First Day of {Pre}School

Do these kids look like they could sit in a classroom?!?
Do these kids look like they could sit in a classroom?!?

We’ve actually been “doing” preschool very on and off again all through the summer. Yesterday just happened to be the first day of “real” school ’round these parts (all the aunties, uncles, cousins and neighbors went back to school). So, I thought what better time to take a beginning of the year photo for our next unofficial homeschool-preschool year.

And while I’m at it, I’ll just throw a couple thoughts out there about homeschooling, mainly what I’ve learned in the last year, that I’m hoping to improve upon this year.

1. I don’t like having to generate “stuff to do”. Give me a complete book, with all necessary things included and I’m a much happier person. That being said, I don’t think that’s realistic. Especially at the preschool age where there’s quite a bit of prep-work involved in…. everything! Maybe just realizing that I don’t like to do it, and planning just a teeny bit more time to plan whatever it is I’m going to do will help.

2. Trying to get uninterested kids interested isn’t very fun for anyone. So…. since this is still super early in their education, I’m going to take a step back. I’ll still be doing letters, numbers, etc… but, if possible, I’m going to be even less formal about it. This is more a mind-game for myself. I have to make myself be ok with letting them explore the letters, numbers, writing, etc at their own pace. Yeah, I’ll introduce stuff, but I have to make myself not force it.

3. 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds are not at the same level. Don’t know why I really thought that they would be, but I did. They aren’t. My guess is 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds won’t be at the same level either, and it will probably save me a lot of stress to try to remember that.

So what are the plans for this year? Besides reading, reading, reading and doing art work at their discretion and puzzles and games and normal stuff…. Our “official” stuff is as follows:

1. Finish working our way through 26 Letters to Heaven by Sarah V. Park (we’ve made it to “E” in the last few months…. which, BTW, has absolutely nothing to do with the book, and everything to do with the fact that I have a hard time getting myself motivated to “teach” anything. Which, ultimately, leads me to think I’m thinking too hard about this “preschool” stuff and should focus more on just letting it happen.)

{And really, I want to homeschool my kids all the way through? Guess it’s better to figure this stuff out when the material is still easy, and the there aren’t any legal requirements to actually DO anything….}

2. In the next couple of months start in on Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann. I very, very informally picked this up with Katherine earlier this year, just to see if there was any interest. There wasn’t. But she has started making her own letters now, ones that we haven’t officially “gone over” and she sits down and “reads” out loud, running her finger along the words… So maybe there will be more interest. We’ll see how it goes.

3. Start in on the Seton Preschool Curriculum. I actually received most of this last year for Katherine from my in-laws. However I didn’t start it because it was a little more than I could manage with her at the time. I think she’ll be more ready for it this year. So after we finish 26 Letters I’ll start in with this for her. Not sure what I’ll do with John, maybe try to work him in as much as he’s interested.

That should probably take up until next summer 😉

And here’s their “First Day of School” photos. Like our year, they’re informal!

K2 K1

J2 J1

No, I do not have a troublemaker on my hands. Nope. Not me...
No, I do not have a troublemaker on my hands. Nope. Not me…

DIY all-purpose cleaner

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I remember seeing a few months back someone on FB or somewhere posted that they were using a homemade all purpose cleaner. But then I went to look for it and couldn’t find it. I’ll be honest. This isn’t a recipe I came up with. I searched around Pinterest for a while and eventually found something I thought could work.

I thought the idea of making an all-purpose cleaner would come in very handy since I’m all about saving the hard earned dollars that come through our door. (I don’t know about you but all the cleaners I find at the store are $4+ and to me, as much as I should be using them, that’s ridiculous.)

Anywhos… found this recipe. Made up a batch. Love it.

You’ll need:

Spray bottle (old Windex one works fine, but it’s a teensy bit big for this quantity, so adjust accordingly)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Dawn dish soap

2 Tbsp vinegar

2 cups water

Mix all ingredients together in bottle. Voila! Cleaner.

A tip I found, write the recipe on the side of the bottle so when you run out, you can make more without having to search again for the recipe.