I apologize for the tumbleweeds on this website this week. I was hit with a perfect storm of pre-school ending for the 4 year old, my wife traveling, and the legal stuff that resulted from the time my wife and I walked into our Home Depot.
I’m not sure why our school seemed to end two weeks earlier than everyone else’s, but it left all the parents in the school scrambling for childcare. Camp doesn’t start up for another two weeks when the rest of the kids get out of school.
I decided to put together a “home school.” I put that in quotes, because it’s an embarrassment to those who really home school their children. I spent about 2 minutes on scratching out ideas on my Boogie Board. I didn’t have time to research a curriculum. I started with some things that I already around the house and went from there. Here’s what I came up with:
Note: While I was making this list, I was surprised at all the stuff we have here. While most of it was cheap stuff, I was surprised that we had all this to cobble together a curriculum. In fairness, many of the items were gifts.
- Physical Education
- Computer Science
For reading I turned to Biscuit Phonics Fun (My First I Can Read). The 5-star Amazon reviews should speak for themselves. My son was able to sound out many of the small words. This is definitely the one to buy. I also bought the Batman one because my kids like Batman. Unfortunately, it’s much to difficult for them right now. I end up doing most of the reading myself, which they enjoy, but it’s not a “I Can Read” situation.
I also picked up a book at a Dollar Tree that’s designed for 1st and 2nd graders. It’s far ahead of what my 4 year old can do, but if I read the passage he can answer some of the questions at the end. He loves solving the puzzles.
There was another book at the Dollar Tree that focused on writing. We got through capital A, lowercase a, and capital B, before he decided that he was not good at it and gave up. I don’t know how to push it without discouraging him from learning, so we moved on.
We did a little Monkey Math, which is a fun game. I can thank a grandmother for that wonderful Christmas present.
I tried to get my son interested in playing real music on our Melissa and Doug Piano, but that went about as well as the writing did.
We broke out this Map of the US Puzzle. My son loves puzzles, so why not learn the United States at the same time?
We broke out my son’s bike and went on a couple of trips around the cul-de-sac (with training wheels). My son also had a gymnastics class. We took in a local baseball game one night where we watched possibly zero baseball. His friends happened to be there so he got to play with them.
I don’t know if this counts as “nature”, but a kid can’t be inside all day playing with toys. Unfortunately much of the week was rainy. When the weather got a little better we took our dog to the dog park and practiced throwing with our Chuck-Its. We had just got these. Our dog doesn’t fetch, but since we do a lot of dog sitting, they are a necessary business expense. This was a win-win as my dog needed the exercise and interaction outside of the house too.
I was only positive about getting one toy this past Christmas. It was the Code-a-Pillar. This is sneaky computer science for a 4 year old. My 3 year old loves it too.
With the exception of the bike, I think all this stuff comes in at less than $150 total. The piano and Code-a-Pillar are around $85, but the rest is $10-$15 here or there. The goal wasn’t to buy the cheapest stuff to do the job, but I think in many cases we accomplished just that.
My son does enjoy watching television quite a bit. I mixed some television in between some of these activities. We avoided SpongeBob Squarepants which is like the soda of food – empty learning. Instead we watched Blaze (STEM), Team Umizoomi (Math), Super Why (Reading), and Salsa (Spanish).
Overall, we made the best of a less-than-ideal situation and had a lot of fun. The downside was that I didn’t get to write much about personal finance this week. I was pretty happy to recycle some items around the house into a curriculum… and at least one article about personal finance.