It’s That Time Again
You walk into the store and see the entire town buying the endless list of school supplies. From preschool to preteen, they are all out buying up the shelves. You barely snag the last ink cartridge that you need for work from a friendly teenager and resolve to never shop this time next year. But, you and I both know that you will. I LOVE school supply shopping. Clothes shopping, meh, but school supplies are legit. I love getting a fresh notebook or writing in my planner with fresh pens. Ah, I just love it!
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Well, that was until I had kids. Everyone is talking about school starting too early or what preschool am I sending Kbebe to. Realistically we want to homeschool at least until Middle School. I’d love to travel and just create a strong love of learning before the children are forced to sit still for hours every day. I want my children to experience life, while it is still affordable for me to do so. The problem lies therein.
Affordable. That word just makes me cringe and it is why we are so adamant about going tiny in the future. (More on why our plans got pushed back to come) I want to stop worrying about affordability and focus more on experiences. I want to encourage my children to learn at their own pace through life, not just in a book.
That is all these children have, one opportunity to experience life for the first time. It is my job to make those moments fantastic. Which is why I have started planning “preschool” for this fall already. We will start when school starts in Georgia. July 31st, but with a completely relaxed yet also structured plan. (I know, I know, that is contradictory)
Preschool, to me, means an introduction to what school is. Not super structured but also full of life experiences. Around here we have an amazing forest school, The Garden School of Marietta. If I could afford (there’s that word again) I would send him there. For now, I think our preschool plan will be beneficial to both Kbebe and TheSweetness. See, The Sweetness being only one still needs to experience life, you can’t focus on one kid and forget the other.
Creating rhythm is the hardest thing I have had to do. Wait, no the creation part is easy the sticking with it is the hard part. I get super excited about the plan and then fall off when it gets into the thick of it. So this time I’m not making the plan. The plan is to follow my son’s lead, giving him options on learning activities, while also filling his days with a little more rhythm. Oh, and tons of outings. The days we stick to a rhythm are the days I actually get things done. I’ve created a little rhythm chart as a free download if you need a little boost getting started.
We do our rhythm in blocks of time. There is no set hours for things unless we have appointments or events. I thrive in the chaos and making hourly set schedules never have worked for me. This structure may change over the years but this is what works for now! Every day is the same rhythm of getting dressed etc, the only thing that fluctuates are the activities. I like to call it, CHAOTIC FLOW.
Creating the Curriculum
So, since we are homeschooling this year it is up to me to put together the “curriculum”. As of right now, my son decided he wanted to learn to play the violin and is super interested in reading. So we will start with those two, adding in Spanish and independence as we go. Reading covers tons of subjects. We can do History, Science, and even Math all through reading books together. Spanish is a whole family activity that we chose to learn this year. Now, the violin is like foreign territory to me. We have a few wonderful friends who offered to help but at the same time, we aren’t forcing him to practice. He asks!
From what I have read, learning to play instruments can be a hit or miss with three-year-olds. Typically they like to start them at four or older for retention. But, I have also read that barring a child from learning can lead to resentment for learning later in life. He literally only asked for musical instruments for his birthday this year and told me he wanted to practice them. In my heart, I couldn’t say no.
Other than reading, Spanish, and the violin, we have tons of outings planned. That is my favorite, getting out of the house and exploring the world through my kiddos eyes.
Back to School Supplies
So, supplies, other than a violin we grabbed a few of the basics. Notepads, safety scissors, cardstock, construction paper, etc. Things we knew we needed, plus a few that we didn’t. I grabbed an order of Aroma Lakes from The Whole Life Co. and both kids LOVE that activity. Sensory play and painting all in one!
My most favorite thing that we ordered was a dry erase letters and numbers practice. He will sit and do that for 30 minutes on his own. Now, he doesn’t always get it perfect but right now perfect is the furthest thing from my mind. In my mind, it is better to encourage and support than to use force. Foster a natural love of learning through experiences and see what happens. There is no right way or wrong way to be a parent. This is just what we are trying and what works for us.