Preschool At Our House

My three and four year-olds peeked their little heads out from around the corner. They loved their play time, but couldn’t help but want to see all of the fun that their big sisters were having in the other room. “Mom, Can we do school too?” came their tiny voices. Although I’d been wanting to have a little preschool time with them since last August, I had yet to do a single thing.

Preschool at Our House

So I got our Little Hands to Heaven curriculum by Heart of Dakota back from my sister-in-law at Christmas-time, and now I am loving, loving, loving this special time with these two little ones. It brings back so many precious memories of when we started our homeschooling journey with their big sisters. And it honestly only takes us about twenty minutes each morning… while the “big girls” work on their chores and the “little one” toddles around joining us or attempting to help her big sisters.

Oh, how I wish I could capture the heart-learning that is going on in these two little people. For pouring God’s Word and His ways into their little hearts and minds is what is most important to me in schooling our kids at home.

Yes, I do want them to learn coloring and cutting and counting and letter recognition and how to draw shapes and write their names and countless other skills. But, above anything else, I desire for them to know God and to walk in His ways. They could be the brightest, smartest, richest people in the world (I do hope God will use them in mighty ways as they grow), but without God, they’d be LOST.

{{And, I’ll let you in a little secret {Shhhh!}- a lot of those skills that we moms fret about… come naturally at this age as they’re playing and creating and crafting and exploring.}}

B Blocks

So we pull out The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes and we read the true, inspiring stories that stretch from so many years ago, straight to our hearts today.

New Bible In Pictures for Little Eyes

And we read of the creation, man’s sin, and God’s promise to Abraham. And we ask questions about how we can obey like Noah and whether we should tell lies like Jacob. We dance to the stories being told through music. We {dramatically} act out the fingerplays that go along with the stories. And we take time to explore the world around us- What sinks? What floats?…

Sink or Float

We learn that Adam starts with “A” and we count by twos as animals enter the ark. We write our letters… with ice cubes, paint, and yummy chocolate sauce… as we talk about the sweet rhymes in this devotional book.

preschool A-B-C

We make rainbow pictures to remind us of God’s promise, and we ride our d-d-d-dusty camels like true Bible characters. And we excitedly share with Daddy all about it when he gets home.

Making Rainbows

Rainbow

And the rest of the day? We continue to play and create and to craft and explore! :)

{{Just in case you thought from the pictures above that Preschool at our house is a “quiet” affair, here is a glimpse of what seventy percent of our time looks like. :) And, yes, my children do have all of their appendages.}}

A-A-A

I’ve been asked by many moms if I think “Little Hands to Heaven” would be good for their little preschoolers.  I wish I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with each one of you, or have you come sip coffee as you watch the day unfold from the security of our soft couches (well, you might get jumped on! –wink!). But, since I cannot do that (and realizing I won’t be able to keep up with taking as many pictures as I’d like- I really need my hands free to keep the twenty month old from eating the paint, and I really want to be engaged with my little ones), I will say a few things…

You don’t have to have a curriculum to teach preschool. And another secret {fellow preschool teachers, you might want to cover your eyes} you don’t have to teach preschool at all! As I shared in my “secret” above- just by living and playing, our children pick up so very much. We’re already teaching them in so many ways. Yes, there are many benefits of preschool (some which I’ve outlined below), but more than academics, our children need our love and our faithfulness. So, NO guilt! There are seasons in our lives when preschool will not be the best choice for our families- even if we do have a precious three or four year-old living under our roof.

But, here are some reasons why “Little Hands to Heaven” is working for our family {now} and just might work for yours as well…
-Your little ones have begged to do “school” like their big siblings.
-You want to prepare your children for their Kindergarten year where there will be more expectations.
-You hope to focus on God and His Word.
-You want something age-appropriate.
-You’re looking for a little structure to guide you.
-You need something that takes little to no time to prepare or plan.
-You don’t have money to spend on ink to print off lots of worksheets (Although some worksheets are included in “Little Hands”- you can go here to find out how we do without worksheets.)
-You enjoy hands-on activities, and don’t mind a little mess.
-Your preschoolers are busy, and love to learn through action.
-You want something you can reuse with other little ones.
-You need something short and impactful.
-You would like to spend some special time with your little ones.
-Your family values the heart just as much as the mind.

Just like when making other difficult schooling decisions, we need to seek God for what is best for our own families!

No two kids, two moms, or two families are exactly alike! If you don’t like hands-on activities and art projects and the idea of acting things out makes you sweat- you might want to look into a different program. If you love textbooks and workbooks, then “Little Hands to Heaven” may not be for you either. Although our decisions should not be based on fear (of the glue on the table, or whether we can find enough courage to lead our children in a finger-play, or because we heard our cousin’s neighbor’s three year-old daughter is already reading), if we’re seeking God, He will put His desires in our hearts, He will work on renewing our minds, and He will guide us toward what is best for our families.

a-a-a-a

Do you do/have you done preschool at your house? What does/did it look like?
What questions do you have for me?

