Summer Fun (Yes, I mean school)

This week, I was reminded of one of the MAIN reasons that I love our preschool curriculum, Mother Goose Time. Yes, it’s super cute with adorable, colorful graphics so that it’s visually appealing for the kiddos and me! (Don’t underestimate the importance of the appeal for the teacher!). And it’s really easy to facilitate. One doesn’t need a degree in early childhood education to teach it. I could go on and on about our love for MGT. But the main reason that we LOVE it is because we know that there will be some activities each day that my kids will really enjoy, and honestly feels more like they are playing than “doing school.”

If we’re having a low-key day around the house because we’ve had a couple more activities during the week than the norm (playdates with friends, bible study for me, errands to run, you know – just life stuff), then I don’t feel like I am cheating my kids at all when we sit down to just pick and choose what lessons sound fun to us for that day, and go with it.  I know that they are filled with so many opportunities for great conversation starters, areas we can build upon if we get into a activity that is really stimulating to them, and if not, we can move on. There are at least 4 activities per day (so we’re talking 80+ activities each box), so even if we were on the top of our game and not leaving the house all summer (which isn’t gonna happen), we still probably wouldn’t check all those off our list. So we get to choose what we want and what we feel like fits best for our kids. And that is the MAIN thing I love about Mother Goose Time. It allows us to easily choose the flow and freedom we want for our household!

One of the benefits I appreciate so much that comes along with homeschooling is getting to design what our days look like. Being the one teaching my kids day to day, I have a front-row seat to get to see how they learn, what activities excite them (and in turn which ones make them sigh and slump down in their seats), and we thankfully have the freedom to choose a lot more of the former types of activities than the latter. I believe that these natural bents are purposed by God, that He specifically placed an interest for anything creative and artsy in Natalie, but also gave her super strong skills in math, whereas Peter loves anything that requires working with his hands and with wind, (so we’re speculating a future career in aerodynamics). My husband and I can then choose activities that are going to foster those skills and passions. We have the freedom to provide the type of educational diet they ingest.

I used to feel pretty stuck, like I needed to check off each box in every lesson plan of curricula we were using. I wanted to ensure that they were getting a holistic approach to education, and definitely because I was not one to have a firm grasp on all the things they “needed” to be learning at each age and stage, I relied heavily on the writers of these curricula to provide that for me. I feared that if we weren’t doing ‘it all,’ the kids were going to somehow miss out on something important they should be learning.

And you know what i found? My kids hated it. And I kind of did to.

Because they are SO different. Some activities were great fits, and others huge flops. And while there is a necessary foundation of knowledge and skills that my kids need and will learn in order to succeed in different areas of life, they don’t need to be experts at all of them. And because I get to observe how they approach life (during school and outside our daily lessons), I get to catch a glimpse of God’s design for them and can start to weave our daily lesson plans around what I believe will foster their natural interests and skills.

So when it comes to Mother Goose Time, we’re not here to check off every box by every activity just to say that we completed them, but we’re trying to fill our days with things that we believe are equipping our kids for what God has purposed for their lives.. And because I know the writers and makers of Mother Goose Time put so much thought and energy into their lessons, I can be assured that when I add one or more of these to our daily lesson plan, that I’m getting a quality and enjoyable exercise for my kids. Not all of them are going to connect with my kids, and that is OKAY! And we have the freedom as parents and teachers to see what is and isn’t working, and move forward accordingly. We don’t have to have a one-size fits all curriculum that meets every child’s needs, but we can engage with them and learn what relates, and then choose accordingly in the future. Learn as we go.

And it’s always nice to  hear my kids asking me if we can pull out Mother Goose Time. They get their supplies set up (desk mat so they don’t inscribe their daily lessons into our dining room table, cup full of crayons and a pair of scissors, maybe some markers and a glue stick), I pull out my Teacher’s Guide and Daily Discovery Bags for that week, and we’re ready to go. The kids love to unpack the daily bags, eagerly asking what each cotton ball and foam shape is for, and we explore together what we’re doing for the day. I’m not one to really go over the lessons ahead of time because honestly with all the prep that MGT provides, I don’t need to. I can literally just pull out a bag and we get going. It’s a beautiful thing. Not all of life is like this, so I will take it when I can!

So here is some of the fun that we had this past week as we continue in July’s theme of Camping!

Both the kids made backpacks as we discussed what items we would want to take camping with us when we go!

Super serious face as he concentrates on tracing his hand!

Finished product

Nat’s had to have lips, of course.

Fun to see Natalie be able to construct her backpack, including the handles, which I needed to do for Peter at his age.

Meet Mrs. Backpack

Peter is working in The Little Journal for this month, focusing on the letter “G”.

Meanwhile Natalie was creating her guitar as part of the Make and Play activity for this day.

We wrapped up the week with painting outside with Daddy. I personally avoid getting out paint most of the time because I dread the clean-up involved, so we saved up a lot of the daily activities that required painting for Saturday when Daddy would be home to help out. It turned into a great day of creating outside while we still had our shade in the front yard!

As an official Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador,
I receive curriculum in exchange for posting about our honest and authentic experiences with the curriculum.
Click here for more information on Mother Goose Time.