Meet Courtney! The is the author of “The Nice and Happy Mom.” Her blog is about things that make her nice and happy including effective parenting strategies, family bonding ideas, crafts, DIY projects, and family-friendly recipes. She is an elementary teacher turned stay at home mom to 4 wonderful kids ranging in ages from 3 to 9.
Connect with Courtney on her blog!
Hello! I am a mom to 4 amazing kids. The first two went to preschool in Colorado and they went for free! It was a small town and all kids were welcome to go, so naturally, my first two kids went to preschool and loved it. It was never an option not to go.
Now, we live in Wyoming and my third child was ready to start preschool this year. In Wyoming, a preschool is an option and we have to pay for it. Since that’s the “thing to do,” we went ahead and sent him. We chose the preschool with the best outdoor playground and that goes on the most field trips. For a while, he really liked it. He makes friends easily and is well behaved for the teachers!
In December, he started complaining that he no longer wanted to go, but we said it was good for him and kept him in school. He complained about it all through January as well and that is when it hit me: preschool is extra-curricular!
When it’s something that we have to pay for and is completely optional, it becomes an OPTION! When I asked him why he no longer liked it, he said, ” the naughty kids just give me a headache.” Ha!
I volunteered in his classroom once a week, and I must say I agree with him! There were some screamers and fit throwers like I’ve never seen! I decided that it was better for him to stay home with me. This was better than paying for him to go to a place where he sees terrible behavior and a place he no longer enjoys.
After justifying this decision (I am a certified elementary teacher and am perfectly capable of getting him ready for kindergarten), we pulled him out of preschool and I haven’t once regretted this choice.
The First Step – Reading
In an effort to back up my “I can get him ready for school” justification, I bought the book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons. It has been amazing! I don’t know why I didn’t know about this book before, but it is such a great program to help kids learn phonics, blend sounds, write letters, and more! I LOVE this program.
We work on it when I put my 3-year-old down for a nap and it takes about 10-15 minutes a day. We do it most days and he is already reading words! He loves to look ahead and see what letters he will be learning next. It is a great way for us to spend some one on one time as well!
Step Two – Math
As much as I love reading, I realized that we should probably focus on number sense and math skills as well. I thought of this quick and easy game on the spot after we finished reading and my son loves it!
We call it the toothpick game. I start by randomly grabbing some toothpicks (less than ten to begin with) and he counts them.
He then has to find that number from our magnetic letters. We repeat this several times, gradually getting more and more toothpicks.
The things he learns/enjoys in this game are:
- One-to-one correspondence
- Number recognition (This was my main objective)
- Estimation (when he grabs a huge handful of toothpicks, I compare that with his already large stack and ask if he thinks that might be too many)
- He loves to count to big numbers and can easily do that with this game
- It’s easy to see the work. We kept our piles out and in the end, it was fun to see ALL the toothpicks we have counted
If you are in a similar situation, or just wanting to start working with your preschool-aged child on math skills, this is an easy game to work with!
Connecting with my child and watching them learn makes me “nice and happy.” I would love for you to check out my blog and see what other things make me nice and happy. You can also read my “why nice and happy” page to learn more about the blog’s name!
Thank you so much for sharing your crazy experience and fun game! I cannot wait for my child to get old enough to do this!
-Trying Not to Go Crazy,