Friday, October 12, 2012

How do I teach my 2.5 year old?

That was a question posed to me yesterday by a friend of mine and it got me thinking I guess.  I remember feeling the same way she currently does at the beginning when Bug and I were going Head to Head and not making any progress other than to frustrate one another.  So here is a schedule for a typical day in our household now that homeschooling has FINALLY become something wonderful (hopefully it helps you dear friend who shall remain nameless)

5am - I get up and dressed and start prepping for our day (laundry goes on, dishwasher unloaded, school work out)

7am - Toddler gets up, dressed and eats breakfast

8am - Daily Notebook (we got ours from Confessions of a Homeschooler)  It contains not just the PreK daily Notebook but also some handwritting practice, site word practice and counting practice.  Suprisingly my daughter LOVES this part of the day.  I give her a dry erase marker and she sits and works at those pages for a good 30min before her attention span finally starts to fail her!

8:30am - Large Muscle Groups!  For this we pick an activity that involves movement and LOTS of it!  Sometimes we put on some music and just dance like lunatics, other times we play hopscotch, we also play Red Light, Green Light, Simon Says or Head Shoulders, Knees and Toes.  This is a great time to get them to expel a TON of energy while also working on following directions :-)

9am - Free Play.  This is an important part of a toddlers day!  They learn so much from just playing!

10am - Craft Time!  I'm a big believer in an education full of the arts for all children.  Their are so many studies showing what a benefit it is to them that I can't believe our public schools seem to be doing away with them.  I normally make sure the craft is set up the night before and normally it correlates with whatever our theme is that week.  We do a LOT of glueing, painting, colouring and play dough.  I also try and make sure that at some point during the craft my daughter needs to count or write something to work on her math and fine motor skills.

11am - Cooking Time.  We get in the kitchen together and we make a mess lol.  Really she is getting very helpful and helps make lunch with me everyday.  She especially likes to use a spoon to spread peanut butter on bread for her sandwiches and count out raisins for her plate.

11:30am - Family Meal Time.  Even Daddy comes home for lunch and sits with us which is such a blessing!  This really does help to get Bug to eat her veggies and attempt conversation.

12:00pm - TV time.  Bug gets 1 show at this time.  She gets the options of Signing Time, Veggitales, Sesame Street and Leap Frog.  We don't allow non educational TV during the week unless we're having family movie time and heck she LOVES her Signing time (she has learned over 500 signs now and uses them regularly!)

12:30pm - Reading Time.  Bug and I sit down and read for 30min.  During this time we discuss the stories we're reading and the pictures etc.  If she's feeling particularly hyper I have her act out parts of the book we're reading for example "Bug, can you walk like the Dinosaur!" I think this is actually one of her favorite parts of the day :-)

1pm - Tidy Bugs Room time!  Definately not one of her favorite parts of the day but I make her tidy it anyway (with a little bit of Mommy help)

1:30pm - NAP TIME!  (this is when I finally get things done!)

3:30pm - Game Time.  We have a whole list of games we play with varying success with Bug.  They are all very, very simple games designed to reinforce alphabet and number recognition while also teaching turn taking.

3pm - Free Play or crafting depending on Bugs mood that day

4:30pm we start up the music and she helps tidy the kitchen (putting the plastic containers away and the non sharps in the silverware drawer)

5pm - Free Play which normally ends up being her playing at the fridge with her leapfrog word builder toy while I start up dinner

6pm - Family Dinner where Daddy asks her questions about her day :-)

6:30pm - Play time with Daddy

7pm - Bath time followed by PJs, a book, a song and bed!

This schedule probably wouldn't work for every child but it does work for mine.  Remember all kids are different and you've gotta be FLEXIBLE!  One of my tricks is for each activity I offer choices.  I can even offer them while she does her Daily Learning Notebook by letting her pick what order to do it in and what colour marker she wants to use that day.  I learned very early on that if I'm inflexible she will be too and then we just end up with stubborn Mom and stubborn Toddler going head to head!!  Not exactly helpful!  Also on certain days we have outside activities.  For instance Tuesdays we got to PWOC so Sadie gets to hang out with her friend in the PCOC rooms and I get to go off and do my Bible Studies.  This cancels out half of our morning routine but we still get our Daily Learning Notebook done we just do it before or after PWOC.  On Thusdays we do the grocery shop which also takes about 2 hrs from our regular schedule.  This has turned into a great learning activity though as the night before I print a list for Bug with pictures and words of some of the things we need (for instance if we need 2 cartons of milk I'll put two simple pictures of milk cartons followed by the word Milk).  All of a sudden she actually LIKES grocery shopping!!

I do hope you all experience the successes I have beginning homeschooling.  The first few weeks were difficult and sometimes made me want to give up but once I figured out the things that worked for us it started to become wonderful :-)

I've also had to deal with a lot of negativity around starting my daughter on a cirriculum at such a young age but the fact is that we don't do anything that SHE is not ready for.  Every kid is different and they'll all be ready for things in there own time.  Just like some 12 month olds are ready for potty training while some 3 years olds are just getting there, it's the same thing with teaching your children.

What are your favorite homeschooling tricks?  What does your schedule look like?

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