My son has been doing a phenomenal job of initiating learning time, and depending on the day, he has a nice balance of math, writing, and reading. I’m trying to slowly prepare for the fall when we will start organized preschool at home. I need to figure out how to fit in sports, playdates, and learning time into his already full schedule of playing cars and trains, doing puzzles, and dancing to music.
After a few months of watching him flourish with math and learning to read with no expectations, I made my first mistake… I placed an expectation. He sensed the expectation from a mile away and immediately revolted. I made a chart of which subjects were most important, along with my goal for the fall for amount of time spent on each subject. I have been keeping documents of what I’ve been doing with him since he was 9 months old, but I’ve never made a goal with a timeframe!
Here is where we are right now:
One or two subjects per day of reading, writing, or math, lasting a total of about 45 minutes to an hour. I let him choose.
Here is a prototype of where I’d like to be by fall. I created an Excel sheet and froze the first three columns, so I can track actual time spent on each subject with the rest of the columns.
Our 25 minutes of school this morning mostly consisted of him throwing a tantrum and me holding him while he cried. So often he loves to learn and he pushes me to do school on days that I am completely disinterested. Some days, he sits and reads book after book to me while I clean. Other days, like today, I am reminded that he is only four. He is ahead on all subjects and when he does not want to have traditional learning time, maybe he just needs a day to be four.
Onward towards riding bikes and building Thomas tracks!
After much deliberation and slight marital conflict, I have agreed to homeschool my son for preschool. Apparently, my husband has more confidence in my teaching ability than I do. I began by reading the pertinent portions of THE WELL TRAINED MIND. They suggest the single most important part of preschool is getting your children to “read and read very well.” This is my goal for right now and in the fall, I will have a curriculum for him that includes science experiments.
I have had set learning time for him since he was nine months old (included such things as rolling a ball and learning to climb steps), and by the time he was 18 months old, he had memorized the Greek alphabet. I cannot brag here because although I taught it to him, he knew it better than I ever did! These children just learn what we pour into them. I also knew he was ready to start writing over the summer because one morning I got out of the shower and he had written his name on the white board. We had never practiced writing letters before that!
Right now, learning time in our home looks like this. I don’t do all of these every day, I gauge his attention span and accommodate appropriately. He can usually do about 30 minutes of learning time everyday.
-Either one page of phonics, a BOB Book, or a pre-reader with the pictures in place of the words
-One time over previously memorized site words, and introduction of a new site word
-Math with Lego’s. I write an equation and he uses the Lego’s to figure it out. He understands the +, -, and = signs
-Practicing writing simple letters correctly and holding the pencil correctly
-Reading a Bible passage or memorizing a scripture
I also do “learning time” with my four month old. This includes full body massages while we have deep mommy/daughter conversation, tummy time with toys to her left and right so she must move to get there, and back time with toys to her left so she must roll onto her side to reach them. By far, her favorite portion of learning time is being rewarded with milk and snuggles upon getting fussy.