I had mentioned on Instagram that I had decided to change my preschool plan on the 3rd week of the school year. Honestly, I’m not the least bit surprised that I did. I hastily threw a plan together for my 4 year old at the last second because I didn’t realize until the week before school started that she was a preschooler.
I’ll just blame it on 2020.
I won’t get into the details of my first plan for her because it was actually awful, and its not a shock that it didn’t work out.
But I did have a couple of people message me asking what I decided to do differently. So, I put together this little post explaining what I am doing and how I’m changing the curriculum.
I decided to do The Peaceful Preschool from The Peaceful Press….but with some changes. If you checked out the other curriculum post, you will have seen that I am doing The Playful Pioneers from The Peaceful Press with 3 of the other kids, but I made significant changes to that as well.
I really like the way The Peaceful Press lays out their curriculum and their style of learning. However, over the years, I have realized that it works best for our family if I take their basic model and then just change the activities and books to suit us better.
Make the curriculum work for you, am I right?
Maybe, I’ll do another post explaining my changes to The Playful Pioneers….
But let’s talk about The Peaceful Preschool and those changes first! So keep scrollin’!
***I want to be respectful of this family-based business and not give too much away, for the sake of all of the hard work that they put into each one of the curriculums they offer. So, I will just share a few examples of how we change to suit our family. Please keep in mind that this is just what I personally prefer and I have heard of so many families who enjoy The Peaceful Preschool how it is originally laid out. They offer a free sample if you’re interested to see how it is without my changes.
My whole point for sharing that I changed our preschool plan was to let other homeschooling moms know that its okay to change things if its not working. The same goes for curriculums. If it works for you to follow it to a “t”, then great. If it works better to change a book or activity or skip over something, then great! The flexibility of homeschool and the ability to cater to your child’s learning, is easily one of the best benefits!
Now, obviously, with 9 children, 8 of whom “do school”….oh wait, did I mention that I added another student? Well, I did. The 2 year old is basically joined at the hip with the 4 year old, so she is getting in on the preschool action too!
So, with homeschooling 8 kids, 6 of which need my constant help, things can get busy and overwhelming fast. But to help my sanity, I do school with the 9, 7, and 5 year olds first (The Playful Pioneers group). When they are done I usually have to nurse the baby, and then it’s preschool time.
Homeschool preschool usually takes 15-30 minutes. That’s it. When your child attends a preschool, they are usually gone for 3 hours or so. But a lot of that time is play time and snack times. Doing the actual “work” isn’t that long.
The Peaceful Preschool is more than just “work”, it lays out a lot of activities for your child to do, amazing advice on ways to cultivate a learning atmosphere, recipes, kindergarten readiness checklist, and more! It’s almost a “lifestyle” curriculum. That’s brings me to my first change. I don’t use it for all of that. I use it for the plan of teaching and the activity ideas.
The Peaceful Preschool uses a lot of books and I like that about it. However, purchasing that many books can really add up. You can search thrift stores and your library for the book choices, but if you’re like me, living in a small town with one thrift store and a tiny library, you are unlikely to find all the ones you need. That is where my second change comes in. If there is a book suggested, but my library doesn’t have it and I either can’t get it on Amazon Canada or don’t want to purchase it for that much…I check my own bookshelf! Some of the time, we have the book (We had Ten Apples Up on Top featured in the picture above!) or I am able to find a book that can be a replacement. We didn’t have any of the books suggested for Letter B week, but we had a few that would work instead. “How to Hide a Butterfly”, “The Bee Tree”, “The Very Cranky Bear”, and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”. I used that same philosophy for each letter. I did purchase some of the book suggestions off Amazon, but I swapped where I could to save money or because I liked a certain book better.
That brings me to crafts and activities. Some of them we are going to do just as they suggest, some we will either tweak or change completely, and some we will just not do. For example, one of the activities for Letter A week was to count apples, we did that. Simple enough. But one of the art projects was to watercolor a tree. I instead found a free coloring page of a tree and let the girls go crazy with do-a-dot markers. Slight change but same principle. Another activity was to put cinnamon sticks in a jar (fine motor skill) and we opted out of doing that.
I have also added in activities that I either thought of myself or heard of (aka saw on IG), that I thought would go perfectly with the letter of the week. I’m adding in the alphabet coloring pages that I created (Find those here), and other printable freebies that I have come across. The leaf symmetry pages from CM Simple Studies are going to be perfect for Letter L week.
For Letter F week, instead of their suggested craft, we’ll be doing one where we glue “scales” on a fish. (Basically, I will cut up pieces of construction paper and they will glue them to a fish coloring page I found)
For Letter L week, we will play a ladybug memory game that my daughter got for her birthday from her grandparents.
For Letter M week, since we’ll be reading Madeline, I thought it would be fun to have a family movie night and watch either the cartoon or the movie.
Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list of everything we will do and every change I am making for every week. But it gives you an idea of the simple, small changes of activities each week, while still keeping the same model and outline.
I like making a curriculum work for my family, and this also saves some money by using things we already have to create some of our own activities or tweaking the crafts a bit.
I hope this was helpful to those who were curious about our preschool plan. Let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like to hear how we are changing Playful Pioneers or if you’d like to know anything else about our homeschool!
Homeschool IG : @growing_garwoods