Homeschooling Bella

September 5, 2012

Next week, we are starting preschool with Bella.

*GASP* But – she’s only 2!

Actually, she’s 2 months shy of 3. ::sad face:: 

In both California and Colorado, children in the areas I lived did preschool 2-4, pre-K 4-5, and then kindergarten 5-6.

So by this time next year, she’ll be almost 4.

I’m not a big formal education pusher. I had a set curriculum as a pre-K and kindergarten teacher, and gave homework along with grades. I wasn’t a fan of that system at all for children this young. Sam and I both want Bella to learn what comes naturally for her skill and thinking level. I think we place so much emphasis nowadays on how much our kids know in advance, that we forget the basics. We also forget how easily the basics can be taught in everyday life activities.

I’m using a Montessori method to start with. I like the more natural feel of it – there is no paperwork, tracing, numbers, counting. Most of the objects used in the books for learning are around our home. I’m not doing it 100%, but it will be the basis of how we go about this part of our day.

I’ve had my hesitations about starting this year, wondering if maybe I should wait. But it really isn’t anything a lot different from what we’re doing already. Lots of art, reading, learning how to cut, learning numbers, shapes, and letters organically. For the most part, she knows the majority of this. We’ll also be working on proper handwashing, making the bed, sorting laundry, helping to cook, and keeping our things put away.

All preschool skills.

One of my friends is going to pair up with me 1-2 times a week to do a lesson with both our girls, and then a “field trip” somewhere in El Paso the other day. We have a lot of stuff here that opens in the winter for kids to do outside.

Honestly? I’m thrilled. I loved teaching, so much so that each fall tugs a little at my heart when I see the school buses and kids passing the windows. I have waited for this day with Bella, but the real fun will start in 2 years when she’s actually in a curriculum.

We’re just now starting to find a good routine to incorporate it into a bit more, but I’ll share all that later. I’ll also share some books/sites/activities that you can do even if you don’t homeschool but have a little one at home.

Homeschooling Collage

Who else is starting homeschooling this year? What are your thoughts on how the day will go?

24 Comments

  • Elisabeth

    September 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I’m also really looking forward to these posts! I know I need to do more with my daughter, who will be three at the end of this month, but of course won’t start kindergarten til she is nearly 6. Trying to find and plan stuff for us to do really, really overwhelms me. I’ve managed to teach her counting, colors and shapes pretty organically but teaching letters really intimidates me. Thanks in advance for sharing how this looks for you!

  • Anne-Marie

    September 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    My mom is a certified Montessori teacher! She doesn’t teach anymore; she runs her own daycare now. The school she worked at was being too strict about the curriculum for kids under 5, so any program can go that direction. She loves the freedom she has now to use things from Montessori, Waldorf and her own imagination with the kids in her daycare. They’re all under 4. And, by the way, at the schools I’ve worked at, when you turn 3 or are about to turn 3, you transition into a more structured environment. Not highly structured, but just a little more. In my experience, the kids really love it. I think you’re right on.

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

      This is awesome to know. We are incorporating several different styles into ours as well. I ADORE Waldorf but didn’t know if it would be the best choice for Bella as an entire program, so we’re just adding little bits of it in.

  • Carrie

    September 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I should probably be doing something like this with my son…he’ll be four in December, but since his birthday is so late in the year, he won’t start kindergarten for two more years. Right now he’s in a daycare/preschool type program a few hours a week but I’m not sure how much he’s learning. Yesterday he asked me if the “letter 3” was in his name…so I guess he’s not not learning that much, LOL!

    I guess we’ll probably send him to preschool next year.

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

      I had to giggle at 3 in his name. 🙂 That’s pretty normal. Bella has no idea she can even spell hers so he’s actually ahead of the game.

      It’s hard with late birthdays. I feel odd telling people she’s two and we’re starting this, but then I think of how close we are to three…

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    September 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I’m secretly jealous of all the moms who get to homeschool their kids from pre-school through elementary school but I know I lack the patience and the ability to teach to make it successful for all involved. I’m looking forward to living vicariously through you.

    I went to a Montessori pre-school and kindergarten and absolutely loved it and was fully prepared for the transition into elementary school.

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:11 am

      I am SO GLAD to hear this. I love the Montessori concept but it’s wonderful to hear a success story from someone who lived it.

