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#1 of 25 Old 03-19-2012, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As a parent who has made the decision to homeschool from the start, it has been tricky trying to establish a homeschool routine in our day. I've only got one child, so it's not like he can watch his older sibling doing homeschool and follow suit. He's never been in school, so the routine of doing school"work" is completely foreign to him. Also, being only 5 years old, he's still very much focused on play and has no interest to sit down and have a formal study session.

Not sure how many of you have been in the same boat, but I was wondering if anyone had any words of advice on how to gently transition more study time into the day of a Kg/1st grader. FWIW, I am an advocate of following the child's lead, not interested in a strict curriculum-led study method, though not particularly interested in exclusive unschooling either (prefer more of an eclectic approach depending on my child's needs).

Thanks in advance for any ideas or advice!


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#2 of 25 Old 03-19-2012, 09:48 PM
 
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We are almost done with our K year with my oldest.  We did use cirriculum, but it is mostly reading good books together.  I also have a couple of workbooks.  I found that for the reading, it is easy to transition into it over the lunch table.  The kids would listen to chapter books while munching.  But my kids are also usually up for a good book just about anytime. 

 

For the workbooks, what worked best for me was to expect DD to do just a little each day.  It is 2 pages in Explode the Code, and now we also have 2 exercises in our Singapore math book.  However, it really isn't 5 days a week we end up "doing school" it is more like 3-4, so we get about that much done each week of those things.  We also use First Language Lessons, but that has been more like 1-2/week.  Each of those could easily be done every day and we still wouldn't be sitting down working at it for more than 45 minutes, but somehow it hasn't grown to be that way.  Even neglectfully covering those subjects in that manner, DD has learned tons this year and she has had a lot of fun doing her own projects and crafts based on things we've read about. 

 

All that to say, it really doesn't have to be a drastic change from before.  Ours hasn't been.  I'm not an unschooler at heart, but I also am not a school-at-home-er at heart either.  So far, for K, it has worked just fine to slowly add in things and expectations.  I think as we move along we will be adding more expectations and structure, but gradually.  It isn't painful that way for any of us.

 

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#3 of 25 Old 03-19-2012, 10:11 PM
 
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You don't have to, and shouldn't IMO, introduce a 5-year-old to sitting down and having formal study time. It's just not developmentally appropriate. Instead offer him hands-on, open-ended or playful activities and build a gentle rhythm into your days. Try things like growing a window garden, drawing letters in whipped cream, building things together out of Lego, reading aloud to him, going on nature walks, sorting laundry together, making paper mâché creations, cooking soup, drawing, chatting. You'll find that as he gets older and is more ready for academic study, he'll start delving deeper into the academic side of things and his days will just naturally begin including more and more time and activities that look like school. In the meantime he'll be learning like crazy in informal ways. He may very well even learn to read and understand basic math with nothing more than playful, informal learning.

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#4 of 25 Old 03-19-2012, 10:30 PM
 
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One of the things I love about my son learning at home is that he makes absolutely no distinction between learning and play. Lego, Khan Academy math, chemistry, running around in the backyard with a friend, discussing democracy, going for a bike ride, reading... it's all just fun to him. He rarely sits still and likes to move about while he is talking or listening, especially if he is excited-- actually, I'd say he needs to do so. Learning at home really doesn't have to look like learning at school. Playing games-- Monopoly, chess, cards etc-- helped him learn some basic math, and he picked up reading just from being read to and having lots of books around. From there, he's become interested in various things and huge leaps of understanding and learning have followed... but we don't do anything that resembles formal school or study time.


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#5 of 25 Old 03-19-2012, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You don't have to, and shouldn't IMO, introduce a 5-year-old to sitting down and having formal study time. It's just not developmentally appropriate. Instead offer him hands-on, open-ended or playful activities and build a gentle rhythm into your days. Try things like growing a window garden, drawing letters in whipped cream, building things together out of Lego, reading aloud to him, going on nature walks, sorting laundry together, making paper mâché creations, cooking soup, drawing, chatting...


