The Preschool Years ~ Turning Mommy Guilt into Mommy Grace

Us moms are tough.  Tough on ourselves and tough on one another.

May I invite you to remove all forms of mommy guilt and shame over whatever educational choice you have made for your young child and transform that guilt into grace?  Grace for yourself and grace for others who may be making a different choice.

From Mommy Guilt to Mommy Grace



That’s me and PacMan many years ago when he was only 2. It takes me back to being that young momma who struggled with guilt over my choices. Guilt over sending him to preschool and then guilt over keeping him home.  You see, I did both with him.  He went to preschool for one year and we did the following year at home. I remember doubting myself and struggling with guilt on both sides.  I felt most of my guilt on the home side, feeling as if I might be taking something away from him by NOT sending him to preschool.

Yes, my blog is homeschool focused, but I believe in each family making educational choices with freedom and grace.  I am not a do or die homeschooler and believe the Lord leads us in different directions. For us, homeschool was/is the direction.  This post is mainly to encourage those of you who are embarking on this home preschool journey and struggling a bit with that choice. Struggling the way I did when we first became homeschoolers.

 

So, you are homeschooling PreK, now what?

I get questions surrounding the first year of homeschooling a LOT.  Most of these are people with children ages 3-5 who have officially made the decision not to send their child to PreK or Kindergarten.

That was me 8 years ago.  We even sent our oldest to a 2 day a week program when he was 3.  Then we pulled him home for the following year when he was 4.  That was our first homeschooling year, PreK.

I have an early childhood degree and taught Kindergarten, you’d think I would feel confident in teaching my own child at home.  Oh no, let me assure you, I struggled big time.  I struggled with many of the things I know moms out there are struggling with because they share with me via comments and email. I know many of you struggle because I know I struggled.  And honestly, we aren’t all that different.  It’s amazing how many struggles we all share, whether we speak them aloud or not.

 

You are not alone.

Do you worry that you won’t meet the educational goals and somehow totally miss something, even during PreK and K?  I did.

Do you fear that your child won’t know how to make friends with kids his/her own age and somehow be a social outcast?  I did.

Do you think you might not be a good enough mommy to be with your kids 24/7?  Not enough patience, grace, calmness, joy, etc?  I did.

Do you fret over the loss of ME time?  Then struggle with feeling selfish for thinking that way?  I did.

Do you cower at times when people ask your child what school s/he goes to?  Not wanting the question to even come up?  I did.

Do you feel completely overwhelmed with all of the curriculums, options, printables, blogs, and ideas?  I did.

Do you wonder how in the world you will juggle homeschooling with your current children and future children all together?  Or even manage it with housekeeping, cooking, maintaining adult friendships, or maybe even your job, etc.? I did.

Do you feel alone?  Even with all of the great blogs and maybe even a friend or two who homeschools, or at least supports your decision?  I did.

 

Where Am I Now?

I no longer worry about missing educational goals!  Why?  I slowly realized that I grew up forgetting much of what I learned in school anyway!  Life is learning and my kids will soak in knowledge, and actually more of it, through homeschooling! My oldest is entering 7th grade, the grade I used to fear.  I am totally at peace with it and relearning alongside of him, joyfully.

Socialization…NOT a problem, at all. I didn’t struggle a lot with this fear years ago, but the thought was in the back of my mind. It no longer even enters my mind.

I am not a good enough Mommy and I never will be.  But, I am enough. Period.  Enough for the babies God gave to me. This is still a struggle but I have come so far.

I served outside the home at our church full time when we began homeschooling and I struggled big time with losing this part of myself. It took years, but now I embrace my role at home and the way God has called me to serve our family.

Go ahead, ask my kids where they go to school!  If you want to talk about it, I will be more than happy to.  No shame at all, I don’t even jerk a little bit when people ask. I invite the conversation, questions, and even doubts.

I am pretty sure I contribute to overwhelming you.  Just look at my blog.  Sorry for that, but also not sorry.  I know it is hard to wade through the choices, I struggle too.  Pinterest makes this worse and the sea of early childhood blogs is WAY bigger than when I jumped on the blogging scene 7 years ago!  Just breathe, remember the word SIMPLE, and find what works for you – not for someone else.

When I began homeschooling Pac, Krash was a baby and we had a teenager we were guardians for. I struggled with balance and worried a bit how it would work if we had more kids. Somehow it all works out.  Every family is different and many families with WAY more kids than I have make it work. With each new season of life, we adjust and homeschooling is flexible for these adjustments.

I no longer feel alone in this homeschooling thing.  It gest easier and homeschooling is growing more than ever.  Even if you are the only one you know now, I assure you, it won’t be that way for long.

Preschool Away from Home?

Did you know that even though I home educate, I fully support your decision to send your child to preschool {or any grade of school really} if that’s what you feel called to do? I don’t think there’s a one size fits all plan for early childhood education and believe many children thrive in a group setting. I want all of you to know that you don’t have to worry one bit about judgment coming from me. Many families feel guilty about this, especially if they have homeschooled or even homeschool older children. Please don’t feel ashamed or guilty about this decision; we all must do what’s best for our own child, other children, and entire family during different seasons of life.

May we release all guilt that we place upon ourselves and others.  May grace fill our hearts and bring us peace, both personally and in our relationships.

Home Preschool Year in Review

Home Preschool Ideas



We had an awesome home preschool year and I am a bit sad to know it is over.  My days of homeschool preschool are completely done {sniff, sniff}.  It is such a special and fun time for me, even with all of the trials that preschoolers can bring {especially my little drama mama}.

Here’s a look back at all of our posts in order from start to finish, with my daughter.  I hope this helps you jump around when looking for ideas for home preschool! If you are just looking for preschool letter based ideas, here’s my A-Z home preschool round up.  Those posts are included in the list below also, so you can see how it all fit together.

