Friday, May 25, 2018

Sample 'S' Unit for Preschoolers

A couple weeks ago y'all submitted questions for me, & I answered them; but one of the questions I wanted to follow-up on a little more thoroughly today.  Several of you were interested in how I decide what are our age-appropriate learning objectives.  You can read more about that here, but bottom-line, trial and error, and observation.

One of the letters we learned in March was the letter 'S'.  I picked this letter because I knew that we would have several opportunities to use that letter with St. Patrick's Day & spring. Now I will be the first to admit that I am an ambitious planner.  I really go down a rabbit trail every. single. time.  When I plan a lesson, it starts out as something as simple as the letter 'S', and let me tell you, that is not how it turns out (i.e. I'm writing a blog post about the letter 'S' lol).  I thought that I would go ahead & share with you what a typical unit for our homeschool looks like. Sample Unit S- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
I find with my kids, at this age of cognitive development, if we have all of our objectives with a similar theme (like the letter 'S'), we get a lot of reinforcement from various avenues & it sticks.  For us right now, and I realize that this could change tomorrow, I pick a letter for every 2 weeks.  The letter I select is not in alphabetical order.  I pick a letter that will get a lot of exposure at that time (ex: in the fall we did 'F' & 'P' because we would see "fall" and "pumpkins" a lot and get a lot of practice. At Christmas we did 'J' for "Jesus".  At Easter we did 'E' get the idea). 

For each unit of letters, each child has a book unit that will some how tie back to the letter, and then I will select bible stories, science activities, life skills, math concepts, fine motor skills, and language arts objectives that go with that letter.  I try to enhance our learning of letters/numbers in every category to really reinforce what we're learning, but also expand areas for learning.  This is what we learned with the letter 'S':

We discussed the seasons.  In a previous month we learned the months of the year so now we were able to break down those months into seasons (free download here).  Since we already knew our months, weather, & learned which months corresponded to specific seasons (free download here), we were then able to discuss typical weather patterns associated with each season.  Talking about months of the year, and the seasons, also led to learning the seven days of the week. (free download here).DSC_0155DSC_0156DSC_0157DSC_0160
Since we got to talk about the seasons & spring, it only made since to next learning about seeds & sprouts.  Dutch worked with me in the garden to plant some herbs.  We have been able to continually reinforce this whenever we go out to water the plants.  This was also a great  opportunity for conversations about health, nutrition, protecting the earth, & the sequence of growth among vegetation.DSC_0163DSC_0246DSC_0247
While we were talking about the earth, I couldn't resist discussing the parts of the earth outside of the land, so we learned about the sea & the solar system.---- We will circle back around to the sea when we learn the letter 'o' (ocean), and we revisited the solar system when we learned the letters 'p'  & 'a' (planets & astronauts).
We used our stethoscope to review our human body unit from last spring (I have an entire unit for that that I have yet to post here- I need to get on that for y'all).  We discussed the heart, it's function, and how to take care of it.  We also reviewed, from last spring, our senses using these Five Senses Clip Cards (free for you here). We also practiced our senses by smelling different food & spices.DSC_0220DSC_0247 (2)DSC_0256 (2)
To work on developing fine motor skills with scissors, we cut up straws & we put pom poms on a St. Patrick's Day hat with some fine motor tools.DSC_0214DSC_0043
For practicing life skills, we matched & folding our socks, practiced tying our shoes, & learned how to set the table.  These skills we got to practice through a lot of play learning.DSC_0281DSC_0173DSC_0179
The stories from the Bible that we worked on were the Good Samaritan, & the sneaky snake from Genesis.  Also, I love the Parable Treasury book.  It's a great seasonal book with stories for each season that tie to scripture on every single page.  I used the story of the sunflower from this book because it was about how the Lord grows us like a seed.  A really great book that I highly recommend!DSC_0131DSC_0165
Seasonally, we were preparing for St. Patrick's Day, so we got a chance to complete a lot of fun crafts for the holiday. Shamrocks, pots of gold, glitter...lots of fun :-)DSC_0037DSC_0051DSC_0078
St. Patrick's Day offered a lot of fun with hands-on manipulatives.  We used shamrocks and coins to practice counting 0-30, sorting sizes, color identification, sequencing, patterns, & more vs. less.DSC_0041DSC_0098DSC_0273DSC_0286DSC_0346DSC_0386DSC_0388
To incorporate science into our curriculum, we predicted which items would sink or float. We also completed a Skittles experiment on melting.  Really fun & easy activities to explore and learn.DSC_0236DSC_0243DSC_0254 (2)
We used the Skittles again for math for counting (0-30), patterns, & more vs. less (e.g. are there more red skittles or more green skittles?).  We also made patterns with St. Patrick's Day coins in ice trays. Both for mathematical concepts & science concepts, we talked about sequencing, (e.g. what comes first, second, third, etc.)DSC_0178DSC_0283
For language arts, we not only discussed what the letter 's' looks like as an uppercase & lowercase letter, but we also learned the phonetics and how to write it.  We used stamps, stickers, & scissors to practice in our composition book.  We practiced toothbrush phonics with specific sounds (e.g. use the toothbrush to erase the letter that makes a 'sssssss' sound).DSC_0146DSC_0148 (2)DSC_0149DSC_0150DSC_0040DSC_0389
I introduced the idea of syllables using Skittles.  This is certainly not something we mastered but it was a great start into thinking about the sounds and patterns associated with words.DSC_0180DSC_0182
And lastly, we practiced identifying our shapes, letters, & numbers using sprinkles.  Who doesn't love sprinkles?!DSC_0170
Now I know this might seem like a lot, but we took two weeks on this unit, and it was a lot of fun.  We do not just sit for hours at a time and practice handwriting or science.  Instead we skip.  We spend 10 minutes on handwriting, skip to math, skip to science, read some, hop back around to math.  I find that with the skipping around, we don't have an opportunity to get bored and we aren't lingering around a topic long enough to get frustrated.  Since the toddler brain does a lot of skipping anyways, we also do a lot of skipping around in our learning.  This also enables us to touch on several topics in just 2 weeks.

Okay so there you go, there is a sample preschool unit that we did back in March.  If you want more ideas for a unit study, here is one that we did on the letter 'i' in April.
I hope that was helpful!
xoxo Darby

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