Our Prekindergarten Curriculum … Of Sorts
As we venture into the world of unschooling, even I get excited when I see our school shelves overflowing with fun-filled opportunities for learning. In lieu of textbooks or formal curriculum, here are a few of the resources we’ll be using for prekindergarten:
Math and Logic:
… and more. Amazon limited me to 10 items per carousel, and I wrestled to choose the 10 most fun, versatile, and age-appropriate items I could find. In reality, math makes its way into virtually everything we do — counting apples and bananas at the supermarket, charting the girls’ growth, measuring milk to add to muffins, keeping score in a game, or comparing prices on second-hand books.
Language and Literacy:
… along with books, books, and more books. We do have a few beginning readers on the shelf these days since Little Bear recently discovered My World: Now I’m Reading! and happily began reading through them on her own. She also enjoys reading through titles in the Brand New Readers series with a little assistance. As a rule, though, she’d far rather listen to “real” books than subject herself to the plotless narratives and mediocre artwork of beginning readers. And so we read, day in and day out, delighting in the beautifully illustrated stories of Elisa Kleven, enjoying the humor of Jack Prelutsky, relishing classic tales retold and beautifully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, and feasting on the timeless writings of authors such as E.B. White and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
People and Places
Although history was one of my favorite subjects in school, the topic seemed a bit deep for a 1- and 4-year-old. Little Bear is currently fascinated with countries and cultures, thanks in large part to two lift-the-flap books (Animals Around the World and People Around the World) we’ve acquired over the past year. Over the next year, I’m hoping that we can go on a “virtual” tour of the world, reading stories from different cultures, sampling international cuisine, watching video clips, and of course, reading about lands and people groups.
… to be supplemented with observation, experimentation, and nature studies galore. When you have a child who notices (and questions) everything, it’s impossible *not* to teach science through daily life.
Fine Motor Skills
Little Bear still struggles a bit with motor control, especially fine motor skills. I faced the same issues as a child and never want my little girl to feel like I felt when all the other first graders made fun of my coloring or my third-grade teacher made me spend recess after recess sitting inside with the “bad” kids and practicing cursive. Little Bear is a fantastic little girl no matter what her handwriting looks like. But any creative, open-ended toy that offers painless opportunity for her to hone her motor skills is money well-spent in my book.
Last but not least, there’s The Workbook Shelf:
I’ve gone back and forth over whether to have a workbook shelf, and I know that the use of workbooks is hotly debated among unschoolers. Little Bear, however, likes workbooks. We can do half a dozen activities, but if she doesn’t have something to take to her desk and do on her own, she doesn’t feel like she’s “done school.” So I’ve pulled together a collection of simple, inexpensive workbooks that she can do when and as she chooses. A few will help her review basic academic skills, but most focus on motor development. Could we do without these? Sure, but when you have a child who LOVES cutting, coloring, pasting, paper-folding, stickers, and such, ready-to-go, full-color activities that cost less than a nickel apiece seem like a bargain. Add in a tub filled with markers, colored pencils, and twist-up crayons, and even workbooks can be kind of fun!
Hmmm. Mommy Bear should probably end this post, get off the computer, and go to bed. We’ve got a busy day of “school” (aka “life”) ahead tomorrow!
P.S. Speaking of life and learning, I unearthed this magnetic art board and pattern cards while digging through some old teaching materials. Little Bear has spent several afternoons happily “playing” with it, all the while sharpening her visual perception skills and painlessly exercising her fine motor skills. I loved her smile, radiating confidence, after she followed a pattern card to create a horse.