Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Home Preschool

For the time being, our family has decided to "home preschool".
Granted, our child is one.
But since Levi doesn't go to a daycare center and is with me most of the day, I knew I needed to start working on some of his academic skills.
And, I know I'm his Mama and I'm supposed to say this, but.... this kid has some smarts.
Must take after his daddy.

So after lots of research, we dove into the school year with our own little version of preschool.
Right now, at 20 months old, Levi's goals are:
Learning his colors
Learning shapes
Begin counting (he can count to 5!)
Begin identifying letters
Lots of reading together
Expand his vocabulary
LOTS of creative play

In our family room, I carved out a little area for his preschool things:

The key being that I wanted his items accessible, but organized.
Clearly labeled so that he can help in putting things back where they belong.

How I've structured our time is that we do mini-units every 2 weeks (give or take).
So for now, we are on "Fall".
We are still working on his general concepts (shapes, colors, etc.)
But through structured play that corresponds to the theme.

I've gathered a billion ideas from Pinterest, and organized them into a little binder so I can keep it all together.
It is filled with everything you'd need to start Tot School inclduing free printables!
You can also follow my Preschool Pinterest board for ideas!
 Each week, on our book shelf is 3 baskets. 
Each basket has an activity or toy that goes with the theme.
They may be homemade stick puppets that go along with a book, blocks, toy animals, leaves, etc.
This helps keep toys fresh and interesting.

At Levi's age, with the attention span of an active one year old boy, we only do preschool for 20-30 minutes. Much of the time is lead by him. 
We usually have time for him to explore the activities in his basket, we then read a book that goes with the theme, then usually some type of art project.

Really? You can make it what works best for you and your little one.
This is meant to be intentional, fun learning.

To get's items I recommend.

 I got this one at Target for $25.
You can get refill pouches for cheap on Amazon.
Definitely recommend this.

Velcro Dots
Work great when making puzzles or labels

Binder rings
For making your own books

So items are organized and accessible for little ones

Lots and lots of baskets. Organization is key.

Kid size work space
A little table and chair are great for them to do reading or art

Magnet Board
Great for kids to manipulate items and practice storytelling

Paint Dot Markers
These are washable and fabulous for little hands!

And to help you get started, just right-click and download these labels I made in organizing your own preschool area!
Just print, laminate and attach to your baskets!

And for us, teaching Levi the Gospel is the center of our day.
I pray and strive to show Christ-like patience and love to him.
We look at the wonders outside and how our Creator made them.
We practice saying sorry and forgiving.
We read Bible stories and try to recall the characters.
We pray for those around us.

God has entrusted Levi's precious mind and soul to me to mold and shape and I pray daily for His wisdom.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Is anyone else a "home preschooler"?
Have any great tips or resources?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Today is Pregnancy & Baby Loss Remembrance Day.
A day I wish didn't exist.
I wish every positive pregnancy test ensured a healthy baby.
That pregnancy would be full of joy and anticipation.
That all baby's are born healthy and get to live a happy life.

But many of us know the cruel reality.
The dropping HCG levels.
The silent face of the technician during a sonogram.
The many heavy decisions to make.
The calls of telling loved ones the terrible news.
The sleepless night sobbing and wondering what could've been.
The feeling of helplessness.
The disappointment in your own body.
The surgeries.
The doctor's appointments.
The tucking away of cute baby things that bring too much sorrow to look at.

I also know we have a loving God. A Father who loves us.
That we do not know the plans He has for us. And for our children as well.
The year that we lost 3 pregnancies and underwent infertility testing and treatments were the darkest months I have yet to encounter.
I felt so alone. So isolated.
I felt incredible sorrow and jealousy.
I felt doubt and confusion.
But through it all...though I did not understand, I knew God was good and He had a plan.
That was my rock that kept me going.

It's been nearly 3 years since that very dark time.
The Lord has since blessed me with my sweet little boy.
I am thankful each and every day to have experienced a healthy pregnancy and getting to mother my son.
Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
It has grown me in so many ways.
I am not the same woman I was prior.
But I am thankful.

I am thankful that no matter where my life would be now,
whether I would still have empty arms and a broken heart,
or a home full of children.
My God is good.

And for that I am thankful.