We are very close to announcing our 2015 speaking lineup, and we are so excited about what the Lord has in store for us all! In the meantime, though, now is a GREAT time to order your 2014 Teach Them Diligently Recorded Sessions. Some of the speakers will only allow their recorded sessions to be available for a short time, so order now before they go away!
Click on the links below to order your own set. You will find hours of encouragement and insight available to you whenever you need it!
It’s August! Again. And you’ve got your schoolroom all fixed up and the curtains are pressed. The workboxes are labeled, the unit studies are planned, and everything you need through Christmas is already laminated. Or not.
If your palms are sweaty just thinking about everything you need to get/have finished so your homeschool year can properly begin, relax. Grab a cup of tea/coffee/Trim Healthy beverage of choice and join me for a few minutes. While preschool is my cup of tea, we are actually beginning a weird mesh of kindergarten/first grade materials alongside tot-school, because little brother wants to learn, too. And frankly, it can all seem like a bit much. Without further adieu, here are my
Top 10 Back to Homeschool Preschool Tips:
- Stock up on coffee/tea/lemon for water or whatever it is that makes you breathe a sigh of “I can do this”. Not only will these begin your day with a comfort item of your own (because I know little Suzy is not going to share her stuffed ostrich with the pink bow), but when you need a “mommy moment” at some point you will have a favorite treat ready to go while the kids watch an episode of Word World for 15 minutes and you regroup.
- Get everyone comfy pajamas for the days when you rock the stereotype and keep them on all day while doing school, chores, and having fun growing together as a family.
- Go ahead and buy the laminator. Office whatever store that is close to you is going to charge you and arm and a leg for all those units, PreK packs, and chore chart cards to be laminated.
- Don’t think you need a curriculum. Piece together fun things you find, enjoy nature, go to the library, check out all the amazing free printables online! Or get a curriculum if you feel that would work best, but don’t let anyone tell you you have to have it.
- Plan preschool activities around your household tasks. Did you know that teaching your child to wash windows in small counter-clockwise circles actually helps their muscles prepare for cursive? Teaching your child the steps to make the bed helps them understand the process of following directions. Baking cookies helps put in pegs for fractions later on. Don’t think it has to come out of a book to be “learning”.
- Get some good read alouds that you loved or have always wanted to read. Picture books are great for lap reading, but get meaty books for 10-15 minutes of quiet-play read-aloud time each day. We are reading the Dr. Doolittle stories this year along with some others I’ve never taken the time to read. The point is to teach them to listen and eventually to be able to narrate back, so it’s OK to pick something you enjoy.
- Be prepared. For days to go offtrack. For sick days and cranky days and days when it’s too sunny or snowy to stay inside. Be prepared for forgotten crock pots, spilt juice, and occasional naps to throw your schedule for a loop. And just go with it. God blesses messes, too. Not every day fits on the “perfect homeschool day” Pinterest board.
- Try to have a routine. Not necessarily a schedule, but a routine is good for everyone. Let your kids know that mommy has her coffee and reads her Bible for 15 minutes before it’s time to start asking questions about the day. Have a set night of the week for your family’s favorite dinner. Help your kids to know it’s chores followed by school work before it’s playtime. Whatever routine works for your family, give yourself a grace period to figure it out, then nail it down.
- Play a lot of games. Hide and Seek, Sum Swamp, Super Stretchy ABC’s, CandyLand, etc. Make learning fun for everyone.
- Each morning, before your feet hit those floppy bunny slippers and head for the caffeine, give the day to Jesus. Give the kids and their hearts and minds to Jesus. Ask for grace and patience and more grace. Thank God that we live in a place where we can teach our children diligently to walk with Him. And then hop on out to begin your day.
What is your number 1 tip for homeschooling preschool?
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I’m Lara, a sinner saved by grace, wife and help-meet to my best friend, John, and homeschooling mama to two bouncing (literally) boys, Teddy and Frederick. Hot tea, good conversations and dark chocolate are some of my favorite things. Grab your favorite mug and join us on our adventures at Lara’s Place and a Cup of Grace!
