This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Gathering
Because we have two little ones, one officially starting preschool this fall, I have been thinking about ways to incorporate them in our homeschool day. It is a task that plagues me regularly. I can’t seem to find enough activities to fill their days. As a result, they are into everything…all the time.
Now, we have also started a practice our family calls Gathering. It is basically morning time for our whole family. It tends to be directed towards our school age kids with some things that delight all of us. My son (my current 3 year old) is obsessed with Gathering. And just this morning my youngest (N, just turned 2) started hearing the requests for Gathering her brother was making and looked at our Google Home device and said, “Google.”
We have some young alphabet loving learners in our house! It started early for my oldest girl and I think she passed it down to her sister and her brother. G was able to sing the alphabet (with some little stumbles) at 18 months. And just a couple months later, she had the whole thing. Then she started working on learning the letter sounds. By the time she was 4 she had just started reading (through a combination of phonics and sight words) without me “teaching her to read.”
To a lesser extent, W (5 years-old) is interested in the alphabet. She has known all the letters for a long time and is proficient at writing them, too. But she is less interested in finding out what sounds they make. Teaching her to read has been an extended process which requires much patience.
And on her heels is AG (2 years-old). In love with all things letters and books, he is well on his way to becoming a reader. His most requested picture books are alphabet related. And he spends much of his time identifying letters. And he loves to match the “big” letters to the little letters.
I share this as an awed observer because kids (in general) amaze me. They are seriously little sponges that make learning look completely natural and fun! The way learning should look! I did very little to help my kids fall in love with the alphabet.
But as I sit back and wonder at my kids and their learning to read without me, I try to evaluate. I think, “What made this possible?” And I come up with two specific things over and over: Continue Reading
The concept of the one-room schoolhouse must, as a necessity, be a reality in our home. This year we are homeschooling a 1st grader and a pre-k kid, while trying to keep a busy and quick learning almost 2-year-old. Well, we are homeschooling in between nursing the baby and dealing with tantrums and naps and meals (and, and, and). And there are days that go incredibly well and days where nothing happens of seeming importance.
These are the days when I have to take the long view of the education of our children.
I take a deep breath (or a fresh cup of coffee) and remind myself we have a LOT of days in which to educate and train our little ones. I also remind myself that the older two, for better or worse, are test cases. Hopefully, I have much more figured out once the younger two are walking through the stages we are going through today with the older. I think: “We can make mistakes. We can take breaks. We will have another chance to do these things.”
Apples! It is almost apple season around here – I got a great deal on Gala apples last week. Our girls love apples. G likes her’s without the peel. W likes her’s with – and will eat G’s discarded peels. Last week we were having snack time after working through the very first lesson in The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. And I suddenly had a great idea for a craft to reinforce the concepts taught in that phonics lesson – the short vowel sound for Aaɑ.
It seems like there is no shortage of apple activities out there. And I hesitate to share this one with you, but we did it and enjoyed it, so I am sharing! This simple activity built upon a number of facts the girls already know, and added a little bit more to their understanding of apples. Here’s what we did. Continue Reading
A little while back I got a reader question about teaching little ones to love the alphabet. I have often shared our girls’ love of the alphabet and this reader wanted to know how I got them to love it. And I really did some soul searching and thinking about it and came up with the number one resource for sharing the alphabet with our girls. It is a book. And it is a book we started reading to G (our oldest) before she was a year old. And W started hearing it from the time she was cognizant of other people’s voices (probably in the womb). G now knows most of it by heart and W is well on her way to remembering most of it, too. This ONE alphabet book is the one I would recommend to parents to introduce and get their kids excited about the alphabet from an early age.
If there is anything we as a family collect, it is books. We are all interested in words on pages (even in the age of tablets and e-readers). For me, there is just something so soothing about a row of books, neatly lined up on a shelf. The potential for entertainment in just one book shelf seems almost limitless. The idea of opening a book and being transported to a new place, a new world, a new mindset is just so appealing!
Thankfully, we have passed this love of words on pages to our kids. Our girls love books! We are slowly working our way into a large collection of picture books for our kids. I got to thinking about our collection and realized there are definite patterns: favorite authors, favorite subjects, and well-loved classics we just could not do without. I thought it would be fun to share with you what I consider to be collections of books worthy of “collect them ALL” status. Continue Reading