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Homeschooling Moms Homeschooling Moms

Beginning of "homeschooling"

Posted by on Feb. 16, 2014 at 12:12 AM
  • 21 Replies

I am completely new to all of this and did not grow up homeschooled. I went to Public school. My hubby grew up homeschooled and would like our kids homeschooled preferrably. I will use "homeschooling" EXTREMELY lightly right now as my son is only 21 months old. lol I am pregnant with our 2nd kid - due June 3rd. So my plan is to put together an organized system of some sort (thinking of doing it in packets - so somewhat similar to activity packs) that I can use each week/day with my son come Fall. He'll be almost 2.5 then and I'll be taking care of a newborn. So my thought is that this is going to help give my son something structured and something I can hopefully have him work on while I'm nursing or needing to attend to our baby. I found a free curriculum for 2 year olds through ABC Jesus Loves Me that I'm planning on using.


Any tips or suggestions you can give me would be great. :)

by on Feb. 16, 2014 at 12:12 AM
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jojo1974
by on Feb. 16, 2014 at 1:57 AM
1 mom liked this

Honestly, I'm not sure I get "homeschooling" toddlers.  I think you can be intentional about learning and give children lots of opportunities to learn, but I'm not sure I understand the idea of curriculum or anything close to it for a child under 5.

Obviously, you want to be sure that they are learning letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc., but I guess I feel that is such an organic process if you are reading books, playing with puzzles and blocks, coloring and basically just being a kid.

I have 6.5 yo twin girls.  I was very aware of the above in terms of milestones, especially because they were born at 26.1 weeks and I was very conscious of delays.  But, I didn't have an actual plan.  We had hundreds of books at their disposal and I picked their toys VERY carefully.  Every toy was picked to address a specific developmental milestone.  Personally, I do not believe that children need anything electronic in the early years.  Maybe ABC mouse can teach letters, but so can a book.  We did watch some videos.  I remember Leap Frog Letter Factory some, along with shows like Sesame Street. 

We had wonderful, wonderful books.  Before the girls were born, I sold Usborne Books.  (I recently started selling them again).  They have incredible books for young children and beginners.  They also have incredible non-fiction in easy to read and look-at format.  So, my girls were exposed to non-fiction very early on: animals, science, history.  They LOVED it.  They would look at this books on their own, and as soon as they started reading, they devoured them. 

Once they hit about 3ish, we started watching great shows together.  We watched lots of animals shows and I would pause and talk about predator and prey behavior, reinforce that lions and tigers were all felines, and talk about the different animals and habitats.  We also watched a lot of science shows.  They loved volcanoes and could talk about lava, magma, and the crater by 4ish.  At 4 or 5 they would draw pictures of volcanoes with the magma chamber and streams of lava moving up then exploding from the top.

By 5, we were watching the history channel and shows on the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, etc. and science shows on the earth, the universe, and the stars.  They actually pay attention and retain what they see and hear.

I believe with all my heart that books are the best thing in the world for children.  You have to read them, but encourage them to look at them themselves as well.  Second to that, carefully choosing toys.  My mother was a developmental therapist and the truth is, the more noise it makes, the less it probably does for them.  The more simple - the better.  Blocks are fantastic.  Things to "cook" with - bowls, spoons, cups.  Pretend and make-believe play.  Balls.  Sorting shape activities.  Puzzles.  And, of course, playing outside in the dirt:-) Making patterns out of different colored blocks, etc.

A coloring book from the dollar store and some crayons to scribble with are great at the 2.5 year old age.

It doesn't mean you can't show him how to write an A, but it will come later.  Point to colors in books, point to shapes.  Use your everyday life to learn - at the grocery store "can you find something that's yellow?"  Put books in the car.  If you have a DVD player in the car - turn it off.  Let him look at books, play with stuffed animals, or put in a kids CD and sing songs. 

He's a kid.  A 2.5 year doesn't need structure.  They need to explore - to play - to imagine - and to discover.  If given the freedom and opportunity to do these things, you'll be amazed at what they will absorb and learn!

