The Best Preschool Foundation
If you are searching for a robust yet flexible preschool curriculum to enrich your child’s learning and home environment, I personally recommend Mother Goose Time. It is the curriculum we chose at our house.
At the bottom of the post, I’ll detail out the 12 reasons why we choose the Mother Goose Time, but here they are in a compact little list….I’m big on lists around here.
The monthly MGT package has not only served to enrich my daughter’s knowledge, but it has greatly benefited our relationship, as I am creating purposeful ways for us to connect every day on a variety of formats that spark her interest.
Like most things though, pre-schooling was a learning curve for me. Initially I tried searching through Pinterest and creating my own curriculum, but soon got overwhelmed by the amount of information and the prep time required.
I tried other curriculum’s and did not feel that any were well rounded enough to fill the needs of our family. Then, one day through the magic that is google, I found Mother Goose Time. While it was more expensive than several of the other programs I had tried, the quality of the educational product was phenomenally advanced.
Admittedly, when we first started using Mother Goose Time I put a lot of unnecesary pressure on myself to stick to the schedule. As this is my first foray into homeschooling, I felt I had to get it right.
I didn’t realize at the time, that there isn’t a generic perfect homeschool parent. The joy of homeschooling, especially at the preschool age, is finding out how to be the perfect homeschool parent for your child.
Which might be different from one day to the next. That’s ok, that’s what makes the toddler years so amazing.
Sample Preschool Curriculum Schedule
While this curriculum is a mom’s best friend in it’s organization, it is also a full week’s curriculum offering each week.
A full week’s worth of learning and activities…yes, you heard that correctly…each and every week you have a minimum of 20 different guided activities across a variety of subjects to introduce to your child. In addition, there are suggested books to borrow from the library each day and STEAM stations to create at your house.
Totaling 30 age appropriate learning activities for your child each week. This can lead to overwhelm if you are trying to fit homeschooling in with your life for the first time.
(See an example of our day with the Mother Goose Time curriculum)
Grocery shopping, errands, bills, Dr’s appointments are all things that have to happen. I found I was feeling guilty about living our life instead of strictly adhering to a schedule. I felt I needed to make sure every activity was checked off.
Sometimes my daughter wanted to put the STEAM activity on repeat for 2 hours straight because she thought the cans acting as pulley’s was the most freaking fantastic thing since chocolate. However, if I only allotted 20-30 minutes this would throw my entire schedule off.
(See an example of some of our Mother Goose Time STEAM stations)
Sometimes, my daughter wasn’t feeling a new activity we were doing, because it was too advanced, or too quiet for the moment, or because she saw a bug she was more interested in. When I would try to refocus her, we would end up in a struggle that no one won.
Or the toddler won.
We quit the activity and went outside to play, abandoning all of my carefully highlighted itinerary. I ended up feeling frustrated and like I was failing at homeschooling…and she was only 2. I thought how am I ever going to do this when she’s 5, let alone after that? I worried that I was causing her to miss out on opportunities she would get in a traditional pre-school. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves as mom’s?
Finding a Homeschooling Mom’s Support Group
One of the best things I did was join the Mother Goose Time home-schooler’s Facebook group. Because, like most things in life, a group of supportive women can make all the difference in your daily struggles and creativity.
The advice in that group empowered me to create my own schedule for us. While MGT is at the core of that schedule, homeschooling is meant to be built around the needs of the individual child.
As soon as I took some of the pressure off of myself to complete every activity and check every box, our homeschooling experience found a flow. We focus on MGT, but build in supplemental activities and experiences that create a richer homeschooling environment.
We also have purposeful flexibility and a lot of free time built in. If she’s really digging an activity we roll with it until she’s done. Even if that means skipping something else. If she’s not interested in something we set it aside. Sometimes I circle back around a different day to see if she’s interested now, sometimes not.
Fitting Preschool into your Life
Now, I work on a basic preschool plan for the entire year that will fit in with our families activities. Then, I schedule myself time at the beginning of each month to plan a little bit more in depth.
This is a high level broad overview, not a detailed plan. I plot out our visits to the dentist, pediatrician, vacations, etc.
After that I pick out a couple field trips to the zoo, museum, etc.
We’re looking into including a weekly class to ensure she’s learning important social dynamics and structure of learning in a group setting.
Weekly I take a more detailed look at our MGT curriculum and pencil in our trips to the park, play time with friends, daily walks/bike rides, plan meals that work with the schedule and theme, etc.
Being Flexible is the Most Important Plan
Most of all, I’ve learned to be flexible. Most days my daughter wants to paint and do arts, but occasionally she doesn’t. With the MGT week at a glance, I can pull a different activity from later, or a completely different day’s plan and work with her interests for the day.
Or abandon it completely for the day if we find something that unexpectedly inspires us or requires my attention. (Nail in the tire, husband’s broken glasses, etc)
Let’s be real, life is busy for us mom’s. No matter how good your intention or schedule is, life is going to mess it up. That’s ok too. When we end up not getting through our intended day’s plan, I take that days curriculum and put it in a file with the planning journal.
It’s ok to Skip School
Down the road, I look through our left over days and pull one out if I think it fits our family schedule better.
When looking over our schedule for the summer, I knew we were going to be gone more than we were going to be home. While I have definitely taken MGT on vacation with us before, I knew these vacations were going to be jam packed with activities.
We did Disney. In July. With a Toddler.
It was amazing. No horror stories, it was wonderful, but let’s be honest. It was hot, sweaty, and sometimes draining. With the early mornings and determination to have quiet nap time I knew our schedule would be full.
We are also spending part of our summer at home. I come from a large, noisy, wonderful family full of kids running everywhere, wine loving women and days hiking and at the beach. Since we live on the other side of the country, I want her to soak up as much cousin time as she possibly can. That means no schooling for us while we’re there.
