Blast from the Past - Spanish preschool with oldest

The Well-Trained Mind forum has a reunion thread up for old members that may not post anymore, or not as much. One of the more active members found an old post from the old boards on Web Archive.

I've been spending way too much time on that site! There are 854 pages saved of the WTM site from 1999 to the present. So, of course instead of doing homework, I decided to look for myself. I found out what I was doing with my almost-16 year old when she was 4.

Here is my post, please note that this was not in 1904. It was actually in 2004.

Posted by Renai on January 29, 1904 at 10:43:03:

In Reply to: What are/did you do/ing with your Preschooler? posted by ElizabethMcKinMN on January 29, 1904 at 09:28:37:

We ourselves are pretty laid back. I have a daughter age four. I had been looking at homeschooling and had been doing things with her off and on, but just in December did I read WTM. It was so good, I bought my own copy (this is a library copy). So, we've started school officially this month.

For math, we do the calendar daily and count all the days. I put some numbers on index cards and am teaching her touchpoints (using pennies). At night, she pulls out the geometry shapes and we play with those for awhile. We don't do cards everyday, the only everyday thing we do is calendar (because I'm lazy).

For reading, I'm teaching her in Spanish first (we're bilingual) and am using a book called La Pata Pita which is like the Spanish version of Phonics Pathways. She doesn't know all her letters yet, but in Spanish to begin reading you don't really have to. We do go through the alphabet everyday though so by the time we come to the letter in the book she'll be familiar with it. I'll put the syllables on individual index cards (ma, me, mi, mo, mu), then we'll play a type of concentration game. Whatever two cards we flip over, we put together and read them to make a silly word.

I don't know what's in that Read-Aloud book, but as a bibliophile, we don't lack books in either English or Spanish. And of course, the library once a week. So, like you, we're reading every day at least one book. That's just as (if not more) important than the phonics. She's recognizing her vowels in the books we read, and a couple of other letters we've worked with. She's asking about other letters and trying to put the word together (we're working on blending).

Handwriting, I don't have her writing letters yet. I'm using tracing pages that I got off of Donna Young's website. I'm doing this because she had a habit of coloring the line instead of tracing them. I figure sometime in the summer, or beginning in fall, I'll have her writing letters seriously. She writes on her own anyway (whatever letter comes to mind or she decides to copy from.... somewhere).

She does a LOT of drawing on her own (takes after my mother, an artist), we're running out of places to put the stuff. We go to an Art Room every Wednesday to meet with other homeschoolers around her age and get her hands into other materials. She and a couple of others made puppets yesterday and a little puppet theatre. I make sure she always clay (another fine motor activity in prep for writing) and scissors and other "stuff" for her art. Except for Wednesdays, there's no set time for this, just whenever the mood strikes her.

Her physical activity and bouncing in her chair while she works, just kidding. She's an outdoor kid, she runs outside (screaming her head off) with the dog, or we play soccer (a dad thing), or whatever we can do outside. Once mom is pooped, she'll start writing letters or numbers in the dirt (or just ignore me and continue running. She never tires out).

I'm trying to do nature observations. We have a bird feeder, and lots of birds come to visit. We'll sit (sometimes) at the screen door and count birds, note features, and she might draw a scene of what she sees. But I haven't been consistent with this. We are consistent with observing weather, which we do along with the calendar. We have a graph where we putting up suns for sunny days, etc. The end of the month we'll count them up, and then.... oh, I don't know yet.

We have about 45 minutes to an hour's worth of "school" - phonics, calendar/math, writing, sometimes observations - I don't count outside play, art, or the other more important unstructured things children this age should be doing.

Also, I consider part of her schooling - feeding the cat lunch (her responsibility, kind of) and making sure she has water; keeping her room straight, like making sure her clothes are in their place, and other short household tasks. I made her two picture lists with corresponding short sentences (in Spanish), one for the bathroom and one for her bedroom. They each have four things - bedroom morning routine, make bed, get dressed, pick up things off the floor, go brush teeth. Bathroom routine is flush toliet (the biggie), wash hands, dry hands, turn off light. Right now, for us, having her follow these routines is utmost important (we've never really followed routines before).

Her birthday is the end of September, and I'm sticking with these boards and getting as much info as I can, so I can figure out what I'll be doing in the fall. I know I'll continue with phonics in Spanish, and work on writing her letters more formally, but don't know about the math, curriculum, no curriculum, which one????? Technically, she's K, but because of her birthday she's not K, and WTM doesn't start the meat till first grade anyway.

Hope this helps (in the midst of my ramblings)


  1. Awww! That's so sweet. I didn't know you could dot that there . thays cool.

    I used to chat with you in the ignore this thread last year not long after it started. I got busy during the new year and had testings done for my LC kids...I came back to the wrm board and thought....I wonder if that's still there. And it is!!
    You made me laugh so much esp during such a touch time for me.
    You have no idea how much I appreciate that :) I wanted to tell you that and this blog looks awesome. Good job.

    I've thought about going back into that thread. I see the same ppl up on comment and I bet it's just as fun as it was in Nov. And Dec.

    I need a laugh! Ans some support. Thinkin...I just might come by and say hi and laugh at yalls humor.

    You are so witty! I always wished I could be worth. My whole family is. That three must have missed me lol :)

    Good blog. I'll be visiting it more :)
    Kat w

    1. Hey Kat, I saw you stopped by the thread. You're welcome anytime!

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I get busy and don't keep up with it as much as I should.

      I hope to keep seeing you around. :)


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