Bambini Homeschool 12 : Afternoons
Our Preschool Homeschool days all look a little different, but I have been sharing glimpses of our schedule over the past few weeks. I have been breaking our schedule down into pieces, starting with this one and today I'm sharing about our Afternoons.
Our Homeschool Preschool Schedule:
7:00-9:00 Getting Ready for Adventure
9:00-11:30 Morning Adventures
11:30-1:00 Lunch + Group Time
1:00-3:00 Nap + Quiet Time
3:00-3:30 Snack + Table Invitation
3:30-5:30 Play Time
Our afternoons are the most widely varied and free flowing parts of our day. If you believe, as I do, that play is essential for childhood then setting aside large chunks for uninterrupted play is equally essential. Afternoons are usually this time for us. This is time to play with what interests them, work on long term projects, and explore topics from adventures and life more deeply. It is the most unstructured time of the day, but this is not to say that no preparation is involved. I recently wrote about WHY and HOW we rotate toys and this plays a large part in how I set up the environment for play.
Six Keys for Successful Free Play:
1. Select quality materials that are developmentally appropriate and interesting to your child.
2. Rotate toys frequently to avoid boredom and stimulate new explorations.
3. Reduce the number of toys in your play space to avoid children becoming overwhelmed and unfocused.
4. Display materials in attractive manner that makes them easy to select, play with, and return.
5. Support young children as they learn social skills, such as turn taking, by giving them words to use and being a supportive base when they are upset. (I talked more about teaching toddlers to share in this post.) As they get older and are better masters of conflict negotiation, allow them longer to resolve their own issues before you step in.
6. Let them play. Be nearby if they need help or have questions, but do not feel like you should guide the play at every step. It is great to step in and model an idea that expands their play or offer a suggestion or new material, but it is also okay to step back and let them take charge of their play. Observe how they use materials, ask questions occassionally, but let them play.
During free play, our kids are free to select activities. There are no demands made on them aside from the usual household rules (we put away things when we are done using them, we are gentle with our bodies, shouting is only for outside, etc). Depending on the day and their interests, I do often leave out invitations or certain materials for them to find. Some days these are ignored, some days they are the focus of play for a while. I do well with schedules, so I follow one very loosely. It is primarily to remind me of the different areas I want to cover with them, but the order described below often gets moved around in favor of following interests or other plans. There are weeks, like when we were learning about Weather, that we do three science experiments or weeks when we work on numbers every afternoon because they are so interested. There are also afternoons that we curl up and read books on the couch for an hour.
Frequent Afternoon Activities:
Mondays: I often set out a Math or Engineering invitation.
This might be a game, an invitation to count or build, etc.
Tuesdays: Cooking or Science.
With cooking, we generally plan the activity during group or snack. Since I start cooking around 5pm most days, I also try to find ways for them to help me if they are interested.
Science invitations are often set up with the materials for an experiment. If they are interested, I help as much is needed.
This always open ended. Some days this is a larger scale activity and others it is a simple invitation such as this one in the backyard.
Depending on the time of year these vary greatly. In warmer months sensory play is often bigger and outside such as this Baking Flour Invitation pictured above from their 3 year old Pancake & Pajama party.
In colder months it is often at the table and smaller.
I also include light table play in this category which we do predominately in the winter when the afternoons are dark and we are inside for more time.
Every Day: Gross Motor
Gross Motor play and time outside are worked in to every day.
Somedays our morning adventures take us outside or even include Gross Motor, if not I make sure to work it into our afternoons.
I do this by moving our play outside and setting up attractive ideas for Gross Motor like soccer balls or the sprinkler. Other days we are stuck inside because of the weather and we do yoga together or dance to music.
5:30 Daddy's Home + Family Time Begins
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