Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Homeschooling preschool links

This is a handout I provided to attendees of a session I did about Homeschooling Preschool at the 2010 VaHomeschoolers Conference, which I updated for the 2013 conference

Homeschooling Preschool
Helpful Websites:

VaHomeschoolers -- The Organization for Virginia Homeschoolers has a page with tips and links for homeschooling preschoolers -- The Link is now a website with an e-newsletter that has many resources and ideas for homeschooling; I especially loved this preschool article, Wax On Wax Off from Vol. 7, Issue 3 - an article about considering the preschool decision; this was the first article I read that lead me to choose not to send my child to preschool This is my personal blog. Posts labeled preschool, resources and reading lists will have the most useful information. Posts labeled homeschooling tend to be about educational philosophy and can be emotional. You've been warned. If you like my writing but find my unclimber persona a bit abrasive, check out my posts (and those of others) on Life Without School. I was far better behaved over there.

Books to inspire or support you:

Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk by David Elkind -- this may put you at ease if you are worried about that your child may be left behind by skipping preschool.

How Children FailLearning All the TimeTeach Your Own by John Holt. How Children Fail is more of an indictment of school and how the system can be harmful to children. LAtT and TYO are more helpful as to how to homeschool.
Local support groups: whether you consider yourself a homeschooler and plan to continue homeschooling beyond preschool, you may find support groups helpful. The VaHomeschooler website has a listing of Support groups
On-line support groups. If you are not are not familiar with yahoo groups, it is easy to sign up for a free account. VaEclecticHS is an especially good group. You can also find local and specialty groups on yahoo.
General Preschool:
Scope and sequence - what preschool kids should be learning; World Book, other websites
Get Set for Kindergarten Series by Rosemary Wells - these are set in a school environment, but will cover typical preschool subject matter.
Helping Your Child Learn - free publications from the Federal Government
            Available on pdf at

Preschool Power videos - kids engaged in Montessori activities; we found these at our local library; YouTube has a channel with clips from the series; you can order the DVD with all the episodes
Games: dice, playing cards, board games, puzzles, play dough, arts and crafts
Placemats - Wal-Mart and K-Mart are good sources, as are toy stores.
The public library - you can likely find books on any subject you'd like to study. Befriending the librarians is not a bad idea, either.

Anno's Counting Book - or anything by Anno; many of his books are wordless

Swan Harbor by Laura Rankin -- a counting book but also ties in nature themes
Loreen Leady - author of many math picture books

            out of print, but the library may have it. Helping Your Child Learn Math from the Federal Government is similar.
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Book lists - Chinaberry catalogSonlight catalog - the curriculum is Christian but includes many books that are not, click "included items" to see a listing of the books; other search terms to use are "living books", "Charlotte Mason", trivium, classical.
Videos for learning to read: Read Alee Dee Da Lee; Leap Frog - Letter Factory, Word Factory 
Scholastic books videos are read-alouds; turning on the captions may help some kids learn to read
Stories and books on tape
            "The general assumption in our culture is that children must be taught to read...., Here [] are seven principles relevant to the question of how children teach themselves to read without formal instruction."
Fine Arts:
Classical Kids CDs - we've enjoyed introducing our kids to classical music through these. They pair the music with a story; most of the stories follow part of the composer's life in a tale directed at children. One exception is Mozart's Magic Flute, which tells the story of the opera rather than the story of Mozart.
My blog has a post listing storybooks exposing young children to the world of art (9/21/2004).
Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaola -- takes you through the process of making a cloak -- shearing the sheep, spinning, dyeing the wool, weaving, sewing. What’s also nice is that it takes you through the seasons of the year. Available as a book and in a Scholastic video
Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle -- Jack wants pancakes and he has to cut the wheat, get it milled, get eggs, milk, etc, all the ingredients of pancakes.
How to Bake and Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman - a trip around the world to get ingredients for an apple pie.
Books featuring kids that do not romanticize school or take place outside of it:
Prairie School by Avi. A skillful teacher fosters a desire to learn in her pupil, without forcing lessons on him. Set in the 1880s.
Sailing Home told by Gloria Rand. Out of print, unfortunately, but may be available at your library. This is such an interesting story and a beautiful book (the Rands have many books to their credit and I've enjoyed those that I've read). The schooling aspect is that the children learn their basics from their mother; after that, a tutor is hired. I liked the idea that perhaps the tutor wasn't necessary and that structured learning can be tedious while life itself can be far more educational.
Abigail Takes the Wheel by Avi. Another sailing book set in the late 1800s. In this one, a girl takes the helm of a steamship boat in New York harbor. There is a brief mention of a test at school, but I felt like this book showed how much more interesting and important real life is than being in school.
The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola. I found this book to be deliciously anti-school, though I'm not sure it was the author's intent (maybe it was and its point is to encourage kids to overcome the obstacles that school presents). The story is about a young Tomie who has to wait until he is in first grade for art lessons at school and then is bitterly disappointed by the lack of artistic freedom the lessons entail. A workable solution is found, but the blaring message I got is that institutional school only pens in your true talents.

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