Educating our children. I sort of forgot.

by Erin L. on March 27, 2012

I’ve been a stay at home mom for seven months now and the other day I felt like I got hit over the head with a 2×4.

Oh god, I haven’t been teaching my son anything!

 

 

Okay, that’s not exactly true. He learns at the park, by playing games with mommy and by watching the world around him.  We read every day and sing songs, but I haven’t set aside a certain amount of time per day to work on letters, numbers, abstract shapes or anything of the sort.  I promptly broke out the construction paper and we worked on some letters.  Amazingly enough, he can already draw an A for his first name.  Not my doing.

I know that he learns at school.  He goes two days a week and they have lesson plans — but I all of a sudden feel like I am failing at this SAHM thing.  Half of the women I know who stay at home are former teachers.  They put me to shame. I  pretty much liken them to Pinterest craft boards.  All full of great ideas that make my self esteem sink a little.

I kid. I kid.  I am pretty comfortable in my utter NON craftyness.

But the teaching?  I need to get better at that.  We have some flashcards for letters and I want to buy some animals so I can start working with Miss E as well.  Bug’s daycare taught him to count to ten.  With Miss E, it’s all on ME!

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In my moment of panic, I asked around some other bloggers to see what they do to teach their kids during the week.

Andrea from Lil Kid Things said “With Oscar we are on a constant shape hunt. I randomly ask him to show me some circles in the room or he might just say, hey! That’s a rectangle! We also recently started working on letter sounds. He’ll go through sounds like D is for Duh Duh, Dada, dinosaur, dog, dragon etc. It’s hard for me to get him to sit down for a “lesson” so I just try to work things in throughout the day.”

Amy from Taste Like Crazy commented “We have a huge “Kindergarten” workbook we bought at B&N that goes over shapes and colors and such. We usually work on three sheets–one on letters, one on shapes and one on tracing–a day and then work on one of Cara’s beginning reader chapter books. The hardest part was figuring out what to do with my three year old, Oliver. I’ve started giving him Caroline’s worksheets once she’s done and asking him more simple questions about the pages. It seems to help him feel like he’s “doing school” too and he doesn’t feel left out.”

Julie from Julieverse.com said “my 2 year old is in preschool 2 mornings a week. While I can keep her there as late as 3, I usually pick her up at 1 as her naptime is 1:30. The other days of the week we schedule playdates, pool time and gymnastics. I believe in learning in the real world at the tender age of two. She’s learning in everything she does.”

Desiree from MommyReporter said “My son goes to preschool M-F from 9 to 1pm. Otherwise, we play games like matching letters, spelling words on the fridge with magnets, and drawing shapes.”

Amanda from High Impact Mom said “While I work at my computer my 5 year old works beside me on letters, numbers, colors and pictures from this week’s theme. We will also eat snacks, do crafts and enjoy books related to the theme throughout the week. I set a time for everyhour to remind us both to switch activities and spend time one-on-one with each other. We have also talked about everything going on daily since birth, it’s part of who I am and I can tell it helped my girls grasp concepts faster.”

What about you?  What activities do you do with your children to ensure they are learning all the basics?

 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) March 27, 2012 at 9:41 am

These are great tips! I agree that just talking about what you are doing as you are doing it is a great help. We do that too and it has really taught concepts that we weren’t even trying to teach. Double win!

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2 Shana D March 27, 2012 at 9:45 am

My kids love to color so with each crayon they use we go over the colors, we count the crayons and talk about what they’re drawing. Also my kids love to make counting games out of everything so we do that a lot as well as reading.

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3 Brandy March 27, 2012 at 10:00 am

Great stuff. I steal from daycare. I work on literacy skills by reading books and just stopping and making him finish. Those early reader books that use a lot of “sound words” (onomatopoeia..BOOM 7th grade english) seem to work well for him to recognize them. They do a lot of learning through books at daycare. Theme the days…you could even theme the meals if you wanted with muffin tin meals to talk about shapes and colors. I have seen that somewhere.

But yeah…just learning through play is golden I think. They imitate you and learn that way. I mean that is my whole daycare’s teaching philosophy…through play.

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4 Kevin from WCPLonline March 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Library storytimes are a great place for children to learn the early literacy skills they need to get ready to read! http://ow.ly/9Uq24 Several locations of Wake County Public Libraries are also about to implement the PLA program Every Child Ready to Read. http://ow.ly/9UqcG

I will also ask our Facebook Friends if they have any tips for you.

Thanks,

Kevin

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5 Erin L. March 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Thanks Kevin! We recently got our first library card and have been getting new bedtime reading each week.

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6 Jessica @FoundtheMarbles March 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm

I have to admit that I haven’t been so great about this with my younger son like I was with my older one. And now that I feel guilty I must go read him some books….

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7 Nathalie March 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I think that reading a lot is key. And, at A’s age, not just picture books. Have you read Jim Trelease’s READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK (http://www.amazon.com/The-Read-Aloud-Handbook-Sixth-Edition/dp/0143037390 )? He recommends reading chapter books much earlier than I expected — and I’ll admit I was doubtful about it. We’ve been reading chapter books daily since B was 3 and it is amazing what it has done for his vocabulary, which in turn is helping him as he learns how to read. In fact, as I write this, he is in his room listening to a Percy Jackson audiobook. Trelease has good tips for keeping boys reading too.

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8 Nathalie March 28, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Just remembered that a friend of mine actually blogged about reading to kids (and Trelease) a few months ago: http://blog.mimsybooks.com/2011/12/read-to-your-kids/ .

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9 @sweetbabboo April 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm

As a former (1st grade) educator myself, I’ve gotta tell you to chill. I *rarely* do any explicit teaching with Linus. Honestly, I would have (for my own enjoyment) if he’d been that kind of kid, but he’s not. Of course I worried that he wouldn’t be ready for school, but he actually is — truly. If you are talking to your son, reading to him, interacting with him, and *most important* modeling reading and writing for him (read for enjoyment yourself), he’ll be ready.

My best advice, grab teachable moments… don’t make them. Count out loud when you actually have something you need to count. Use proper shape names when describing something. Do beginning math at meal times (I cut six pieces of banana bread, how many will each of us get? Show me how I can cut this sandwich in half.) Talk about colors when they’re necessary (Do you want to wear the red shirt or the green shirt? while holding them up). Also, don’t limit your vocabulary with him instead use it to expand his.

I’m guessing you do all of this already, so relax. He’ll be ready. He’ll be more than ready. I promise. Let him be a kid and he’ll learn.

Don’t believe me? There’s lots of research to support this. Read, “The Power of Play.” Another favorite is the “Nurture Shock” chapter on pre-kindergarten. It will give you lots of ideas for how learning can be an organic part of play.

Deep breath. You’re doing ok. He’s learning. He’ll be fine.

-Abby

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