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Can You Recommend a Structured Pre-School Curriculum?

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, September 26, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 77 September 26, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
And please visit our sponsors! They make it possible. :-)


My Child, the Author

You can imagine your child's delight seeing their story
printed in a magazine, or a college-bound youth highlighting
on their application that their artwork has been published
nationally. My Child, the Author ebook shows you how to see
your child's creative works published. It is easy. It is fun
and publishers are looking for stories, poems and artwork.
Do not pay to be published. www.MyChildtheAuthor.com

Special homeschoolers discount: visit www.MyChildtheAuthor.com
Click on Educator's discount at the bottom of the page.
Use email address: info@MyChildtheAuthor.com
Password: cbook

Contact us at info@MyChildtheAuthor.com



Notes from Heather
-- Poetry Feedback from Readers
Helpful Tip
-- Free Educational Videos
Winning Website
-- Learner's TV Site
Reader Question
-- Structured Preschool Curriculum?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archive
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback about Poetry

"Our favorite poetry book is 'American History in Verse'. It is
an old book but you can also get reprints of it. This book has
beautiful poetry about historical events, but it also tells what
was happening in the world that caused the poems to be written.
For instance, I have heard 'Captain, my Captain' many times, but
I had no idea that it had been written about Lincoln's death.
There is the poem about 'The Grey and the Blue' where it tells
how the women of this town came out and buried all the dead from
a Civil War battle waged nearby -- and how they weeped over and
honored every one of them, no matter what color uniform they wore.
This book is so great! We are working on a history class using
it for the base and adding to it readers' theater, actual diary
entries from people who were there, and whatever else we can find
to dramatize the events." -- Deb


"Hi Heather - If your kids are writing their own poetry, they can
'e-publish' at www.wordchimes.com -- it is a family-friendly
poetry website. Parents do need to fill out a permission slip
in order for children to post their poetry." -- Lori B.


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Free Video/DVDs to Order

"I used to order videos from Video Placement. There are many
videos/DVDs you can order -- they are free and shipping is also
free. One DVD is a virtual field trip to where they make jelly
bellies. The best part is they also send a bag of jelly bellies
to share with your students!


All videos are educational. It isn't another NetFlix or Block-
buster. You can order a package about Shakespeare; learn about
what veterinarians do; take a tour of the eye, etc. It is a great
way to go on a field trip... NO GAS PRICES INVOLVED!" -- Jan A.


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website

Learner's TV

"This site is for older (or advanced) students (I have a 10th
grader) and it's free. They offer math, computer science, biology,
physics and more. There are videos, lecture notes, and more.

We are doing a lapbook/unit study on the human body and instead
of just 'the boring stuff', my boys have already started watching
videos. http://www.learnerstv.com/index.php

I also love that it's not YouTube where other videos can come up
in preview." -- Diana B.

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I would like to start homeschooling my 4 year old at Kindergarten
level. I have no idea where to begin or what resources would be
useful. I would like a very structured curriculum that outlines
exactly what a child at that age level would need to know and a
good way to present the material. Any advice on how to begin
would also be very useful. Thank you in advance." -- Aubri in TX

Our Readers' Responses

"What a joy teaching preschool can be! Everything is new when
you're 4! I looked upon this time as my chance to 'light his fire
of learning', rather than have him sit at a desk doing paperwork.

I used 'Before Five in a Row' as a 'skeleton' for school: usually
the library can assist in getting the books you'll need for this.
I chose a Bible story for the week -- reading different versions
each day, doing crafts and puppet shows using the Bible story as
the theme. I chose a 'Letter of the Week', a 'Color of the Week',
and a 'Number of the Week' and put them on my refrigerator door.
We'd go for walks 'hunting' for the letter/number/color of the
week. We'd go to local museums, National, State, and local parks,
for walks downtown, walks in the woods. We joined a playgroup and
we went to the library's story time. (These last 2 helped to give
structure to our week as well as being fun and educational.) And
read, read, read. I read to him, then as he learned his letters
and then words I'd have him 'help' me to read, and I read for my
needs and enjoyment; He saw that reading is not 'just for school',
but for a lifetime." -- Tricia in NH


