Monday, August 18, 2014

An Entire Year of Preschool/Kindergarten Curriculum

     I can't believe I did it! I had no clue where to start in making up a year of curriculum.  I honestly thought I would be choosing random themes weekly to prep and explore with my daughter. She will be 5 early next year, so I was researching preschool/kindergarten curriculums for inspiration.  I was so overwhelmed at first, but today I was inspired to go for it and make up a schedule for the whole year.

     I thought I would be scrambling with all the ideas in my head for a starting off point, but I was inspired by a question that popped into mind.  What does she want to learn?  So I had Marley sit down right next to me in front of the computer.  I asked her what she wanted to learn about.  She started listing off so many things, that I couldn't keep up.  We brainstormed together ideas for themes and concepts.  The list got very long within 5 minutes (examples: insects, the stars, mummies, flowers, etc).  Who would have thought a 4 year old could be interested in so much?  She made the task so much easier.


A breakdown of how I created my curriculum:

1) I opened up an excel spreadsheet using a calendar template and designated when I wanted to start our school year and end it for summer.

2) My daughter and I brainstormed together what she wanted to learn about and compiled a list of themes.

3) I selected season appropriate themes from the list and placed them in the corresponding months. This took some time and a lot of switching around.  Basically the themes would just help us determine what books to check out from the library and what types of art projects we would be doing each week.

4) I still plan to use Easy Peasy All In One Curriculum, since she enjoyed using it last year.  So I just attached a letter of the week to each weekly theme.  Sometimes the themes worked out perfectly with the letter of the week.  The letter of the week will also go hand in hand with our Disneyland trips and be incorporated with my Disney Schooling curriculum ideas.

5) I decided on a daily schedule that would remain simple and unchanged from week to week. For example, Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays I would like her to use her preschool workbook to practice writing and do some educational computer games (we love Starfall.com).  And Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would like her to do an art/craft project or go on a nature/outdoor exploration.  Every weekday, she will review at least one letter and do a brief scripture study. The 2nd Saturday of each month is designated Daddy-led science lesson, when my husband will prepare and conduct a science experiment for our girls. And I decided to schedule an educational family field trip at least once a month.  It sounds like a lot, but I am keeping in mind that we won't adhere strictly to the schedule.  It is just a guide to help us with ideas for educationally stimulating activities.

6) I went online and researched all my local field trip options.  I placed one field trip destination in each month, obviously trying to relate to the monthly or weekly theme.  This also took some time.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find that most educational field trip options around me are quite inexpensive.

7) I then chose one chapter book per month that correlated to the monthly theme. And I added that to the schedule as part of our bedtime reading routine.

     Once I had everything down and organized, I summarized it for Marley and I can't even express how excited she was about the themes and field trips I had planned.  I explained to her that she would not be going to a school like some of her friends, but that we were going to do school at home as a family and we would be learning all these cool things together.  Her gigantic bright smile made my heart full.  She responded by saying, "We are going to have so much fun!"

And here it is; our curriculum schedule for this year:

SEPTEMBER - FARM ANIMALS
(Read: Charlotte's Web) [Field Trip: a local farm] {Science experiment link: Color Changing Milk}

  • Week 1 - Sheep - Letter A
  • Week 2 - Pigs - Letter B
  • Week 3 - Cows - Letter C
  • Week 4 - Ducks - Letter D
  • Week 5 - Spiders - Letter E

OCTOBER - HALLOWEEN
(Read: The Witches) [Field Trip: a pumpkin patch] {Science experiment link: Make slime}

  • Week 1 - Spiders - Letter E
  • Week 2 - Bats - Letter F
  • Week 3 - Skeletons - Letter G
  • Week 4 - Sleepy Hollow - Letter H
  • Week 5 - Pumpkins - Letter I
NOVEMBER - HISTORY
(Read: Little House In The Big Woods) [Field Trip: an art gallery] {Science experiment link: Churn butter}
  • Week 1 - Ancient Egypt - Letter J
  • Week 2 - Pioneers - Letter K
  • Week 3 - Famous Artists - Letter L
  • Week 4 - Medieval Times - Letter M
DECEMBER - WINTER/NATIVITY
(Read: The Hundred Dresses) [Field Trip: Christmas tree lot] {Science experiment link: Cloud in a jar}
  • Week 1 - Seasons/Weather - Letter N
  • Week 2 - Astronomy - Letter O
  • Week 3 - Happy Holidays - Letter P
  • Week 4 - Nativity - Letter Q
  • Week 5 - Service - Letter R
JANUARY - FAMILIES
(Read American Girl books) [Field Trip: a historical home museum] {Science experiment link: Bubbles}
  • Week 1 - Service - Letter R
  • Week 2 - AG Kirsten - Letter Review
  • Week 3 - Family Members - Letter Review
  • Week 4 - AG Samantha - Letter S
  • Week 5 - Family Tree - Letter T
FEBRUARY - HUMAN SENSES
(Read: Fantastic Mr. Fox) [Field Trip: children's play place] {Science experiment link: Run Away Pepper}
  • Week 1 - See & Touch - Letter U
  • Week 2 - Emotions - Valentines Day - Letter V
  • Week 3 - Hear & Smell - Letter W
  • Week 4 - Taste - Letter X
MARCH - BIRDS & BUGS
(Read: Mouse & Mole: Fine Feathered Friends) [Field Trip: a nature center] {Science experiment link: Raising Raisins}
  • Week 1 - Ladybugs - Letter Y
  • Week 2 - Butterflies - Letter Z
  • Week 3 - Birds - Letter Review
  • Week 4 - Ants - Letter Review
  • Week 5 - Bees - Letter Review

APRIL - PLANTS & FLOWERS
(Read: A Treasury of Children's Literature) [Field Trip: a nursery or garden center] {Science experiment link: Sun Painting}
  • Week 1 - Bees - Letter Review
  • Week 2 - Flowers
  • Week 3 - Plants
  • Week 4 - Gardening
  • Week 5 - Photosynthesis
MAY - WATER LIFE
(Continue: A Treasury of Children's Literature) [Field Trip: visit nearest body of water] {Science experiment link: Mini Ocean
  • Week 1 - Photosynthesis
  • Week 2 - Ponds & Swamps
  • Week 3 - Ocean Life
  • Week 4 - Rivers & Streams
  • Week 5 - Prehistoric Water Life 
JUNE - PREHISTORIC ANIMALS
(Read: Dinosaurs Before Dark) [Field Trip: a natural history museum] {Science experiment link: make a volcano}
  • Week 1 - Dinosaurs
  • Week 2 - Fossils
SUMMER! What should we learn this summer?