Thursday, August 30, 2012


We're finishing up our second week of pre-school at home.
I've had quite a few of you ask if we were planning on homeschooling.
And quite a few of you ask what curriculum we were using.
And some of you asked what our schedule looked like.
So here it all is in one big post.
This past spring Emma began to show an interest in reading.
Somehow her not being a toddler any more snuck up on me.
We knew we wanted to keep her home for preschool.
I love having my kids home with me!
It's such a privilege to have her home with me and I know this season will be a short one.
I love being able to teach her the basics as well as watching her discover new things.
Will we homeschool K-12?
I feel pretty confident that we will not.
Will we homeschool through gradeschool?
Honestly... I don't know.
We are going to pray year by year.
Since Travis is in the coaching profession we are not always sure where we will be
in a few years or what the school district will look like.
Thus making our schooling desicion year by year and child by child.
As far as curriculum.... I'm doing a mish-mosh and making up alot of it as we go.
I had initially planned on using the Five in a Row curriculum.
I purchased the Before Five in a Row book and after reading through
it realized it wasn't the best fit for us.
The reason I didn't feel it was the best fit is because my kids LOVE to be read to.
This winter I started reading chapter books to them.
The first we read was Stuart Little.
I felt I could challenge them more by sticking to our chapter books
and saving the smaller children's books for naptime and fun reading.
So here's what I've pulled together for "curriculum" and a little idea of our routine.
I've taken pictures to give you a better idea.
We wait to begin our school time until Cade goes down for his morning nap.
This give us a good hour and a half to work.
We start our morning around the kitchen table praying together for our day.
I then read them a Bible story out of this little book I found.
I LOVE it!
It has all the basic Bible stories and makes for great conversation.
After we read our Bible story we work on our memory verse for the week.
This past week our verse was,
Colossians 3:23,
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

I then read a chapter out of our chapter book.
Right now we're reading "The Trumpet of the Swan" by E.B. White.
It has been such a fun read!!!
With this book I've done a few activities that match up with what we've read for the day.
Here are a few examples:
-A trumpeter swans wing span is around 6 feet. So one night we had Travis lay down to demonstrate to the kids how big six feet was.  The kids thought that was hilarious! :)
-A trumpeter swan's nest is around six feet across as well. 
So one morning we built a huge swan nest out of pillows.
The kids pretended to be swans all morning...
Emma was the swan and Colt was the cob (male swan).
It was a crackup :)
-We pulled up YouTube and listened to a real trumpeter swans call.
That's kind of an example about how I "wing it" as we read.
If something strikes their interest we learn more about it.
The next two books on our chapter reading list are "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White and "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I've given each child their own notebook.
Whenever they do a great job with their schoolwork I give them a sticker to add to their book.
I've also added a pocket to the front (made out of an enevelope) to keep their alphabet flashcards in.
Each time we work on a new letter we add it to their pocket.
My sweet aunt sent me these two preschool books.
The Phonics book on the left is a workbook.
It's fabulous!
Emma has been doing a page or two a day.
The one on the right is incredible!
It gives activity ideas for whatever letter of the alphabet you're working on.

I found these foam puzzles at Family Dollar a few weeks ago.
Each day I work with the kids on their numbers and letters (sounds for Emma...recognizing for Colt).
I usually designate around 15 minutes for numbers and 15 minutes for letters.
Again, I am not using a curriculum for math.
We're just winging it as we go.
One of our favorite ways to work on numbers and addition is by using our snack for the day.
Goldfish crackers, raisins, etc. :)

My plan is to have a new letter and number each week.
I'm working with Colt on recognizing his numbers, letters, colors and shapes.
And I'm working with Emma on reading, handwriting and addition.
The following pictures are a few examples of the supplies we've been using.

Below are a few examples of letter work.
For the letter B we glued buttons to a b.
And for letter W we glued W's to Waves.
It's just a fun little way to help them remember the sounds that go with the letters.