I hear ya. We do all that. When I talk about wanting "study time", I'm not envisioning worksheets and textbooks at all. However, things like writing letters in whipped cream, which sound super fun, are poo-poohed often times, either because I suggest them, or because they are my way of sneaking "learning" into his play (rather than practice writing letters, he'll insist on drawing a picture). That is more of what I'm facing at the moment. Does that make more sense? I'm all for playful learning, it's just when it comes to learning to read or learning his numbers when he clams up the most. I'm sure part of it is his first born perfectionism, but coming from a montessori slant, I worry that I missed the window and would like to encourage him to try as much as possible.


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#6 of 25 Old 03-19-2012, 11:02 PM
 
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I don't think you missed the window :)

 

My daughter is just a little bit older and aside from reading out loud and just playing, some of the first teaching type stuff we did was having her sign her name to birthday cards, and then helping with things like grocery lists.  At first she would just help me to come up with things for the list, then she slowly started to write a few things herself, at her own pace.  Since I'm on the computer fairly often, I introduced some kids stuff, like starfall.com which she liked.  The next year I bought some different workbook type things, word searches, dot to dot, stuff like that, and she can pull them out when she feels like it or I suggest them if she seems like she needs something to occupy herself.  That hour before dinner is a good time for us, I often suggest they colour at the table and dd will sometimes bring out dot to dots or her math book or something while her 4 year old brother draws.


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#7 of 25 Old 03-19-2012, 11:07 PM
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I hear ya. We do all that. When I talk about wanting "study time", I'm not envisioning worksheets and textbooks at all. However, things like writing letters in whipped cream, which sound super fun, are poo-poohed often times, either because I suggest them, or because they are my way of sneaking "learning" into his play (rather than practice writing letters, he'll insist on drawing a picture). That is more of what I'm facing at the moment. Does that make more sense? I'm all for playful learning, it's just when it comes to learning to read or learning his numbers when he clams up the most. I'm sure part of it is his first born perfectionism, but coming from a montessori slant, I worry that I missed the window and would like to encourage him to try as much as possible.


From your description, I would be more inclined to believe that he isn't quite ready vs "missing a window".  

 

Is he resistent to you reading to him?  If not, I would just follow his interests and read to him about them for now.  There have been many posts in the past about children (often boys, but not always) who seem resistant at five or six and then take off and flourish around 7 or 8.  

 

For myself, I would make sure that phonemic awareness was developing normally and then drop it.  From what I understand, it usually develops naturally in a language rich environment (books, music, talking).  However, with my dd who is dyslexic, this would have been an early sign.  She had difficulty with rhymes especially.  None of the phonemic awareness stuff needs to look like school.  It doesn't need any letters at all.  Reading nursery rhymes or books with rhyme and then being silly making up rhymes would help you know if he "gets it".  That i just one example, and that is just my on personal thing that I would be looking for because of dyslexia in our immediate and extended family.

 

Amy 

 


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#8 of 25 Old 03-20-2012, 07:46 AM
 
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I would define my schooling philosophy or whatever we should call it as very similar to yours. We don't unschool but we don't use a box curriculum. Academics are important to us, even at a young age but so is playing and letting the child follow their interests too.

 

If your ds learning to write is important to you, can you explain to him why it is and explain that this is something mommy really wants to work on with him? That's the kind of the approach I took with my dd who is turning 5 soon. She's an only also. 

I find it's easier to explain why we do certain things and make her feel it's an important thing to do than to try and hide it or fight around it. To be honest, we have never really presented academics as an option. I let her choose the timing but she knows we have to do "school" at some point every day. What that means for us is about 15 minutes of handwriting practice and maybe a half hour separately to work on phonics/learning to read. For everything else, I try to find fun games and projects and outings to subjects she's interested in at the time. We are making an alphabet collage book out of old magazines and a spring diorama this week - both things she picked and is really excited about. 

