As a former elementary school teacher, I NEVER imagined I’d be a homeschooling mama to my own two girls. But looking back on my years in the classroom, I’ve always been a big believer in individualized education.
When it came time to enroll my sweet five-year-old in Kindergarten, it was clear that she was more than ready academically, but not anywhere close to being prepared emotionally or physically. As I mentioned previously:
Homeschooling for Kindergarten meant we could give our girls more time to mature emotionally and physically while still giving them what they needed academically.
Five years later, we still love homeschooling our girls. But I believe that learning at home happens in ALL families, whenever we read a good book, play a game, go an adventure, write a letter to a family member, etc.
Many parents have come to me and said, “My child is going to preschool x days a week, but we still want to do some learning activities together. What do you recommend?”
And so I have created this FREE Learning at Home Ultimate Guide to help you get started on your learning at home journey.
This guide is for all families who have a child between the ages of 2 and 6. It will help you empower your child as a lifelong learner, both in the classroom and out in the world. All you have to do is enter your information here:
Grab your FREE Ultimate Guide to Learning at Home!
The first “learning at home” question that needs to be asked is:
What should my young child be learning?
In another recent post, I shared my thoughts on curriculum for young children:
Curriculum is simply meant to be a jumping off point for teachers (and homeschooling parents). All too often, we become more focused on teaching the next lesson in the book rather than what our child needs to learn next.
I believe young children can successfully learn at home, no matter what program (or no program) your family chooses. It all comes down to intentional parenting and regularly asking the question, “What does my child need to learn next?”
There are many developmental checklists available for parents–you can download ours here.
Children rarely develop on a timeline, so my number one piece of advice for parents is to work backwards. What do you want your child to know this time next year? What are the skills he/she needs to develop to get there?
Target one skill at a time through play-based activities at home. Remember the long-term goal–raising children who LOVE to learn–and keep things FUN!
The next “learning at home” question you need to consider is:
How does my child learn best?
There are five different modes of learning (often called “learning styles”):
- visual (graphics)
- read/write (text)
- kinesthetic (movement)
- tactile (touch)
When your child is young, he or she will learn best through hands-on learning. Toddlers and preschoolers love to dance, shake, climb, and move; learning might also happen through song and repetition (hence, the popularity of nursery rhymes!).
As your child grows and learns to read independently, he/she will begin to demonstrate a preference for one or more of the different learning styles. Note: I believe knowing how your child learns best (and helping him/her to understand what that means) is crucial to success in higher education.
Taking learning styles into account is incredibly important for science and math courses, as I mention in this post about our favorite resources for math education. Good teachers will introduce new concepts in a variety of ways and work with your child in his/her preferred learning style, but it’s also an important consideration for independent practice and homework.
Keep in mind that most people are multi-modal and often show a distinct preference for two or more learning styles at the same time. It’s also important for all of us to strengthen our weaker areas for times when modifications cannot be made. For more information about learning styles, click here.
As parents, I think it’s important that we remember the importance of free play for healthy child development. I’m certainly not opposed to team sports, art & music classes, and other opportunities for socialization, but be sure to leave margin for SMART play. (I have a FREE online workshop about the importance of play HERE.)
Here at Rolling Prairie Readers, we are passionate about equipping learners of ALL ages to use their individual and unique gifts to make the world a better place. If that sounds like something YOU want to be a part of, we would love to have you join our FREE Facebook group called the Parent Resource Room.
As parents, I think it’s important for all of us to have a safe, kid-free zone to come and chat with others, grab what we need, and then get right back to work raising awesome people. If you are looking for tips about effective family communication, home management strategies, and creating meaningful moments for our children–the Parent Resource Room is for you!
Other posts about learning at home that may interest you:
- Does curriculum matter? (Must-Have Materials for Learning at Home)
- If I could do it all over again… (Preschool at Home)
- Can I work from home AND homeschool? (Benefits of Homeschooling as an Entrepreneur)
- Is my child ready for Kindergarten? (4 Factors to Consider)
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