Ellie started preschool several weeks ago.
I am "homeschooling" her. (I think. Not exactly sure if what we do is organized enough to be called homeschool.)
So Ellie loves learning & would probably love to be in preschool with all her best friends. But, I can't bear the thought of her not being able to fully participate (yet) on the playground. She's so very, very close but not quite to total independence on playground equipment and since play is a big part of preschool, I just can't handle the idea of her having to sit out. I also am not ready emotionally for her to feel different. I think she would feel different if she wasn't able to participate fully like the other kiddos and I'm just not ready for that. It's coming.... soon, probably, but I'd like to delay it as much as possible.
She qualifies for Headstart based on her diagnosis but I didn't feel like that was the best fit for her.
Hopefully by next year, she will be ready to head to preschool with her friends. Plus, she's a mid-August baby so we will likely have her start late so no rush yet to get her to preschool.
I am loving having her with me and I just am not in a rush to send her off. She's my baby and my little buddy and helper and shadow and I have a lot of fun with her. I had a few years alone with Will before Ellie came and I'm rather enjoying having some special time with her now while he is at school in the mornings (even though I really, really miss him still.) I really didn't feel any desire to send her to school yet - she's got a lot of years of school ahead of her so my philosophy was why start now?
On Tuesday mornings, my mom keeps Ellie while I go to Bible study. I noticed one week that Ellie came home with some school work worksheets that she did at Lovie's house. I also noticed that Lovie's inner teacher came out and "graded" Ellie's work with smiley faces.
It occurred to me that maybe I should be teaching Ellie in a more structured fashion at home.
So I "researched" some curriculum and ordered some books and learning supplies and materials from Amazon and we "started school" the week of Labor Day.
Ellie LOVES it. She asks daily if it is time for "preschool homeschool." She tells strangers she goes to preschool.
On the first day, she informed me my teacher name is "Mrs. B" or "Miss Mommy" And she calls me that during our school time.
Today, she was so excited and repeatedly asked me when she woke up if it was time for preschool. As soon as I said it was time, she began calling me "teacher!" Cracks me up.
Preschool homeschool usually begins on Thursday mornings, after Mommy's run/jog/walk/shuffle and shower. Ellie gets a snack and her baby and we sit at the kids' table.
Last week, our class grow to triple the original size. We now have Ruby the dog as a regular attender & Ellie's new pretend friend, "Doctor Mamie" who must have her own chair and also answers questions.
During snack, mommy gets organized & then we do songs and movement.
Often, a baby will join in for the songs time.
We try to do arts and crafts. One day, we traced Ellie's body and labeled the parts together.
We have some books we are using that usually include a story and then some related sticker and cut out activities.
She loves these books and I love that they are very handy so I often throw them in my bag and we do them in the waiting room during Will's doctor appointments. We've been doing school for 4 weeks, 1-2x/week and are up to week 10 in the books!
We are doing lots of pre-reading skills like sequencing and context clues.
We are also doing pre-writing skills & fine motor skills (good OT work.)
I initially thought it would take us a few hours to get thru material but usually it takes us about 45 minutes. Ellie loves it & focuses well.
We are using the Core Knowledge Series as well as a supplemental Montessori for Home book. I have ordered various Montessori materials and she has fun working with those.
Sometimes Ruby participates in school too.
I love their sweet friendship.
When Will came home from kindergarten today, he noticed Ellie's sorting activity and decided to try it too. They were so cute doing school together.
This has been a really precious time for us so far and I love that it makes me more intentional about our time together. I love the flexibility and freedom I have with it. I love choosing our activities and knowing exactly what my daughter is learning (& frankly, she's surprised me with how much she already knew!) I really love that we can do school in her nightie!
I'm especially loving watching her develop a love of learning! She loves doing school together and I'm so thankful for her willing spirit. I know that is not a guarantee with a three year old!
I have felt so affirmed that this was a great decision for Ellie for this year and can't wait to see what her little mind soaks up.