May is long gone, and so is June, so I thought that instead of posting a big monthly update, today I would post an example of what we are doing in our preschool-at-home. Today was a good example of what it is that we do at home on days when we don’t have to leave the house.  Here is what we did today:

We woke up and ate breakfast. Then, Pearl asked me to read the story of Jonah to her. I read from the NIV, and read the entire book of Jonah except Jonah’s prayer. Then she asked me to read the story of Naaman, so I read the relevant parts from 2 Kings 5. Finally, she asked me to read the story of Jesus dying on the cross, so I read Matthew 26 and 27. At that point, I told her she needed to play on her own for a while.

After a short break (10-15 minutes), she asked me to read her Bearymore by Don Freeman, and then we did a reading lesson on progressive phonics, where she read words like shop, ship, and shut. Then there was another play break, after which she told me she wanted to do her Five in a Row activity for today. So we read The Story about Ping and then did an activity where we talked about out what sorts of things float in water, and what sorts of things sink.

After another short break, she asked me to do a math lesson out of Anno’s Math Games. She took another break, then asked me to read The Tale of Ginger and Pickles and The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter. We then ate lunch and then I read her The Steadfast Tin Soldier (again, at her request).

After another play break, she asked me why a relative of ours was sick in the hospital (my aunt, she has a collapsed lung), which led to a discussion on lungs, which led to us watching an episode of The Magic School Bus where the class travels into the throat os a classmate with strep throat. Then we watched a short video on how blood clots. Then we looked at pictures of streptococcus bacteria online. Then she asked to look at pictures of spiders’ webs online, so we did. Finally, she wanted to read some more, so she read two lessons out of McGuffy’s First Reader (The dog ran. Is the cat on the mat? That sort of level of reading. ‘The’ still gives her trouble, but the rest of the words are easy to her.)

After another break, she asked me to read several stories from Thornton Burgess Bedtime Stories, so we did that and then we looked up pictures of the animals from the stories. And then it was nap time. Phew.

I’m probably forgetting some of the things we did today between 8:30 and 2:00, but this gives you an idea. As you can see, this is all done at her request. I almost never suggest doing anything school related. She’s just driven and intense, and right now what she’s interested in is doing ‘school’ things: learning to read, and having me read to her. I actually have to enforce mandatory play time by setting a timer and completely ignoring her until the timer goes off, or else she would do nothing but read all day. Which sounds vaguely reminiscent of my own childhood… hmm…. ;-)

I have no idea how long this will last. She does tend to go in cycles where she’s all about books, and then she’ll go for spells where she doesn’t care about reading one bit. So it’s possible this could all end one day when she decides she would rather be doing other things than reading. But as long as it’s what she wants to do all day, this is probably a good idea of what our preschool looks like.

April has been a survival month. I don’t think there’s much to report except that Pearl has watched youtube videos in French, Italian, Greek, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic (and probably some other languages I’m forgetting), and of course English this month. At least she’s getting lots of exposure.

She also went through a phase for one week this month where she wanted all her bedtime stories to be in Korean. So we read several stories from a Korean fairy tale book, and we also read a couple of Bible stories in Korean.

Other than that… it’s been a bit of a lost month. Now we can hope that next month will be easier than this one. :-)

March 2012 in review

Our family has been dealing with a lot of extra things these past two months. One of my grandmothers has been sicker than usual, so we visited her. She is now on hospice care, and seems to be doing very well on it. Also, our whole family has been sick, which also throws off our rhythm.

Reading – Pearl continues to enjoy Reader Rabbit and Jumpstart Preschool on the computer. She has gotten really good at figuring out the first sound in a word, and she knows all the letter sounds. We have done some writing of letters in rice and we play some with her magnetic letters.

Science – This has been a good month for science. We planted peas, lettuce, and collard greens in February, and she has gotten to watch them sprout and grow. We also finally got a bird feeder that attracts birds, and she can now recognize chickadees and cardinals by sight. She is also learning to identify certain flowers by name. Also, when we visited my grandmother, she spent a lot of time out at the barn with my aunt seeing the cats and the horses. She even got to ‘ride’ one of the horses for a little bit. :-)

Math – Pearl has made some strides in counting, though only small steps. She can now count up to five objects (six on occasion), and she has gotten much better at reading numbers.

Korean – Though I don’t think her Korean skills have improved much this past month, I do think she uses Korean more, especially when she’s playing.

Bible – The Read With Me Bible has been such a wonderful addition to our house. Pearl has many Bible stories memorized because of this. She even corrects us when we make a mistake in telling the stories, and she often gets so excited about them that she will ‘read’ the story from memory herself. Her favorite stories change often, but she always seems to enjoy the story of Mary and Martha, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendago, and the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarapheth. Recently she has also really enjoyed the story of Saul on the road to Damascus.


