I have recently discovered, much to my dismay, that if one wants their child to be in preschool in the fall, one must try to sign them up well before May, not July, otherwise all preschools within reasonable driving distance are full.
Luckily, The Frog still has a whole other year of preschool available to him, since he has a September birthday, so hopefully I'll be on the ball for next year. :)
The Frog has never been much for coloring, or really anything fine motored, until recently he flipped through a coloring/activity book we have had for literally years, and stopped to do the maze. By golly, he did a pretty good job too! So I jumped on that and realized that maybe he would finally start to write if I just found the right task. Turns out, he likes dot-to-dots too :)
This got the wheels spinning and I decided that maybe if I could just have him do one fine motor skills task a day and one math oriented task (but of course I'd have to have math...) then I would feel like he's progressing in some way, and therefore readying himself for school. I have already been having him practice the sounds of the letters in the alphabet and have been trying (with much resistance) to get him to start blending sounds together... Luckily, he's so young, I'm not too disheartened. yet... But that doesn't mean we're not going to keep practicing...
I also thought it might be a good time to start introducing the concept of chores. (and let me tell you, I've been not-so-patiently waiting for this moment for the last 4 years...)
Finally, The Frog often asks me what we're going to do that day at breakfast, or he'll say something like, "mom? What's today?" and I'll say, "Tuesday", and he'll say, "what's that mean?" meaning, what are we going to do today, kind of thing...
All these things together made me think it might be a good idea to have some kind of schedule that he could understand, and what better way to introduce it but to have a Family Home Evening lesson on "contributing to the family" (i.e. help out around here for once!). The timing is good too because I can, for now, blame it on the upcoming baby and how I'll be needing extra help, etc., etc., because this is something more understandable to an almost 4-year old than, "My job is to teach you the skills you need to become a responsible adult!"
The idea of The Frog as an adult is an impossibility to his disproportionately large head. (a very cute, disproportionately large head, if I do say so myself...)
So, without further ado (have I been writing this a lot lately?) I came up with a plan that has been in action all of one week and so far it seems to be working pretty well! I printed out activities with word descriptions below on cardstock, cut them out, laminated them, and am hanging them in 3x3 pocketed page protectors (which I was able to pick up for I think .27 each at the same place where I laminated the cards).
I tried really hard to share an editable version of what I did, but it was turning more painful than I wanted, so instead, I'm just sharing a pdf and hopefully you get the idea... If you want to use it and edit it, you can comment and I'll email you the original :)
I have 2 page protectors per child (though sometimes I need an extra one or two, on a particularly jam-packed day...) but I only show one at a time. I am just hanging them on a nail through the middle hole, hanging them landscape, but I thought about clipping them to a clipboard too and hanging the clipboard (so it would be in portrait.) Either would work great, I suspect, I just didn't want to buy 2 clipboards before I knew this would work.
Now, The Frog asks me, "what's next mom?" and I just say, "well, check the schedule". (notice, it's NOT a chore chart. just a schedule :D)
Note that I didn't put in meals or free-time. Probably if I had 3 sheets, I might. I also thought about giving rewards for doing the chores (the ones I printed out on tan) but I think it's good to just have chores because you're a part of the family and live in the house. I was amazed by how many things I could think of to have them help out with! Right now, we all basically do them together (The Frog even wants to help out when Peach is doing her chore), but my hope is that come the new baby, maybe they'll be able to do more of them by themselves, or with vague supervision.
Now for the preschool activities... I was quite amazed by all the free worksheets that can be printed from the internet. I'll do a separate post on some of my favorite links. I also just bought a bunch of Kumon workbooks for after the baby is here and I may not be as on top of printing things off. Right now I have a pretty good stack of many of the exercises, and somethings I don't plan to use a worksheet most of the time- like measuring, counting and money, for example.
Of course, Peach has a schedule too, though we don't often stick to it as rigidly, since she doesn't care about it much.
Here are some pics:
PS I taped cardstock to the back of the page protectors to keep them a bit stiffer- they started flopping around a bit. If you used a clip board, you probably wouldn't have to do that.