 

If just getting him to sit is hard maybe just try to ease him into it little by little with activities he really enjoys like art and once he is used to it you can start adding or swapping with lessons. My dd can sit for waaaaay longer than she can pay attention and focus so that's something to keep in mind as well. Just because you have a captive audience doesn't mean they are listening or learning. When I first started it only took me a few days to recognize when she had floated off into dreamland. I'd just stop there and pick up where I left off later or the next day. She's gotten a lot better with it over time. We've always read a lot of picture books but I just recently started reading chapter books to her with topics she's really interested in with hopes of improving comprehension and attention span. We'll see how it goes ... 

 

Good luck! 

 

 

 


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#9 of 25 Old 03-20-2012, 08:55 AM
 
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My dd can sit for waaaaay longer than she can pay attention and focus so that's something to keep in mind as well. Just because you have a captive audience doesn't mean they are listening or learning.

 

 

 



This made me laugh.... My son is the exact opposite. He can pay attention for waaaaay longer than he can sit. Just because you have a child pacing in circles doesn't mean they are not listening or learning ;)

 

Also, to the OP, I wondered if your child senses when you have an agenda. I know mine can sniff out a parental agenda a hundred miles off, and has such a strong need for autonomy that he will sometimes reject something that he would usually love to do.

 


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#10 of 25 Old 03-20-2012, 09:26 AM
 
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Not to be defensive but just to be clear, I in no way implied a child can't learn when they are moving. I stated the opposite - that a child isn't always learning just because they are sitting and you are "teaching". I think most people, even school teachers would agree that is true.


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#11 of 25 Old 03-20-2012, 10:53 AM
 
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hey, sorry-- I didn't think you were implying that at all, and I completely agreed with what you said. I was just amused because in our house the exact opposite is also true. Apologies if I was unclear, I didn't mean to make you feel defensive or criticized in the least.


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#12 of 25 Old 03-20-2012, 12:58 PM
 
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I don't start any formal academics until after the child is 6.5 years old. Between 5.5 and 6.5 or so there is often a developmental shift that requires a lot of boundary pushing. Neufeld would say, individuating. So, I establish rhythms or routines during that time that I will fill in with activities later. 

 

Breakfast, then a walk, then play, then snack, then read books, then play then have lunch, then rest then do something like a craft or errands or play doh. Then read quietly or play by self then dinner. 

 

I try not to have a particular time for each activity, but rather look for the break in the play when they are ready to come back to me for something.

 

Then the foundation for academic lessons is there when the child is more ready to receive the lessons. 

 

I've transitioned my first that way. The second starts kindergarten this fall (or now) which just means that I tell him stories chosen for him and set stuff up at the table for him at the same time I do for the older child. It's all drawing pictures and play though. 


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#13 of 25 Old 03-20-2012, 06:11 PM
 
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I have to apologize for not having the time tonight to go through all the other posts before responding, but a quick scan did show that others are expressing the same thing I'm feeling. I don't think you haven't missed a window at all, but that you haven't arrived at it yet. A five year old is learning a whole lot about his world and himself from his play and imagination, and building a foundation for future learning - that's much more important at his age than learning anything about letters or numbers. If you initiate those kinds of skill building at this point, you're asking him to put time and effort into things that are apparently still meaningless to him, and you might even be displaying a certain very common, however subtle, "teacher" attitude about it that feels unfamiliar and uncomfortable to him. There's no time when you need to get him into the mode of sitting for lessons or doing school - things can and will come in a much more natural way in their own right time. This doesn't mean there won't be lots of fun and interesting activities you can do with him that appeal to him, but just that there's absolutely no need to jump in with traditional school-derived activities at this point. I think you're be ahead to just provide a rich play environment and playmates to share imaginative play with. - Lillian

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#14 of 25 Old 03-20-2012, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do worry that I'm falling into the "teacher" mode with my son. I think it's tricky for me, coming from a schooled perspective, to let go the reins and trust that he'll learn all he needs to learn on his own. If I really take a moment to see the big picture, he really does do a lot of learning all day long.

