I think just about everyone has started school by now. We don’t “officially” start until next week, but we’ve been doing plenty of educational playtime and I’ve given my daughter a sneak peak at some of the things we will be working with in the next several months. I’m sure many people think I’m a bit crazy for planning the school year and purchasing curriculum for a two-year-old, but I have my reasons…
My Tot School Philosophy
My main goal in teaching my toddler is to instill a love for God and His Word (the Bible), His World (all of creation, especially people) and for life-long learning, as well as encourage godly character. In order to do this intentionally, I personally need a little structure–especially with a new baby on the way. However, I believe that young children learn best through play and real life, so I wanted to find a curriculum that would give me the flexibility we need for this season of life. After a bit of research, I decided to combine two different curriculum (and add some supplements) to achieve a learning environment that reflects my tot school philosophy.
Our Focus this Year
- Reading and Memorizing the Word of God - This is of first importance. If we don’t do anything else each week, I want to make sure that I am consistent in having daily Bible devotions together to encourage and develop a thirst for the Word of God. We will also work on memorizing Scripture each week.
- Reading and Enjoying Good Literature - Thankfully my daughter already has a love for books and the library, so this will be pretty easy!
- Letter Recognition - In all honesty, I am not super concerned about teaching this right now, but Claire has been asking me to teach her the letters of the alphabet. In my opinion, if a child is asking to be taught something they are probably ready to learn it, so we will be learning to recognize uppercase and lowercase letters. And probably numbers too while we’re at it… However, I don’t have a goal that she must know any of these by the end of the year.
- Life Skills - Anything else that a toddler needs (or wants) to know as this stage in life. This will include colors, shapes, counting, fine and gross motor skills, critical thinking, etc…
- Before Five in a Row - As I mentioned above, we are a family of book lovers. However, I wanted a list of books to go through and ideas for incorporating the lessons of the stories into everyday life. I need that structure right now! I decided that Before Five in a Row would be perfect for that. The curriculum itself was fairly inexpensive (it’s just one book) and I was able to find almost all of the “required” literature at the two local library systems I have access to. We will probably just skip the books we can’t find or put them on our Christmas list and do them toward the end of the school year. (BTW- You can purchase the Before FIAR Literature Pack if you don’t have access to all the books through your local library or would like to own them.)
- My Father’s World Preschool Pack - This is basically a selection of age-appropriate educational toys to use with toddlers and preschoolers. The pack comes with set of activity cards that have ideas for using the toys to develop specific life skills and are categorized for easy choosing. “Doing school” is a easy as picking out a toy, selecting a card and playing with your child, which goes right along with my tot school philosophy and focus. This pack also comes with the Hide ‘Em in Your Heart CDs that we plan to use with memorizing Scripture. I personally didn’t purchase the entire pack because I already had the CDs and planned to use some of the toys we already own. However, I will be honest and admit that now that I have the activity cards, I wish I would have gone ahead and spent the extra money for the full pack.
Other Resources I Plan to Use
- Read and Learn Bible - I have struggled to find a Bible storybook for toddlers that I like and this one wins! It was put together by the American Bible Society, so it doesn’t have a lot of things added and many of the stories (i.e. Creation, etc) are almost word-for-word out of the Bible using easy-to-understand terminology. While I still think it’s important for young children to hear the actual Word of God through Bible reading, a storybook like this will be a wonderful supplemental reading to our devotions.
- Songs for Saplings - These CDs are full of fun and catchy tunes to help little ones memorize Scripture and learn doctrinal truths. Claire really enjoys singing along with them, so we will be using many of the songs as a musical addition of our Bible times.
- Free Printables - There are so many great homeschool printables out there! For the most part, I will probably use ones that specifically go along with the FIAR books are a rowing each week, but may branch out to other ones at times. My four favorite blogs to get tot school printables and activity ideas are:
So, there you have it! The nitty-gritty of what tot school is going to look like for us this year. Obviously, there will be days and weeks in which I don’t plan anything, but that’s the beauty of having a flexible curriculum.
Are you doing tot school? What’s your plan? Share in a comment!