I wouldn't even think of actual workbook pages or the like until you approach 4.  Then, I would focus on patterns, matching, and holding a pencil or crayon correctly.  Pre-writing skills - tracing, etc.  Teach him how to write his name, mommy, daddy, his sibling's name.  At 4 you can find great workbooks "The Big Book of Preschool", etc. for under $10.

ps - if you want any good toy ideas, I'd be happy to send you some links and a link to some Usborne books and suggestions of the books my girls loved.


romacox
by Silver Member on Feb. 16, 2014 at 7:11 AM
1 mom liked this

Research on brain development now says that  It is all about play at this age...not structure.  Their are basics they need to learn at his age though, like vocabulary.  The following article gives you activities (play) that teach.

How To Home School The PreK Student.

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Feb. 16, 2014 at 8:29 AM
1 mom liked this
When my kids were toddlers, I could say I 'homeschooled' them (although we never intended to homeschool and they actually went to public school from pre-k through 5th/6th grades)...but I didn't have any curriculum or anything like that. We did have lots of books, puzzles, and games. We also had coloring books, paper, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. so I think if I were you and wanted to be organized, I would just have a list of crafts ready to go at any given time, and lots of books and puzzles and games. Those magnetic letters do wonders as well. And play-do! My kids learned their letters and numbers just from us naturally playing with them and I always talked to them constantly, even when they were infants.

I don't think a curriculum is necessary for such little ones, but I do think intentionally playing and having items (craft supplies, puzzles, books, etc) available will give them the education they need at that age.
KickButtMama
by Shannon on Feb. 16, 2014 at 10:26 AM
2 moms liked this

Sounds like your doing what I did. We treat education as a part of life, so it's never too early. I enjoyed the following websites:

www.letteroftheweek.com

www.pbskids.org

www.time4learning.com

hwblyf
by Silver Member on Feb. 16, 2014 at 10:28 AM
2 moms liked this

While I agree that having things you can just pull out of your bag of tricks, I'm going to put it out there that as a new mom, you want to give your older one something that won't stress you out.  Playdough still stresses me out.  Though I have to say, after I recovered from my immediate upset, the wad of brown playdough on top of the toilet seat WAS funny. :)

Quoting TJandKarasMom: When my kids were toddlers, I could say I 'homeschooled' them (although we never intended to homeschool and they actually went to public school from pre-k through 5th/6th grades)...but I didn't have any curriculum or anything like that. We did have lots of books, puzzles, and games. We also had coloring books, paper, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. so I think if I were you and wanted to be organized, I would just have a list of crafts ready to go at any given time, and lots of books and puzzles and games. Those magnetic letters do wonders as well. And play-do! My kids learned their letters and numbers just from us naturally playing with them and I always talked to them constantly, even when they were infants.

I don't think a curriculum is necessary for such little ones, but I do think intentionally playing and having items (craft supplies, puzzles, books, etc) available will give them the education they need at that age.


Chasing3
by Bronze Member on Feb. 16, 2014 at 10:49 AM
1 mom liked this

i think you should put all that effort towards setting up a really great play area. Get a play house or some kind of structure, maybe a play kitchen, get an outdoor swing set or play structure and maybe a sand box. Get a kid table where they can color, paint, use playdoh and you won't worry about mess.  Get some easily accessible shelves and bins for their art stuff and toys. (I was very uptight about mess and organization and I think my kids lost out of pure joy because of that) Make sure there are lots of places to hang up art work. Get blocks and a train set. Make sure there is enough room for lots of stuff to be left out if, for example, they assemble a huge train track set up. Save usable recyclables like paper towel rolls and such for craft ideas. Get an aquarium or a hamster or a gecko or something. Plant seeds. Get alphabet magnets for the fridge. Get puzzles - they make ones with magnets and a little rod and string with a magnet on the end - those are awesome. A chalk board or white board would be awesome. I large, flat under-bed storage bin filled with sand makes a great indoor sand "table" (you can just leave it on the floor and if you can push it under a sofa, even better!) Take long nature walks. Feed the ducks (we still call the butt-ends of our loaves of bread the "duck bread"). Set up bird feeders. Plant a garden. Have lots of friends over often. READ ALOUD every day.

Try to avoid pre-k learning centers unless you absolutely need it for daycare. They are going to force curriculum on your kid and they don't need it.