 

Thankfully, he does have an amazing focus. That's part of the reason I have trouble redirecting him to try things I suggest (he's just so into his play). He has been reading chapter books since last summer. Honestly, it amazes me at how long he can hold his attention, at times sitting for an entire chapter book (even ones without many pictures)!

 

I liked the suggestion to be honest with him and talk with him about certain activities being important for us. I approached our speaking Spanish at home with him that way and he responded very well.

 

Very interesting about the autonomy & individuating aspects of a 5.5 - 6.5 year old! I definitely feel that he can sniff out my agenda a mile away! LOL Even when I suggest something he likes, he'll tend to choose something else - just because I suggested it banghead.gif


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#15 of 25 Old 03-21-2012, 08:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

You don't have to, and shouldn't IMO, introduce a 5-year-old to sitting down and having formal study time. It's just not developmentally appropriate. Instead offer him hands-on, open-ended or playful activities and build a gentle rhythm into your days. Try things like growing a window garden, drawing letters in whipped cream, building things together out of Lego, reading aloud to him, going on nature walks, sorting laundry together, making paper mâché creations, cooking soup, drawing, chatting. You'll find that as he gets older and is more ready for academic study, he'll start delving deeper into the academic side of things and his days will just naturally begin including more and more time and activities that look like school. In the meantime he'll be learning like crazy in informal ways. He may very well even learn to read and understand basic math with nothing more than playful, informal learning.
Miranda

This.  

 

Just because you don't want to unschool doesn't mean that delaying academics wouldn't be appropriate.  Get him used to doing activities with you--according to rhythm or schedule--ones that he will want to be engaged in.  Once you've established that, you've got a bookmark in his day for time doing things like this with you.  

 

My girls are 5 and 7, and I'm also a fan of delayed academics and would be waiting to teach these things until later even if I wasn't an unschooling mama.  Even operating on those philosophies, we still manage to delve into math and reading and writing (even spelling--my 7yo is starting to like crosswords).  The progress seems a bit random, I'll admit.  I don't mind not pushing these things on them.  They are working on reading at their own pace and I want to not push them on this.  Their understanding of math is pretty solid so I don't bother about the details.  There is time for that later and I prefer to keep the math in their heads and in real-life pursuits for now.  

 

Right now they love farms and horses and rocks and Harry Potter; right now they are watching their morning video "Walking with Prehistoric Beasts"; besides all the other books they love, I am surprised that they like books on American presidents.  "George Washington's Teeth" and "A Dog for the Obamas" (or something like that) are the favorites.  Go figure!  We have baby chicks brooding in the garage.  I just think that for a 5 and 7yo, this is all just fine, even if they weren't as enthusiastic about reading and math.  

 

I would be comfortable at this level even if dd1 were 8yo, but that is my own comfort level perhaps.  

 

Yeah, 5 can just be way too young.  
 

 


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#16 of 25 Old 03-21-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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hey, sorry-- I didn't think you were implying that at all, and I completely agreed with what you said. I was just amused because in our house the exact opposite is also true. Apologies if I was unclear, I didn't mean to make you feel defensive or criticized in the least.



I apologize too. I think I was just really cranky yesterday. 



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Thankfully, he does have an amazing focus. That's part of the reason I have trouble redirecting him to try things I suggest (he's just so into his play). He has been reading chapter books since last summer. Honestly, it amazes me at how long he can hold his attention, at times sitting for an entire chapter book (even ones without many pictures)!

