Hi there, Hoping for some advice.
Have two boys ages 4 & 5 and have always planned to homeschool.
I'm beginning to get a little nervous though now because I find it difficult to get their attention to do any focused learning. Often times they are just playing with their toys and don't have any interest in doing anything else. I could try to focus on their interests to do some learning, but frankly I want to expand their horizons a bit.
Anyhow - I have never excelled at structure, which will be a challenge for me, but I can't imagine not homeschooling so I am hoping someone can give me advice about kids who don't seem to want to learn. Is it because they are too young?
Should I focus on getting them on a loose schedule before an official Sept. start?
Thanks, from a homeschooling newbie.
you may find that most here do not "school" children as young as yours - most prefer to wait until years later and at their ages play based approach to education or lack there of is what most go with not a traditional education mold
most states do not require children at 4 and 5 be educated, does yours?
you may want to wait a few years and let them enjoy their play time (which most feels is very educational in itself) - good luck
Thanks for the response Serenbat! Do you suppose that the reason I cannot get their attention away from their own things is because of their age? I live in Canada, and yes, 4 & 5 year olds mostly do go to school, and my children were briefly in Montessori which they enjoyed, so I know they are capable of focus to a certain degree.
I don't see myself waiting until they are 7 & 8 to teach them, though I don't plan to make them sit for hours and hours either. They want to learn, my 5 year old wants to read, so it's clear to me that some structured learning could possibly be beneficial. We have Oak Meadow K program, which I will do next year, I know it's very light, and I am okay with that. It's more about the routine thing for me, which my DH & I both want them to have.
Just wondering if anyone is not great with scheduling/routine and is planning on hs'ing and if anyone does have worries of getting their kids to want to learn from them, how it went, or how they approached it.
we are not schooling yet but have a schedule and have since infancy - so that is us
I personally feel if a parent want a schedule or routine starting early is easier rather than later - this goes with other things as well (chores,etc) - you can always make the learning "schooling" part later but setting aside a block of time for certain things now might make it easy later to make that block into what you want done-
example- we read each day a certain time, we look forward to it and it works for us, same as we do markers and coloring each night after dinner because we are at the table all together so later that will be a time we might be writing, certain days paints comes out based on what I do that day in the kitchen and my 4 year olds does not help with kitchen stuff on that day-this also allows lots of free play time but sets blocks of time for certain activities - on this day we do this, on that day that kind of thing
depending on what you are doing 4 & 5 year olds should (and seems like they do) enjoy playing- very normal-IMO
If you want to have more structure in your day, do it a little at a time. Pick one thing that is most important to you, and hinge it to something you're already doing (right after a meal can work well, because they aren't already engaged in something else). Then after a few weeks, when that is going well, add something else. If what you add doesn't work well, change it up.
An easy way to sneak in some structured learning: read aloud to them while they eat.
At this age, I would suggest reading to your boys as much as possible... if you don't already. I have two boys who are a year and a half apart and I was advised by a friend who was a couple years ahead of us to read, read, read. Just read great books that your boys enjoy. My younger ds had a very low attention span for any focused learning. But if you can capture them with good books, I believe it creates a habit of attentiveness that will transfer into your schooling over time. I would start by reading for 10 minutes and really ask them to just sit and snuggle with you and focus for that short amount of time. If they aren't up for sitting still just yet, I often will read to them while they are doing legos or coloring or even zooming their cars around. I just ask them to be quiet so they can hear the story and they seem to retain much of the information this way.Each week increase your reading time. Maybe read to them once per day and then add another time or two each day of focused time. Then increase the length of time you spend at each sitting. If you're reading them great books that engage them, this shouldn't be too hard. My boys are 5 and 6 now and we can easily spend 45 minutes reading about 3 times per day. They would even ask for more, but that's my limit! This has made the more schooly stuff more tolerable, especially if you keep to short lessons. We do math for 15 minutes, phonics for 15 minutes, etc. And most of the other learning comes through reading great books.
Read, read read. Bring out maps and talk. Bake, cook, count and add together during your daily activities. Take walks and read about plants and animals. Ask them to draw a picture and sign their name ( or label it). It will get easier as they get older. Hugs, many of us have been there as well.