  • Kami

    September 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I am really anxious to read more of your follow up posts on this. I have been thinking of homeschooling Lincoln. He will be 3 in November, so I think there’s not time better to start than now! I have a question for you. Are you planning on homeschooling Bella throughout her entire education? This really intrigues me, and is something I have been thinking about for a long time. I’d love to hear your thoughts!!

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Bella will be 3 in November too! 🙂 We plan on homeschooling at least through elementary. And each year will include reevaluating her and the education to make sure it’s still the right fit. Mostly this is because we’ll move so much and our education system in the US isn’t consistent with learning state to state, so homeschooling eliminates that.

  • Chantal

    September 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I think we’re going to homeschool our kids. Granted, our daughter is 8 months old, so I have no plans to start anything for another 3 years. I’ve been looking into Montissori schooling a little bit, but do you have any good resources for information? I know it follows along the lines of how we want to start teaching her – less structure, more free play, exploring the world and learning through experimentation.

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:09 am

      This is a great book to read: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Montessori-Home-Pre-School-Years/dp/0452279097/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347037589&sr=8-1&keywords=montessori+in+the+home and it’s never to early to start planning or setting up her style of learning to help with that type of teaching style. It’s so cool you’re thinking about it now because when you’re ready you’ll be so far ahead of the game!

  • Jen

    September 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    We are doing Joyschool this year with Brighton, it’s a preschool co-op. it’s not education based, but the curriculum is about having joy in everything, from your body, to the earth. I am really excited about it.

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

      I’m going to look into this – that sounds really neat!

      1. Jen

        September 7, 2012 at 11:28 am

        Here is the link. http://www.valuesparenting.com/joyschool/
        They also have a Facebook page and a lot of people on there are setting up school co-ops and looking for others who would be interested in participating. I have some friends from church that I’m doing it with though.

  • Julia

    September 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Very curious to hear more. My girl will be 2-3 next fall and I’ve started thinking about what we need to do for her, education-wise. Good luck!

  • Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

    September 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Cedella is a couple months younger than Bella and no one takes preschool kids before age 3 in our area. I really want to start homeschooling with her this month, because I think she would really benefit from it. The only problem is I don’t really know how to develop a ‘lesson plan’. We definitely want to go with Montessori since the school we want her to go to for elementary will be Montessori. Any resources for getting a Montessori home classroom started? Thanks girl!

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:07 am

      I love, love the book Teaching Montessori in the Home. http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Montessori-Home-Pre-School-Years/dp/0452279097/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347037589&sr=8-1&keywords=montessori+in+the+home (not an affiliate link) It’s been a great resource for me to get started. I’m fumbling my way through this but hoping that by blogging on it weekly I’ll get great feedback on here and find my footing.

  • Mommy C

    September 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I am looking forward to these posts. My son is 2.5 and is starting preschool (2x a week) next week. I chose the preschool because it is very exploratory and child driven (it is a Regio Emilio preschool). However, I want to be doing more at home and feel lost and unsure of where to begin. I am an elementary schoolteacher as well, so I know where he is headed, I just don’t know how to get him there. I don’t like formal instruction at this age so activities that allow for selfdiscovery are what I am looking for. Can’t wait to read more about what you are doing!!!

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:05 am

      I’m going to try to blog on it weekly! Hopefully it helps others, but great ideas are also on pinterest (I have a homeschooling board with preschool activities), and I’m going to put some good books/sites on here soon that I use.

  • Caitlin MidAtlantic

    September 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    It’s never too early to start formal learning! Laura’s day care starts “preschool” in the 2’s room. I love it! She works on units and brings home projects. Additionally, Nate and I work with her a lot at home, with numbers and shapes and letters. We might not be following a set curriculum at home with us, but we definitely focus a lot of time on learning. Two (nearly three!) is definitely not too soon!

  • Tanya Bailey

    September 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I can’t wait to get started. You are going to do so well and I know Kenzie is getting anxious to start our first day of school at “Auntie Diana’s house”.

  • Sol

    September 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I’m looking forward to learning more about what you all do together. I’ve been informally doing stuff (just every day life learning really) with the boys and have been thinking of adding more formal learning. Mostly because Louis really loves learning letters, numbers and right now is obsessed with adding/subtraction. BUT I don’t want to overdo it you know?

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

      I get it – I struggle with keeping her interested and pushing her just a bit, and making myself a “stage mom.” So it’s a fine line.

  • Amber

    September 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about this. Jonas turned 3 last month, and I spend time teaching him things very informally, but I wonder if wouldn’t be good for me to get in the habit of doing something with a little more structure to prepare him for Kindergarten.

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