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need some guidance

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

In late October I'm planning on doing a little bit "extra" in terms of the homeschooling thing for DS who is 3.5 years. He doesn't need a lot, as he mostly needs to play. However, he keeps asking to "go to school" and I would like to honor that for him. 


DS1 is very bright, very capable and needs some structure. What all have you done for this age group? 


My plan is to bring him to our local library for story times etc. I also am looking into a homeschool co-op 1 morning a week and he takes private violin lessons (approximately 15-20 minutes). We are relocating so I need to be gentle with these things but want him to begin getting more "structured" in the sense of having a very Waldorfian like schedule to his day. 


What else have you done? Or have you just followed your child lead in a more "unschooled" approach? PS I don't know much about unschooling, just a little from what my friends and I have discussed.


I've begun reading a couple of books on homeschooling, but haven't made that a huge priority, even though I really need to! Any books to suggest would be wonderful!

post #2 of 6

I'm an out-and-out unschooler, and believe strongly in the value of play and unstructured learning for young children. But I do get what it is to have a precocious young child insisting on being given proper school-like learning. I've had four such kids.


I'd focus more on rhythm than structure. Breakfast, singing, story time, then violin, then outdoor play, then indoor free play. Lunch, a nature walk, violin listening with Lego play, then arts/crafts, a poetry readaloud, then free play. Supper, violin "performance" for daddy, bath, story, bed. That kind of idea. Whatever activities he enjoys, surrounded by a gentle expectation for a certain rhythm and flow to the day. If he wants to feel like it's structured, create a bunch of cards with the different activities on them, and put them in order for each day. Use icons and colours if he's not reading enough to tell them apart otherwise.


If he has specific ideas about what he should be learning, respond to that, but in open-ended, low-pressure ways. If, for example, he wants to learn to write "at homeschool", block in a bit of time a couple of days a week to give him fun pencil-grip practice, letters to trace, the old shave-cream-and-finger-on-a-cookie-sheet activity or whatever. But I wouldn't move towards formal expectations for responses from him unless he's demanding them. He's already got formal expectations in violin. Anything else should, IMO, be very light and open-ended at this age.


I would suggest adding only one out-of-home scheduled activity at a time, waiting 2-3 months to get through the honeymoon period, and deciding then if adding another would be helpful. I'd start with library story-time rather than co-op because it's likely more informal, with gentler expectations (for attentive behaviour, but with no requirement for output or participation). 



post #3 of 6

At that age we didn't do much besides storytime and lots of reading and playing at home :)  


We did use weefolkart lesson plans starting when dd was about 4.5, but they could certainly be used for a younger kid too.  Basically, it just offers a theme per week with a couple of books to read, a craft to do, and a cooking project, along with a couple of other ideas.  It is very sweet and gentle and non-academic, but it might help you with the structure you are looking for.  I did not follow it exactly, but it was nice to have something to fall back on for ideas when I felt like we were at loose ends. 


Five in a Row is what we are using now for K, but it also has a program for preschoolers called Before Five in a Row.  Again, I believe it gives a book a week and then ideas of activities to go with it. 


Hope that helps! I would just keep doing what you are doing and maybe make it a goal to have a little more rhythm in your day/week like a PP said, so your ds knows what to expect, and maybe try to choose a day for a baking project, a day for a craft, a day for a nature walk, or whatever you enjoy. 

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for our input! We've been doing a lot of what was suggested but we have lost our groove a bit because of outside circumstances. Must remember to breath about it!
post #5 of 6

"School" has always just been my girls wanting my one-on-one attention for whatever they wanted to have help with or show off.  It wasn't every day, or even every week, but when they asked me for school I'd say "OK, what do you want to do?"  Often the answer was "watch us do gymnastics on the bed".  You see, they didn't have any clue what school is, so "playing school" was simply their own idea of it.  For us it was in no way an invitation to make our days more structured and school-like.  At that age, they were asking for the here-and-now.


Now they are older (7.5 and 6), we have a bit more planning to do.  They want to explore in a big way, (like, down to the river and to a local farm) and often they want to do it at impossible times (impossible but understandable--right before dinner is our high-energy time of the day).  When they were littler, this type of activity would be just throwing rocks in the river-- open-ended but simple and easier to accommodate at will.  Now they want to strike off down the river bank and explore all the hidey holes for hours, and being as spontaneous as we used to be just doesn't work out, unfortunately.

post #6 of 6

I should have mentioned that my step daughter does go to public school, so at that age when dd asked for "school" she was asking for worksheets, etc., because that is what she saw dsd doing for homework!  So a little bit of structured activity like a craft practicing a letter or whatever did make her feel like she was doing school like her big sister and was a nice compromise for both of us :)

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