Mommy2Phenley
by Bronze Member on Feb. 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM
1 mom liked this
When my first was 2.5 I wanted to homeschool her but knew I wanted really play based. She craved intentional play and did need a bit of structure. We also needed something to help fill our days at home.

I drew heavily from Montessori ideas. I loved the blog counting coconuts (hers is older now obviously so if you check her blog you'd want to check her posts from three years ago.)

I set up small bookcases in a designated area and bought little trays. Then I put various activities on the shelves. I rotated them as necessary. When we "did school" she could choose whatever activity she wanted and bring it to her mat on the floor or her small drawing desk. If it was a repeat activity she could do it all herself. If it was new I'd show her how then let her go. When finished she cleaned it up and put it back on the shelf before picking a new activity.

I have a blog that I kept when she was about 3. I haven't updated it for over a year, but it gives an idea of what I did with a toddler. Seekingsquirrels.com.

Eta: we also only did "school" when she wanted to and for as long as she wanted. I never made her. But usually I had to make her stop lol.
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jlm425
by on Feb. 16, 2014 at 12:55 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks for your tips and suggestions. Would love any links you want to share. My original post didn't mention that I was doing an actual workbook or something that structured with my son...that's what I said I use the word "Homeschooling" EXTREMELY loosely with him. All I'm trying to do is be intentional with things like what you mentioned but honestly if I don't have some sort of a game plan I just don't think of it. I printed off coloring sheets for him of letters, colors, etc. to talk about during the week - that was/is my plan. I by no means am planning on him learning how to write his letters or anything or go through a workbook...goodness that would give me more stress than it's worth!

Per one of the suggestions I saw in this group I checked out "Letter of the week" and I think it's great. Especially at the 2 year mark where it's theme related...so like one week it's "Cow". So point out stuff cow related...sing cow songs, act like a cow, etc. But it gives me something to be intentional about.

Quoting jojo1974:

Honestly, I'm not sure I get "homeschooling" toddlers.  I think you can be intentional about learning and give children lots of opportunities to learn, but I'm not sure I understand the idea of curriculum or anything close to it for a child under 5.

Obviously, you want to be sure that they are learning letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc., but I guess I feel that is such an organic process if you are reading books, playing with puzzles and blocks, coloring and basically just being a kid.

I have 6.5 yo twin girls.  I was very aware of the above in terms of milestones, especially because they were born at 26.1 weeks and I was very conscious of delays.  But, I didn't have an actual plan.  We had hundreds of books at their disposal and I picked their toys VERY carefully.  Every toy was picked to address a specific developmental milestone.  Personally, I do not believe that children need anything electronic in the early years.  Maybe ABC mouse can teach letters, but so can a book.  We did watch some videos.  I remember Leap Frog Letter Factory some, along with shows like Sesame Street. 

We had wonderful, wonderful books.  Before the girls were born, I sold Usborne Books.  (I recently started selling them again).  They have incredible books for young children and beginners.  They also have incredible non-fiction in easy to read and look-at format.  So, my girls were exposed to non-fiction very early on: animals, science, history.  They LOVED it.  They would look at this books on their own, and as soon as they started reading, they devoured them. 

Once they hit about 3ish, we started watching great shows together.  We watched lots of animals shows and I would pause and talk about predator and prey behavior, reinforce that lions and tigers were all felines, and talk about the different animals and habitats.  We also watched a lot of science shows.  They loved volcanoes and could talk about lava, magma, and the crater by 4ish.  At 4 or 5 they would draw pictures of volcanoes with the magma chamber and streams of lava moving up then exploding from the top.

By 5, we were watching the history channel and shows on the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, etc. and science shows on the earth, the universe, and the stars.  They actually pay attention and retain what they see and hear.

I believe with all my heart that books are the best thing in the world for children.  You have to read them, but encourage them to look at them themselves as well.  Second to that, carefully choosing toys.  My mother was a developmental therapist and the truth is, the more noise it makes, the less it probably does for them.  The more simple - the better.  Blocks are fantastic.  Things to "cook" with - bowls, spoons, cups.  Pretend and make-believe play.  Balls.  Sorting shape activities.  Puzzles.  And, of course, playing outside in the dirt:-) Making patterns out of different colored blocks, etc.

