Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Can I Do With My 3.5 year old?

Ok mommies/parents. Since we aren't sending our son to preschool, I want to make sure I'm keeping up with him developmentally - giving him ways to play that match where he is - not talking serious schooling or anything. But as I read about "what do preschoolers learn" it's all stuff that he already knows and stuff we already do at home. It all seems like basic "good mommy" stuff that I wouldn't NOT do (read aloud to your children and point out colors and numbers and shapes or Your child will learn about geometric shapes in preschool - iow - talk about squares and circles). So... I'm looking for ideas from any of you... How do I not introduce formal home schooling to him but also step things up a bit? I'm not good at craftiness, but maybe being more dedicated in daily fun things at home would be good. Please tell me your #1 source for craft/activity ideas. I've spent hours on Pinterest before only to disappoint myself with how little I do. I need to be diligent with creating a schedule (for MYSELF) so that I actually DO - like: Monday - "nature walk to hunt for treasures and stick em on paper" Tuesday - "use markers and crayons to draw some letters and cut them out" Go!! Remember - he is 3.5.

A friend of mine recently asked this question on FB.  She tagged me in the post, and although I wrote a short response on her wall, I wanted to answer it more thoroughly here.

I think in short order, she is asking-- how do I homeschool without homeschooling?

And that was my question as my oldest Molly got to be about 3.5.   I wanted her to learn how to read- I thought she was smart enough- certainly- and I thought we had worked hard enough with her that it would be a breeze. She loved to sit with a pile of books, surely she was on the cusp of reading! Boy I was wrong. But now that she is in Kindergarten, I am so very glad we didn't push things. She is learning right alongside her classmates. She isn't bored (at all- she loves Kindergarten) at school, and she is right where they want her to be. She knows letters and their sounds. Nothing is new, so I personally think she is ripe for learning how to read.

I have an almost 3-year-old, a 1.5 year old, and a newborn at home.  How can I stay intentional with them, but also, as my very astute friend pointed out, not get overwhelmed by Pinterest craftiness and/or the pressure of "homeschooling"?  It certainly can backfire and it has for me... 

Just a simple set of materials.... paper, crayons, play-doh, etc.
1. Love your space.
You don't have to homeschool to have a place to "do school."  We call it "tot school" instead of homeschooling. It involves the things we love to do! 

2. Love your ritual.
Include things you will enjoy in the ritual. Make it a peaceful routine.  Don't give yourself a nervous break down. They're little.  This isn't boot camp, nor will your children die from a hot dog.

3. Love your materials.
If you look in your closet, and it makes you happy, then that's a good place to start.  Don't overdo it, but I guarantee if you are excited about your materials, they will be, too.  Read the books and watch the movies that you read and watched as kids. Introduce new stuff- but only the stuff that you approve of (a.k.a. doesn't drive you batty). If it isn't twaddle, then you and your child should both enjoy it (so wisely pointed out by Charlotte Mason).

4. Make it rich- for them and for you.
Every day is a precious gift. Teach that principle to them.  If it means making high tea (as the French would call it, a gouter- 'goutay') en route to dinner at 4pm with cake, cookies, and chocolate milk, in order to celebrate the day or a certain person, then do that. 
Frances memorized a verse :  "Do everything without complaining or disputing." Philippians 2:14

5. Teach Jesus.
At the end of the day-- THIS. THIS is what matters.  What did Jesus teach? Model it in your behavior and your words at all times.  This life is soooooo short. We're on our way to our eternal home.  Keep this before you as you do everything, all day!

Direct them to becoming the people you hope they'll be.
If you want one basic, simple principle, here it is.  Train them in the way they should go... and when they are old, they will not depart from it. AMEN.

linking up with Hallie.


Libba said...

i just now saw this! will come back and read it in a bit. i've been staring at the computer for too long. :O)

Tacy said...

Well, I would love to hear your honest thoughts/response once you read it!