Well we have officially begun home schooling. Yet isn’t home schooling something so many moms do? Whether they send their kids to school or teach them at home? I think so. Playing blocks, coloring, learning numbers and letters and so many other activities are really teaching our children, so the transition into official schooling can be a smooth one.
We’ve casually done preschool up until now. Levi, who will be five in November has had trouble with numbers. Right now he has just mastered counting up to the number twelve. Some kids that I know of can count much higher by this age and at first I was worried because Levi really struggle in this area (sometimes making me want to bang my head against the table) but once I realized it was OK to slow down, it took the pressure off of both of us. And trying to work with a stressed out mommy is no fun for any child. It was time for a change.
We made a game by cutting out small pieces of cardboard and I spread them out in the center of the living room. Levi had so much fun jumping from one number to the next (whichever number I called out) like a frog on lilly pads. Other times I’d do a scavenger hunt by placing the cards in a special spot and after telling Levi what number I needed, he’d race off and find it. There was lots of laughing, high fives and woohooing as we played these games. And for a squiggly, wiggly, four-year-old, counting and numbers became a pleasant time again.
On the other hand, when it came to letters, I hardly had to try. He just naturally picked it up. Now we’re working on sight words and he’s picking those up just as quick. Once I realized that he knew about 20 words, I made him his own little book out of construction paper. I printed off sentences that included the words he knew, simple things like “Levi and Mabry run.” or “I said truck.” (I taught him a couple extra words like truck, dog, his name and sister’s name, and a few others to make the storybook a little more possible.) He loves that he can read what the little book says and has such fun reading it with his grandma or dad and showing them what he’s learned.
In all this, I’m learning just as much as he is. A joy of home schooling is that I can pace Levi differently in the various subjects so he’s learning at a comfortable rate with enough of a challenge to find his successes thrilling. And his two-year-old sister insists on learning along with us. She hates being left out. So even though she’s just a tiny tot, she wants me to show her the flash cards and I’ll help her say them back. She thinks it’s so fun to be doing what brother is doing and it makes it so much easier to have her close and participating so I don’t have to worry about what trouble she might be getting into somewhere else in the house. Most of the time, though, she keeps busy scribbling on scratch paper. And her brother has the most generous heart. He admires her wild scrawling and points out what he sees. “Look, May. You made a boat.” And my favorite was when he said…”You made a beaver tail, good job!”
Oh, and I almost forgot about the picture above! I grew up reading the Little House books and have been waiting for the right time to read them to the kids. I wasn’t sure how well they’d get into a story with so few pictures, but they love sitting down each day and reading several pages and it gives Levi and I a special time to simply chat about what we’re reading. He can ask questions and it’s a great opportunity to explain history and pioneer life. And my time of having my children at home with me is only going to be a season. I’m so thankful to have them with me, learning, laughing and being together as a family.