Monday, November 16, 2009

The next step...

in a journey through our day.

What do you do after you finish reading aloud?

We take it outside again if it is clear, if not we do cleaning and/or craft inside.

Tool man getting ready to mount the trampoline


Why not?!

Remember, my oldest is FIVE. I could sit them down with lots of structured learning, but I honestly feel that now is not the time. Now is the time to foster a LOVE of learning and discovery and endless flash cards just doesn't do it for any of us.

Research shows that children who achieve academically early on through parental pressure are no better off later in life. In fact, many crash and burn because of the extra pressure.

Princess Doc is a high flier. Today as I was cleaning the kitchen she was leafing through the Bible reading bits out to me. Not a "Children's Bible", a normal, tiny print NIV Bible. She will seek out opportunities to learn from a rich environment WITHOUT me hovering. In fact, by stepping back and watching rather than being overly controlling of her academic exploits I have seen her acheive a far higher level academically than I would have ever thought her capable of. If I had scheduled her every waking moment, she never would have had time to discover she can read "Hop On Pop" all by herself - and I would still have her at basic readers and phonetic flash cards.

You don't have to teach everything NOW, you don't need to push. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was "if you feel that your child NEEDS to learn about something, leave them alone and go and learn about it yourself - they will catch up with you later". When Princess Doc wanted to learn to read I started trying to teach her to write as well. It became stressful for both of us as her fine motor skills just weren't up to this complex task. So I backed off the writing and just taught her to read. Yesterday she wrote out the alphabet song, complete with "now I know my ABC, next time won't you sing with me!" because she wanted to! If I had continued to push her she would hate writing and I would have created an obstacle for both her and me.

There will be time for a more structured academic program later. Next year we will probably have a bit more of a structured approach to our book work, a few more goals, because I have seen indicators that Princess Doc is ready for it and I think she'd thrive on it. Starting her before she was ready would mean that I would have to stand over her every day to get it done. What with the other little bears, I simply don't have time to do that! Plus, I want HER to be able to take ownership and be accountable for her OWN learning.

Children spend the day at school or child care, especially those who have to travel for a half hour plus, are exhausted at the end of the day and by the end of the week they are completely wiped. I don't want my kids to spend their only leisure hours at home, flopped on the couch because they're too tired to do anything else! Children who spend all their time in highly structured environments often lack the ability and drive to show initiative and play and learn on their own. So we allow down time and we encourage free play.

Farm Boy on the trampoline - a vital toy for any family with energetic boys!


We bring in the washing, play games, walk across the road and play at the playground, have afternoon tea. Sometimes we even (horror of horrors!) watch TV! We clean the house together, the kids climb trees or dig in the dirt. We jump on the trampoline, they play imaginary games outside or in their room. We dump out the mega bloks and build. We make use of the dolls, teddies, dress ups, drawing equipment, games, bikes etc. Princess Doc often chooses to visit her school work boxes which are a shelf of shoe boxes filled with activities for her to do (a whole 'nother post there though!). It is hard to describe a "typical" day at this point because there are so many factors that come into play. One thing I do try to maintain though is a clean up time around 4-4:30ish before preparing for tea and bed which is vital for time management, stewardship and life skills learning. I know, I need to get better at it myself!

Princess Doc and the Tool Man caging a wild animal AKA Farm Boy - he was in on the game!

No comments:

Post a Comment