Have more questions about “Little Hands to Heaven”… I’ve answered many here! :)

Linked to The Better Mom, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Titus 2sdays

Comments

  1. this is exactly up my alley. i’ve been looking for something…some “thing” to help me guide my girls and this sounds perfect. as always, so grateful.

    • Kristen, We really do enjoy our days using “Little Hands to Heaven”! :) I’m happy to pass along a great resource that we love so much!
      ~Jessica

  2. We used Little Hearts to Heaven for Sophie last year and she liked it :) This year I’m more relaxed with Bella, embracing the idea that she is learning each day through prayer, play and reading time with Mommy. Thanks for a great encouraging post!

    • Aurie, I always enjoy hearing how you’re working things with your girls, and it’s so fun to hear how each family is different. I’m so glad you’re getting to have this more relaxed time of learning with Bella. Oh, how I love that time! :)
      Jessica

  3. I’m about halfway through this guide with my 5 year old (late birthday) and 3.5 year old girls and it has been such a blast!! I can’t wait to go through it again with my 2 boys when they’re old enough. Looking forward to ordering LHFHG in just a few months for my oldest daughter’s K year :-) You’re blog has been so encouraging to me since I started reading it several months ago. I also love all the sneak peaks into the HOD curriculum since we’ve chosen the same one. Thank you for all the work you put into updating your blog and I pray that God will continue to bless your family :-)

    • Thank you for your kind encouragement, Lisa! It really means a lot!
      And, how fun that you’re doing “Little Hands” this year too! :) You’re going to love LHFHG! :) My little boy will be in kindergarten next year too, and I’m still trying to decide what will be the best to do with him. I’d like one of his little sisters to tag along with him, so I think we’ll probably wait one more year- hmmmm. I look forward to hearing how the rest of your year goes (& next year too)!
      ~Jessica

  4. I also love, love, love HOD! We started LTHT in August with my 4 yr old, and he just really is eating it up. All the Bible stories are tied so beautifully with the activities. He especially loves the art projects! This guide, while I was a bit skeptical at first, really does get the kids moving and learning all those important Bible lessons they need to know. I also am looking ahead to the next guide, can’t wait to see what’s in store for us. Thanks Jessica for all your HS posts, they have really been an encouragement to our family as well!!

    • I’m so glad you’re loving “Little Hands” too! :)
      I was a bit skeptical at first too- hehe! There’s really so much more to it that you can’t see until you’re actually using it.
      I always appreciate your kind encouragement, Karen!
      Have a great day!
      Jessica

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I have been doing a little preschool stuff with Lily who just turned 3. I love the ideas of what y’all do!

    • Thanks, Kelly! There is so much we really enjoy about it. But, it’s also been good for me to remember that they’re only this little once and to soak it all up and get them learning throughout the fun of the day! I appreciate you!
      ~Jessica

  6. Thanks so much for this post. I have been looking for a curriculum that does it all and is easy. I am so excited to order and start it. Then when I started looking about where there are based out of .. it’s only 20 minutes North of my house:) What fun

    • Marisa, How fun that they’re so close to you! :) (Maybe you could save on shipping!) We really do appreciate “Little Hands”. Please feel free to ask any questions you have! Have a great day!
      ~Jessica

  7. Preschool at our house is very active, too!! I love all the big-scale and creative activities you do with your kids!! We use Five in a Row for our core curriculum (and worksheets from A Beka for my Pre-K-er – I can’t help it!), and I love it!! It is so fun to be able to use the unit studies with him and my 3-year-old – I do a few beginning preschool activities with her, too – trying to help her learn letters and numbers now. :) My 5-year-old is very active, so I know if we have several activities to accomplish, I need to make sure he gets up in between and runs around, or takes a few minutes of play while I start laundry, etc. I just plan for that, and it helps the rest of our stuff to go more smoothly. :) Any tips for keeping the 18-month-old happy and occupied while school is going on would be greatly appreciated!! :) I recently got a snap-onto-the-school-table booster seat for him, and he can color in it or play with a little toy for a few minutes, so that is helping, but he is just always into everything! :) And you are so right about our little ones just picking up the reading and all as we interact with them, and what a privilege to be the one teaching them about what God desires ALL day long – a privilege and a GREAT responsibility – thanks for the reminder! :)

    • You always have fun stuff going on at your house, Carrie! :) (And always such kind encouragement you leave here- Thank you!) I love that you do what works so well for your little ones. I’ve heard great things about Five in a Row!! (I do happen to get a worksheet itch every once in a while, and then I head to the dollar store… or I really like a few of the Rod and Staff fine-motor skills workbooks.)

