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I remember the anxiety that began as my firstborn turned 3 and then 4! What was the best way to educate this little guy? We decided to put him in a private 3 day a week K4 program that was geared to getting these little people ready for kindergarten. Imagine my surprise and shock when Christmas time rolled around and I realized that my son hadn’t learned ANYTHING in his class! We decided we needed to start working with him at home the other 2 days a week and then I started agonizing over whether or not he would be ready for kindergarten. Over time, we realized that he was going to need personal help with learning and that is what helped us to decide on homeschooling.
That first experience taught me a lot. I wish I knew then what I know now. First of all, our son wasn’t ready to start formal learning, even though society said his age was right. Second, I should have focused on a love of learning, rather than the learning itself. These early years lay the groundwork for learning for the rest of our children’s lives! Shouldn’t we focus on the joys of learning? I was also so uptight during that time, I forgot that I needed to have joy in the journey as well.
When my second child came along, we did things much differently! Although, I was organized with her learning, I focused on the love of learning! I couldn’t find a program that helped me do this, so I wrote one myself. This led to my first preschool program, Animal Play. This program is structured, for planners like me, but focused on the excitement and fun of learning. My three year old could not get enough and by the time she turned 4, she was ready for Kindergarten. I was very hesitant to start her early because of our issues with my son, but she would not be left behind! That prompted me to write the program Fruit for Tender Hearts, which is available for teaching cursive first or in a manuscript version. (The cursive first option will be another post!)
What do I look for?
To an extent, preschool learning should be child directed. I believe that there can be a balance between a mommy directed and child directed learning. Mom can introduce all kinds of learning opportunities, but if a child is resistant to them, let it take a backseat and try a different option. Although making your older student sit and complete an assignment is normal and expected, forcing a preschooler to do that can turn their little hearts away from the love of learning. Below are some more options for learning in play. Check them out and choose things that your little one will LOVE!
Can someone tell me what to buy? Yes!
Timberdoodle has some great Curriculum kits that focus on kids love of learning and using a multi-sensory approach. If you would like to check out some of their kits, CLICK HERE!
What Can I do if I don’t have access to some of these things where I live?
Glad you asked! I have collected a fun set of activities from all over the internet just for you! I tried to make them possible with just things you may have around the house. You can find my post of Preschool Resources Possible Anywhere in the World HERE!