Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You just got schooled, son.

*This post is a bit wordy, so I apologize. I hope, though, that it helps any of you parents out there that have children at home and want to help them get a leg up before they begin their schooling.*

When I was laid off a few months ago, Craig and I decided to see if we could swing my staying home with Canon. We felt that the best thing for Canon was for me to take care of him rather than him be in daycare for 10+ hours a day. However, in order for me to feel like I was doing him justice and taking the best care possible, I needed to continue his "studies" even at home. I wanted him to be prepared for preschool and then kindergarten.

I want to explain my "methods" right off the bat and let you know that what I am doing, though teaching Canon fundamentals that he will need when he goes to kindergarten, would not be considered true homeschooling. I am not qualified to take the place of a teacher in a school setting and would never suggest that I could. I do, however, have one great advantage over this teaching thing. You see, my mother is a teacher and she is equipping me with the tips and tricks {as well as some materials and tools} to get this kid going on the right track before he ever arrives in a classroom. That said, I thought that I would give a general run-down of what we call "school" in our household.

There are a couple of things that are a given for us each week. We study one letter and one number per week. For example, this week we are studying the letter 'F' and the number '6'. We also have a "password of the week" where a specific skill is taught. This week's password is counting by 10's to 100. Previous passwords have included counting by 2's, the days of the week, the months of the year, and rhyming words. Basically, any tasks or skills that he will need to know to finish kindergarten we are touching on now.

Our methods for working on these letters, numbers, and skills varies for a couple of different reasons. 1.} A four year old's attention span is really short and I don't want him to feel like he is "doing school" all day. 2.} Getting creative with the learning activities keeps both of us engaged more so than if we were sitting around tracing letters all day.

A few examples of the way that we "study" are as follows:

a} Want to learn to count by 2's? Try hopscotch. Only jump on the numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10.

b} Need to figure out what the capital and lowercase 'A' looks like? Make them out of playdoh.

c} Want to practice rhyming words? Make up words that rhyme so that he understands that rhyming is the sound, not word association which most children think initially.

Playing the card game battle to learn which numbers are larger than others, having a scavenger hunt to find items that start with the letter 'E', or playing a game of soccer while spelling out color words are just some ideas to help keep learning fun.

By far Canon's favorite activity, though, is going "exploring". We go around the neighborhood looking for things that begin with the letter we are studying that week and finding a group of like items {like rocks or something} in the number that we are studying.

He takes his binoculars, magnifying glass, compass, and any other tools he needs to explore his surroundings. On this particular trip, he found "dragon tracks". {He had just watched an episode from How To Train Your Dragon.}

He studied interesting leaves and plants to determine color, size, and what letter their name started with.

Too bad we weren't studying 'F' on this trip because this fox would have been a brilliant find.

Apparently the dragon took some bites out of this piece of wood.

On this particular trip, we were looking for things with the letter 'E' and we didn't have much luck. We were also looking for 5 of a particular item and we did find 5 white rocks. The best part? Canon had so much fun that he has asked to go exploring every day since. Success, I say!

So that's our "homeschooling" routine, of sorts. It's exhausting, but so worthwhile!


  1. Sounds like so much fun, and it's so great that Canon has such an inquisitive and adventurous mind!

    1. He really does. The kid tells me on an almost daily basis that he is going to be smarter than me. We are still working on humility. That is a hard lesson to learn. ;)