Thursday, October 2, 2014

Preschoolers and Peace ebook {A TOS Review}

Preschoolers and Peace Review
As I have been going about my days this year, I have been a bit stressed at the difficulty of trying to work with the older school-age girls while also working with the younger two. I mean, I started our homeschool journey with two little ones, a toddler and a preschooler. I love teaching the preschool age group, it is what I went to school for and what I spent 5+ years of my life doing before having these young ones. I didn't figure it would be that difficult to fit in some preschool time while teaching the older children. Well, I was wrong, and that is why I jumped at the chance to review this nifty little book from Preschoolers and Peace called Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet.

Preschoolers and Peace is a new-to-me site, but it is one that I am going to have to make the time to visit more often. It was started by Kendra Fletcher (the author of the ebook) who has many years of experience schooling older children while having little ones underfoot. I mean, "Preschoolers" and "Peace" don't actually sound like they go well together. I know I could use quite a bit more peace right now. What about you? From my understanding, the information in the ebook is a compilation of the best of the advice found over on the site. So, let's discover how to combine preschoolers with peace.
Preschoolers and Peace Review
In this 47 page book you will find 13 chapters, in addition to the introductions and additional information in the back of the book. It's a small book chock full of nuggets of wisdom for the homeschool mom of children of multiple ages.
Here, let me share the titles of the chapters with you, so you can have an idea at what you will find.
  1. What a Homeschooling Mom Needs
  2. Preparing Yourself to Homeschool Older Kids With Little Ones Underfoot
  3. Planning Around Preschoolers
  4. How Do I Keep Them Busy? 
  5. What Does a 2-Year-Old's Day Look Like?
  6. How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?
  7. How Not to Just Kill time
  8. Circle Time, or How We Pull the Little Ones In
  9. Preschool Boys
  10. When All You Kiddos Are Preschoolers
  11. Preschool Chores
  12. Planning for Preschool
  13. When Mama Is Worn Out (or Pregnant)
The author begins the book with a personal story about the beginning of their homeschool journey, a journey she didn't anticipate lasting 16 years so far. Then she adds these encouraging words, "Homeschooling successfully with little ones underfoot is entirely possible." There you go! We can do this mamas!

After this short introduction, Kendra shares the most important place to begin, the gospel of Christ. She stresses the importance of having your identity be in Christ and not anything else, making sure Christ is seen in and through us. All we do should be in the light of the gospel.

She then goes into the importance of prayer, both personal and within the family, in keeping your day successful. This is all a part of preparing yourself for your day. She shares the importance of starting your day in prayer and praying about what seems to be the small things. She also shares about prayer binders and prayer boxes to help focus prayer, something I desperately need in my life.

In the next chapter, "Planning Around Preschoolers," the importance of routine and schedules is stressed, starting with teaching the children, while they are still young, to get into a morning routine. Kendra goes into her scheduling principles, noting that there is not one perfect way to go about it and allowing that readers of the book will be taking off on their own to make the schedule that works for them. Take note that the schedule should be working for you, and you need to be open to making revisions. In her words, "[The schedule] should serve you, not the other way around." I know I have been guilty of allowing a schedule to become too consuming in the past, where it is not a help, but a hindrance, even a downfall. Kendra even shares a sample schedule which includes 6 children, which I really appreciated seeing.

I know this next chapter, How Do I Keep them Busy, will be of major interest to mom's out there. On my time browsing the internet, checking out Pinterest, and even seeing what people share on my Toddler Idea Tuesday link up, I have noted that moms want to know how to keep their little ones occupied. We don't want them getting into everything. We don't want them sat in front of the television. We want them to be learning too. Kendra shares that her little ones will have different kinds of activities:

  • Room Time or Crib Time
  • Table Play Time
  • Recorded Books 
  • Short Videos
  • Big Toy Time (on a schedule)
  • Water Play
  • Stickers and several other wonderful ideas
I have to say, the items that she suggests for Table Play Time are extensive. Some we have used, some I would have never thought of, and from what I can see, every mom should be able to find a decent variety to select from to keep things new and interesting for their little one(s). 

I love looking at her suggestions on what a two-year-old's day should look like. Obviously, this will depend upon your own schedule, but I have noticed quite a few similarities in what I am already doing, plus some ways I may want to tweak. 

And now, in the next chapter, "How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?," I have come to the most important advice for me. And what is this wonderful bit of advice from this mom who has been homeschooling multiple aged children for so many years? 


You caught that right? I hope so, because I sure needed to read it. I was so used to working with children at a young age, that I was worrying that I wasn't getting the same things done with the younger two children that I did with my older girls, which I had modeled after what I learned by working with a group of children all the same age.  There are many learning opportunities for toddlers and preschool age children, some of which are just a part of daily life, others are fun activities given to the child.

On the other hand, we don't want children to be wasting their time and just going willy nilly through life. In "How Not to Just Kill Time," Kendra shares some wonderful ideas of ways to include little ones so that you are able to do things you thought you couldn't do with young children. 

The next chapter is called, "Circle Time, or How We Pull the Little Ones In."  We do have a Gathering Time in the morning which I have switched around and is working for us right now. However, if you have not been including a group time in your day, I would definitely recommend doing so and reading her ideas. She also has an ebook called Circle Time which some on the Crew reviewed last year. 

Kendra has included a chapter specifically for Preschool Boys, and a chapter for those who have kiddos who are preschool age or younger (which was us a few years ago).  She then moves into Preschool Chores, and let me tell you, there are some wonderful suggestions for getting your children, as young as two included in the chores. She has listed suggestions for 2, 3, 4, and 5 year old children. There are so many people out there that think that young children can't or shouldn't have to do chores. While working at the Montessori, I learned that children are capable of a lot more than we usually give them credit for. Since then, I have also realized the importance of children learning that they are a part of the family and should be helping right from the start. So, I really appreciate these ideas.

In "Planning for Preschool" she shares the most important thing you as a parent can do to prepare your child for homeschool, teach them obedience. After reading her definition of obedience she explains how this should look during the day. 

In the last chapter, Kendra shares some great ideas for when mom is worn out or tired. 

Don't miss the Meal Planning 101 section in the back of the book. There are even ideas for getting your children involved in helping as they get older. 

There is a list of resources in the back of the book for most of the chapters. Here you will find articles specifically focused on each topic for further information.

I have really enjoyed reading this book, and have discovered some great ideas to help me toward my goal of being more organized this year. This book would be a great resource for any homeschooling mom looking for ideas on how to get their day to run more smoothly with preschoolers.

You can buy this little gem for just $2.99. If you have a chance, I recommend stopping by the blog as well to see what other tidbits you can find. 

You can also find Preschoolers and Peace on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube.

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