Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Goals and Plans

As I began to put together my lesson plans, I thought about how I wanted to arrange my days.

Do I want to have themed days:  Monday work on the alphabet, Tuesday work on numbers, Wednesday work on physical abilities, etc.?

Do I want to do a Letter of the Week, two letters a week, a more holistic approach, or no approach at all?

Do I want to have Jason do tracing with straight lines, or only curvy lines?

As I contemplated these things, I realized that before I could answer them, I needed to know what my goals were.

What am I trying to accomplish by teaching Jason preschool?

If doing preschool this year is just a way to keep the little boys quiet while Tyler does his schoolwork, then I can just pick three or four fun activities per day, and boom!  I'm done.

But, if I want Jason to learn something specific, to have achieved readiness in certain areas before I send him to Kindergarten in Fall 2013, then I need to be deliberate in the activities that I choose.

So I asked myself, what is my purpose?  What am I hoping to achieve with these weekly lesson plans?

Purpose:   For Jason to demonstrate Kindergarten readiness by being able to do at least 80% of the items listed in I Can Teach My Child's 71 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten.

Then, I broke it down into specifics:

1.  To teach letter recognition and letter sounds.

2.  To reinforce colors, shapes and sizes.

3.  To teach and reinforce number recognition, rote counting up to 20, and counting with meaning up to 10.

4.  To strengthen gross motor skills.

5.  To prepare for cursive writing, which Abeka begins with, by strengthening fine motor skills and scissor skills, and tracing mazes, lines, curves and circles.

6.  To work on personal and social development.

Next I thought about what I do not want to do:

1.  Teach Jason how to read.  Now, if Jason learns how to read naturally, along the way, that would be terrific.  But, I do not want to begin a formal reading program beyond the letter and sound recognition.

2.  Teach Jason how to write in cursive.  I will be concentrating on developing his skills and readiness.  I don't want to begin writing the actual letters because Abeka has a specific way of forming the letters and I don't want to purchase their books to teach that specific way.  That will be accomplished when he goes to Kindergarten.

3.  Become so focused on accomplishing my goals that I forget to allow Jason, as well as Justin and ME, to  relax and have fun.  While I am doing a preschool program at home, this is not real, formal school and I don't want it to become stressed out drudgery.

Putting my goals into a plan

I decided to break our day into three main components:  Academic, Crafts, and Storytime.

Academics will be focused teaching using a variety of different mediums, such as Alphabet Charts, Puzzles, Games, Tracing Papers, and more.  Each week we will focus on a different letter, and incorporate numbers, shapes and colors into each day.

Crafts will be getting down and messy, being creative together.  The craft may be related to what we are learning; it may just be something fun that I saw on the web.

Storytime will be when we sit down together and read stories.  Reading stories to our children is the very foundation of teaching them to read.  It provides us with an opportunity to be focused together.  And, its really great for getting kids drowsy before naptime!  We read together every day before nap.  Sometimes we will read books that are educational, sometimes we read books that are just plain fun.

(Hey, did you know that learning can be fun, and fun can be learning?  And that it's okay if they are not?  I'll have much more to say on that topic later)

I anticipate focusing approximately two hours a day on these activities (some of you veterans may laugh at how much or how little I plan, lol).  Some days will go smoothly.  Some days will not and the plan will get thrown out the window.  That's okay.  While I'm a strong supporter of plans and routines, I believe that the best thing we can do is follow our children's cues and be able to let go of the plan to focus on a need.  If we get so involved in an activity that we spend three hours with our children, that's wonderful.  If a child just needs to be held for awhile, sit back and enjoy it.  Our children are our number one priority, not the plan.

1 comment:

  1. It all sounds great to me. I'm not a teacher by profession, but love to teach and learn with my kids. We do what I like to call "after school". I'll have to sit down and think about the upcoming year like this too.
    Kelly at Little Wonders' Days