 

 

Whoa! If he started reading chapter books on his own at 4.5 then he is way ahead of things academically. If he was able to learn to read at such a young age without sitting down to formal instruction I don't see the need to add it now or for quite a while for that matter. And it seems he's doing great with play and imagination too. Enjoy ... It sounds like you have a pretty awesome kid :)

 

 

 


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#17 of 25 Old 03-21-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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I hear ya. We do all that. When I talk about wanting "study time", I'm not envisioning worksheets and textbooks at all. However, things like writing letters in whipped cream, which sound super fun, are poo-poohed often times, either because I suggest them, or because they are my way of sneaking "learning" into his play (rather than practice writing letters, he'll insist on drawing a picture). That is more of what I'm facing at the moment. Does that make more sense? I'm all for playful learning, it's just when it comes to learning to read or learning his numbers when he clams up the most. I'm sure part of it is his first born perfectionism, but coming from a montessori slant, I worry that I missed the window and would like to encourage him to try as much as possible.


Kids *know*, don't they?  I don't know how.  Yet a shark can feel currents in the water, electric signals and other things I find amazing.  Kids are like sharks.  Like cats with their whiskers, they pick out any parental agenda that is just a mite bit contrived.  How do they do this?????

 

So, perhaps my delayed academics comments aren't as helpful if you follow Montessori and their "windows".  (Excuse me while I indulge in some self-satisfied eye rolls.  No offense intended.  That's just me.  My opinion is of no consequence.)

 

My eldest daughter has always had trouble with her fingers.  I give her a clipboard and plain paper and she doodles while I read stories to her.  Yes, drawing pictures helps the hand become more skilled.  Writing letters does not have to progress Montessori-style, though I admit that writing huge letters in the sand at the beach can be enormously satisfying seeing how perfectly they get formed at that gigantic size.  Waldorf teaches writing letters by teaching some basic shapes and incorporating them into pictures with stories.

 

 

 


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#18 of 25 Old 03-21-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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Thankfully, he does have an amazing focus. That's part of the reason I have trouble redirecting him to try things I suggest (he's just so into his play). He has been reading chapter books since last summer. Honestly, it amazes me at how long he can hold his attention, at times sitting for an entire chapter book (even ones without many pictures)!

 

Wait, wait - he's been reading chapter books since last summer? He's WAY ahead of the game. That ability can take him anywhere in its own good time. And he's so absorbed in play that it's hard to distract him? That's wonderful! He doesn't need to be redirected - he needs to be supported in following that drive. Lots of people forget how to do that - a child who's doing it so well should be given a wide berth to play it out to its fullest. 

 

From Einstein:

 

"A society's competitive advantage will come not from how well its schools teach the multiplication and periodic table, but from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity."

 

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

 

"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions."

 

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."

 

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."
 

- Lillian

 

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#19 of 25 Old 03-21-2012, 11:42 AM
 
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BTW, zebaby, I love your avatar picture.  ROTFLMAO.gif


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#20 of 25 Old 03-21-2012, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wait, wait - he's been reading chapter books since last summer? He's WAY ahead of the game. That ability can take him anywhere in its own good time. And he's so absorbed in play that it's hard to distract him? That's wonderful! He doesn't need to be redirected - he needs to be supported in following that drive. Lots of people forget how to do that - a child who's doing it so well should be given a wide berth to play it out to its fullest. 

 

Sorry, sorry, sorry! What I meant was that DH and I have been reading chapter books to DS since last summer. DS does not read them himself! LOL Still, I don't know many 4 year olds around that will sit for a whole Spiderwick Chronicles book like he was doing at that age.


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#21 of 25 Old 03-21-2012, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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BTW, zebaby, I love your avatar picture.  ROTFLMAO.gif



LOL I was wondering if anyone ever noticed that!


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#22 of 25 Old 03-21-2012, 08:11 PM
 
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My two girls are both precocious, but they are different.  My 5yo is all but obsessed with the alphabet.  She always enjoys writing her alphabet.  Yesterday she was forming letters in the bath with a hair that was stuck on the side of the wet tub.  Today she found 5 little pieces of string leftover from a project and started forming letters with them while I read Harry Potter to my 7yo.  She writes (what she knows) and draws with ease, and when she tries reading she looks at every single letter and sounds them out with painful slowness.

