Peer pressure. There’s a decent chance that many of you have been affected. It happens when homeschool mothers begin to take notice of what other families are doing in their schooling. We feel the pressure to be great. We feel the pressure to insure our children that they are gaining the absolute best education they can receive.
Let’s face it, there are some homeschooling parents who are intensely critical and competitive. The truth is that what they say doesn’t matter. They do not school your children and therefore it is none of their business.
Over the years I have received many emails from parents who wish to find out more about how to homeschool their child(ren). With every email the age has become younger and younger. Many have stated that their preschooler had problems with completing worksheets, memorizing flash cards, or would not sit still while the parent was reading the child a story. The youngest of the bunch have been one-year-olds.
This is a problem—a big one! Why the rush?
Why are we rushing to homeschool younger and younger?
Here are some ideas on how to educate your little one who demonstrates the attention span of a gnat:
Shaving cream. Get an aluminum tray or simply spray some on the table and let them “paint”. You can show them letters if you play with them. I totally recommend shapes though because shapes build coordination. You would not believe how delightful this can be for a young child!
Playdough, playdough, playdough!! A couple of recipes to get you started: tri-sensory playdough (use pumpkin or maple extract for scent and a turkey cookie cutter for example). I love the colors of this example and we definitely could work in learning colors, right? Galaxy dough is another cool project.
Use short book activities. If the book only has 1-2 sentences per page you are hitting the right sized book for your preschooler. They should not spend more than 5-10 minutes at this age being read too unless their interests in listening dictates otherwise. Here are some great links to books and activities:
Muffin Tin Mom- If you have never heard of her then run—don’t walk to her site! You will quickly find so many great preschool ideas and learn very quickly all the many ways you can turn a meal into a book theme! Check out the very cute, “Pilgrim Voyage” meal. Picky eater? Improvise and adapt the ideas to your child’s dietary needs or wants.
Prekinders- I cannot tell you how many times I used this site when my younger two were preschoolers. The activities and printable stories are exactly the right length and they are so much fun! It is also a great resource on how to set up “learning centers” in your homeschool room.
Personalized Learning Centers
We did a little house rearranging at this age in order to build mini-centers. One included a beanbag and a basket of books and stuffed animals. This area was for “quiet time”. I would fill a basket with books that suited their interests. My son at age four and five loved sharks and Buzz Lightyear. His small basket had books relating to those two themes. Included in that corner was a blanket, some small toys to keep his hands busy, and a nice comfy beanbag to sink into. The same idea was used with my daughter only there were books with pink and her lovey blue blanket she took everywhere.
We were also very, very Montessori because this method is extremely fun! As they’ve gotten older we’ve transformed into a very classical method that suits the kids very well. (We do still have fun!) Here are some fun Montessori sites:
Fall Homeschooling Ideas!
Go on a nature hike and have a game of I-Spy or an impromptu scavenger hunt. (i.e. a rock, a leaf, a puddle—keep it simple and you can build up to more challenging.)
Pick apples!! Oh my, we moved to the mid-west five years ago and we love this annual activity! Make a playdough apple pie. Tempera paint up to their elbows making apple trees. (always remember your kids are washable!)
Read The Giving Tree. It is a season of Thanksgiving after all. Make a preschool thankful tree. If you would like to find Thanksgiving crafts that will last you for years I suggest you turn to Pinterest.
You see, by slowing down on the hard-core side of education your child will most assuredly be learning but don’t scrimp on the fun. They only get to be this age once. You only get this chance once. All those parents who tsk, tsk you for not doing flash cards are missing out on the best type of learning.
Have a blast with your toddler/preschooler. I guarantee that when they’re older you won’t regret having skipped the worksheets, flash cards, or seat work. I know I don’t!