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When you follow their lead....

574 Views 16 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  nicholas_mom
This is jsut for fun but I was wondering what sort of cool...differnt or just not age appropriate thing your kid might know b/c you just follow their lead and also maybe what they don't that might beconsidered "behind".

For instance my DD who will be 4 at the end of October loves animals...all kinds including snakes and bugs and eels. She loves them. so we always learn about differnt animals and right now she is the VERY proud owner of a Hermit crab. when anyone comes she will intorduce them to "ladybug" (the hermit crab's name )and let themknow the crab is "nocturnal" than she will list all the other animals she knows that are nocturnal. it is funny for me to hear this little girl talking like a zoologist....
on the other hand she can not write a single letter or number. She knows them all and how they sound but she has no interest in writing them.
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Last year my then 3 and 6 yr old were really interested in bats-they could tell you all about radar and how they found bugs to eat, etc. They knew more than most adults ever cared to know for sure! They still are really interested in them and have to see them at the zoo every time we go. They will start telling the stranger next to them all sorts of facts

It's the same for lots of other animals too like crabs, worms, and whales.
Alas, my soon to be 5 yr old still can't identify all the letters of the alphabet and my 7 yr old is still a very slow reader. BUT they both really like to learn so I rather them learn things at their pace and enjoy it rather than being forced to do something and hate it!
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When it becomes interesting or important to her the letter writing will come in.
Right now hermit crabs are interesting and important instead. Take comfort in that she finds joy in learning ( I know it's hard sometimes.) She can't be behind herself, and in homeschool she's all that matters.
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It is funny how children learn their own things isn't it? My dd is 4 and loves science, we've studied animals, gravity, space and plants, all more than I would have thought a child her age would care for. She can even type her name, but she can't write her name, or even draw shapes like I think she should. However, I don't push her to do things she doesn't want to do, I introduce fun stuff, and we go with her feelings about things.
My 6th grader knows all about physics, mechanics, and space - and not at an elementary level. He loves space study and is currently deeply involved in the Pluto debate - including counting the days until the big astronomers' meeting. He can tell you all of the technical reasons why Pluto may or may not be considered a planet, all about solar storms, magnetism and the Van Allen Belt, etc.

He hates math memorization and we're still on 5th grade fractions because it took hitting the brick wall of Lowest Common Denominators to figure out for himself that it really WOULD be useful to memorize the tables - so last year we stopped fractions to go back and learn most opf the tables through games. He would never do it before because he could figure them.

Still, he loves math when related to science and nature...and geometry, and will do the boring stuff when he finds out that he really needs it.

Best wishes,
My 9 year old is very geeky. He knows all about inertia (thank you, Physics of Star Trek) gravity, paleontology, germ theory, etc. He also has made a habit of studying historic battles.
My kids 6,4 and 2, all love to play out Greek mythology. They make up elaborate games like "Demeter, Persephone, and Hades" complete with pomegranite seed and the River Styx. Pereseus and Medusa, Orion and Artemis, these have all been played out in our yard. This has sprouted a keen knowledge of constellations.

They also know a fair bit about the Civil and Revolutionary Wars and play "The North vs. the South" and "General George Washington".
My four year old wants to be a paleontologist. She can even say the word correctly. Today she explained to me pretty in-depth how medicines fight "germs" in your body, and when I asked her where she learned that, she told me "Magic Schoolbus where they go into Ralphie's body" (a video). She also asked me the other day why, if air is clear and water is clear, you can see water but not air. We talked about states of matter and density.

My three year old is more of a crashing cars into each other kinda guy, but he recently asked me to show him how to type his name. I showed him how to type his nickname (3 letters, his full name has 7) into a thing on the PBSkids website, and a while later he called me in to show me that he had done it again for another game. I was very impressed with him because he's only 3, I only showed him once, and he has never before shown an interest in words and letters (although he does like to be read to).

My twelve year old (twelve years old TODAY!) asked me for a bowl, a pitcher, and a bunch of old newspaper yesterday. She got some plastic bowels and cups and some utensils and made some sort of soupy pulp that she applied to the utensils and dishware. Today she took the cups and utensils out and had "papier mache'" bowls, cups, and utensils, which she painted with bright tempura paints.