Using Previous Preschool Curriculum’s
Rather than order a curriculum that sits in the closet, I decided to not order the summer months, and utilize some of the leftover days I have filed away when we are at home.
In an effort to stay somewhat organized, I keep a log with the basic theme of all of the leftovers. I’m not sure this saves me any actual time, but it helps me feel organized so I call it a win.
Keeping a log ensures that I don’t have to pull out every single one of my bags to take inventory every time I’m looking to fill an open day. Also, it helps me to make intentional plans at the beginning of the month for any bags I set aside purposefully.
This birthday bag is one example. When we were going through the baby animals month, we had a busy week planned so I chose to set aside the birthday unit. With my daughter’s birthday this month, I pulled out this bag to add to our plans.
She loved making a party hat which she has worn around the house, video chatted to her grandma and took to a tea party with her bears. We also were able to create a connection to the material that might have been missed during the original week.
Tying it into her birthday celebration while it was fresh, we took a trip to the zoo to see the baby gorilla. We talked about his birthday, what baby animals are called and how different babies are born. We got birthday books from the library, talked about the letter b, and the difference between a cone shape and a triangle.
Preschooling Should be Fun
…for both of you.
And isn’t that really what preschool and homeschooling should be about? I used to believe it was about a checklist, did she learn her ABC’s and numbers and phonics? Now I recognize it’s about how she grows holistically.
Her learning has skyrocketed since I have begun to realize how to use Mother Goose Time as a foundation for her entire homeschooling environment. Both inside and outside of the walls of our homeschooling room.
Which is really how it’s intended to be used. I’m just on a learning curve of my own. And that’s ok. I believe that one of the most important lessons we can teach our children is that we aren’t perfect and they don’t have to be either.
And now as promised, the 12 reasons we choose Mother Goose Time, and why you should too.
12 Reasons why you should choose Mother Goose Time Preschool Curriculum –
Perhaps you are like me and need to convince yourself, or you need to convince your partner. Here is our list of why we continue to choose Mother Goose Time.
- Save Time – Everything comes to me packaged and ready to go. I am no longer searching Pinterest and Blogs and then driving around trying to collect supplies or spending hours each month cutting out craft supplies and shapes. Our time as parents is valuable and our tasks are abundant. It’s like having a personal education assistant.
- Planned Themes – Rather than be overwhelmed trying to plan a theme, or jumping around from one day to the next, each theme is organized by month and supported in more detail each week. With this approach my daughter is able to retain more and have a depth of understanding that she didn’t get when I was doing it myself.
- Save Money – This may come as a surprise as the initial cost seemed a little high to me, but when I started comparing the cost of purchasing all of the supplies myself, Mother Goose Time was a better budget win. With high quality math manipulatives, books and the supplemental materials for them (puzzles, magnets, etc) and all of the craft supplies it would be impossible to give my daughter the variety and quality of educational materials for less money.
- Connections – I don’t always know how to create an experience for my daughter that she is going to love. Having guided activities that we can do together that spark her interest and creativity is invaluable. We only get them little for a little while. With the experts who understand kids planning for us, I’ve been able to create a multitude of opportunities for us to connect on her level. This has led to a better understanding of where she is right now and I’m able to create even more opportunities outside of our preschooling time.
- Get Organized – This is huge for me! I really want to organize our lives and am often at a loss as to how to do that with so many moving parts. With an organized curriculum, I’m able to create a plan for homeschooling that blends into our lives. With this basic structure, I know when I’ll have time to plan our meals, cook, when we’ll be doing field trips, etc.
- Simplify Homeschool – Being new to homeschooling, I was overwhelmed with all of the options and found myself with the shiny object syndrome. Before I knew it, homeschooling and planning had taken over all of my free time. Now, it shows up once a month with a concise gathering list. In less than half a day, my entire month is planned out.
- Portability – Unlike traditional school’s where you have to choose for your child to miss out on some curriculum days if you want to go on vacation, visit Grandma or even take a day trip, I just grab the appropriate number of bags and we’re off. Schooling continues uninterrupted regardless of where we are. And it’s fun so she’s excited to see it. Long plane rides and car rides? Rather than buy expensive new toys or gifts, some manipulatives and books come along for the trip.
- Included Teacher/Parent Resources – as I’m not a certified educator, I want to ensure that my daughter is on the right track. Having a resource that helps me observe where she is at each skill set and determine when she’s ready for a challenge is so very helpful.
- Flexibility – Along with the portability is the ability to choose not to take along our schooling, or to do an activity outside, or after dinner. Really it’s up to us to fit it in our lives. If something really sparks her interest we can stick with it for awhile. Or, for times like this July, we can choose not to order a box and flex with previous curriculum days.
- Grow Your Confidence – This is HUGE for me. As a first time homeschooler, I’ve considered whether we’ll continue to homeschool when she reaches elementary school age. This time with her is helping me to assess if it’s a great fit for her, but also to help me be confident that I can truly meet her educational needs despite not being a certified teacher.
- Trial Homeschooling – Along with growing my confidence, I also am able to truly see if homeschooling is a great fit for her, and where we need to fill in to get her a well rounded education and social structure if we do choose to homeschool.
- Include Friends – We have a ton of fun with Mother Goose Time. Along with the monthly celebration kits, there are countless ways to include friends when they come to play. Whether that is an impromptu circle time, a Dance N Beats DVD or a craft. Making it social helps her enjoy the experience even more, and the other mom’s are always like how do you come up with all of these ideas? …I don’t, Mother Goose Time does.
How do you stay organized? Do you strictly adhere to a planned schedule?