These photos were taken last year of our oldest daughter, Gianna, 2 years old. She knows how to sort these shapes…big spoons together and little spoons together…forks…butter knives…and cute lil baby spoons. (She sometimes gets the big spoons and little spoons mixed up, but mostly she has it nailed).
There are different approaches to homeschooling, but my approach has always been simple: teach them through living life together. For a long time now, Gianna has been able to correctly put away all of the silverware from the disherwasher basket. It brings her joy because – even at this age – she recognizes that she is contributing to the family and it brings her a sense of accomplishment (as seen above). =-) There is no…”Now you go run along while mommy stresses like crazy trying to do ALL these dishes by myself! Why don’t you go play with your toys or something?” Instead, I opt to include them in everything (as much as possible). And they love learning it all and being involved.
When I am first teaching them something, does it take longer to get the job done? Of course! And there ARE times every now and then when I do need to zip through something very quick in order to have it done. Usually the kids are okay with that, though, because it is not the norm. Even though it takes longer for us to get jobs accomplished at times, it is worth every minute because I am building memories with my children that they will never forget, I am helping them learn valuable concepts and life skills. Through moments like these I am boosting their self esteem. And specifically, this is something that Gianna will be able to use (many, many times) all through her life.
If you look closely at Gianna’s shirt, you would see patches of flour dusted on here and there. That’s because she also helped me with dinner that night. She is very good at mixing up ingredients in bowls and kneading out bread dough by hand (she always gets to make her own miniature loaf). Any toddler can do this.
This is not to say that she doesn’t play with toys, because she certainly does. However, we do allow and encourage each of our children to participate in life like this.
There are still things that we, as parents, are figuring out how to do that works best for our family. Our oldest child is about to turn 9 years old (help me!), and I’m having to reevaluate how we will be homeschooling him now that he’s getting older. Yes, he has textbooks and we site down together wherever and read through them, work on problems, etc. Honestly, I am just not as keen on that type of learning if it’s not something that our child WANTS to learn at that given moment. I don’t care what your age is – you just don’t learn as well if you don’t want to. Whenever I say to Ethan “Let’s get out the math book and work through some probs together, K?” – – it just doesn’t do anything for him. You remember what it was like to do math like that in school, right? (I am talking to all of the non-math-lovers out there). I want to hone in on all the areas that he wants to learn in, when he wants to learn it. But my gracious – that means I’d actually have to be tuned in to each one of my children, right? 😉 Well, that IS one of the main reasons that hubby and myself decided long ago that one of us would always be home with the children and that we would teach them at home.
The term for this method of homeschooling is simply called: Unschooling and the idea of it all scares the living CRAP outta some people. I hope to talk more about it in the future!