I tiptoed to the bedroom door–my escape to a few rare moments of solitude. I prayed, hoping Little Man would miraculously sleep on his own for just a few peaceful minutes. I stepped into the hall and watched his little body stir in response as I slowly pulled the door shut, cringing as the hinges squeaked. But, thankfully he remained asleep and I nearly danced with excitement. Silently, of course.
Why? Cause this mama had a few minutes to herself (hopefully)! Brookie was already asleep in her bed, so it was just me. I didn’t dare turn on any music so I simply poured myself a glass of Coke (my weakness) and sank into the couch, computer on my lap, ready to spend a few minutes on Facebook and Pinterest. Sure, I had cleaning to do, but I’d been up half the night with Little Man so I decided to give myself ten minutes.
It was during that “ten” (okay, it totally turned into thirty) minutes that I discovered ABC Jesus Loves Me.
Wait a minute. Curriculum? For toddlers and preschoolers? For one-year-olds?
Yes. A curriculum. A free Christian preschool curriculum.
Is a curriculum necessary to teach babies, toddlers, and preschoolers? No, but I believe that depends on you.
You see, each of us, were designed by our wonderful Creator in a unique way. Then, on top of that, the Creator sent us beautiful, unique children with their own sets of needs. So since we are unique and our children are unique, our needs as moms and dads of preschoolers are also different. There is no one set-in-stone way to educate the minds of our children. There are, however, some methods that are proven through research to be better than others. I believe in hands on, play-based, multi-sensory learning in the preschool and elementary grades. ABC Jesus Loves Me is exactly that.
So, here are my reasons for using ABC Jesus Loves Me.
Measurable objectives. I have a degree in elementary education so that’s a huge plus for me. This week we’re learning about the letter A, including the sound it makes. So we read from the book “Ten Apples up on Top”. We also learned about the number 4 by using Play-Doh to make the number 4 and then making four balls. We are practicing social skills through pretend play, such as, introducing yourself to someone new. But best of all, we’re learning about God.
After all, when all is said and done, the most important thing I can teach my blessings is about the Everlasting Father. Currently, we are learning about spending time with God. Last week, we read some of her favorite Bible stories. This week we’re focusing on prayer, so we made a prayer box with pictures of some of the people in our lives. In the next few weeks we’ll learn about worship and tithing.
No prep time. I spend five minutes Sunday night gathering supplies. Five minutes. You can’t beat that! I chose to purchase the printed lesson plans and next time around I’ll buy the printed workbook and coloring pages. For the most part, this curriculum is “open and go”.
Little “teaching” time. While I love having a preschool curriculum, I didn’t want to spend a ton of time doing “school”. This is what our day looks like.
Arts and Crafts
Then the rest of the day is spent with what I call “independent play” and “intentional play”. I have a list of objectives that I incorporate into our playtime. For example, we were working on letters W and X a few weeks ago. So, I had her bring me the letters W and X from her playmat, plus one other letter since we were also learning to count to 3. So she then counted the letters. We also played hide-and-seek with Mommy’s phone. This taught her some critical thinking skills of how to find my phone, which connected to our book of the week “Where’s Spot?”.
Structure. I have a Type-A personality and I thrive on structure and fall apart when structure falls apart. I’m telling you, you don’t want to see my house during the newborn phase. (DISASTER!)
Structure does two things. It helps me accomplish more; and Brookie knows what to expect. She is also happier and has more fun which means she’s more obedient. (And don’t we love it when our littles are more obedient?)
Preparation. Jared and I both believe that the Lord has called us to homeschool. The reason I say ‘us’, is because Jared will always be a part of that education to some extent, even though I will do the majority of the teaching. So through using a curriculum in preschool, I’m learning what works for me, what works for Brookie, and what works for our family.
And hey, we’re having fun! When your child asks to do school, you know something is working. I am a firm believer that learning can and should be fun at this age.
At the moment, our plan is to start Year 3 (Brookie) and Year 1 (Little Man) on October 31st. Follow our page to learn more as we continue our journey with ABC Jesus Loves Me. We’ll share cute pictures of our children exploring and learning and as I figure out a good organizational system, I’ll share some information on that as well.
The best place to find more information about the curriculum is the ABC Jesus Loves Me website. There’s a tutorial to get you started, with information on what you need, licensing information for schools and churches, and the full curriculum is up on the website for home use with your children.
Do you use any sort of curriculum for your preschoolers? Feel free to share. I know there are many wonderful curricula out there, even for the young ages. This is by far our favorite, but it is not the only fit available.