Little ones are like sponges! I am constantly amazed at what my two year old daughter retains, often after only hearing or seeing something once! She is eager to learn and I want to take full advantage of this time and not miss a precious opportunity to teach her about God, about creation and about life.
I was inspired by reading about what other moms are doing with their preschoolers but didn't want to pay for a curriculum just yet. I also wanted to have the flexibility to come up with my own plan and not feel like I needed to adhere to someone else's lesson plan. I wanted the teaching to center around God and give Him credit for all He has made. I came up with five categories that I wanted to teach Audrey more about:
- God Made Animals
- God Made Plants
- God Made Our Bodies
- God Made Our Earth
- God Made Our Day
Some categories will take longer to cover while others will be only a week or two. Under each category I came up with subcategories and we will cover one each week. For each subcategory I make a list of crafts to do together, books we own to read, themes to discuss, field trip ideas and also music or videos to listen to or watch. We also go to the library each week and pick up quite a few books that correspond with the topics we are learning about. I try to find a few titles that are educational and a few that are just fun or fiction. I want this to create a love of reading and learning and not feel like work at all. I am also giving myself lots of grace- if one week is too hectic to take on a new category we will just put it off a week and maybe continue to review last week's theme.
The Internet has been such a help in coming up with ideas! I search Google Images for line drawings that can be traced for coloring pages. There are so many websites offering preschool craft ideas. When I am feeling not so creative these have been really helpful! I look for videos on Youtube that would be educational (always preview first!). There are all kinds of sites like the National Wildlife Federation that offer tools for teaching children. Whenever I come across something useful I save it to a special folder in my favorites so I know right where it is when I need to refer back to it.
I find that the hands on learning experiences are the most fun and memorable. Making a craft together, going to a farm or even a trip to the pet store will make such an impression on a little one! It really doesn't take much to engage your child and make learning so fun.
So far our home education has been such a treat for both of us! Now every day Audrey asks when we are going to do our craft. I know I will look back and be so glad I was intentional about teaching her things and spending quality time with her!