Here’s the next letter my series ~ “Letter To Me” where I share the letters I wrote to myself, encouraging myself (and, hopefully, other new homeschoolers) with what I wish I had known when I started out on our homeschooling journey ~
Starting homeschool with your little kiddies is not going to be school-school-sit-in-desks-and-work-style! It is a lifestyle of learning … and young kids learn by DOING! Young kids need to move. Boys, especially, need action, preferably with sound effects (am I right?) to express themselves.
Forget about formal workbooks and worksheets. Get active and do stuff together. There’s real learning. Of course, teach some formal learning skills such as Maths, spelling and handwriting, but make it a short, sweet, focussed lesson. After all these years, I can promise you that short lessons are successful!
Encourage wiggling children to use an exercise ball instead of a chair. Use an elastic theraband (or some pantyhose) as an active footrest for desk work. Ensure that your seat-to-desk height is correct for your child. View examples and practical tips here – Sitting affects handwriting.
Another trick is to alternate. e.g.: listen to a story – then act it out, do a quick handwriting lesson (fine motor skills) and then let the kiddies enjoy a 10-minute session outside on the jungle gym (gross motor skills). Before a focussed lesson such as maths, play the arrows game. (This activity promotes spatial awareness and directionality, essential skills for reading, writing and maths.) If your child struggles with a skill, break it down into tiny, manageable lessons and reward your child with some a specified time on a mini trampoline … also excellent for drill lessons.
Plan narrations where they can physically do stuff. Have playdough or Lego or colouring-in activities so that your kiddies have busy hands while listening to read alouds. Let your kiddies act out narrations with finger puppets, with hand puppets, with a prop or dress-up clothes. Prepare a drama using a narrated script (Mom reads out their narrations and the kids act their parts, sometimes with speaking parts.) Use Lego to create scenes or build examples from their read alouds.
Cooking and baking is another fun activity. “Farmer’s Boy” from the Little House series launched some amazing cooking, baking and home-preserving lessons! Shake cream to butter while listening to the story, knead bread dough and form loaves, fry fritters, roll and bake cookies … the way to a
man’s child’s heart is through their stomachs, right?
All those hands-on activities make homeschool memorable! Your homeschool graduate can recall those lessons as her best memories! Look for other fun activities to extend your learning experiences. Remember the fun your kiddies had treasure hunting and letterboxing? And use all 5 senses … listen, look, smell, feel and taste. Join another homeschool family and enjoy activities such first aid lessons, build a raft, go on a hike, camp out … Get physical with map work!
Do not turn your homeschool into a stuffy, stiff affair. Have fun! Especially with your young children, and you will also look forward to your homeschool days.
I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic! Please, would you share yours in the comments?
In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series: