Friday, May 14, 2010
As a 2nd year member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to be participating in this review group and I'm looking forward to trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
You all know that we have lots of little ones running around this house. And I am a firm believer that preschool lessons should begin very early. Why is that? Because I am a firm believer that anything that makes my life easier should be implemented immediately and preschool makes my life easier.
You see, my preschool age children have always wanted to learn. There is just something about that age. They not only want to learn, but they want to know when it will be there turn to learn and they ask me that question over and over and over again. If I appease my young student and give them a coloring sheet to color, or playdough to play with, or blocks to build with instructions on what to build, they will usually work happily for some time which means I can actually get something else done. Yes, preschool makes my life easier.
But I have to admit, preschool happens pretty naturally here. I generally spend a little time planning at the beginning of the school year but for the most part my little ones learn with the bigger ones absorbing what they can. I always take time to spend some sit-down, one-on-one learning with my preschoolers, but it rarely goes over 30 minutes and never takes very much prep time.
Nevertheless, I am occasionally asked by a very nervous and unsure first-time homeschool mom what preschool curriculum I use. I try to explain that I do preschool but that I don't use a curriculum. This only confuses her and she always asks , "Well, how do you know what to teach them?" I try to explain that I teach them whatever I think they should know and what I think they are ready for...whether that is writing their ABCs, tying their shoes, recognizing colors and shapes, or coloring in the lines. At this point, she usually becomes overwhelmed.
Ideal Curriculum is a preschool program that is helping preschool teachers know what to teach. As a matter of fact, Ideal Curriculum offers nine monthly kits giving you a full-year preschool curriculum. Each kit offers a themed literature unit, math unit, and science/social studies unit.
Each monthly kit is available as a download for $30 or in a print version for $55. I received a free download of their first month kit for review. It included a teacher's manual for each subject, files to print for each subject, ebooks to read on the computer for each subject, and mp3 music files to go along with the lessons. The lessons are definitely written to the classroom teacher with sections in each lesson called "Why this lesson is important", "Preparation", "Direct Teaching Lesson", and "Practice throughout the day". It's all laid out very nicely which makes it very easy to follow. However, there is a lot of planning involved in this curriculum including printing all needed lessons for the day and gathering specific craft materials. Some of the lessons also seem a little like filler lessons to me...dancing around the room singing about the letter A is maybe a useful way to occupy 15 3-year olds at daycare, but not necessary for me at home. (And I'm not just saying that because I'm a really bad dancer.)
I think Ideal Curriculum would probably work well for the first time homeschool mom who wants everything planned out and has a lot of time to spend on her pre-school firstborn. I also think Ideal Curriculum could work well for a homeschool co-op class.
Check out the Ideal Curriculum website for more information and the TOS Crew blog for more reviews. Pin It Now!