NOTE: This series is for newbie homeschoolers that are in overdrive…overplanning, overscheduling and overthinking your child’s preK or kinder year….WE’VE ALL DONE IT. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I’ve been talking in this series of blog posts about what can be done instead of using a preK or kindergarten curriculum in early childhood, by talking about what our own family did doing those years…
I’ve posted about:
- setting up an enriching environment
- spending lots of time reading great books
- making sure to have daily creative and play time
- having as much friend time as possible
- spending lots of time outside…
Instead of curriculum…..We did different weekly group classes and clubs…
When my daughter was little, we had several different weekly classes she participated in, over time. Later on, my son did many of the same classes, and some that his sister didn’t do. In order to afford these, I did most of them on barter (trading ad space on my local family website)…some classes I led myself.
Here’s many of the classes my kids did (usually just 1 at a time, this list is over the course of many years…and also includes some classes my kids took when they were a bit older…but they give you an idea of what kind of things you can do): Gymboree, Music Together, kids yoga, art classes, gymnastics, cooking classes, swim class, origami club, group games class, birding club, music classes…
I don’t have pictures of everything my kids did…and there are probably things that I forgot to mention. But the point is that there’s probably a LOT of great activities that your kids could be participating in instead of following a structured curriculum at home. Now, I don’t mean all at once! Pick just one or 2 at a time, or it will become too much running around and stressful for all!
Getting out of the house weekly to do something with other children their age is of great benefit to all ages, and is a great way to get some learning time AND social time in when kids are very young. (And take some pressure off of you to do everything!) It’s also a good thing to have our kids learn from other adults from time time. And most early childhood classes, the good ones at least, are play based…so they are developmentally appropriate.
We also did some local free weekly activities when my kids were little as well. Our local library has great weekly toddler/preK storytimes. Barnes & Noble did back then too. And a local children’s book store. There’s a lot that can be found if you look hard enough. Most of our weekly activities were advertised in our local parenting magazine, which made it much easier to find things. Hopefully you have a similar resource in your area!
Definitely be choosy with who you sign your kids up with, though…not every early childhood instructor is good with little kids, or provides quality programming. There were some classes and activities over the years we bailed on for these sorts of reasons.