I decided that this year I would need to do some kind of official homeschool time with my 3-year old. She so often feels left out of things, being so much younger than her brothers, and I hoped that having some special time with Mama would ease this feeling. I also had been fretting about how, in the busy-ness with older siblings, she missed out on a lot of the flowy, early childhood experience I had been able to create for her brothers. I wanted more time to sit and read to her, and to make things with our hands, and to sing together. I felt I needed to create a more mindful space for her little self- amidst the bustle of activities and lessons and big kid games.
I also secretly hoped that she would play more peacefully while I worked with the big boys after having her own special little homeschool session, which has been true so far- most of the time, anyway.
I looked around and I loved the look of several of the waldorf-inspired preschool curriculums I saw, and realized while researching, that I really have everything I need already to make a preschool curriculum for my girl. Seasonal picture books, simple nature crafts, circle songs and finger plays. That sounds like plenty for a 3-year-old.
So I dug through the autumn book basket and pulled out the ones I thought she would enjoy. Then I went to the library and grabbed a bunch more. And I might have ordered a few off my wishlist from Abebooks too, since my book buying habits are still strong, despite minimalist aspirations.
Then I chose a few easy, basic activities that I could do with Miss W. that wouldn’t take much prep or fuss since I would be working with her in the mornings, before I’d even finished my morning coffee. This needed to be easy and doable.
Then I sifted through my books and curriculum materials for some circle songs and finger plays. I chose the same ones I did with my boys since they were not buried too far in my brain and didn’t need to be so much memorized as dusted off. I also found the cards I had made ages ago with our favorite seasonal verses printed on them, and I keep them in a stack in the corner where we do our homeschool work so I can use them when I need them.
I made a loose plan, with one book per week (we only have 2 mornings a week home together, so we read each book twice,) and a couple activities per week. Many of them I repeated, or did over several days. The circle has stayed the same for the whole block. I’m thinking of only changing it seasonally, (though we will likely need to change things up a bit during our never-ending winter!)
So this is what we’ve been doing together:
Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
Flicka, Ricka and Dicka go to Market by Maj Lindman
Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell
The Busy Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
Apple Cake by Nienke Van Hichtum
Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall
Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure
In November by Cynthia Rylant
Strega Nona’s Harvest by Tomie dePaola
wet-on-wet watercolour in autumn colours
making small pumpkins and apples from beeswax
walks in the woods
making pumpkin muffins
drawing pumpkins and apples with crayons
making apple cake
paper lantern making from oiled watercolour painting
watercolour jack o lantern
We’ve been doing a very simple little circle that includes some sensory integration activities like this little verse:
spinning in the autumn wind
fly leaves of red and gold
where the wind will carry them,
no one ever knows.
(spinning and then “flopping in the leaves”)
Also moving in a circle through the “leaves,” skipping, jumping, stomping, tiptoeing, crawling. Also belly arches on the floor with flapping arms as a flying goose and curling up as a little squirrel.
It’s been going very well. She starts asking for “homeschool time” as soon as she gets up and it’s the one time she is happy to acknowledge her place as the little one “I get to work with Mama first, because I am the littlest!” she announces to her brothers.
Any day now it will snow and we will move onto some winter activities (which I am not really ready for…) Time to pull out the books to make a plan!