Monday, October 8, 2012

Mom School Restart: Focus and Themes

With school starting back up last month, we now have a 2nd grader and a kindergartner.  I originally started my Mom School concept when Pink's preschool closed down halfway through the year.  It was difficult to find another preschool at that point, plus I thought that Pink already had the foundation she needed to be successful in kindergarten.  So we did what we called Mom School: reading a book and doing a related follow up activity.

With Pink now in kindergarten, Mom School is newly geared to 3YO Purple.  The two older children participate in Road to Success, a locally sponsored reading program that encourages 20 minutes of reading daily, so the four girls and I usually read several books together at bedtime.  Rather than making books the center of our Mom School activities as I did in the past, I chose to target the alphabet, numbers 1-20, shapes and colors.  My goal is to provide 3-5 activities weekly.

Each week we focus on a letter, a number, a shape and a color that are centered around a theme.  For example, for our first week of Mom School our activity outline was the following:

Theme: Apple
Letter: A
Number: 3
Shape: Circle
Color: Red

Initially I was going to run through the alphabet, A-Z, in that order.  But on the third week I decided it would be more fun to base our themes on what is going on around us, like holidays, seasons and events.  I also realized that I could tie in the Mom School themes with our new toy rotation system if I came up with a monthly focus that tied together the weekly themes.

We just completed the first full week of October.  Our outline was as follows:

Monthly Focus: Features of Halloween 
Weekly Theme: Spider
Letter: S
Number: 8
Shape: Octagon
Color: Black

For our second week the outline is 

Monthly Focus: Features of Halloween
Weekly Theme: Cat
Letter: C
Number: 4
Shape: Diamond
Color: Purple

I found that it is easier to plan the weekly themes in advance when I have a monthly focus.  I've tentatively planned through the end of the year, with other ideas buzzing in my head for the months beyond.

There are plenty of free online resources from which to draw ideas for themes, and corresponding activities.  One of the first that I found is aptly named First-School.  Another good resource is Pinterest.  You can do an online search for "top Pinterest for preschool" or similar, and find posts such as Imagination Soup's "The Best Pinterest Users for Parents."  By following these Pinners (follow me at Pinterest) I've found ideas that I will use outright, as is, and others that have been a jumping off point for my own activities.  Even then, often my children will take me in a different direction than I intended - I'm learning to let go and let their imagination guide us.

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