 

DD1 has always been a champion listener, like your son.  We've been through the Hobbit, LOTR, and almost through the 5th HP book (i must look into the Spiderwick Chronicles).  She has never been more than modestly interested in writing or drawing until recently when she became more comfortable with her reading skills.  She is just starting to read on her own.  (She is self-taught, with some assistance, of course.)  She is an impatient sight reader but has learned to slow herself down a little to try sounding things out.  Actually, learning some Spanish in books has helped, being so easy to sound out she doesn't have to keep guessing.

 

Anyhow, now she is comfortable with her letters and doing some writing.  Now her letters flow, and I think before they were just so meaningless and had no relation to anything.  She had to power through every letter in a word.  Now she can read and spell, she is much much more interested in her letters.  Now, they have a point.

 

Perhaps for your son, what he learns needs to be connected to something.  Perhaps he could care less about letters right now, for example, because letters on their own hold no interest.  I'm really just guessing.  But writing letters in shaving foam, for example, while it sounds fun to you just might seem pointless and uninteresting to him.  ??????


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#23 of 25 Old 03-22-2012, 10:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Perhaps for your son, what he learns needs to be connected to something.  Perhaps he could care less about letters right now, for example, because letters on their own hold no interest.  I'm really just guessing.  But writing letters in shaving foam, for example, while it sounds fun to you just might seem pointless and uninteresting to him.  ??????



smile.gif And truth be told, there aren't a whole lot of adults who sit around writing letters in shaving cream for their own entertainment. I can imagine a child getting curious and wanting to briefly join in if he saw his mom sitting out in the patio and doing this on her own for fun, but that not a likely scene. So they can't help but get that there's an agenda, but it's one that most that age can't relate to.  - Lillian

 

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#24 of 25 Old 03-22-2012, 06:19 PM
 
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I found what the PP's have said about needing the learning to be connected to something very true.  For instance, using the shaving cream letters example, that is something that dd would have done for less than a minute and been done with.  We tried doing the letter and number of the week thing and it was just...blah.  Neither of was really interested, the "lesson" lasted for 5 minutes while it took 30 minutes of prep work planning and printing out pictures, etc., it just felt a little contrived and silly (for us, I don't mean to criticize if this is what works for others!) But, dd loves to write names, so we just ended up spelling out the names of everyone in the family and incidentally covering most of the letters of the alphabet while she wrote them happily all out.

 

She loves to be read to just like your ds, OP-I was so amazed that she could sit through long chapters at the age of 4 and still beg for more afterwards! She likes the idea of learning to read, but kind of freezes up when I try to get her to practice, so we are just letting it go for now-I offer to help her sound out a word, but if she doesn't want to, we let it go.  She is still very little, so I am not worried about it for now. 

 

So, I think it is fine to just kind of throw things out during the day without calling it "Learning" or making it official.  I do struggle with this too-I am kind of taking a break from most things I had planned this week because I'm  busy with a house project, and I have to remind myself that she is still learning even without doing pre-planned lessons :)  

 

 


Single mama namaste.gif to dd dust.gifand ds fencing.gif, loving my dsd always reading.gif .
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#25 of 25 Old 03-22-2012, 08:37 PM
 
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Haven't read any of the posts so sorry if this has been already addressed.  We didn't start formal schooling until age 6 (mandatory school age in CA).  Before that it was informal learning through play.  Most of which occurred in the morning so the trasition to a more formal schooling was seamless.  Most books were read in the morning so adding in learning to read was a natural progression.  Playing with play dough and drawing on paper carried over into learning to write.  Cutting and pasting segued into cutting out magazine pictures that started with the letter of the day and was phonics.  Colors and shapes led into math along with counting and sorting.  Since my first loved workbooks, it was easy to add formal academics and the others just followed along because it was normal to have school in the mornings. 

 

It was different with my 4th as he was an only child.  He went to public school the same year as his youngest sister graduated high school.  He didn't home school until 6th grade.  Since he is an auditory learner, we watch a lot of video (on TV and online) for history and some science.

 

 


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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