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OmGoodness. All your yunguns are interested in physics and inertia and greek mythology and my little girls and I are exploring classic novels and we have read children's versions of Oliver Twist and Little women and I bought the movie version of Pride and Predjudice thinking it might be nice for us girlies to sit and watch it together. I also thought it might be a bit boring for them seeing that they are only seven. But they love it. They love the dancing and the old clothes and how different people behaved 'in the olden times'. My little girl was up all night being sick and I asked if she wanted a dvd on, thinking she would want a cartoon or something but she said she wanted the Love Story. And she fell asleep and when it was over I put it on again
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DS1 can identify every kind of North American bird and will debate it openly with anyone dumb enough to call one of them by the wrong name.
And he has recently begun stalking Alton Brown! LOL He wants to be a chef and will be happy to "educate" me while I am cooking dinner.

and DS2 is planning to take over the world with his growing band of minions. (Minions are actually ladybugs)

OK my kids are just weird!

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A few months ago my toddler was extremely interested in bugs. So, I checked out several bug books for him from the library, many were for older kids, but he enjoyed looking at the different pictures and we went over the different types of bugs. We talked about any sort of bug that we happen to see when we were outside too. He loved it. I was amazed with how much info he sponged up and he was actually very good at identifying the different type of bugs. I mean, how many 2 yr olds can identify a praying mantis and centipede, lol? The good thing is he is not afraid of bugs either. We had a friend over and her son gets freaked out by bugs, while my kid went and picked up a pill bug w/o batting an eye.
The other mom was like, "ewww, gross!" I actually thought it was kind of cool that my toddler wasn't scared of the bug. Now he is really into sea stuff, like fish and seashells. We just re-modeled our downstairs bathroom with a seashell theme, which was merely a coincidence that he also happened to be interested in this at the same time. Oh, and this wknd his little brother's birthday party is a ocean/fish theme, so he will have a blast (also a coincidence!). I'm going to try to check out some books with different fish and ocean creatures from the library for him to look at.
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Child lead has been the way to go as it has opened so many doors for our kids. Some that I would never have imagined they take interested in and a few I hoped for.

Just for fun my kids love to get on Google maps and explore the world. They will set in on the satellite option and zoom right in on our house, places we have visited and places we have talked about.

They play the piano everyday. They even fight over it so I had to say one gets it on even hours and the other odd. There are no music books, just banging around the keys figuring out new songs and making up new songs. Im hoping they will do the same with the guitars I have lying around.

They started their own gardens this year. Spending their own money on plants that we make at the farmers market. We run the kids booth and get tip money.

A few more,: Fresh water fish, frogs, and snails and owning fish tanks.
All things Native American.
Natural disasters.
French comics.
Making ATC"s.
All building toys, Lego's, Knex....
Working out a plan of when they get older for one to become a dentist and the other to open a candy shop next door. Ummm

If I was to compare them with school kids their age I would have to say their writing skills are not what the school age kids are. They aren't very good at standing in lines. They don't understand that all trees are not there for them to climb.
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My 4 year old can name all the planets, knows which one is biggest, smallest, etc. She knows what a galaxy is. She went on a ladybug spree a while back and knows what a young one looks like and can identify an aphid (DH couldn't even do that, lol). Now it's dinosaurs. She can read quite a few words, though I suspect it's pure memorization (not that it makes it any less fun!) and she has a script-writing workbook she picked out and occasionally tries.

We've been through the Nintendo phase and she showed an incredible aptitude for navigating through complex virtual worlds and memorizing button combinations for different movements. She's pretty done with them now, lol.

She's not really into art, or dressup, definitely not into any "girly stuff" like dolls or princesses. I'm sure that phase will hit us eventually.

