Need ideas and tips for homeschooling 2 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 12-12-2010, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, mamas!  My 2-year, 2 month old son is a bright boy, certainly not profoundly gifted, but I suspect he is more advanced than many of his peers.  Anyhow, I'm struggling with trying to find him a preschool that will help him learn according to his level and interests instead of just teaching him the basic ABC'S, which is pointless since he is now reading and spelling words.  In lieu of a decent preschool that will call me back or say more than a rude "I'll put him on the waiting list", where can I find a good simple curriculum or home activities that I can do with him at home to teach him?  I just had a new baby so it's difficult to take him on field trips due to the 2-year-old's rambunciousness and love for giving his mama a heart attack by running away while giggling at any given moment. My husband and I will take him out on the weekend when I have DH to help.   Plus, the weather just turned deathly frigid today, blizzard and all!   I am sleep-deprived from the baby and have little energy to create elaborate lesson plans.  But, I don't want my son to go stir-crazy from boredom.  I play with him, talk to him, read books to him, interact during PBS TV shows, he helps me with chores in the house, etc.  He soaks it all up like a sponge.  What more can I do trapped at home?  And how to find simple activities since I'm pretty much brain-dead right now?  How do you homeschooling moms do it?

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#2 of 15 Old 12-13-2010, 09:22 AM
 
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Honestly, it sounds like you are doing great right now.   He's playing, laughing, helping; sounds spot on for a two year old.  :)

If you need some inspiration, maybe try some blogs?  I like these a lot:

http://www.amontessorimusingplace.org/

http://www.mariamontessori.com

 

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when raising a gifted toddler, like you need to rush to present information because s/he is picking it all up so quickly.  But really, the only trick is to make sure your little one is reasonably happy overall.  Real homeschool starts much later, right now is the time to enjoy his toddlerhood.  Do what you can, don't beat yourself up about what you can't do.

 

Maybe dream up some ideas for days when you have cabin fever, things that only come out once in a while so they stay "new."  I love toddler activity baskets in Montessori.  http://www.ourmontessorihome.com/2009/07/infanttoddler-montessori-shelf-work/ or http://montessoriconfessions.blogspot.com/2010/04/treasure-basket-for-6-to-12-month-olds.html

 

I know there are a lot of great blogs out there that use a lot of other educational methods but I tend to really like Montessori, sorry my links are so Montessori heavy!


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#3 of 15 Old 12-14-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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At 2 dd was really interested in the natural world.  I let her take the lead, but she loved to find out about how things worked.  For example, after she had the stomach flu (with vomiting), she was curious about why people vomit.  I got her a simple book about the digestive system and we even looked at some sites on line.  We talked about how a virus/bacteria can upset your stomach, hence it comes up instead of getting digested.  She was fascinated for weeks on the subject.  We moved onto to the skeletal systems, bugs, space, weather, plants, etc.

 

Perhaps take a cue from what is going on in your life right now and see if your lo is interested in finding out more info.  HTH

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#4 of 15 Old 12-14-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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I love the "My Father's World" curriculum-- you could maybe do the Kindergarten curriculum with him.  It has two sections, one teaches the three Rs and the other is full of great hands on activities, book suggestions, etc..  You could skip or quickly go through the three R section and focus more on the activity section.

 

I sort of believe in the "better late than early" philosophy, especially with a gifted child-- a gifted child will self teach a lot and you may not even have to do structured curriculum until he's a lot older.  MFW strikes a good balance between being fun/ hands on and structured.

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#5 of 15 Old 12-15-2010, 08:27 AM
 
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My bright 25 month old enjoys Sonlight's P3/4 booklist and http://www.dltk-kids.com/

 

ETA: We read from the P3/4 booklist. I don't use the Instructor's Guide.

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#6 of 15 Old 12-15-2010, 08:49 AM
 
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I don't think you need to worry that you need to teach him all the time. My ds1 was also reading when he was 2, and so when he entered preschool. and I had the same worries you did, that he'd be bored, or needing more.  We chose a play-based preschool for that reason. Yes, they did some mild letter-of-the-day stuff at circle time I think, but there was so much more that he got out of it. They did cute songs that I couldn't have known to teach him, he loved the calendar and weather thing they did (didn't matter that it wasn't all new to him - it was a fun activity to stand in front of the kids and be his turn to stick the big number in the space and tell the weather, etc.  Most of the day was just playing!  They had a theme every week or month or something, so he got some new informational input that way.  

 

Anyway, I know you're mostly thinking about what to do at home, but thought I'd say that in my experience preschool was great for him, even though he didn't learn academic stuff there.   I think seeing him in action there showed me that even though his abilities were advanced, he was still only 2!  He loved the simple 2-year-old things -  playdough and cutters,  sand sand sand.  Glue stick and little pieces or pictures to glue to paper.  And he loooved dot-to-dots.  I would definitely recommend those for the 2yo who can count!  Simple mazes too were a nice little challenge for him. Magnadoodle was a great way that he could write and write and try things out.

