My son just turned 3 years old in October. Ironically enough even with his sensory processing disorder, he excels in many intellectual things. Often times kids like him have to compensate for what they are ‘lacking’ so for my son he makes up in his thinking and learning skills. He was evaluated for our local preschool program due to his sensory processing disorder and we were told that he wasn’t “at risk” enough to be accepted into their program. So, mama to the rescue! (Let me start by saying that I am not “that mom”. I envy my mom friends who are the momma who can home school and work and shop and live and still put make up on in the morning.) I decided that I would start a preschool at home program for me and my son to do!
This is idea was more achievable then I ever expected. Let’s say you want to put not even a single amount of ‘extra’ money into it, no problem! You can find nearly anything you need to hold a preschool like week in your house online for free. A lot of the online programs I found did require parent participation of some sort. At the least, you might have to buy some craft supplies but that can be done even at the dollar store! You can obviously take it a step ahead of all that and purchase actual work materials, but that isn’t needed.
I would like to think I’m taking a middle of the road approach. I purchased some preschool workbooks from my local retail store and am coordinating them with the online program I found. Basically, I’m following the curriculum I found online as a guideline. For example, the first week the program introduces the letter “w” for weather, which is the theme. So I went through my work books and found different papers that had to do with W and/or the weather. I have NO teaching experiences so this is all by the seat of my pants (which means you can do it too!). This would also be VERY easy to adapt for an in home daycare to do also. If you don’t have enough ‘extra’ cash to cover the expenses, ask daycare parents to provide you with the cost to cover the materials. I have never heard of a parent arguing to purchase something that can benefit their children. At most, I spent $30 on supplies (from workbooks, to pencils, to flash cards). The $30 will get us through the entire first year of this program we’re following. Obviously that cost would slightly increase with more children, however, some of the things you can purchase can be used with multiple children.
Let’s say you have two children who are of ‘school’ age but aren’t in school. No problem! You can easily change the daily lesson plan to more or less complicated for each child. Again, we’ll take the letter “w” and weather: for my 3 year old, we’re going to talk about things like how does the weather feel, what the weather is now, how to write “w”, how to say “w”. For an older child, you could do things like: writing a story about the weather, what’s their favorite weather. Taking the weather beyond just hot/cold and sun/rain and discuss which type of conditions go with the according situations. For your letter of the week: work on things like spelling with the letter, writing the letter in cursive (if your child can easily print). You can incorporate easy math at an early age and gradually make it harder. At home preschool is great because if you feel something is too easy or too hard for your child you can adjust accordingly, it is truly the only place your child will never be left behind on their education!
In order to ensure that your children can get the most of the time you spend with them focusing on preschool do your research. Make sure you take into consideration on things like, times, days and what you want your children to get out of it. Throwing some ABC’s at them a few times a week surely won’t hurt but don’t expect your child to be kindergarten ready by the age of 4 that way! A bit of time (we’re dedicating 2.5-3 hours a day, 3x’s per week same days and same times as best as I can get them!) and some dedication will surely go a long way! My goal is to as closely as possible resemble what he will be expected to do in a future classroom setting which will also help with the transition when he is finally eligible to go to school! Good luck!
If preschool is something you currently do with your children or are thinking about doing make sure to share your ideas here!