Wow, you know I didn't realize how much we were already doing until I wrote it down. Useful question!
After seeing the Blue's Clue's episode about space ("Well the sun's a hot star...Mercury's hot too..."), my 3 year old asked a ton of questions about space. I think that it would have been somewhat easy to blow him off, but we made the extra effort to find answers to his questions, buy him relevant books, and show him things on the Internet. It became his obsession for a long time. He knew the planets, many of their moons, the principle of gravity, which planets were "the Gas Giants" etc, simply because we followed his lead. I never had much of an interest in space, but my son helped me discover how interesting it really was. One day, when he was 4, he corrected something I said about fire on the Sun (because there isn't actually true fire on the Sun). Meanwhile, at 3, he was still figuring out how to pedal a ride-toy. I would say that, in general, he was physically "behind" most kids his age.

His 5th birthday party had an engine theme, complete with pictures of pistons and spark plugs as decorations. He likes electricity. He became very interested in molecules, which led to interest in atoms...the electrons tied in with his electricity interest. We decided to buy him a chemistry curriculum and now he states, "the nucleus of the atom can be broken into quarks" (skipping protons and neutrons but still accurate). He desperately wants an electron miscroscope. But he's in the other room right now laughing hysterically at the Teletubbies. He seems very innocent and unworldly for his age. He thinks Barney is a fabulous show (but also Monster Garage and mechanical shows). I'm sure that some of his interests are much more child-like than most boys his age.

He doesn't read, but his reading skills appear to be average for his age right now. He has almost zero interest in animal things. Animals seem to be a popular thing to teach in early elementary and he would have very minimal interest in that. He still doesn't know what a gun is (it just hasn't come up yet) and I have to tip-toe around death topics. He is much less capable, emotionally, of dealing with violence and scary themes that most boys his age. He hid in the kitchen the other day because something on Max & Ruby upset him. I have to be very discriminating in what we read to him, because he gets upset by anything "scary".

My youngest is more balanced and has not expressed unusual interests yet. He likes trains, which is a pretty common interest for his age. He does like geography and will use Google Earth by himself (just randomly clicking and zooming). I'm not around a lot of kids his age, so I'm not sure what's ahead or behind with him. Edit: I just thought of one. He loves musical instruments and will sit for a very long time watching people play them. When I take the kids to children's classical concerts, my oldest typically loses interest within 10 minutes and my youngest will happily sit for well over 30 minutes with rapt attention; I'm sure he could sit for an hour. So, to follow up on that, I'm looking for concert opportunities for him (and will probably leave ds1 with Daddy). I taped a "Reading Rainbow" episode for him that was about playing musical interests.

I just know that my oldest has some odd interests and I'm glad that we followed his lead. He's such a happy guy. I've been learning things with him and rediscovering topics that were "boring" in school. I'm pleased that we're able and willing to follow his lead and wander all over the place. I'm homeschooling myself too!
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
When it becomes interesting or important to her the letter writing will come in.
Right now hermit crabs are interesting and important instead. Take comfort in that she finds joy in learning ( I know it's hard sometimes.) She can't be behind herself, and in homeschool she's all that matters.
I agree with this.
I also think she's very young to be interested in writing. She sounds wonderful!
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Here's another thought related to the OP. We find that when our oldest has a topic obsession, it runs over into many "subjects". Your daughter is not interested in writing right now. But at some point, when she is, she might want you to spell "hermit crab" or something. I find that we often hit multiple subjects, but in a random way. Still, the random way in which we hit them is tied to what's important/interesting to my son at the moment. At some point, I'm sure all the pieces of the puzzle start fitting together. I hope this makes sense. I would just joyfully go with her hermit crab and sea life obsession and follow it to wherever it leads. I think that you will find that it leads to many tangents...meanwhile, she strengthens her internal motivation and her love of learning.
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With my ds its trains, of course. he is 3 yrs old and when we are at the museum and there is a train you can sit on, he proceeds to tell all strangers the parts of the train. I have been overwhelmed lately about how quickly they learn and the questions they ask

Lately, its been insects and animals. Did you know the difference between the honey bee and wasp is that honey bees are vegetarians and the wasp is carnivor. Baby wasps eat catepillars and something else I already forgot but I am sure my ds will remember.

He already understands something I did not understand until I was in 1st grade.....after the number twelve, its the teens! He is more interested in numbers than letters.

OK can someone please answer why a fly on pants is called a fly when it doesn't fly???
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