"Aubri -- I'm not sure why you want to start a structured program
at 4 years old, and I realize you may have reasons I haven't
thought of. But I would discourage you from it. Children that
young often develop neurological problems when they are required
to do intensive schoolwork. You can learn more about this from
any of Dr. Raymond Moore's books. I especially recommend 'Better
Late than Early'. www.moorefoundation.com

At the age of 4, I recommend lots of reading aloud -- good liter-
ature, not cutesy, silly books. Beautiful Feet, Lamplighter and
Lifetime Books and Gifts are good places to start. www.bfbooks.com
www.lamplighterpublishing.com and www.lifetimebooksandgift.com

Crafts, art and music will stimulate fine motor skills and prepare
your child for structured schoolwork when the time is right. Supply
lots of materials for drawing and crafts. Let your child handle
money. Exchange quarters for nickels, dollars for dimes, etc.
Use thermometers, measuring utensils, calendars; count things.
Take nature walks; plant flowers or vegetables; feed the birds and
learn to identify them. Play games. Cook, clean and do laundry
together. Take your child with you through life, and you'll be
amazed at how much he/she will learn." -- Mary Beth


"Hi Aubri -- I homeschooled my daughter for part of her Kinder-
garten year and we're now starting 1st grade. While researching
homeschooling and all the different options available, I got a lot
of help from books that cover what children should be learning in
each year. The books I read were 'Home Learning Year by Year: How
to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School'
by Rebecca Rupp and 'Core Knowledge Sequence' for grades K-8. They
provide a great reference to be sure you child is on track and
learning what they need to be learning for each year. We aren't
following a curriculum right now, so these guides have been
especially helpful. I think that you'll find that a trip to your
local library will provide a wealth of information on homeschooling.
It becomes as much their education as your own re-education." -- Eve


"I would recommend that you look at a book called, 'Five in a Row'.
We just love that story-based curriculum for 4 year olds at our
house. It's a good introduction into the home school environment
of learning. Check it out as a resource to consider as your only
choice for teaching, or as a supplement to whatever else you have
chosen. Have fun -- pre-school is all about fun!" -- Julie in IL


"Aubri -- I would suggest a series of consumable books from Rod
and Staff Publishers, Inc. as an exciting and systematic approach
to teaching 4K. I am now using this set for the fourth time with
continued success! These books are very inexpensive and completely
systematic (starting with teaching colors and drawing straight
lines to reading/writing/mathematics, etc.) By the time your child
finishes these books, your child will be completely ready to delve
directly into first grade with confidence and success!

The books may be ordered (at an amazing price) individually or in
a set (I recommend the set):

Rod and Staff
Telephone (606)522-4348

The books in this series are:

Adventures With Books
Bible Stories to Read (and Bible Stories to Color)
Counting With Numbers
Do It Carefully
Everywhere We Go
Finding the Answers

Good luck!" -- Kayla in WI


"Hi Aubri -- I would like to suggest, as hard as it may seem, to
play, play and play some more. I found out (after starting occupa-
tional therapy for sensory processing issues -- ie. her socks bother
her) that my daughter needed to play more. Things like playdough,
Light Brite, running, climbing at different parks, building with
Legos, blowing whistles (it helps with remembering to breathe) --
all help a child develop appropriately. It is NOT a waste of time.

I started her at age 4, having her do puzzles, mazes, reading books
to her for long periods of time, etc. These were all things she
liked, but these did not develop all the areas that a child needs.
If you want her to read well -- read to her. If you want good
penmanship, play with dough (I love Model Magic by Crayola). This
last one was of particular interest because my daughter wanted to
write but I did not enforce holding the pencil properly and that
caused problems since she preferred the incorrect hold. In retro-
spect, I moved her along (following her older sister) too soon.

In short, all the playing builds the muscles (and exercizes the
brain) that your daughter will need soon enough for all the work
she will soon be doing." -- Michelle in OR

Answer our NEW Question

"My question has to do with piano lessons at home. We can't afford
piano lessons at the moment and so I thought there must be an afford-
able curriculum out there, or even a website, that could help us.
The thing is I'm not sure what I should be looking for; what is a
good way to learn piano? I know one of our newsletter sponsors is
a piano lesson provider, but is their method a good way to learn?
Thanks -- and I hope you can help." -- Judy


Do you have some help for Judy?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

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