Saturday, February 14, 2009

Preschool Wrap Up

Other than the "4 R's" (reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic and religion) and his extra curricular activities, Builder's school days include just one more thing. We use a program called "Little Saints" which covers a different theme each week. For each theme, there are suggested poems to read, story books to read, and scripture verses to read or even memorize. There are also lots of projects. Some are quite simple and others take a few days to complete. I pick and choose because there is not enough time in a day to do it all, but also because some of them are a little too young for Builder. I've noted for the future to start this program with Beany when he is 3 years old, instead of waiting until he's 4 like I did with Builder.

So what does Builder do when he's all done and I still have lots of school work to do with Jetter and Social Butterfly? Well, some days he just gets into trouble and I have to enforce our "Behavior in the Classroom" rules. These are the rules for our school time:

  • No one may go upstairs during school time

  • No running, climbing or throwing objects in the classroom

  • Use the materials properly

  • Return the materials to the correct space when you are finished with them

  • Speak quietly

  • No toy weapons

I do a "3 strikes and your out" sort of thing. If Builder gets his three strikes he has to leave the classroom. You would think that would be great for him, since leaving the classroom means going to the playroom (the basement room we recently remodeled). But Builder is as much of a social butterfly as Social Butterfly is, and he hates to be alone. He will beg, plead and bribe if I tell him he has to go to the play room. So, most days, the system works pretty well.

For Builder, staying out of trouble means keeping busy. We have LOTS of things in the classroom that keep him busy, and I'm happy to say, I consider them all educational. This was an inspiration from Maria Montessori. I love her method, but it would cost a small fortune to do it successfully. So I just use some of her ideas and make them work in our homeschool. Some of Builders current favorites are working with Pattern blocks or Magnetics, doing puzzles, constructing all sorts of "droids" with things I keep in the art cupboard (drinking straws, clothes pins, pipe cleaners, etc.), drawing (I keep lots of drawing books on hand along with paper and pencils), doing sorting activities, and looking at books. We don't keep the Lego's or K'Nex in the classroom because the boys would often dump the bins out and then leave them. I LOVE Legos and K'Nex but I HATE having to pick them all up. So now they are in the playroom. They still have to be picked up, but it's easier to say "No, you may not watch that video (or invite that friend over, or play on the Wii) until the Legos are picked up". Works like a charm.

Builder will start Kindergarten next year and is looking forward to it. I know he will do just fine!

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