Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Preschool Curriculum

Below is our new curriculum that I have been working on. Although our first preschool-homeschool year centered around unit studies, we will be moving away from that and will instead do the activities listed below. Our preschool-homeschool plan is not limited to these ideas but they will be the base for much of our purposed learning until we commit to a more structured curriculum when Aidyn turns six.

Preschool Curriculum

Music and Melodies
Samplings of music of various forms to be played randomly during activity time, mealtimes, reading time, and general quiet time as a way to expose ourselves to a wide range of music. Musical and melodic selections include famous composers (chronologically through time, initially), nursery rhymes and preschool songs, family-friendly musicals such as The Sound of Music, multicultural music, instrumentals, among others. Opportunities to witness musical acts like child-friendly plays and theatrical productions are also included.

Story Sharing
Regular storytelling activities as a conversation. Asking the child to tell or retell a story in their own words. May begin with parent starting, “Once upon a time, there was a boy and he…” and allow child to continue. May spring up from everyday life (“See that dog over there? Where do you think he’s going and what will he do when he gets there?”) Stories also told by parents in an imaginary realm or as an original recap of an actual event.

Science Experiments
Age-friendly explorations of the world around us. May take place with ordinary household objects at the kitchen table, may take place in backyard or outdoors. Using The Backyard Scientist as an occasional guide, conduct fun and exploratory experiments that get the brain turning.

Everyday Problem Solving
Realistic and hypothetical problem solving. Giving child a scenario and asking how they would solve the issue at hand. Socratically leading child to their own solutions as a way of practicing analysis skills.

Multicultural Meetings
Regular exposure to various cultural events, activities, cuisine, and explorations including, but not limited to, participating in cultural celebrations, trying new cuisine and restaurants, exploring cultural epicenters, reading about other cultures, visiting cultural museums.

Occupational Observations
Learning about all kinds of different jobs in the world. Reading about various occupations and doing preliminary job-shadowing/job-visiting to learn about the choices in the workforce.

My World Living Books
Reading whole, living books on subjects close to child’s interests, experiences, and tastes as a way to identify with literary characters, voice personal concerns through a safe outlet, and to encourage a love of literature. Subjects will include themes related to individual child. For instance, if child is a boy who loves to draw, read Harold and the Purple Crayon. If child has had trouble listening to parents, read The Poky Little Puppy. If child adores trains, read The Little Engine that Could. This idea does not exclude other books to be enjoyed, but the focus is on books already within the circle of interest; “required” books come later.

Arts and Crafts
A plethora of arts and crafts including, but not limited to, drawing, coloring, painting (with brushes, fingers, hands, found objects), gluing, cutting, tracing, rubbings, clay play, nature journaling, etc. Visits to child-friendly art museums included.

Other activities include: handwriting practice using Kumon supplies, foreign language introduction, learning the alphabet song and counting, baking and cooking experiences, and introduction to self-defense, martial art, or chosen sport.

Below are all field trip related activities:

Homeschool Hikes
Regular hikes along paths/trails in varying types of nature and seasons as a means of reconnecting with nature, learning from what the world has to offer as that second, and getting back to basics.

Discovery Destinations
The choice or draw of a particular direction with no preset destination in mind. For example, a family member may either choose a direction at random, or we could roll a four-sided die to choose for us. Once we head in that direction, depending on the amount of time we have, we may continue to roll or randomly choose until we stumble upon something interesting to stop for. This could be as simple as an unusual rock structure on the side of the highway, an antique store, a major state park in a county we rarely travel to, or (time willing) a complete weekend getaway to a place we've never set foot on.

Community Connections
Opportunities to connect with various parts of the community: tours of community service buildings (fire houses, police stations, hospitals, post offices, animal shelters, courthouses, etc.--all by appointment, of course), colleges, volunteer work, community-run museums and activities.

Museum Meanderings
Regular trips to museums far and wide and not particularly connected with current unit study (though, of course, they could be) as a means of learning new things and contributing to an organization's effort to keep memories, relics, art, ideas, and learning opportunities alive.

Factory Fun Trips
Trips to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste how things of all sorts are made.

Roadside Rarities
Exploration of unusual oddities along the roadside. This is an opportunity to see some of the strange things that are built with incredible passion, such as shoe trees, quirky restaurants in the shape of unordinary things (flotsam art or concrete dinosaurs, anyone?). The purpose is not only to have fun and embrace our own eccentricities, but to remember to not get bogged down in taking ourselves too seriously!

Animal Encounters
Real, hands-on opportunities to interact with animals. This is not your average zoo trip! Rather, it's a way of meeting and greeting these animals up close with a skilled zookeeper or animal handler that is ready to answer tons of questions.

Open Road Roams
Regular trips to some of California's (and other states as well) most beautiful natural resources. These may not always be the most well-known destinations, but will include often missed gems of the state.

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