Monday, February 23, 2015

The Homegrown Preschooler

While at the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth last week I had the privilege of hearing both Kathy and Lesli from The Homegrown Preschooler speak.  It felt like a breath of fresh air. Both ladies asked such great questions - "What will your preschooler remember seeing, hearing, touching, etc. from their childhood?" to "What is your end goal for homeschooling your child?" Somehow I got trapped into thinking I needed to bring school to our home, even though I knew that's now how to raise a creative, innovative leader.  Sitting with these ladies reminded me that it's not about completing 'lessons' in a curriculum.  It's about helping my children develop into well-rounded people who love learning and construct their knowledge through experience.

But that's a lofty (and sometimes overwhelming) goal, right?  I mean how do I possibly create a new learning experience every day?  I could (and still do) scour the Internet and Pinterest, but I was spending so. much. time. trying to do that.  After flipping through their binders, seeing their booth, talking with them both several times - I felt a calm wash over me.  I can't explain it in any other way.  I just felt the peace of the Holy Spirit.  My kids don't need to sit with flash cards and phonics worksheets - they need to read books and ask questions and make their own books.

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Their booth included two sensory tables - one with scented play dough and nature items, the other with red and white water beads and containers.  My kids were enthralled.  They played and played and played - calmly and creatively.  My three year old made water bead cupcakes and muffins and pancakes. My five year old made a "forest" with play dough, branches, and pine cones. Imagination at work!

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Before I start here, let me be clear: I'm not paid in any way to say these things. I need to share the A Year of Playing Skillfully curriculum with you. They took what I know kids need - new experiences - and put it into a curriculum.  This is constructed knowledge at its finest. And I don't have to spend hours developing objectives and activities or hunting down How-to tips and coordinating recipes (and then getting behind and spending a couple of days mostly with sit-down activities and workbooks).  I saved myself SO much time.  The full curriculum covers September-May. It is comprehensive (but not overwhelming).  And reusable!  Because it's an experiential process it won't look the exact same two years in a row.  I have shared it with several other moms so far and their responses were so similar I was surprised: It's so simple but I never even thought of this stuff!

I also encourage you to take a look at their book (which I will review in full and giveaway soon) - The Homegrown Preschooler.  It isn't nearly as comprehensive as the curriculum, but I've started blending ideas from the book into our life.  So helpful!

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