We just wrapped up our first week of our co-op preschool and I think we learned a lot about our kids and where they are at right now. I think we all had a lot of fun and are looking forward to it in the weeks to come.
I can’t promise that I’ll do weekly updates on what we are doing with school. I’ve seen too many homeschool bloggers do the same before me only to fail. So I don’t even want to promise. 😉
I know that homeschooling brings out a range of opinions from people and can be quite controversial. This is what I’ve decided to do for now and this is sort of the background on it all.
When I first moved to Thousand Oaks, I decided to take some classes through the parks department. There were only two other moms in the class with me and their attendance was spotty. It was fun, but it was expensive. I was especially disappointed because one of the main reasons I had decided to do it was for socialization (both me and Bean).
I’ve talked a bit on here about how Stephen and I recently started going to a new Bible study/community group that we love. I had asked one of the other moms in our group that we usually do playdates with if she wanted to take some parks classes with me this fall since our daughters are pretty close in age. I figured I could at least count on her attendance if nothing else. Their family decided that it seemed like a lot of money to be spending for 1/2 hour a week for 6 weeks. I still decided to sign up for the classes.
Then she told me about a co-op preschool and parenting program the school district does here for parents and kids under five. A friend of hers was involved (and since she mentioned it I’ve heard about it over and over again all over the place) and loved it. Again, the finance thing was something that now Stephen and I were questioning. You’d think because it is a co-op and parents are expected to attend and help out that it would be a little less expensive than normal preschool. But no. That is not the case at all.
At some point one of us mentioned that maybe we could just make up our own program. My friend has tons of supplies, curriculum ideas, crafts, etc. leftover from her days as a preschool and then kindergarten teacher. I had a couple homeschool books on the subject.
And then just like that it was all I could think about. I started obsessively planning and spending nearly every moment of my free time coming up with lesson plans and picking up and searching through books at the library on preschool crafts and activities. Within about a week we had our first few weeks scheduled out, other moms with preschoolers contacted and even plans for field trips.
Anyway, I really believe that I can give my kids a better education at home for less money. That kind of sums everything up.
Our first day we had two other moms besides ourselves and 6 kids. I wasn’t able to take a ton of pictures because I was engaged with the kids, but I can tell you all about it and what we learned.
Our first day we were running a little late, but we got there and had a great time:
We decided to break things out by themes. Our first theme is ocean life. First up we did some exploration stations. My friend has a water table so the kids got to play with some ocean toys there and we also had a couple other “stations” with books/pictures about the ocean/ocean animals, and some stuffed ocean animals.
Then we did some circle time. We sang the song “Octopus” by Charlotte Diamond. We learned the hand motions to the song and my friend also has some felt creatures that go along with the song. The kids seemed to really like it so we did it a few times.
We tried to do a story time, but they were not really paying attention. I think this will get better as our houses are not so new to the other kids and all the toys so distracting. So we basically skipped story time. We did learn the sign language for fish and talked about how God made all the fish. I’m not sure if the kids really got that part either.
Then we headed outside to do some parachute games with our stuffed sea creatures. The kids loved this, it was a lot of fun. As a side note, I remember in elementary school doing parachute games a few times with a really giant parachute and I always wanted to do them more and have my own parachute at home for it.
We came back inside and let the kids do some free play with the toys. They also had snacks. During this time we pulled the kids out one by one to do some hand print art.
Sprout’s is on the left, Bean’s is on the right
Then we cleaned up and the day was done.
Today we were supposed to head out to Ventura to see the indoor tidepool exhibit at the Channel Islands Visitor Center in the Ventura Harbor, but we decided to postpone until next week. The other two moms were not going to be able to make it and I had a long week with a trip to LAX and an unexpected trip to Bakersfield. So, we decided to stick closer to home and go to the Babies and Books weekly event at our library, the tie in to the ocean theme was that they have a really awesome and huge aquarium with lots of fun and colorful fish.
We definitely learned some things from the library event as well. Both of us noticed how well our kids did for the story and singing time. They were actually sitting down nicely, paying attention to the books and songs and even participating a little. I think it is very strategic how they have the toys in the back under blankets and the first thing they have everyone do is come in and sit down for the story time and songs. Then there is playtime afterwards.
So, we’re going to try and incorporate some of the things we learned this week into next week. Next week I’m hosting and I’m turning my living room into a kelp forest. Wish me luck!