Planning out our Year
With the heat wave outside right now it’s hard to focus on cooler fall weather and back to school needs.
Even though the stores have been packed with Back to School supplies for at least a month already, just trying to ruin every school age kids summer joy.
In the words of Cinderella “That old Killjoy”…let’s not even talk about the Christmas decorations that have been out in Hobby Lobby for a month. I have a mom panic whenever I see it…Christmas…I don’t even know what I’m baking for Thanksgiving yet. Yikes!!!
Prepping Your Homeschool Plans
As parents of preschoolers we don’t always think of back to school for our littlest kiddos. If you are planning to home-school your toddler (read about my recommended curriculum here) you might not have started planning for that yet.
Realistically, you can just wing it in a lot of ways, but I strongly believe in creating a structured but flexible schedule to keep myself accountable.
We all know that life gets busy for us as mom’s. Having a plan ahead of time has ensured that I can create a full and richly rewarding learning environment for my kiddo.
While I leave most of the planning to Mother Goose Time, there are supplemental materials that I need to keep on hand for some of the activities.
I also am rethinking our Circle Time area this summer, with plans for it to be ready to roll in September. We have tried several areas, and now that Miss M is 3, I think that we are ready to include all of the elements of a traditional Circle Time.
I keep our art supplies stocked with crayons, washable markers, Tempera Paint, a variety of paint brushes, safety scissors, Contact Paper, glue, glue sticks and the always important …GLITTER!!
I also keep extra generic supplies on hand, such as feathers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, etc. Sometimes she’s really into an activity and we want to create another one. Or make a fun party hat for dad too. So I keep some supplies so we can do that.
Organizing our Preschool Space
In my continuing efforts to be more organized, I created a basic inventory list. Sometimes we lose things, but more often we are simply using things up.
Having a list also ensures that I don’t impulse buy items at the store when there are duplicates at home.
Sometimes things get old or messy and we just need to replace them if we use them a lot. Also, keeping arts and crafts well stocked ensures easy prep for our school schedule.
Realistically, the easier it is the more certain we are to do it. If I haven’t planned well and pull out a day bag in the morning only to discover that I ran out of the paint or can’t find the glue or scissors, chances are that activity is not happening that day.
Supplemental Field Trips
The other way I plan for our fall pre-school is by creating a list of local activities that I want to include in our schedules. I have a simple list of activities that I plan out each month and then try to work into our master calendar. I use this super simple planning template download here to create a list as I surf the web and then I can narrow down to the ones I really want.
We are season ticket holders (Makes me feel fancy to say that) for the Casa Manana Children’s Theater shows. So I look ahead to our schedule and pencil those in.
This might be a weekly class, story time at the library, or a festival. I really want to visit a farm with her this fall and we love visiting a pumpkin patch.
I look ahead to the preschool themes that Mother Goose Time will be sending each month and make a loose outline of supporting trips.
For the months that are animal based, the zoo is an obvious choice, more physical science based months will warrant a trip to the museum.
Because November is the transportation month we will probably try to get to the local Vintage Flying Museum, or ride our mini train by the zoo.
Along with that are the busy fall and winter holidays. I start to make a list (yes I know it’s only July) of the holiday activities that we enjoyed last year and any that we didn’t get to do because we ran out of time, or they were sold out.
For instance, we were not able to ride the North Pole Express in Grapevine this year because it sells out so far ahead of time. I have that on my list of adventures to watch for and purchase ahead of time.
Planning for the Holidays
Last year we purposefully visited home during October to go to the Pumpkin Patch I grew up with. You can’t really check in a pumpkin as a piece of luggage so we did not bring any home. I’m planning to find one locally this year. That will fit in great with our October theme of Orchard Harvest.
I make a note on my September schedule to locate one and find the hours and dates available so we can work it into our October schedule.
Some of those resources aren’t available yet, such as a list of local pumpkin patches. One of my favorite ways to stay informed is the local city mom’s blog. There is one in most major cities, and if you haven’t found it yet, you are going to be in idea heaven.
Same with Christmas Tree Lighting’s. It seems like they always creep up on me and when I start looking for one they happened the night before. So, I make sure that I plan to research local times and dates during October.
We like to visit the zoo or museum a minimum of once a month. In September we go more often because the zoo safari splash is still open but all the big kids are back in school. It’s plenty warm enough still for us to end our morning there playing on the slides.
Story Time we try to incorporate into our weekly schedule along with a weekly class for socializing.
We are currently leaning towards a Casa Manana theater class or a dance class this fall, and have participated in Little Gym and Emler Swim School classes in the past. We enjoyed both immensely.
I consider all of these school field trips and I pencil them into my monthly schedule with a note to finalize the date and location the month of the activity.
Having an intentional plan ensures that I will revisit that list before I miss out on any of our options for the season.
That’s not to say that we end up doing everything that’s penciled in. I’m a big believer in getting to just hang out at home and having a regular routine.
I try to ensure that we have a balance of at least 1 stay at home day for each day we’re out. When the week gets here, I look at what I have penciled in and if it’s activity overload, I start weeding them out.
How do you plan for your preschool year?