Oh, I remember now at that age he loved playing with water - he'd stand at the kitchen sink (we had a Learning Tower) and I'd put the water on a trickle and give him some cups and things.  And, since the beginning we've gone to the library to get a bunch of fresh books every week.  Big flap books especially kept him busy - but we had to buy those, not borrow from the library, since the flaps get torn off ....

 

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#7 of 15 Old 12-15-2010, 08:51 AM
 
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dltk-kids is a great source for work pages and coloring pages and activities.

 

I could be off, but I dont think that even a bright 2-year old needs a full-on, complex curriculum.  Also, a little "boredom" is a good thing--let him learn to be creative when he's not being actively entertained.  Learning how to occupy oneself when there is no entertainment available is a great and important skill. ;)  Provide things for him to do, and let him figure out what he wants to do and how. You don't need to be eye-ball to eye-ball with him all the time.

 

All my kids are in the bright-but-not-profoundly-gifted category.  We start kindergarten at 4.  Until that, they mostly just wander, pick their own games, do "computer school", help me with house stuff, play with their siblings.  My youngest spends most of his day pretending to be a baby mouse, or "sneaking" around the house practicing "camoflage".  lol.gif  When he was two, he learned all his letters and letter sounds by messing with an alphabet puzzle and asking us to tell him the sounds of each letter.  Then one day he found my sister's laptop open and took it upon himself to arrange the letters properly.  He'd pryed half the keys off when we found him.  yikes2.gif

 

We talk a lot.  They get read to a lot.  They have tons of books available to look at.  They watch things like Sesame Street and Super Why.  Directed formal activities are not the norm for those ages, though we do them sometimes.  And somehow, when it's time to start K4, they are more than ready. 

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#8 of 15 Old 12-16-2010, 05:04 AM
 
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What do you have in the way of indoor play centers and pools?  That might be a great way for you to get out of the house while not having to worry about your son wandering off.

 

When my kids were that age we went about 2 times a week to Mommy and Me at the gymnastics center, which was unstructured play time.  Both started some independent classes at 2.5 at that gym.  Babies were free until about 14 months.  Around here they also have Mommy and Me gymnastics at a county rec center, and might at the Y.

 

We also went to a warm indoor pool on a weekly or twice-weekly basis in the winter months, but that sounds like it will be more of a challenge if your son is a runner. 

 

If you have picked a second language to do with him, you can start exposure to it (videos, cable, etc).  Same with music; Suzuki cd's and there are other video based learning programs.  Since he is so advanced he might even be able to start Rosetta Stone with some help.  He might have trouble with the pronunciation or he might not.  "Writing" (spelling) lessons you probably want to skip, but maybe with your help he would pick up the spelling.  Mine don't spell that well in English (at ages 5.9 and 7.2) so we delay those.

 

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#9 of 15 Old 12-16-2010, 07:02 AM
 
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I know I'm a heathen here for suggesting it, but do you have an ipad?  It doesn't require mouse skills, you can easily control content, and there are tons of great learning app on it. My 3 yr old loves the Montessori math app, for example.  And if he's reading, there are lots of age appropriate books, and my favorite, books with music where the words light up as they're sung.


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#10 of 15 Old 12-16-2010, 07:37 AM
 
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I agree with the above poster...an Ipad, ITouch, Iphone.....they are all great and have loads of fun learning apps (many free, others less than $2).My son has used my itouch since I got it when he was less than 2.  He has his own now (since he was about 3) and is very savvy with it and I would say 75%of his apps are educational (math, spelling, reading, drawing, printing, music playing games-a memory piano game). 


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#11 of 15 Old 12-16-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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i'm with the posters who recommend against formal instruction. it seems so important to me that a toddler be allowed to explore his world and make connections and discoveries on his own. i think there's a real danger that the child might gain knowledge at the expense of creativity if they're instructed too early, or learn to expect people to tell him the answers instead of acquiring the drive to find out on his own. by all means follow his lead and provide materials to supplement his interests. but formal instruction, at this age, i think is a mistake.

 

however, sticking the kid on the computer for some starfall while you nurse the new baby isn't the worst thing! i know i had to resort to it more than once when DD#2 was very small. both my girls were independent on the computers, both with a handheld mouse and a finger pad, by 2.5. i think my older DD was using a regular mouse first, maybe around 2.25? so, i don't think you need to buy an ipad.

