.

While any one of these goals could be achieved through any number of methods, limited workbook usage helps us meet all of them. This week, we began incorporating Get Ready for the Code and Singapore Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics into our weekly schedule, in part to get Little Bear accustomed to bookwork and in part to solidify the phonics and math foundation we’ve been building through games and hands-on activities. Our days are still largely filled with outdoor activities, hands-on learning, games, puzzles, crafts, songs, and stories, and I have no intention of changing that any time soon. Today, though, Little Bear had a morning ballet class, an afternoon doctor’s appointment, and an evening AWANA meeting, so our Monday/Wednesday/Friday “bookwork” filled a disproportionate amount of our abbreviate school day.

Little Bear watched an episode of “Sid the Science Kid” while eating breakfast and getting dressed for ballet. We reviewed our songs of the week and our memory verse on the way to ballet. Then, after class, we came home to read today’s Bible story, complete today’s Get Ready for the Code lesson, and eat lunch.

The first volume of Get Ready for the Code focuses primarily on initial consonant sounds, and Little Bear knew all of those by the time she was 2 1/2. It also includes some age-appropriate handwriting and coloring activities, though — skills Little Bear needs to practice. She’s recently started balking at the Kumon tracing and coloring activities we’ve been doing for the past six months, but was overjoyed to start a “big kid” textbook. The “easy” phonics lessons allow her to demonstrate (and cement) her phonics knowledge while honing her fine motor skills.

We filled our waiting time at the doctor’s office with a couple of pages of Maurice Pledger’s Jungle World Sticker Book, learning about reptiles and insects of the rainforest. We also read several spring-themed read-alouds, including the following:

We tackled math this evening, focusing on the concepts of “same” and “similar.” Little Bear is familiar with the concepts of “same” and “different,” but “similar” was new to her. After figuring out that “similar” meant “mostly the same, but not identical,” she had a blast pointing out items from Duplos to dinosaurs that were similar, then telling how they were alike and how they were different.

Baby Bear attacked the puzzle shelf as we were finishing today’s math lesson, so Little Bear ended the day by helping me sort puzzle pieces, then re-assemble puzzles to make sure all pieces were present and accounted for. Among them was a box of three-letter-word puzzle cards, and Little Bear was delighted to discover that she could read every word in the box. She also enjoyed matching baby animals with their mothers to complete the Eeboo Baby Animals Puzzle Pairs that we hadn’t done in a while.

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