Each of my children have shown interest and a couple even displayed excitement over learning their letters and numbers. However, after a short time with a workbook they soon became bored and frustrated. So, I pretty much do my own thing when teaching preschool levels.
I still buy certain workbooks that cover the basics, but I only use these for review and fillers. They are not the majority of our learning experience. In actuality they play a very minor role.
If you have ever tried to buy a preschool workbook you have probably noticed that the areas for printing are VERY small. And there is only a page or two for each letter. If your children are anything like mine, this does not work well. The fine motor control needed to trace these small letters or numbers usually isn’t developed in a preschooler (at least not in any of mine). Then they go further and want your child to draw a letter of their own. My kids could not even come close on this skill when they were young. And to my thinking why push them on this if they aren’t ready. Plus my children have always needed more repetition then supplied in preschool workbooks. I usually spend a week (or two) on a single letter. I don’t move on until I feel like my child is recognizing the letters with at least 90% efficiency.
Currently, my dear girly and I are working on a letter a week. We do projects like this:
I draw out large letters and then place dashed lines on the inside for her to trace. Plus I free-hand a picture of an object that starts with that letter. Then I place the paper inside a clear protective sleeve, hand her some erasable markers and let her get to work. While she is working we say together, “A says a as in apple”, etc. I show her the correct way to draw each letter and encourage her to try to connect the dotted lines.
So far we’ve done the letters, “I”, “O”, “A” and “L”. I keep all the pages inside the plastic sleeve and when its time for review I have her work on the letters we have learned so far. I like the fact that since we are using the plastic page protector and erasable markers, these pages are reusable.
Another letter project we do is painting letters with watercolors. On Monday, I draw out big block letters on white cardstock and then let her paint. On Tuesday I cut out the painted letters and she glues them on a colorful piece of paper. She also glues on pictures that start with that letter sound.
On Wednesday or Thursday we do an art project that correlates with the letter we are using. This week we did apple printing. These apple prints will be turned into cards which we will send out to those who need a little pick-me-up. With letter “I” it could be an Indian headband. With letter “L” we will make a lamb.
Another thing I have her do is draw pictures in a notebook. Today we were working on letter “A”, so she chose to draw a page full of apples in her notebook.
We are also working on our numbers, but I keep this pretty simple. Usually I just flip over the letter sheets that are in the page protector and use the back to write the numbers on.
I give her shells, beads, crackers, pom-poms, crayons or whatever is handy and she places the correct amount next to the number. Then she takes her finger and traces over the number erasing it as she goes. This helps her to remember how to draw the number and what it looks like.
We also have big number cards that I lay on the floor and then I have her place them in the correct order.
Usually the last item we do in our school routine is a workbook page or two. She really does like these! My boys, who did not enjoy coloring, did not. If you have little boys my suggestion is to make your school time more active. Let them draw big letters with chalk on the sidewalk. Show them a number card and have them find the correct amount of stuffed animals from their bedroom. They will get some of their wiggles out while searching for their items! Playdough was always a big hit with my boys. Have your children make the letters out of playdough. While they create have them help you say the sounds of each.
The list really is endless if you get a little creative.
Tomorrow we will make applesauce to go with our letter “A” adventure!
And beyond that we will be creating and learning while keeping it as simple and reusable as possible.