We are doing kindergarten and I have no schedule. I am trying- but it is really hard for me :) So far it hasn't seemed to matter that we have no structure- DD is still learning and I am pleased with her progress. DS1 is almost 5 and he joins in as he wants and when he can't sit still anymore I let him go play. One thing that has been working really really well here is I read to them at lunch time. We are all sitting at the table eating (well me reading more than eating) and I pull out a bible story book (cause that is what they want) and we can read 4-5 good length sections before they get antsy.
What would be awesome would for us to improve to the point where we have school sometime in the morning. Right now we have school- but never at the same time- or even necessarily during the day... We live on a farm and sometimes we just get so busy we can't stop for school :) That needs to change.
Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014
I have a 3 and 4 year old...so close to you. I am not a super structured person, but I do like our days to have a certain predictability. I have wondered about how HSing my oldest will be once things get more serious b/c she is quite particular about what she likes to do too. I don't know if you'd call it "strong willed" but it seems like a lot of the time when I suggest something, she'll want to do something else or a variation of my suggestion. I have had to really relax my "plans" b/c of this and let go realizing she is only 4, and right now her learning is coming from our reading times, her play time, and all the many many discoveries she's making all day long....I'm trying to really answer those 1 million questions that come all day long b/c I know those are ways she's learning too. There have been so many times when I will suggest some kind of great "educational craft" or something I found, and the kids won't want to do it at all, but then they will end up turning things into this great creative thing where they are asking me something about another topic or coming up with some great idea, and I'm sitting there thinking, "wow! that turned out so much better than my plan!" so I'd say, let go and trust their ability to learn through play right now and just try and provide learning experiences here and there. as others have mentioned, reading books does that so well. Here are some things I've been using with my kids that they love. The book series I've found at my local library. We read one letter and one number a week:
My oldest basically learned the letter sounds and how to read CVC words on starfall.com and we started slowly doing Bob books
then I just got Happy Phonics and Family Math to do games with them for reading and math. They love to watch Leapfrog videos (also from the library) and we read several times a day--I found some great children's books reading lists and use them as a guide.
I did not want to push handwriting at all, but got the Pre-K Handwriting for Tears book for my 4yo and the CD which has a bunch of funny songs. She loves this book, and she is totally NOT a workbook kind of kid. It's a very fun multisensory plan for introducing handwriting at the Pre-K level, and it's been a huge hit. She asks all the time to hear the CD while she colors in the book.
Hope some of these suggestions help a bit!
I wish my kids were as close in age as yours! My boys are 8.5 and 4.75. So in September or sooner - based on need - I will be teaching two grades - and that is how it will be.
You have a great opportunity though. You could set up some rhythms in your day now as place fillers for when they are older. So for us it looks like this:
movement - circle
stories - main lesson
whatever - bake, social, paint, craft
My son is 8 and has asked to remove the play with the *** and put in the main lesson. Since you are using Oak Meadow - you could wait until your youngest was close to being old enough for letters and combine the lessons for the two kids. It might be that sometimes the youngest was stretching, and sometimes the oldest was waiting. But sometimes they would be together and it would be perfect. This is what it would be like for them if they went to school anyway.
Now your kids are very young. The oldest hasn't even been through the 5.5 - 6.5 year change. That is a big time for kids when they are individuating from their parents. So if you try to teach while they are in that mode, they won't be receptive. I think that is why Waldorf schools wait to start introducing academics. The kids just aren't ready yet. But at the age your boys are, you can set up a general plan in your head, and watch for lulls in their play. That is when you jump in with the activity you have planned. They are far more likely to be receptive than if you interrupt at a particular time instead of waiting for the space. But I would keep it really loose until they are older and then combine the grades.
oak meadow kindy is fantastic if you don't plan on using it until next year have you looked into littleacornlearning.com that might help you get a rhythm now and will flow very well into oak meadow.
I have a set of those plastic storage boxes with 4 boxes stacked on each other from walmart. each night I put their 'work' into them. Generally these are educational toys that are only brought out for school and then go back into storage until we use them again. It can be anything from stuff for a dinosaur diorama or painting stuff to blocks or Montessori manipulative's or really anything.
sit down time is almost impossible at that age with boys but this works well for me as when they get bored I send them to their boxes. And if it's an off day I pick something from the box and start doing it in front of them. That will normally get them interested in wanting to do it.
Ak Hippie mama Yamia DSD '03 DS '07 DS2 '09 & DS3 '12