Friday, September 20, 2013

Home Education {Life With Toddler}

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The two year old brain is a vast and incomprehensible sea of possibilities. Toddlers are so eager, so energetic, so intelligent, so drawn to the attention and affection of loving adults in their life. With very little application on my part, I am amazed at the knowledge and understanding my daughter displays.

The biggest obstacle to me investing in my daughter's education is a lack of intentional effort on my part. If I'm not careful, an entire day can go by without me laying aside distractions and taking the time to read with S {one of our favorite things to do together!}. A week will easily pass without me cracking open our art supplies. Hitting up the library will never happen if I don't intentionally aim and make it happen {especially now that I've got a newborn in the mix!}.

With this reality before me, I've been *attempting* to form plans and follow through with them, on purpose.

My plans?


Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June R. Oberlander. Recommended in The Well-Trained Mind, Mrs. Oberlander's book offers one "learning" activity for each week of a child's life, from birth to age five {just in time for kindergarten!}. Varying from physical exercises to craft projects to rhyming games, it provides manifold educational experiences for moms (or other caretakers) and their kiddos. I am even trying to do the infant activities with W.

I may miss a week here or there, but they don't take too much extra effort, so I might double up (or triple) the next week. S has enjoyed the small handful of activities we've tried so far!

Hit up the library once a week. Or every other week. I'm a big believer in interest-led learning, so I seize upon S's current fascinations and check out books accordingly. For example, right now she is way into the moon. Don't ask me why, but the kid loves it. Hearing her lisp about the "waxing gibous" cracks us up.

So last week we checked out a stack of books from the children's library on the moon. While many of them were written with older kids in mind, I am surprised at S's capacity for sitting through them {when she is in the right mood, at the right time}. Other less lengthy books fail to hold her attention because they just don't speak to her interests.

Read. A whole ton! We read in 10-15 minute chunks periodically throughout the entire day... this is made especially easy by my little nursling. W's meal time is S's book time- I'm already sitting on the couch, so I might as well be taking advantage of it! This also keeps S out of trouble when I'm preoccupied with the babe.

Arts and crafts. I am terrible at this, but I need to improve. There are so many great, free printables and ideas floating around the web. I'd like to do at least one well thought-out, prepared in advance art project with S each week. But as long as I pull out some crayons or markers once a day for her, I will call myself a success. We want to encourage that beautiful toddler creativity ;)!

Other than that, I point out letters as we encounter them in books or on signs. We count cheerios and toys and fingers and toes. A few friends of mine with older preschoolers meet up once a week with informal preschool lesson plans, and I will try to show up for those. I try to expose S to good music every day, and lots of musical variety. She pounds away freely at our piano's keys, and Daddy tells her the names of each note.

You may notice that I say the word "try" a lot. That's because juggling two kids is new to me. And because life happens. And because I know that it isn't the end of the world {or my daughter's hope for an excellent education} if I fail to carry out a full-fledged preschool program from home. She is little. Reading with her, and really, just giving her the time of day, will cover a multitude of other inadequacies.

What educational resources do you and your toddler love? 

Don't miss the rest of our series on toddlerhood ! 
Introduction
Cleaning Up with Your Toddler
Family Worship

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