Friday, February 8, 2013

Ideas for Homeschooling Toddlers

My husband and I plan to home school our children. To be honest, I'm intimidated. I want to do well yet I do not look at myself as a great teacher, but I am trusting God's Word which says I can do all things through His strength. If He says it, I know by His strength I can do it. Although Kindergarten for my eldest is still a few years away, I have been thinking on my plans to teach for quite some time. While praying about the future and asking God, "how am I supposed to do it??" it was as if He spoke to me and said, START NOW.

Light bulb.

Of course. I can begin right now teaching my toddler, working our way up while instilling learning skills in him and building confidence in myself. Below are some ways I am beginning to teach Nathan early. Every baby step counts. Every intentional effort made goes a long way.

  • One thing we have is the Your Baby Can Read Deluxe kit. I will say that we do not do this every day. We have had this for almost a year, Nathan is 22 months old... and he cannot read. However, he recognizes some of the words and he enjoys the DVDs. Also, simply setting a time to sit down with the flash cards and picture books teaches him to 1) sit still, 2) observe what I put in front of him, and 3) work on retaining skills. Repetition helps. I am glad we have the kit, but I would never expect or push others to purchase it as it can be pricey. You can easily create your own version of it.
  • I dearly love this adorable ABC Wipe-Off book I picked up at a Christian bookstore. I love the fact that it is a wipe-off, meaning I can reuse it. And I love how easy and toddler-friendly it is. Nathan has always enjoyed colors and so this helps familiarize him with the ABC's and how to write them.
  • Nathan's favorite is his Magnetic ABC's. I put them on our refrigerator and he not only likes to take them off and put them back on, but he likes it when I put them in order (A, B, C, D, etc) and when I spell words and names. Again, this is simply getting him familiar with the letters of the alphabet but it is also lots of fun for him!
  • Picture books. If you have children, you likely have several children's books. And we all know that children's books are full of pictures. I like to sit with Nathan and read to him. When we look at the pictures, I try to point out every single thing I can think of. (i.e. See the grass? Grass is green. We have grass outside, see? **proceed to window or door). If there is a dog in the picture, I point it out, make the animal sound, try to encourage him to do what I do. Children's picture books are great tools!
  • We count. Yes, that's it. Every day we count to ten. I use my fingers and show him how to use his. I count his toes. I count his fingers. We count his shoes and his toys.
  • Nathan has this adorable Match Game that he loves. It is simply a three-piece puzzle of a person (police officer, cowboy, soldier, etc) . We do this several times a week. He also has a fabric match game a friend of mine made for him that he enjoys as well.

I am very careful not to push him. Some parents teach their babies to learn big things at early ages. This is completely fine with me, but personally I want my babies to be babies. I don't want to push him so that he grows too fast. The early years are so short. Therefore, we have our toddler school three days a week and it's always in short durations and in basic things (ABC's, 123's, recognizing animals and objects). It isn't much, but it is enough to begin building good learning skills.

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