Cowgar Family Adventures

Friday, June 12, 2009

Homeschooling Ramblings...

I’ve been doing a bunch of thinking lately about starting “Preschool” for the girls this fall. Lexi will be 3 ½ and Lilly will be 2 ½. Lexi is old enough to send her to preschool this fall, but the only one around we would even entertain would be the Montessori school, and that’s a few thousand dollars a year! ::cough:: Not happening here. I’m not really sure how Lexi would take to being by herself with other children anyways. She is extremely shy, even towards family members she has been around for her entire life. It takes her quite awhile to warm up when we go to visit, I cannot imagine how long it would take her to get used to a school setting with a bunch of strangers. I had both of the girls in the YMCA’s Tiny Tumbler gymnastics last summer, and she never once interacted with the teacher, and really not even with the other children. Last fall I had her in an art class at Wayne Center for the Arts. She would never answer a question for the teacher, or interact with anyone. I think she is just a homebody right now, so I think it would be best to start her off at home, and supplement with story time at the library, or an art class or gymnastics to get her out with other kids her age.

Lilly on the other hand, is still too young for preschools around here. The problem with her is the lack of attention she will give you. I highly doubt she could stay seated and listen to a teacher at all right now. I know that she probably won’t pay much attention to the schooling I do at home with Lexi, and get bored easily with the work, but she will still somehow pick it up. She is just a hyperactive kid, but somehow still absorbs things.

Right now Lexi and recognize her name (mainly just the “A”), say her full name, and she can sing her ABC’s. She recognizes A, B, and sometimes C, but only in uppercase. She can also count to at least 12, knows some colours and shapes, and can sing other nursery rhyme songs. She knows the road we will on, and the city we live in, and can recognize our house when we drive by it.

Lilly knows her name is Lilly, and can count to 10 most of the time. She knows some shapes and colours, and sings her ABC’s, but really doesn’t say all of the ABC’s, its just mumbles. I know she recognizes A and B in uppercase. She will also sing “Row Your Boat”, and knows parts of many other nursery rhymes. She can also recognize the house when we drive by it.

This website:

Has guidelines as to what your child would learn in each grade, and I’ve looked at the Preschool guidelines and have come up with the very basics I want to touch on this year. I just want to start something a little more formal, and see how the kids respond and make changes accordingly. I have until they are 5 or 6 before I really have to worry about Kindergarten, so I have at least 2 years to get the preschool stuff down for Lexi, and I’m sure it won’t take that long. She loves learning things, and I know she will love to learn to read, so she doesn’t have to keep asking me to read things for her!

I have some simple supplies I am going to start off with. I have a colouring book with the ABC’s that I can use more for Lilly, to keep her occupied with something. I am using the block manuscript printouts for Lexi, along with their computer game they have for the ABC’s for both of them. I also have the Hooked on Phonics Learning to Read for Pre-K that I found on clearance at K-Mart last year for $12 (normally $46) that teaches the ABC’s, both uppercase and lowercase and a CD Rom disk. I also got another Hooked on Phonics deal through a bargain board forum I frequent, and got a Pre-K gigantic workbook, and the Spanish program with a CD Rom disk. I also have a few math workbooks that Lexi got for her birthday to help learn numbers. I also have 2 sets of science books from when I was little. One is a Discovery Kids series, and the other one is a Weekly Reader series. Both are very informative about seasons, weather, nature, and practically everything we would want to cover.

The Wilderness Center and some neighboring counties park systems have some preschool age workshops and story times that I would like to do with the girls. I’d much rather Luke go with me, and they all seem to be during work hours, so I don’t know how feasible it will be, but with a new baby coming this fall/winter, next year will not be nearly as hectic as this year, so maybe we can schedule something to attend a few of these. The library also has story time, and the YMCA will have gymnastics they can do, and the Art Center will have art classes they can take as well.

I much rather go with a year-round schedule, so we never have too much time off (I would probably never start back up), and it will keep things fresh in their minds. I found tons of different schedules for this upcoming school year, but really found one that fits our needs for this year. School will not start until August 24th, so our shuttle vacation will be over with. It gives a week off in October, lots of time for fall foliage and hiking, or a small fall vacation. It gives the week of Thanksgiving off (which is when baby is due) and gives 2 weeks off for Christmas, which is usually a standard for schooling. In March there is a 2-week spring break instead of 1 week, and school ends June 18th. That gives us a bunch of summer still. Other calendars I found start school back up in July, and that just won’t work for us this year with the shuttle launch being the beginning of August. Of course, between now and August, I will finalize what my school schedule will look like, how long will we focus on each letter, and we will continue to touch base with all of the things we plan on learning throughout the year.

I’ve got a couple plastic tubs of craft and school supplies; the girls have book bags I got on clearance from Oshkosh, and lunch bags I just got from Pottery Barn for a great sale price. I want to make it as fun as possible, so having the responsibility of the book bag, and packing a lunch will keep there attention just a little bit longer during the day.

At most, I think we will only be at everything for an hour or less. I’m not sure if it will be morning or afternoon, I guess it depends on if we do any outside activity, and when that would be scheduled. It’s a bit long-winded, but it helps me get my thoughts in order, and keeps me accountable to get things ready this fall! I'm hoping if we have a nice little routine going before the new baby gets here, it will help the transition go a lot smoother then just chaos with 3 kids 3 and under!

So here is my quick calendar rundown and basic concepts we will touch base throughout the year.

2009-2010 Year-Round Schooling for the Cowgar’s—Grade Pre-K

August 2009

24th-(Monday) First Day of School

September 2009

7th-(Monday) Labor Day—No School

October 2009

19th-23rd—(M-F) Fall Break—No School

November 2009

23rd-27th—(M-F) Thanksgiving Break—No School

December 2009

21st-1/1/10—(2 weeks) Christmas Break—No School

January 2010

4th—(Monday) School Resumes

18th—(Monday) Martin Luther King Jr. Day—No School

February 2010

School as usual. Will have school on President’s Day.

March 2010

8th-19th—(2 weeks) Spring Break—No School

April 2010

School as usual.

May 2010

24th—(Monday) Memorial Day—No School

June 2010

18th—(Friday) Last Day of School

July 2010

Summer Break as usual.

August 2010

23rd—(Monday) First Day of School for 2010-2011 school season

Special Craft Holidays:

Labor Day—9/7
Columbus Day—10/12
Veteran’s Day—11/11
Hanukkah and Christmas—December
MLK Jr. Day—1/18
Valentine’s Day—2/14
President’s Day—2/15
Mother’s Day—5/9
Memorial Day—5/31
Father’s Day—6/20
Independence Day—7/4

Subject Focuses for the Year:

ABC’s—Sight Recognition and Sound
Practice Handwriting of Letters and Numbers

Numbers 1-20—Sight Recognition
Counting Groups
Basic Shapes
Concept of Time


Using scissors and glue
Zippers/Snaps/Buttons/Velcro/Tying Shoes

Calendar—Days of Week

About Me:
Learn Name-Recognize and Write
Learn Home Address
Learn Mommy and Daddy’s Cell Phone Numbers
Learn Birthday and Age

Simple, everyday words

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