We began home preschool with my Raising Rock Stars Preschool {RRSP}, and then switched gears. I will link the posts in order so you can see how it all happened. She began preschool in January of 2013, when she was 3.5 years old. We schooled through the summer and then I revaluated near the end and we began a new plan for the fall of 2013.

You can see it all linked in order below…

Here’s a few more of our preschool posts…

All By Myself Preschool Boxes  Hands on the Alphabet  Homeschooling Preschool

Homeschooling Preschoolers and Tots  Home Preschool A to Z from www.1plus1plus1equals1.net  Simple Sensory Bin Collection


We are now enjoying homeschool Kindergarten, if you missed our Kindergarten math and literacy goals they are linked below…

Homeschool Kindergarten Literacy Goals    Homeschool Kindergarten Math Goals

Homeschooling Tots and Preschoolers

Homeschooling Tots and Preschoolers

Awhile ago I wrote a 10 Day series entitled, Homeschooling Tots and Preschoolers, which shared ten posts all about early learning at home. 

Below you will find links to the 10 posts from that series, as well as any other I felt might help you if you are on this amazing journey of homeschooling little ones!

First, I shared our Where to Begin with Tot School™ eBook, which is a free bonus for all newsletter subscribers!

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook 

 

Next, I reminded moms {me included} that we don’t have to do it all!

You Don't Have To Do It All

 

My friend Becky from This Reading Mama shared a guest post with us about Developmentally Appropriate Practice for Homeschoolers.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Homeschoolers 

 

Next, I share the time I invest in planning for Tot School or Preschool, and how I do it.

Planning for a Theme

 

My friend Maureen from Spell Outloud shared tips for studying nature with tots.

Studying Nature with Tots

 

Next I shared the difference between Exposure and Mastery with young children.

What is Tot School

 

Next I share my heart behind using themes in early childhood.

Why Themes

 

Maureen came back and shared about homeschooling tots in a large family.

teachingtoddlers

 

Our VERY favorite learning toys for tots was next!

Favorite Learning Toys 

 

Finally, I launched a new series sharing theme based printables from around the web.  This series is now complete and you can see links to other letters in that post too.Theme Printables A through E

 

If you are homeschooling your young children at home, here are the top posts from my site that I recommend reading {in no particular order}! I am a visual person so I opted for graphics rather than a list.

Alphabet Idea Collection  Colored pattern with letters of alphabet

Hands on the Alphabet  How to Plan Using Themes  I Spy Color Hunt

Tot Trays for Tot School  Minute by Minute Tot School  Tot School Printables A to Z

Homeschooling Preschool  Tot Trays Tot School Preschool Work Trays 2

Tot School Gathering Place  Tot Time Notebook  Animal ABCs 300

Printable Theme Packs Storing Theme Printables Following the Lead of the Child All By Myself Preschool Quiet Time Boxes

Home Preschool A to Z from www.1plus1plus1equals1.net  Following the Lead of Your Preschooler at Home  Learning with Ladybug Preschool

Tot School Printables A-Z  Tiny Tot School Ideas for Ages 9-12 Months  Tot School Ideas Ages 12-18 Months

 

Here’s a list of a couple of early childhood Pinterest boards you may want to follow. You can see them all here, they are at the top of my boards {themes sorted alphabetically are below my early childhood boards}.

Number Coloring Printables

Free Number Coloring Printables 1-10



We have a new set of number coloring printables in our All 123s section!  This set could be used in a variety of ways.  Your child could color the number and the animals, practicing number identification, number writing and 1:1 correspondence while counting. Get out play dough and make the number and then roll dots for each animal for a hands on way to practice counting. Scale the pdf file down and use them as smaller flashcards. Print full size and use as posters when your child is learning each number.

Click here to download

{look for this graphic on the page and click on it for the PDF file}Number Mats 1-10

 

Looking for more number based printables? You can find all of these on our All 123s webpage!Free Math Printables from www.1plus1plus1equals1.net

Pencil Grip Correction with a Pom Pom

Pencil Grip Correction with a Pom Pom



You may have noticed in many photos on my blog that my daughter has struggled with pencil grip.  I can’t tell you how proactive I have been about this, yet she still has the worst natural grip of all of my kids.  She will hold the pencil with all 4 fingers on her grip along with her thumb.  She writes neatly for her age, but I know her pencil grip needs correction.   I tend to not push it all the time, which is why you often see the uncorrected version in school photos on my blog.  We specifically spend time working on the correct grip, but she defies me and is stubborn.  Because I want her to LOVE LEARNING, I choose not to fight it all during our school time.

Here’s a recent photo showing her uncorrected grip, which she prefers. It has her entire hand on the pencil!

Uncorrected Pencil Grip

 

Here’s a photo of the ONLY intervention we have tried that she has accepted.  I seriously was ready to give up and then suddenly, she accepted the pom pom and even will remind me now. You can see the red pom pom in her hand. Her grip still isn’t picture perfect, but it is so much better!

Pencil Grip Correction with a Pom Pom

I first saw this idea here, on Dr.Jean and Friends blog.  You can read the explanation of how to present this correction there. I have tried everything but somehow I had never seen this before.  I figured it was worth a shot.  Thank goodness I tried it.  She accepted it and likes her new little bucket of pom poms to choose from when we are working on grip.

We are continuing to work and using our pom pom to practice a lot.  She will even use it during school time some now.  Her natural grip hasn’t improved much so far, but we are trying! I pay attention to her when she isn’t thinking about it and noticed she still puts all fingers on the crayon/pencil.

I have more pencil grip articles and ideas pinned on my Preschool at Home Pinterest board.  Scroll down, they are mostly about halfway down on the board right now.