Last week one of our Bible stories was about Noah's ark.
They learned about the rainbow and for our art project we drew our own
 rainbows talking about the colors as we went.

As far as reading goes for Emma.
I haven't been using a curriculum.
Just working with her for about 30 minutes every day.
Some days I'll write out smaller words and she'll sound them out.
Some days we'll talk about how different letters together make different sounds.
Some days we work on sight words.
I'm not sure if that's how you're supposed to correctly do it or not.
But it's what's been working for us:)
So that's a rough idea of what we've been doing.
I also thought I'd show you where we do our school work.
I have a giant picture frame that I hang the kids current projects from.
The top two rows are for Emma.
Bottom two are for Colt.
It's a fun way for them to display their hard work.
And also for Travis to see what they've been working on.
We do our schoolwork by the kitchen table.
To the right is where we hang their projects.
The left bulletin board holds words and numbers that we're currently working on.
To the far left of the table is our "book nook"...

Reading is very important to me.
I love having comfy spots located around our house where the kids can curl up to read.
We call this little area our "book nook".
Some mornings while I'm working with Emma on her reading
Colt curls up in here to read his own books for awhile.

 So that's a VERY rough idea of what we've been doing and our routine.
We work for around an hour and a half every morning.
And there have been a few mornings where our "school" for the day is being outside playing.
Learning about the world around them, discovering new things and being in God's creation
is just as important in my opinion!
If you have any questions feel free to ask them and I'll answer in the comments!


  1. Gosh. You are amazing! These are really great things you are doing with these kiddos. Good for you girl! The book nook looks cozy! I'm going to make Easton a book spot in our new house! He loves looking at books!

  2. Ash, I am so very proud of you. Enjoy every minute, they grow up way way too fast. Your choices look amazing. Jane Luper

  3. Just curious (with not an ounce of judgment) . . . why you think you will NOT homeschool your kids. I know that you were home schooled, and I know that you LOVE having your kids home. So, what are your thoughts when you think you might want to put them in school full-time.

    Clearly, we need to seek God's will for each child, each year. But, most of us have some idea whether or not we plan to homeschool.

    Just wondering . . .

    mama of 12

  4. Ashley,
    Your pre-school mornings sound wonderful. Reading aloud to little ones is always such a nice time for all. I looked at the web-site for Before Five in a Row and then heard about ABC Jesus Loves Me. It's free to use personally on-line and can also be purchased really inexpensively as a bound copy. I've found it to offer helpful structure and lots of fun age-appropriate ideas! You might like it :)

  5. We love reading at our house too and I just LOVE your book nook!!

  6. Great information!! When we get into our own place I would really love to have a specific place for reading, a comfy corner with pillows and good lighting! My little one loves to read already at 18 months (we've been reading to him since he was 3 months) and we read around him and to him all the time. I too think that it is so important and something I never liked to do as a kid.

  7. We started homeschooling this past June. I love it! We found some good workbooks from hobby lobby for just a few bucks if you end up wanting some other "practice" for her. Ella loves having her own "schoolbooks".

  8. Thanks for sharing all of this. My oldest 2 start second grade and Kindergarten next week, but they attend a sort of cottage school where they are home with me 2-3 days per week. I also have a two year old so these ideas for younger ones are just great! I'm sure your kids are having a blast with you. :)

    p.s. I know I'm on the wrong post, but the name you have chosen for your new little girl is so very cute!

  9. Thanks for sharing!! Looks like it is going great!! Love the letters and buttons!! xo Heather

  10. My son goes to a standard school but over the summer holidays I've been doing little 'refresher' classes with him and he has just progressed in leaps and bounds.Rx

  11. Way to go, Ashley! Emma told me all about her stickers and her books. At this age, it's just keeping them "loving" school. Your book choices are amazing, too. We read those in 3rd-4th grade with our curriculum, so if your babies are listening, that's amazing! Just finished "Charlotte's Web" with my 2 little ones and they watched the movie today with Dakota Fanning. It was like the book came alive for them. You're welcome to borrow it.