Also, as we approach Pearl’s third birthday, I have been making plans for a more formal preschool. Now I’m not a big advocate of pushing early education. By ‘formal’ what I mean is about ten minutes a day of ‘school’, not counting reading (once we start reading Pearl often wants to keep going for 30+ minutes). I’m mostly talking about giving myself more structure – planning which books to read to her, planning a focus for our nature study rather than doing it randomly, planning appropriate reading and writing games to play with her, etc. I’m hoping to have these plans ready to implement by her birthday, though I probably won’t start with the plans until after all the excitement of her birthday is past.

January 2012 in review

This month there were two big developments. First, Pearl has decided that her favorite book is her story Bible. She really has no interest in reading anything else these days. This Bible has 106 stories from the NIrV translation (edited down, but the same language as the translation), and we are probably going through all 106 stories about once every week or two.

The other major development is the advent of Reader Rabbit and Jumpstart to our house. These are “educational” computer programs geared towards children aged 3-5, and Pearl is doing a really good job of most of it. I was somewhat surprised to discover that she struggles the most with the math. Counting just isn’t her strength, though she is younger than the target age group for the games. She really excels at the pre-reading games: identifying letters and letter sounds. She also knows all of her colors and most of her shapes, so those games are easy for her, too.

Once a week we go over to my sister’s house to spend time with her family. Pearl gets to play with her cousins, which is always an adventure. But recently my sister and I decided to try to make the most of our time together, and we started doing very simple art and music study with the children while we’re together. We listen to the classical selections from this term at Ambleside Online, and we put the pictures for this term’s art study up on the TV screen as a background. This term’s composer is Mendelssohn, and the artist is Albert Bierstadt (whose paintings are absolutely gorgeous… you’ve got to see Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it’s absolutely stunning).

Pearl is also enjoying our walks around the neighborhood and helping me cook. And we have planted seeds for our garden, which is always fun to do with a toddler. As the weather warms up, we should continue to spend more and more time outdoors, which is of course ideal at her age.

December 2011 in review

Reading – Pearl’s favorite book this month has definitely been The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which she asked to read at least twice a day for about three weeks straight. But she has also enjoyed Dr Seuss, The Little Engine That Could, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle (she’s obviously really into Beatrix Potter right now), and Where the Wild Things Are. Also, Pearl has started to sound out words on her own, and even once this month spelled a word (log) by herself with her magnet letters.

Math – One day this month, Pearl saw me with her (future) math books, and she asked to look at it. I let her look at the simplest one I had (and it is really very simple). Nearly an hour later, she was working on the fourth chapter of the book and I was finally able to pry her away from it. Since that time she has only done “math” one time, but I was still impressed with her grasp of math for her age.

Korean – Pearl’s 할머니 (grandmother) has been staying with us all month long, and Pearl has been picking up Korean like crazy. Hopefully this continues after everyone goes back home this week.

November 2011 in review

This month has been dominated by some surgery that I had in the middle of the month. Because of this, we have resorted to a lot of electronic entertainment for Pearl, and there has been very little progress in other areas. But the areas where she has made progress, it has been by leaps and bounds.

Reading – This has been a huge month in Pearl’s life. She knows the sounds to nearly all her letters now, and she is starting to put them together to read. She is very good at guessing words based on context and she also has a very good memory, so it’s hard to say if she’s actually reading. But there have been many times this month when she’s out-of-the-blue started sounding out words and figured out what they said. Her favorite books this month have been The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tawny Scrawny Lion, and The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse.

October 2011 in review

Life has been very busy this month. Here are some of the highlights in Pearl’s life:

Reading – This has been a very book-centric month. We have had many nights where we were reading bedtime stories for over 30 minutes. Here are some of her favorites this month: The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin; Caps For Sale; The Story About Ping; Curious George Rides a Bike; The Tawny Scrawny Lion; The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse; The Shy Little Kitten; Home For a Bunny; The Saggy Baggy Elephant; Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees; There’s a Wocket in my Pocket; The Gingerbread Man; The Firekeeper’s Son. And many more. Also, she is beginning to (slowly) learn her letters and the sounds they make.

Science – We renewed our zoo membership, and since the weather cooled down, we have visited the zoo three times. Pearl is enamored with the zoo, even more than last year. She talks about, “going back to MY zoo” to see “MY panda bear” and “MY tiger”. She especially likes the petting zoo, where they have goats, sheep, and pigs for the children to actually interact with. We also spent a weekend at a cabin in the mountains this month, and Pearl enjoyed playing by the creek and just generally being outdoors.

Bible – Pearl has been memorizing “verses” for her Bible class at church. They’re very simple – “The big fish spit Jonah out”, for example – but she’s been very consistent at memorizing them. She is also (finally!) beginning to be able to sit through the service. Her Abba and I are very, very proud of her.


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