Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It Takes A Village

Wanting to do something educational with your preschool/early elementary age active child?!

I've been there and it can be enough to make a lady wanna scream or jump off something very high!

I found it best to be on the lookout for small windows of opportunity to do "school" and then jump on that for as little or as long as my child would allow.

Here are some other ideas I found worked in one season or another on our ACTIVE teaching journey:

1. Always have a basket of "school" for them to do- keep it at his/her level so that it is an option for play. Of course don't expect the workbooks to stay in pristine condition; but it would be an option THEY can choose. Also be warned that wall and furniture writing can accompany this idea, so you decide. I was pleasantly surprised during one of our moves that Jesus had been hanging out under my coffee table; not only had Jesus practiced his ABC's but he also left his name- you're gonna see that coffee table on ebay one day! lol

2. Something else I did when the boys were pre-school/early elementary age was a small table with a bookcase next to it. On the bookcase I always kept crayons, markers, pens and pencils, paper of all sorts, tin foil, small empty boxes, toilet paper rolls, masking tape, maze sheets, number and letter sheets, workbooks, math counting and shape manipulatives. With a good supply of crafting objects as well as some motor skills development and number/letter stuff I felt it was a good play option for the boys and they'd do educational stuff without a thought! Plus anything to promote creativity!
(please notice toys at the school table)

3. Another idea is to plan every day after _______ (b-fast, lunch, nap- you fill in blank) for 5, 10 or 15 minutes of "school" time, or call it what you want. Keep it consistent, keep it short, maybe even offer a reward/star chart when the child has given their best and completed a "school" task.
4. Capitalize on meal times. My kids tended to be a little calmer, at least they were sitting down and I would find it was a good time to slide in some sort of worksheet.
5. Take advantage of drawing in the dirt or sand- boys love sticks, they are nature's pencils. Use pudding on a large sheet of paper for letter writing and it's a yummy snack too!! Shaving cream can be fun in the bathtub to write in. Cookies can be made and shaped into a letter of the week. Begin to look around for opportunities to identify and even trace with their finger, letters or number on signs, at the store etc. Life is an education and I believe it's the best one out there.

Don't expect perfection from beginners, and by perfection I mean they may prefer to do some school on the living room floor, sofa or bed- you decide what works and doesn't work for your family; I will say you should above all else decide to have fun! I'll never forget when Vaughan started to read he loved to read upside down or when he got a little older he always wanted to read and write in a tree.

So whether you are a homeschooler or just trying to navigate the preschool/elementary years I hope these tips are helpful and if you have some ideas to share, please do so here so other readers can learn and apply!!

It truly takes a village to raise our kids and our villages have changed a bit over the years, so let's allow this online community to be part of our village.

And yes, please know a teenage post will be coming one day- my favorite piece of teenage advice is "Just survive".
So here I am: surviving!


Shasta said...

Michelle, thank you so much for these great tips! I'm going to start implementing them right away. My problem is that I don't like a mess; I like books to stay in pristine condition, crayons to remain unbroken. I know I need to let go of all that. I'm glad to hear that your boys were active, too. Sometimes I feel like I'm all alone over here -- my new group of friends all have girls -- such a different species, really!

Anonymous said...

I say don't just survive, thrive!


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