Saturday, January 30, 2010

Our Homemade Preschool Board

I have wanted to share our preschool board for awhile now. It was just a matter of getting out the camera, taking the photos and uploading them. ;) I first created this five years ago when I decided to keep Thatcher home for his last year of preschool. I had no idea for how long we would be homeschooling and I didn't even know there were formal curriculums that could be purchased. Even if I had known, I would still use this tool. It takes less than 10 minutes a day and covers lots and lots of skills in a fun and hands on way. Thatcher loved it and now Haddon is enjoying it, too.

I am a big believer in keeping preschool light and fun yet finding a way to build a solid foundation for future learning. This is part of our family's solution...along with tons of games, great books, music, art, nature walks, field trips and much more!

It's just made from a simple display board I purchased at a craft store.
I'll walk you through all the parts and the skills covered in each.

Here on the left I have a Hundred's Chart. We started the year making sure Haddon could count to 20 forwards and backwards. Then I taught him to count by 10's and then all the way to 100 by 1's. After that we added counting by 5's to 100. Now we are learning to count by 2's to 20 and by the end of the year he'll be able to count to 100 by 2's.

Below the Hundred's Chart are these cards. I have all three sets. We started with sequencing a three-picture story and now he can easily sequence six-picture stories.

Below that are our rhyming word flash cards. We started the year with a simpler set and moved to this more advanced set with three words. Each day we play fun words games with these. He'll make a sentence with the rhyming words and then we'll generate a list of all the other words we can think of that fit in that rhyming family.

At the start of the year we also had a set of opposites flash cards but he worked through all those.

Next is our money strip where we add a penny each day. At first we just dealt in pennies and dimes. Then when he got comfortable with that we added nickels. We'll introduce quarters by the end of the year.

Finally are our counting bears. We use these to work on several skills. Sometimes I make a pattern he has to continue. We also work on ordinal numbers. I might say something like, "What color is the 7th bear?" or "What color is before the third bear?"

This part is pretty self-explanatory. We practice days of the week, months of the year, and we add a number to the calendar each day (here I put up the number 25 because he he wanted to count up how many days until Christmas). He completes the sentences at the bottom and we add a stick to our place value cup every day, too. He loves when he gets to move each group of 10 stick "next door" to their new home in the 10's house! :) There is a weather graph on here but it's never been used (where's a blushing emoticon?!).

On the right he does an addition problem each day from this DK Math Puzzles set. First semester we focus on addition and second semester he'll do subtraction. The last month of the year he will do one addition and one subtraction problem each day.

Below that is a piece of felt. Each day he pulls a different sized string (precut and kept in a baggie) and estimates how long it is and then measures it. We started with inches first semester and now we are working with centimeters.

Next are some simple flash cards I got at Wal-Mart years ago that spell out simple 3 letter words with short vowels.

And finally we have our clock. Each day he grabs a flash card and makes the clock show the time on the card. In the photo above the flash card is on the wrong side. Wish I would've caught that before I took the pic!

Here is what the board looks like with nothing on it (except the money that Haddon didn't want to remove). Everything is attached with sticky back velcro, and yes it was a small fortune in velcro considering that I used velcro for every.single.element that goes on the board. :)

And here's the back of the board. I store as much as I can in baggies that have a strip of velcro attached and what doesn't fit on the back goes here... a bucket I keep behind the board.

We have enjoyed this board so much. I will use it for all three boys so in the long run it is much less expensive than many preschool programs and it meets my goals for preschool - fun while building a solid foundation.