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#12 of 15 Old 12-16-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by majormajor View Post

i'm with the posters who recommend against formal instruction. it seems so important to me that a toddler be allowed to explore his world and make connections and discoveries on his own. i think there's a real danger that the child might gain knowledge at the expense of creativity if they're instructed too early, or learn to expect people to tell him the answers instead of acquiring the drive to find out on his own. by all means follow his lead and provide materials to supplement his interests. but formal instruction, at this age, i think is a mistake.

 

however, sticking the kid on the computer for some starfall while you nurse the new baby isn't the worst thing! i know i had to resort to it more than once when DD#2 was very small. both my girls were independent on the computers, both with a handheld mouse and a finger pad, by 2.5. i think my older DD was using a regular mouse first, maybe around 2.25? so, i don't think you need to buy an ipad.



You make good points about the puter, but I do have this to say:  I work from home, on the computer (teaching online classes), so I rilly, rilly, rilly don't want my dear daughter to screw with my computer. My husband freelances from home as well, so his computer isn't an option.  Plus, computers are fairly easy to break -- the mouse, spill water on the keyboard, paint the screen, etc. Even if you have the best toddler in the world, accidents will happen.  

 

The iPad, in contrast, is practically indestructible.  She was standing on it on the sofa earlier tonight (not quite 30 lbs) and I'm sure it didn't even flinch.  We do have an Otterbox case on it, so water, etc, is just not an issue.  Plus, she can carry it with her, wiggle around, dance with it, etc.  She doesn't have to be still in front of a screen.  

 

I bought some kiddie software and checked out websites before we had an iPad, and they just don't compare in quality of software, graphics, non-commercialism, educational quality, you name it.  I don't have to worry about nanny-ware, accidental mouse clicks, etc.  The apps just work. No viruses, spam, site signups, accidental software settings, blah, blah, blah.  

 

She can grab the iPad, play a great educational game, and put it down all by herself, wherever she is.

 

OK, yeah, I'm kind of preaching here, but really, it's great.

 

FYI, also great for the disabled--my mom actually bought it to work with her VI students with it, and she takes it to work every day for them.  


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#13 of 15 Old 12-17-2010, 06:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtney-Ostaff View Post
 My husband freelances from home as well, so his computer isn't an option.  Plus, computers are fairly easy to break -- the mouse, spill water on the keyboard, paint the screen, etc. Even if you have the best toddler in the world, accidents will happen.  

 


this made me chuckle because my husband freelances from home too, on a laptop with a broken screen that *I* broke. oops!! they really are more fragile than they look. i let my DDs use the old laptop (my laptop), and it's been thrown up on and stood on, and is remarkably still truckin'. but yeah, you make a good case for the ipad!!

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#14 of 15 Old 12-18-2010, 06:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by reezley View Post

I don't think you need to worry that you need to teach him all the time. My ds1 was also reading when he was 2, and so when he entered preschool. and I had the same worries you did, that he'd be bored, or needing more.  We chose a play-based preschool for that reason. Yes, they did some mild letter-of-the-day stuff at circle time I think, but there was so much more that he got out of it. They did cute songs that I couldn't have known to teach him, he loved the calendar and weather thing they did (didn't matter that it wasn't all new to him - it was a fun activity to stand in front of the kids and be his turn to stick the big number in the space and tell the weather, etc.  Most of the day was just playing!  They had a theme every week or month or something, so he got some new informational input that way.  

 

Anyway, I know you're mostly thinking about what to do at home, but thought I'd say that in my experience preschool was great for him, even though he didn't learn academic stuff there.   I think seeing him in action there showed me that even though his abilities were advanced, he was still only 2!  He loved the simple 2-year-old things -  playdough and cutters,  sand sand sand.  Glue stick and little pieces or pictures to glue to paper.  And he loooved dot-to-dots.  I would definitely recommend those for the 2yo who can count!  Simple mazes too were a nice little challenge for him. Magnadoodle was a great way that he could write and write and try things out.

Oh, I remember now at that age he loved playing with water - he'd stand at the kitchen sink (we had a Learning Tower) and I'd put the water on a trickle and give him some cups and things.  And, since the beginning we've gone to the library to get a bunch of fresh books every week.  Big flap books especially kept him busy - but we had to buy those, not borrow from the library, since the flaps get torn off ....

 


I was going to type out a response, but Reezley already wrote what I would have. I'd add shaving cream in the sink, painting, glitter, and tubs of rice or beans to pour and play with.

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#15 of 15 Old 12-19-2010, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ha, ha!  Thanks for the much needed laughs, crazy mamas! :)  I appreciate the ideas and links.  It sounds like I'm doing OK.  I just need to relax and continue to follow his lead.  My little man does get to go to the Y quite a bit with DH who has more energy than me to work out at this point so at least he has that.  I wish my brain could learn the way his does.  Our little ones are so amazing!  Thanks, again!

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