April 7, 2015

Doing "School" with Very Young Children

I've been doing a lot of "projects" (that's what we call them) with my children lately. My 3 year old and I have been very excited since he finished the Preschool program to get the Kindergarten program in the mail. And I recently started working with my 2 year old starting into the Preschool program too.

I'm aware that lots of people discourage trying to teach children academically when they are so young. So I wanted to take a little time time here to address that.

I consider "school" at this age to be fun and games. We read books, colour pictures, cut and paste things, paint, sculpt with playdough and all sorts of fun things like that. But I mix in lots of exposure to simple academic concepts.

If I want them to learn what the colour red is then I'll point it out whenever I see it. I'll choose the red clothes over other colour clothes when I dress them. I'll make sure we colour pictures of thing that are normally red. I'll give them the red playdough when we sculpt things. I'll look for books that talk about the colour red. 
We're doing all the same things, just with a little focus. (Sing, Spell, Read & Write Pre-K is really great for fun learning with young children.)

Maybe if I had older children that I was trying to homeschool, then I might not put so much effort into my preschool age children. Certainly everything they are learning can be learned faster later. But since I don't, doing these things gives us something that we can do together. 

Some people encourage others to just let young children to explore and have lots of outdoor play. I'm all for that. But living in a cold climate, and in an apartment building, plus having a baby to look after and keep warm on top of it makes a lot of outdoor time difficult and much of the time impossible.

Playing cars and duplo lego month after month after month... my kids would be bored stiff! I do hope that when the snow does melt away and we get a couple of warmer months, we'll make sure to get outside more. But for now, we enjoy our "projects."

I will say that if my kids didn't enjoy these things, I wouldn't bother. But they beg for more "projects" throughout the day and I can see that they are learning. The concepts are sinking in slowly. And they love it! I take my time teaching them the concepts and if they aren't getting it, I'll just move on to something else for a while and come back to it later. There's no rush whatsoever.

My kids are 3, 2 and 10 months with a fourth coming later this year. Yes, they keep me on my toes with diapers and getting into things and temper tantrums to deal with. But I also am blessed to be able to stay home with them all day and we have times when we can focus on doing some fun things together.

I love being a mom and staying home with my kids! I love watching them grow and learn! And helping them to love learning is something I want to instill in them too. 

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