So lately we've been doing something I'm really excited about.
I don't have a car during the day so I can't take jr. to preschool anywhere. He's now 3 1/2 and I was feeling like he was really missing out. We did the preschool co-op thing in Utah at the beginning of the year, but that always stressed me out so bad when it was my turn to teach! (I would stay up until 2 a.m. cutting things out and preparing things perfectly, and the next day the kids would be running all over my house like crazy little chickens and just getting them all to sit down at once was a nightmare.)
So it just kind of happened-- a few weeks ago, jr. and I started having our own "preschool" together every day. I don't know why it never occurred to me before that I have all the tools I need in my own home. For some reason I thought that it only counted if it was official and someone else was doing it!
All morning we suggest things to each other that we could learn about in preschool that day. Then, when I put Bennett down for his nap after lunch, we have our little class together. Jr. calls me "Teacher" and is very attentive. We've learned about Africa, ducks, magnets, ladybugs, the jungle, keeping our body healthy, and many more fun things!
We have a little notebook where I write the date and the subject we are learning about, and then jr. tries to write the letter it starts with over and over again until it looks pretty good. He also has to write his name up on the right hand side.
Then we read a book about the subject, if we can find one on the bookshelf, and/or look at pictures of it online and read about it. For example, when we learned about bats we found a fun little web page with basic facts about bats and little pictures to go along with each fact. When we learned about snakes, we found some videos online of what snakes really look and act like.
Finally, we do a project. This part has the potential to be stressful or something but so far it's been really fun. We've made a mobile with glow-in-the-dark stars, done leaf rubbings, made our own book about dinosaurs, made jellyfish out of pipe cleaners. If I can't think of a fun little project to do, I go online and look. I got the idea to make a little bunny-ear hat there when we learned about rabbits. Or, if I'm beat and can't find anything we can always print off a coloring page and color it together.
All of this usually only takes a half hour or so and jr. absolutely loves it. After we do our little preschool, I let him watch a movie or a show, and we usually try to make it loosely match what we just learned about, if possible. If we don't have any applicable movies sometimes we can find something on Netflix. Then it's my time to relax but I don't feel so bad putting him in front of the t.v. because we've had our one-on-one time and worked hard together for a little while.
I know he's not getting the social interaction of preschool, which is something he really loves, so it will be great when he can be in school with other kids. But for now, this is working perfectly for us. Jr. really thrives on routine and repetition so it's fun to see him actually concentrating when I want him to-- it's easier to coax him to sit down and try to draw letters than it was before, for example.
So if you can't afford preschool or don't have a way to do it right now, I would totally recommend doing something like this! It's easier than you might think and really rewarding.