Summer is Here
Summer is well under way and as we enjoy lazy days and fun outings, planning is always at the back of this homeschool mama’s mind. I mull over ideas, plans and goals in my head and search for pockets of time to get these things down on paper. It can consume my time because I want to steer my children’s education on a sure course. I take my job as a mother and teacher seriously. As I have been pondering our goals for the upcoming school year, I began to be aware of the importance of making sure that my goals line up with God’s goals for my family.
Goals are Important
It is very helpful to have goals and a plan, but if we are not aligned to God’s will, our plans will not succeed and make an impact for eternity. I am beginning now to pray over my goals and ideas and ask God to change them if they are not His best for our family this year. Goals give us direction and help tame the chaos in our homeschool by giving us a focus. However, God brings divine interruptions to our homeschool from time to time - the sister-in-law who calls and is in labor, the neighbor who needs a favor, the church member who needs help with an event, the flooded basement, the broken appliance requiring several days of deviation from the regular routine. Do we view these interruptions to our plan as God-ordained or annoying.
Invite God into your Plans
I am trying to be realistic this year with my plans and add margin for error into our day so that we can enjoy and savor the God-designed changes to my plans and goals. I want to cultivate an environment where the Holy Spirit is welcome and I can think clearly and hear His voice. I want to daily invite Him into our homeschool. I am learning to let go and let God. Flexiblilty and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit will be key to hold on to the mindset of interruptions being sent my way from God. He has much for this mama to learn from homeschooling. Much of my spiritual growth can be tied to marriage and family conflict in my life. I am learning from life’s lessons how God wants me to walk this journey called life. As you begin to set your sights on the new school year, make sure that you take time to get on your knees and pray for your homeschool. God wants to be a vital part of your goals and plans for your family.
Jennifer Allen is a homeschool graduate, wife to her soulmate David (who also contributes to the blog), homeschooling mom, registered nurse, AWANA teacher, pianist, reader and lifelong learner. She can be found on her little corner of the web at conversaving.com. The person on the street would define “conversaving” as the act of easing the discomfort of someone left out of a conversation by including them in the dialogue. “Conversaving” the blog seeks to do the same thing, by relieving the awkward silence across the Internet of those seeking a real place to engage in constructive conversations about news, family,homeschooling, saving money, etc. Sprinkle in some laughs, tears, personal stories and curriculum reviews and you have the recipe for Conversaving.com!
This spring/summer, I walked through the conventions and spoke with Moms who wanted to know how to really plan homeschool. All of the Moms were at different walks in the journey. Some had preschoolers, some elementary and others had middle/highschool children.
Regardless of where any parent or family is in this journey, there is one place everyone should begin and that is on their knees praying.
Prayer should be the first place we all begin in planning our days and years as homeschoolers. That is part of the beauty of homeschooling.
The world is full of smart people who have been to the best schools, colleges and even have been highly educated at home, but I can’t always help but ask, what is the purpose of an education if it isn’t for the eternal and best purpose of glorifying our heavenly father.
That is the chief end of man, is it not? – to glorify God.
So, for all of the parents out there worrying about knowing how their child(ren) learn(s), what curriculum is best, should they teach a foreign language, what about music, art, etc…. I have a little secret to help you end your angst.
God sees you. He created you for this moment. He created you to be the parent to the child(ren) he blessed you with and He will meet you exactly where you are.
You are not perfect. You will not do everything perfectly this year. Yes, you will miss some things, you won’t always be peaceful and calm and there will be days when you will think you are messing it all up. And honestly, you and I are just alike – we probably will mess up a few things.
There is only one who hasn’t messed up something on this planet and while He isn’t physically here with us now, He sent a helper to intercede and help us find that joy and peace that we need.
And for all of the things that we miss (completely and utterly), He will fill in those gaps.
So, remember, while you are planning your year – PRAY. Place God first. Ask yourself if your plans for your child’s education glorify God. Have you placed too much on your plate? Have you given God His proper place in educating your child. He should be first.
Start with Him.
Teach your children to pray. Teach them to read the Bible. Teach them to go to Him first. The best way to teach them this, is by letting them see you do it.
You can do this, Mom and/or Dad!
It’s a new year with beautiful promises to be fulfilled. He will never leave you, nor forsake you….
So, if you really want to know how to plan your school year, start with prayer. And then watch how beautiful your children grow for the glory of God.
photo: © Depositphotos.com/slovegrove