Often times I talk about how my kids are learning starving. I've told the story about Zander who at four, learned his numbers from 1-100 in a 30 minute flash card session with me. They are sponges and I really believe that if delivered in the correct way, they will crave more and more and more.
This brings me to my little three year old monster Elle. Over the last year I've tried working with her on her letters and numbers, but the only thing she was interested in me doing with her was reading. So reading is what we've done. Books upon books upon books. I've memorized many a book while reading to our kids. Well this was fine and good until about a two months ago she said, "mommy look, I wrote my name!". Sure enough she in fact wrote her name. Capitol E, lowercase L, lowercase L, lowercase E. Just as I had shown her a million and ten times when I was certain that she was not paying attention.
I thought to myself, ok now we are getting ready to really do something here. Later in the day, she drew one of her infamous potato men with stick legs and under it she wrote "Moe". An odd coincidence maybe, but she calls them all Moe and always has...Moe. M...o...e. This is a name she took out of a favorite book. A few days later I found her sitting at the table writing her name out in pretzel sticks and making other letters. She didn't know that the F she made was a F, but she knew it was a letter, and she told me, "look mom, I'm making letters".
These are the signs parents...these are the subtle clues that your child is ready to begin. I've been waiting for this one to get that thirst and hunger. I have a choice here. Do I choose to say..."eh kindergarten will take care of all of that", or do I say..."Elle let's try this, and this, how about this". Some would choose one, and some would choose the other.
We are still not sure if Elle will go to Kinder or not. I believe in Kindergarten. I really do. It broke my painfully shy kids out of their shells. Especially Zander. Now he's more social than any of us. I believe in Kinder. She will probably go. But she's 3 now. That leaves me time to either sit idle or enrich.
You all know what road I'm choosing.
A few weeks back I bought this little book.
Elle occasionally goes to this little preschool class that our school district offers for free. I think it's a total bust and waste of time personally, but I enjoy watching the other freakish parents. The kids do a lot of cutting and Elle was struggling. So I bought this little book for her to have something to work on while Zander and I do school.
This is what she did today...in 20 mins. She would not stop. "more, more, and more" is what she asked. So in true Melissa fashion, I gave her more. They got harder and harder and she rose to the occasion. I allowed her to go until she felt challenged and her work showed a struggle. She finished the book.
Look for the clues and use every moment as a teaching opportunity. That's how I do it. Nobody knows them better than mama. If Zander is struggling with something, I put it in terms of swimming and all of a sudden he's interested and willing. If not swimming then I start chucking around his pillow pet and make it be the teacher. He loves it and cracks up. Other people would not know that. Momma Knows!
What an opportunity we have to teach the next generation. If home school is not your bag, I cannot suggest enough that you pick something to do with the kids over the summer. This summer the our kids are going to learn cursive and Latin. Do something! You'll be amazed, I promise!