Technically we were at the local library, but you know… we made it official. I’m homeschooling the little man. He just turned 3 years old (insert crying mom here.) He has been showing so many signs of wanting to learn and explore more.
I’ve always believed that learning begins in the home and that the opportunity to learn is everywhere, everyday. I’ve just decided that I’d like to add more intent to teaching him and helping him discover his talents. He’s already learned a lot from having a big sister. I’m not here to push him, but just to give him the tools he needs to keep growing mentally and physically. I’m also using this as practice in case we do decide to homeschool both kids full time. More on that later.
The first day of school for both my kids was quite successful and not too stressful. Although Pinky doesn’t usually go to school on Mondays I wanted her to start the school year off with her classmates. I also wanted some alone time with the little man so we can start easing into his schedule and routine.
And here are the traditional first day of school photos!
He wasn’t really into the whole first day of school photo opp. I don’t even think he realized he was going to be at “school.” All he knew was that he was in for a fun day with mommy.
My Homeschool Philosophy
I’ve been researching homeschool programs and found a few free curricula I like, but I’m not limiting myself to any one program. When people told me they pick and choose I was overwhelmed just thinking about it, now I can see why they do it. I have a very hands-on and freestyle approach, if you will, when it comes to homeschooling my kids. Granite this year, I am working on incorporating some structure. This is only my second year homeschooling and I don’t have all the answers, but I do know what my kids like and don’t like.
My philosophy for homeschool is still evolving. All I know is that I want my kids to take the lead. I want to instill a love for learning in them, pique their curiosity, I want to give them the tools they need to succeed, I want to teach them to be kind to others, to help nurture their talents and help them find their passions, their purpose in life. I want them to go out confidently into the world and know that they matter, but others do too. I want them to have unique life experiences, travel and place a high value on family and friendships. I want them to always feel like they can talk to me about anything.
First Day of Preschool
Today, I didn’t put any pressure on myself. Today, I let the little man lead.
First, I set some expectations for the morning to build excitement and to have a clear idea of what we were going to do. I handed the little man his lunch box and told him we were going to the library and asked him if he wanted to feed the duckies, because I knew he would give me a “yes.” He was excited and ready to go.
Here’s how my little man homeschooled at the Scripps Ranch Library.
He played games on the computer. This is the first place he ran to after jumping in and out of child size car. I love that the library has computers for little hands complete with games and familiar characters to help encourage their learning. It’s a way for kids to learn how to use the computer, develop their fine motor skills by punching the keyboard and of course to learn basic concepts like shapes, colors and the alphabet. Even though he doesn’t quite know how to work the computer yet, it’s good to introduce him to it when we can. After all, their generation is all about computers and devices.
He played with puzzles. The library was a great place to go for the first day of preschool. It was like a mini field trip, and adventure and a place to explore. I love how he found things he liked to do and moved on when he was done. He stopped at a table that had a number puzzle. At first he took the pieces out and then walked away. I took the opportunity to ask him if he wanted to put it back together, he quickly ran back to the table and started placing them back in place. Each time he picked up a number I said what it was and he repeated after me. When the puzzle was complete we talked about the numbers in order. I know it will take him a few more times before he understands the order or remembers the numbers, and puzzles are a great way to repeat that process so he does.
He socialized and made friends. He shared. I always get a little emotional when he shares because it was so hard for him. It’s hard for most kids, but it makes me happy when he can practice being kind to others and that usually has to happen in a social setting. That’s the one thing you miss when homeschooling, but there are a lot of ways to make up for it like going to public places, or joining a cop-op group or participating in regular extracurricular activities.
He pretended. And I played along. You know those toys you see at medical and dental offices? The name escapes me, but they are like roller coasters (or loopy, loopy as my son calls them) with colorful beads on them. Well, we used that to talk about colors but also to race rocket ships. Yes, there were rocket ships on the side of the play box and we pretended to race to the moon. He always won of course. I learned that imaginative play is so important for young kids. It helps act out recent experiences and express their understanding of people concepts and even decision making. I try to encourage this or just let it happen as much as possible.
He had snack time. What school day would be complete without snack time? He loves leaving the house with his lunch just like big sister. We packed cheese, water, fruit snacks and cookies – he ate it all.
He fed the ducks. Next to the library is a pond overflowing from lake where birds and ducks hang out. Grace’s Book Nook, a little store inside the library sells duck feed. I gave him a quarter and he paid for it himself. He learned how to make a money exchange, or what I recently learned can be called an energy exchange. He gave his quarter to a nice lady, he was able to grab a bag of duck feed and have fun feeding the ducks. It was a win-win, good vies only!
He witnessed a unique experience. Remember I said I want my kids to have unique experiences? Well, feeding the ducks isn’t that unique, but it is for them. What made this feeding even more interested was that we saw a mother bird feeding her two babies. I pointed out how she would catch or grab the food and put it into the little birdies mouths with her beak. It was a site to see. We kept talking about it. Then he finally said, “That mommy so hungry.” I was able to tell him it was because she is working so hard to feed her babies. It was a simple moment with a lot of impact, especially for me as a parent.
There was so much to learn at the library and being outdoors. It was a fun two hours to say the least. I even checked out some books for my daughter, attempted to read him a book and talked to other moms. Another win-win. I would have taken more photos but my phone died. It was a blessing really. It allowed me to focus on what was in front of me, what was important, my son and his first day of preschool. He probably won’t remember, but I will. I saw a lot of beautiful things that day, but I didn’t capture them in my smart phone…instead I was only able to etch the memories in my heart and mind.
How was your kids’ first day of school? Are you homeschooling? Leave a comment below and let us know.