I've looked at several preschools for our little chitlin. I have not fallen in love with any of them. I think part of it is that I want more alone time with Wes like I had with Brady. I know that he is our last child, so I selfishly feel like I need more time before he goes off on his own! So, part of my heart keeps finding things not to like in any given school's curriculum.
Another part of me wants to provide Wes more challenging activities than one could expect from a traditional preschool. And, I want him to have more personal attention to foster and encourage his growing curiosity.
I know, some of you may think, "But, children need socialization!". Yes, I get that. I know he needs socialization, but I'm not keeping him in a bubble. He gets ample time to socialize with peers his age. And, he shows no problems with age appropriate play or engagement. I have met this concern with the response that I can always provide opportunities to socialize within the context of learning, even if I homeschool.
What I have started to embrace is that I SHOULD NOT discount any of my selfish desires to spend more time with Wes. I'll never get this time back. And, this precious time where EVERYTHING is so new and exciting for him is something that I so desperately want to be a part of. So, my husband and I decided that we will homeschool Wes for this upcoming preschool year.
Now, the one thing I do when I have my mind set on something is research it to death. TO DEATH. I've looked at so many educational approaches that it's made my head spin. I love the philosophy that Montessori schools are built upon. I really love sensory rich activities (if you haven't quite figured that out!). I love following Wes interests and building upon them with activities he enjoys and probably wouldn't get to do anywhere else. But, I haven't fully aligned with any particular philosophy. What I DO KNOW is that I like structure for myself. I like things spelled out and I like to have a plan. But, man oh man! Where does one start! That led me to look at preschool curriculums that were available to buy, which had a monthly theme and lesson plan. That's when I found Mother Goose Time.
For more than 22 years, Mother Goose Time has written a comprehensive Preschool Curriculum System to support teachers and parents with children ages 2 1/2 to 5 years old. What's really cool is that there is a monthly theme, which everything is focused around and tie into. The boxes contain almost everything you will need for an entire month to homeschool your preschooler. You only need a few additional supplies like simple art and craft supplies and tools!
Mother Goose Time was very generous to allow me to review their Cowboys, Dunes and Deserts curriculum for a month. I am so excited to share with you our experience with this month's theme. We will begin on June 1st. But, what I wanted to share with you now is what we received for this month's box!
First of all, Wes loved the box it arrived in! It comes in a super cute school bus box. He knew right when it arrived on our doorstep that it was something fun and about learning!
Upon opening the box, I was so impressed with how things were packaged. Everything is neatly bagged by daily activity so you didn't have a jumble of things to organize! This really encouraged me that this was going to be something doable!
The Teacher's Resource Bag was packaged separately and contained my monthly lesson plan book and everything else I needed for the month, including a CD to go with the month's theme. Some of the things included were a calendar, letters/number of the month and mystery shape to name a few. The lesson plan book was really fool proof and spelled out each day thoroughly.
|Each day is a 2-page spread|
|Each activity is explained very well|
|The information is really easy to understand|
The Teacher Resource Bag also included a monthly calendar and numbers to match the theme. I am extremely impressed with the print quality of all the materials! There is also a "gathering list" which outlines all of the items you will need to have available, like glue, food items, yarn, etc.
|The monthly calendar, "Gathering List" and Letter/Number of the month|
The one thing that I really found informative was the Skills Sheet. This sheet outlined what each activity works on. For example, Day 1 we will be working on Self Concept, Self Direction, Social Relationships, Gross Motor, Listening Comprehension, Phonological Awareness, Shapes, Logic, Dance and Movement. There are several other areas which are included in the remaining days. It's nice to know how each activity contributes to their overall learning experience.
Since this is our first month, we also received a Starter Kit which included things like a world map, kids chef placemat, and a weather tracker to name a few. Since I knew these items would need to last through the year, I took them to my local Lakeshore to be laminated.
This is how I set up some of the things I received in my Starter Kit. By the work table I set up the Alphabet, Sign Language reference chart, number chart and world map. I've caught Wes looking at them several times already!
|Here's a closer look at the alphabet chart|
|Closer look at the world map|
The other fun print outs that came with the Starter Kit included Month Headers, Activity Center labels, and a Weather Tracking Chart. The really cool thing is that the months and weather charts are printed in English and Spanish (on the opposite side). The one thing that I didn't photograph is the Circle Time CD which contains Circle Time songs to begin and end your lesson day.
Overall, I am very impressed with the quality of the boxed curriculum. The materials are very enticing for my young Wes! He watched eagerly over my shoulder as I went through the contents. I think he said, "Ooh, mama! What's THAT?!?" about 500 times.
They have workbooks that contain more math and reading/writing worksheets for older kids ages 5-7. The additional costs is $3.99, which includes both books. That is really reasonable! They also have curriculums for younger toddlers, younger than 2 1/2. And, if you have multiple children, you do not have to buy separate curriculums. It's less than $10 more to add an additional child.
I'm really excited about homeschooling for the upcoming year! I plan to share about our Mother Goose Time experience with you so you can see IT IS doable! And, even if your kiddo is in daycare, mention it to your provider. They sell curriculums for more than one child and can accommodate a number of children in that type of setting!