Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June20_KMathWhen I started to troll the web in search of fun and educational activities with Anna, I was blown away with the number of great blogs I found. A lot of smart, crafty, spiritual women (sorry, I am yet to found even one blog on the topic written by a man :)) put a lot of thought and passion into decisions on how to raise and educate their children. I found a lot of those blogs by stumbling on Tot School - where many families contribute every week and describe how they raise and educate their children under 4 years old. I participate with my other blog, but, honestly, I don't have any method in my approach. Until very recently, I didn't do any prep work for any of our "learning sessions". I don't have any curriculum or any theme of the week. To be honest, I believe that this finesse is mostly for parents who need structure to their days than for children.Young children learn best through play and attention from adults, and I think that Anna gets enough attention from both parents. In my "teaching" approach I rely most on observing her and following her interests. If she wants to continue to play with Legos while "it's time to color", I'll let her. I am trying to pick books in the library on very different topics - animals, plants, travel, school life - to see what will catch her fancy. Again, it seems too early for her to have any real "passions" - everything is interesting to her.. for the first 10 minutes. The only continuing theme in her life is books - many-many-many books that she wants to read every day.

Specrum Math KUnlike many of the blogging moms, I don't plan to homeschool. Anna already goes to preschool for 2 mornings a week. We will extend it to three once she turns 3 in October. This year she was in the class with 3-5 year olds because of the size of the school and her great language skills. Her teachers were blown away that she was consistently the best in class in all activities that involved "academic subjects" - phonics and math. When I was trying to find suitable software games for her, nothing under K-level caught her fancy - they were all too boring in their focus on shapes, colors, simple numbers and letters. The book that she is reading in the first picture is this post is Spectrum Math Grade K. I didn't bring it from the library for her. I wanted to see for myself what is taught on K-level. She grabbed the book, went to her room and said that she wants to play by herself and teach her favorite kitty some numbers. She cannot do all the exercises in this book, but she is frighteningly close to the end of K-level in what she knows in math and language. At the same time - she is completely not interested in writing. Her motor skills were always a little behind, and I am blown away seeing tots under two holding their pencils or even scissors correctly. Anna still cannot do it, even at 32 months. That's why we are focusing more on crafts now - while I will continue to encourage all her math and language activities (a lot of those are self-led nowadays), I want to bring out her artistic self more and let my intellectual curiosity combine with formidable creative thinking of my husband. Then she will be one very fine young lady indeed :)


Eva said...

Great post! It's amazing your daughter's language and math skils are so advanced. The other day I heard about a 13 year old entering university.. it makes me wonder if we're underestimating children's abilities :) PS- I gave you an award at my blog: http://handmadebeginnings.blogspot.com/2009/06/thank-you.html

Christie said...

As an early childhood teacher, I think the fact that you are following your daughter's lead in terms of her interests - both in terms of topics and activities she enjoys, is perfect for her age. An Emergent Curriculum approach advocates this as the starting point for young children's learning. I also think seeing her as a capable individual who 'can' will help her to thrive with confidence as a learner whatever classroom situation you choose.

Good luck, Christie

Lona said...

I think your approach is perfect.
An idea for cutting - make long 'snakes' with playdough. Then let her cut them into pieces, maybe into a pot. It helps children get used to opening and closing the scissors on something easier than a paper shape, and it's pretty neat to see the pieces fall.

Annette said...

Goodness! Anna can do so much! That is great. I think it's very good that you are following her lead, too. Though she may not hold a crayon or scissors correctly, I wouldn't even focus on it yet, since they are not skills needed right now. With our girls at the same age, I'm glad to hear what she does.

I am a former teacher, but I will not be homeschooling my kids. Meghan may be going to preschool in October when she turns three...developmental preschool. Maybe.