A coloring book from the dollar store and some crayons to scribble with are great at the 2.5 year old age.

It doesn't mean you can't show him how to write an A, but it will come later.  Point to colors in books, point to shapes.  Use your everyday life to learn - at the grocery store "can you find something that's yellow?"  Put books in the car.  If you have a DVD player in the car - turn it off.  Let him look at books, play with stuffed animals, or put in a kids CD and sing songs. 

He's a kid.  A 2.5 year doesn't need structure.  They need to explore - to play - to imagine - and to discover.  If given the freedom and opportunity to do these things, you'll be amazed at what they will absorb and learn!

I wouldn't even think of actual workbook pages or the like until you approach 4.  Then, I would focus on patterns, matching, and holding a pencil or crayon correctly.  Pre-writing skills - tracing, etc.  Teach him how to write his name, mommy, daddy, his sibling's name.  At 4 you can find great workbooks "The Big Book of Preschool", etc. for under $10.

ps - if you want any good toy ideas, I'd be happy to send you some links and a link to some Usborne books and suggestions of the books my girls loved.



jlm425
by on Feb. 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Ok so I see many people getting tripped up over my word "structure". I'm not looking to do an actual program per se but do like what you're talking about. The "programs" I've mentioned for his age are by no means workbooks of sorts to go through...it's like signing songs, coloring the letter A, learning about the color red, etc. So using a red crayon today and coloring the letter A. Pretty easy stuff...not a workbook. I tried describing my plan above in that I want more activity type packs that I can grab and have him work on...color, etc. So it's something with a purpose but fun. He has tons of books and we limit tv time. He plays A  LOT and has lots of building blocks, etc. But he's 21 months and requires a lot of my attention...when baby is born that will be more difficult so I'm just looking for I'll say the words loosely organized/structured that I can pull out and let him play with....activities, coloring things, toys, etc. That he doesn't usually play with, etc.

Quoting TJandKarasMom: When my kids were toddlers, I could say I 'homeschooled' them (although we never intended to homeschool and they actually went to public school from pre-k through 5th/6th grades)...but I didn't have any curriculum or anything like that. We did have lots of books, puzzles, and games. We also had coloring books, paper, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. so I think if I were you and wanted to be organized, I would just have a list of crafts ready to go at any given time, and lots of books and puzzles and games. Those magnetic letters do wonders as well. And play-do! My kids learned their letters and numbers just from us naturally playing with them and I always talked to them constantly, even when they were infants.

I don't think a curriculum is necessary for such little ones, but I do think intentionally playing and having items (craft supplies, puzzles, books, etc) available will give them the education they need at that age.


jlm425
by on Feb. 16, 2014 at 1:02 PM

hahaha yeah I totally understand. I tried doing a Valentine's craft with my son this year so we could send it to his grandparents that don't live near us...knowing it'd mean the world to them. It was a simple simple craft! it was sooo stressful! lol They loved it though so I guess it was a success. DS loved doing it too. :)

Quoting hwblyf:

While I agree that having things you can just pull out of your bag of tricks, I'm going to put it out there that as a new mom, you want to give your older one something that won't stress you out.  Playdough still stresses me out.  Though I have to say, after I recovered from my immediate upset, the wad of brown playdough on top of the toilet seat WAS funny. :)

Quoting TJandKarasMom: When my kids were toddlers, I could say I 'homeschooled' them (although we never intended to homeschool and they actually went to public school from pre-k through 5th/6th grades)...but I didn't have any curriculum or anything like that. We did have lots of books, puzzles, and games. We also had coloring books, paper, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. so I think if I were you and wanted to be organized, I would just have a list of crafts ready to go at any given time, and lots of books and puzzles and games. Those magnetic letters do wonders as well. And play-do! My kids learned their letters and numbers just from us naturally playing with them and I always talked to them constantly, even when they were infants.

I don't think a curriculum is necessary for such little ones, but I do think intentionally playing and having items (craft supplies, puzzles, books, etc) available will give them the education they need at that age.



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