Mom2theteam wrote: I'm a little sad, but relieved at the same time. I think this is going to be the best decision for us.
It's ok. You'll work on "school" until fall. Just not necessarily with a Kindy program. (((hugs))) and hi-fives
When my little girls (they get old so fast) were preschool ages, they actually attended preschool outside of the home. preschool days at those 3 places were all structured about the same idea:
*check in and free style play for a few minutes to say hello and wander around the room
*circle time with songs and stories. (maybe you could use the Wee Sing Bible Songs from MFW preschool)
*play time revolving in some way about the story you read or song you sang -- lots of activity stations with playdough, art work, building toys. So, there was some direction from the teacher like "ooh, we read a story about the 3 bears.. maybe you could paint a scene from the story? or tell what you think happened next. Or, take the shapes from your Lauri kit and trace some of them to make the house. or do those writing stations with the numbers and letters.
*Clean up clean up, everyone everywhere.. clean up clean up everybody do your share. (did I just quote barney?) and school toys/learning materials are put away
*wash hands and have a snack
*maybe another song or story depending on the day
*play outside until parents show up for pick up. (oh wait.... you can just let them play a bit until a timer goes off for lunch)
(those who stayed for extended day, got lunch and a nap!)
That's school structure time at this age. So, Zack is going to do school, but it might not be with Kindy materials just yet. give him a "graduation ceremony" to promote him to Kindy before you start in the fall.
I do have a question: Can you give me an idea of about how much time I should be allowing for craft/activity type stuff at this age (3,5). About how long do you suggest for each thing before moving on? I can learn that by trial and error, but an idea going into it would help.
We did Play-Doh today for about 30 minutes. That seemed to work well.
I know my daughter's schedules in group preschools were designed to occupy, educate and involve them for 2. 5 hours (that includes line standing time and potty breaks and pick up and drop off and snack and wash hands)
some of the children tended to have their minds and bodies wander during circle time and it didn't bother the teacher too much as long as they stayed on the circle time carpet square or circle or triangles. I'd guess (my memory is fuzzy) that was a 10 minute time frame at tops -- but circle time included interaction time with stories and singing and questions and the typical "you know my cat likes to lick her fur to get clean" comments that had nothing to do with what you were reading.
"directed free play" - was about like you had 30 minute thing.
When I did some preschool structure at home, I tried to keep "directed by me time" limited to 30 minutes. Usually in three 10 minute spurts. That way I covered my part and then they had more "self directed" "independent" or self motivated loosely structured play time. and of course I used more TV and DVD than you want to do but then again when you are dealing with autism in preschooler..... But personality wise and time management wise, I'm not the type of person who did a super fixed schedule of everyone. so my time box frames were flexible, and yet we manage to be places on time.
oh oh oh .. and don't forgot that "school time" should include meal prep time with them at this age. They can set the table, get a small small small pitcher to pour water for themselves (rule of thumb: as much as they are able to clean up so that mom isn't exhausted) make sandwiches. and clean up the dishes themselves.
That is real school/education in my opinion. I've used used picture placemats that show which side of the plate to put the forks. bought them at a fancy homeschool vendor, but I bet those things are available other places too. it is called the Set Right Placemat (I got mine through The Etiquette Factory at a homeschool convention) but you can download similar ones and make your own as part of school time! not sure about the laminating though..... hmmm... it says it's 8.5 x 11 ish size , so maybe a page protector could work? I don't know.
you guys are going to be great. Like your dh said, if you need more time, it's ok.