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Friday, August 30, 2013

My Preschool Solution? FunShine Express!

"Mommy, I want to go skoo."

Those were the words that I heard about half a year ago that prompted me to start researching at-home schooling options for younger children. I had always planned to homeschool, but I didn't exactly have a standard plan in place. I had a vague idea of what to do when my son was older, thanks to the fact that seven of my younger eight siblings were homeschooled, but I didn't really remember my mom ever using anything for the smaller kids other than a few cardboard books and lined children's writing paper.

Luckily, I used to work in a daycare that used the FunShine line, and I remembered a relative had gotten me a kit from them a couple of years back. My son had been too young to use it then, so I'd had it sitting on a shelf - just one of those things I'd tucked away for a rainy day. I took the kit out and began looking over the materials. I was pleased with what I saw and decided to place an order for a kit that was more season-appropriate.

We started getting our son excited about his impending schooling as soon as we'd placed the order. "Only ten more days 'til school!", we would tell him. "You're going to have so much fun!"

By the time the first of the month rolled around and we were ready to start, my son was thoroughly ready for preschool. He knew we'd be learning about colors, numbers, letters, and shapes and told our whole family that he was getting ready to start school. We ended up having an awesome, albeit shaky, first day in our homeschool-preschool. As it turns out, he was more ready than I was! I had a terrible time with some of the older supplies I had on hand (my glue wouldn't come out for anything, then all fell out in a sudden gush), and I was tired out by the end of the day from hopping up and down to run and grab things I'd forgotten. As a matter of fact, I was so tired I accidentally fell asleep next to my son's freshly painted artwork and woke up with a finger-painted caterpillar transferred onto my rear!

After some needed reviewing of the teacher's monthly guidebook (shame on this mommy!), I was much better prepared for the following days. We got new glue, we made a "chalkboard" out of an area of the house that was no longer being used, and possibly most importantly - mommy read up on the lesson plans and laid out school supplies the night before! We took trips outside to inspect leaves and look for bugs. We pretended that grandma's floral bed covers were a meadow for deer to prance in. We looked for frogs and made "ribbit" noises in hopes of attracting them. My son started drawing letters, numbers, shapes - all things that he had never done before. He filled out a summer journal and colored the pictures with bright greens, oranges, and purples (his favorite colors). We made a giant caterpillar out of paper plates and strung it through the living room.

Sometime into my second month with FunShine, I was asked to review the kits and I was thrilled! I was given a free month's worth of the Fireflies program in exchange for an honest review on my site, and I couldn't have been more happy with the trade! I already knew that I loved the FunShine program, and I was excited to be blogging for them. Because I've already been through the program, I know I enjoy it. The kit they sent to me was for the month of September, and I have big plans for it. I want everyone to see how great their program works, so I hope that you will follow along with me as I outline the types of activities, crafts, games, learning tools, and teacher resources you can expect to find in a typical month! Each day that we work on our September kit, I'll be posting pictures, uploading videos, and writing about some of the cool adventures we had thanks to FunShine! I hope that this will inspire some of you to purchase a kit, or at least grab one of their sample kits to see how you like it for yourselves.

These kits are not only great for homeschooling moms though, they also work wonderfully for daycare! I was an assistant in an at-home daycare a few years ago, and we found the kits to be extremely helpful. In addition to the flexibility of ordering for a particular number of students, FunShine provides free parent-teacher resources, such as take home sheets, certificates, and newsletters. There are even free enrichment activities (think educational coloring pages) available to print off for as many children as you need!

I hope that you will all come back and read our daily posts about what you can expect in your FunShine kits! These are truly an awesome product, and any parent (homeschooling or not) that has preschoolers can get some enjoyment out of the bonding time that the FunShine kits are sure to promote.

BONUS! We have a coupon code for you! Enter the coupon code NC8BL at checkout for any purchase made with FunShine Express to get FREE shipping on your order!! Click here to go to their site!