      Tips for your sweet 18 month-old… Ah! That’s a crazy time isn’t it!? My sweet Ariya still takes a morning nap, or at least sings to herself and her baby doll quietly for a good hour and a half each morning, and that has been SO helpful. But she’s at the into everything stage too- super fun, but tricky when trying to work with other children. :) Is there an area in your house where he could play safely?… one time we gated off a hallway and provided some fun toys in there. Or, maybe twenty minutes or so of play-time in his crib? Some other ideas are to have special toys that only come out during school time… maybe a cabinet full of fun, safe manipulative-type toys that he could choose from. Love the snap onto the table booster idea- maybe let him paint with water? Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking. Here’s a post I did last year about schooling with little ones… https://www.ourfamilyforhisglory.com/2011/08/what-to-do-with-little-ones-while/

      Loved your reminder of the great privilege and responsibility God has given us.
      Blessings,
      Jessica

  8. I stumbled upon your cute little blog a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to let you know how wonderful it is to hear about your homeschool adventures, how you teach the bible and prayer to your children, and how you organize your day and your house. I have a 4 year old son, and a 9 month old daughter. I taught 1st grade for 8 years and then quit when my daughter was born. Staying at home with my children has always been one my biggest desires (having a daughter was another!) and God has worked it out for me to do so. Homeschooling has always been in the back of my mind, but it’s kind of one of those things nobody really talks about, and to many people it seems very extreme. About the time I began praying about it was when I found your blog. :) You have encouraged me to PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER God’s will for our family and for my children, rather than worrying about it or asking people for their opinion on it (as every person and family is so different), and have reminded me not to base my decision on fear. (Fears are now things I take to the Lord in prayer!) My husband is a public school teacher (high school special ed and coach) and we were both raised in public school with decent/ mostly postive, I suppose, experiences. He is not quite as open to homeschool yet, but he’s not opposed to it either. We both just thought our kids would go to school like we did, esp since we are/were both teachers. So this consideration is very new (and surprising), but I’m starting to get a little excited about the thought of being my children’s teacher, and our home being their primary learning environment! I’d love to talk more about it with you, but I also know you’re very busy. Thank you so very much for sharing your stories, your ideas, and your struggles & victories with us- it is encouraging!! (I SO wish I could take you out for a cup of tea and ask you some questions!) Blessings to you and your precious family!!! They are so blessed to have you!!!!

    • Katrina, I’m so honored to read a little of your story. Your family sounds so precious. It’s a privilege to hear how He has been working in your heart. I’m blessed to hear that you are taking this big decision to Him in prayer! And I am praying for you right now as well! Tea would be SO fun, but for now, I’d be happy to talk with you more through email if you get a chance, and will just respond when I can. {ourfamilyforhisglory at gmail dot com} :)
      Thank you for your kindness, Katrina!
      Looking forward to hearing from you!
      Jessica

  9. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been doing homeschool-preschool with my 4yo and 3yo this year, and I’ve been using abcjesuslovesme.com. I’ve recently started feeling a little anxiety about my 4yo officially starting school next year and wondering how in the world I am supposed to know what the right curriculum is. Thanks to your posts (I’ve been all over your website :)) and the Hearts of Dakota website, I am so encouraged. This is so doable and so “us.” Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!! I feel like my anxiety just switched to excitement :) I just wanted you to know that your posts led me to a specific answer to prayer.

    • Oh, hooray, Jamie!! I’m so glad that you’re feeling that excitement instead of anxiousness! :)
      I’m so honored and humbled by the amazing ways God works- even through my little words plunked out on a screen. I’m so blessed that I can share about a company that has blessed us so much!
      Praying for you as you continue on this journey!
      Have a wonderful day!
      ~Jessica

  10. Thank-you for sharing your experience. My preschool homeschooling experience is right now I just make sure to work on skills. (Yes, our kids do not need to be in preschool, simple things like colouring, playing dolls are all part of the learning experience) I like the sound of this book. I need something with a little more structure but something adaptable since my daughter has a disability. I will be looking into it!

    Candice
    http://www.lillythroughthevalley.blogspot.com

  11. Thank you for sharing this! Was very encouraging and right along with what helped us decide to keep our son home next year to begin preschool with him. I am already loving how he is learning so much right now in our makeshift tot school. Seeing him learn about God and life is just amazing and would not trade it for anything! Thank you! Look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Keri, What a blessing to meet you! Your little guy sounds precious and full of life! I’m so glad you can enjoy these days with him! :) Looking forward to getting to know you and your precious family more!
      Blessings, Jessica

  12. After stumbling onto your website and reading about Heart of Dakota, I ordered it for myself to use with my 3 1/2 year old. I am SO happy with it. I had tried other curriculums and a lot of “make your own” and with 3 little ones (the 3 1/2 is the OLDEST), those just didn’t work. We all love HOD. We are in our second week and it is already making such a difference in the “peace” level of our house, and I love that we start the day off with such a scripture-filled program.
    Thank you for all your wonderful reviews and recommendations!

  13. Thanks for this great review! I’m strongly considering starting this program with my daughter this fall. She will be 3 in November, and she is expressing a lot of interest in learning. I love the ‘play’ aspect of this program and that it’s not too rigid. Your family looks so neat, and it is so very encouraging to see how homeschooling is working for you. I’m new to this world, and it is a bit overwhelming, but I already have a great support system through my church along with several good friends who are planning on homeschooling. I’m SO excited! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

    • Thanks, Amanda! Homeschooling is very overwhelming- isn’t it!? Praying for you as you start making all those important decisions. I’d be happy to answer any questions that you have.
      Blessings,
      Jessica

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