There are so many different methods, philosophies, and thoughts about the best way to home school your child! It can certainly be overwhelming. There are numerous publishing companies promoting their curriculum, endless books about teaching practices, and countless online resources. So where do you begin?
As a conscience parent you only desire the very best for your child. This is a good thing! The past few weeks I have been reading and researching all sorts of ideas, activities, and programs to help formulate my upcoming year of school for my two year old. I would like to share the direction I am headed for our school year.
First and foremost two year old school is NOT school (or at least how most of us view school). Possibly when you hear school you picture students sitting at desks quietly working and learning academics. The type of "school" that I will be discussing is a developmentally appropriate environment with activities that promote two year old learning and growth!
Many of us are anxious for our child to learn their letters, put the sounds together, and begin reading. Although pushing a child to this may actually hinder the true joy and adventure of reading itself. Two year old school is all about exposure to new things and laying down a solid foundation for the love of learning itself!
When I taught at my local public school my first priority was to create an enjoyable learning environment. This means children are self motivated to engage in independent learning through available resources such as myself, other staff members, books, computers, field trips, and so forth. In this environment children desire to learn and enjoy doing so.
Recently I was speaking to my neighbor who is a two year old preschool teacher. The teachers call the the two year old room the "tough love" room, and we all know why! A two year old is looking for boundaries and testing their behavior constantly! Therefore one of the priorities for our school this year is to develop good habits, specifically obedience. If a child refuses to listen to the homeschooling mother how will they learn?
Next, the amount of language development in a 2 year old is astounding! I have certainly enjoyed watching my little one become a communicator. There is no better way to add to her vocabulary then with good books! While reading (good living books) aloud increases her oral language vocabulary it is also laying the foundation of her becoming an excellent reader herself. Consequently daily read alouds will be of great importance this year.
On top of good books to read is the Good Book itself! The Bible. Daily reading and learning of God's word is an essential habit to develop and it begins when children are young. Deuteronomy 6:5-8 "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Hence the main supremacy of our school year will be the Bible.
One way we enjoy God is by enjoying him as Creator God. Worshiping NOT the creation but the creator who made the heaven and earth and all that move in and along it. Enjoying "nature" with your child is really like enjoying God himself! Therefore studying and enjoying nature in two year old school is essential.
Do you ever just wish you had the energy of a two year old? They need to PLAY and play hard. Playing is imperative for this age. Playing outdoors, playing pretend, and playing with others is a wonderful way for a child to learn. Therefore play will be an important part of our school days.
My little one loves listening to music. She also loves to use crayons, markers, and paints! Exposing her to "the arts" is not only fun but beneficial. Hence a gentle introduction to the arts is fun and inspiring for the young learner!
Lastly, academics! I feel the best way to explain this part is that as a mama teacher "you just know." You know when your child is ready for a little more so DO IT! My good friend from "Living and Learning at Home" once told me her mother was questioning her about an academic school activity she was having her young three year old son complete. She explained to her mother that her expectation was appropriate because she was encouraging him to complete a task she knew he was capable of even though it did take some effort on his part. This gentle balanced approach is perfect for introducing academics and mama teachers just know, so trust yourself! Begin with an introduction to uppercase and lowercase letter names and sounds, identifying numbers, counting, name recognition, and pre-writing skills through a variety of engaging activities!
If you have used Classical or Charlotte Mason homeschooling methods the above ideas may seem familiar to you. I have directed most of my reading and research in this area. I desire to blog about our journey of two year old school with you! Being a reflective mama teacher keeps you accountable to giving the best to your child. If something isn't working change it, if something is going well keep going or add to it! Always be reflective not critical of your abilities, you are the best teacher for your child!
Happy planning for the approaching school year!