Now I just want to put it out there that I really dislike the word ‘homeschooling’ and it sounds a lot more complicated than what it actually is. I decided to start teaching my daughter things at home when I realised that she was understanding concepts and learning. I mean children are constantly learning but to retain the information is another ball game. I started not too long ago actually, just before she turned 3. Children grow up super quick. Your newborn baby becomes a toddler in no time! I always smile at my daughter when I see herself expressing herself, because I remember her when she was super small and completely dependant on me! *sniffs*
Let me just put this out there. The TV or the ipad is not an adequate teaching or learning tool for toddlers. Don’t get me wrong I do allow my daughter to play with the ipad or watch TV for 1-2 hours each time (even that can be a bit much sometimes) but children constantly need stimulation from different activities.
They learn through play. So I figured it will be nice to get her learning some things before she starts reception. Doing activities with your child is great for their development.
How I got started?
I wanted to make the environment a little conducive for her, so I cleared an area of my sitting room and made it into a little play area. I would love a specific playroom, but I just don’t have the space, and she refused to use her bedroom! She wants to be where the adults are!
I used a old bookcase to display her books and activities, and made sure they were in easy reach for her. I bought her a table (here) and a whiteboard from Ikea (link).
Here are some activities that I have used and really recommend. This list is not exhaustive. Oh and you need to be physically and mentally present when going through these activities, your child will love you for it. I take the active decision to put my phone away and give my daughter my full attention during her activities. We (my husband and I take it in turns) try and do them in the morning when we know that she is alert. After nursery, she is shattered, so that would be the worst time to do it. I usually do 20-30 mins each time, anything after that is pushing it really hard! Her concentration is usually gone by then!
(I bought all these things from Amazon, bit by bit)
Number and Alphabet Puzzles:
Galt Toys and Orchard Toys have great puzzles which start from 4 pieces and move to 12 pieces. It is great for teaching children problem solving and encourage the development of matching and sorting skills.
‘Lets cut paper: Amazing Animal Kumon first steps workbooks’ is a great book to help my daughter with cutting and my daughter is really getting the hang of it. Firstly she found it difficult to even hold scissors but now she is progressing to more complicated cutting
Colouring book and pencils
Wooden number sticks
Orchard Shopping List Game
Painting – apron, 5 primary colours and paintbrushes (Can get these anywhere)
Beads and threading
Praticising writing or drawing on the whiteboard – it is proven that it helps children by writing on a vertical surface especially with pencil grasp
I usually decide whether we will do English (Alphabet) or Maths (Numbers) before hand. My routine is usually as listed below. Mind you, your child may benefit with doing things in a different order. See how your child learns, and work out the best way for him/her
Teaching using the whiteboard – either teach sounds, counting on fingers, identification of numbers/letters (I try only 5 numbers or letters at one go, and make sure she really understands it)
Puzzles – I use my number or alphabet puzzles to reinforce what I have done
Colouring or painting – Getting my daughter to paint or colour in the numbers or letters that we have learnt
Going back to the whiteboard to reinforce the learning
Then giving her a big smiley face on the whiteboard and some stickers (You will be surprised how effective stickers are!)
I have seen a massive improvement in my daughters learning since I took the step to do these exercises at home. Rome was not built in a day so I gradually started to introduce these activities and exercises. She is more willing to get involved and is more confident. I remember when her nanny came over to the house, she took her straight to her play area and said she wants to do some puzzles. I have come to realise that nurseries cannot physically do 1-to-1 activities, which child love, so don’t think the nurseries will teach them this with the same detail and attention that you will.
Also, children have different abilities and capabilities, so see what your child enjoys and work with that.