Why? Simply put, Eden loves learning and has been begging me to learn how to read and write and do maths (except she calls it playing with numbers), and I have been doing my best to keep up with her sometimes insatiable appetite to learn new things. I love this about Eden and I am constantly amazed at how quickly she picks things up, but whilst she leaves me gaping at her capability she also leaves me at a total loss for how to keep up with her!
Maybe it's because my mum and my aunt (who I'm close to) are both primary school teachers, but I felt that I needed a curriculum to help me plan what to teach and when. I need plans, people! Mum was going to help me craft one for Eden, but being time poor, I went to the web for inspiration and found a slew of resources - some free, some available for purchase - most of which have been created by some incredible homeschooling mums. No, I am not homeschooling Eden, nor am I 'pushing' her because I want her to be an academic genius! I just wanted some structure to how I introduced new concepts to her.
I had been using the free resources over at one of my fave sites, 1+1+1+1=1 for Eden for a while now, especially the tot packs and lapbooks which are always a big hit. The site has printable activities for young children with heaps of themes, so your child's interest is sure to be engaged. Eden's current fave is her Ballerina Pack, but also on her top list are the Dora Lapbook, the Princess Lapbook, and the Peter Pan Tot Pack. When I put a new pack/lapbook together, I wrap it up in a ribbon with a bow and leave it on the kitchen bench for her to find. She gets so excited! She has been known to refuse to move from her stool until we had done each and every activity at least once!
|Matching numbered pegs to corresponding pictures|
|Ballerina puzzle: she did this by herself, first go!|
... and used milk bottle caps to help teach Eden how to spell her name ...
These resources and activities are fabulous and I would highly recommend them, if your child is interested. I found the lapbooks/tot packs to be a great guide as to Eden's readiness for curriculum. She was able to concentrate for long periods of time, apply herself to the task, and with every success she had her desire to learn increased. If your child is not interested in the lapbooks, then I would suggest that you hold off on introducing a curriculum. It's a lot of work, and you don't want to undertake it unless your littlie is willing and able to engage with it.
Ultimately, the homeschooling-mum-written curriculum I chose to purchase and use was the Pre-K curriculum download from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I felt that this was everything I was looking for: aimed at "pre-k's" (for Aussies, that refers to preschoolers, ie: under 5's), the content is accessible for Eden who is three and a half, and easily modified to fit into our busy days. It is a lot of printing, cutting out, laminating, and so on, but I have found the pay-off to be worth it for her sake and for my sanity. I love not having to wonder what I can offer her each day, and she loves, LOVES the routine of it. She actually gets cross at me if we've been out all day and haven't done any curriculum.
I feel the only drawback of this particular curriculum that I have found thus far is that some of the pictures repeatedly used in the alphabet part are not easily identifiable for kids. Yes, 'A' is for 'Apple', but in this system 'I' is for 'Inchworm' and 'V' is for 'Valentine'. Not easy for a kid to look at a pic of a heart, and assume that it means 'Valentine'. However, that minor niggle aside, I love it! I'm actually trying to laminate and keep it all, so I can have it ready in case Ava is interested when she gets older. If you decide to do this with your kiddies, I would love to hear from you! It's always nice to chat with people who are in the same boat!
I hope you've been inspired to check out the sites I mentioned, they really are amazing.
Thank you for reading! ~ L.