Thursday, April 25, 2013

When to Start Homeschooling


I get asked quite often what curriculum I use for my little kids, younger than kindergarten age.  I never give the answer that is expected. 
I don’t use curriculum until they are older…much older. 1st grade older.
What?  You don’t start teaching them when they are 2? 
Yes & No.
I don’t do anything formal with my kids before they are 6 years old unless they are really showing signs of being able to learn to read. My youngest daughter was totally ready & was doing a lot of school work around 5 years old.  She was reading very well by six.
I am what you call a “Relaxed Homeschooler”.  I wasn’t always like this, but over the years I have learned a lot and realized my kids will learn when they are ready and that is when I pounce!
Raymond & Dorthy Moore became my heroes early in my homeschooling career.  They founded the Moore Foundation in order to help parents better educate their children. When I was so frustrated because my 5 year old still couldn’t read or even count to 20 a friend told me about the Moore’s and since this was in 1996 and I didn’t have internet I read their books.  I was so encouraged to learn that it was ok if my child wasn’t reading by 5 & they gave me permission to slow down and work at her pace.  Thanks to the Moore’s I learned most kids (boys especially) are not truly ready to learn to read & write until they are closer to 8 years old.  Unbelievable I know, especially in a day when parents feel like their 3 year olds should be reading. (If your 3 year old can read that is wonderful…I never had one of those kinds of kids.)
So, this blog post is really to show you what I do with my younger kids & links will be provided so you don’t have to search it out yourself.

babysignBabies. I don’t allow baby talk to my babies.  We talk in complete sentences. We start teaching baby sign language as soon as possible. I don’t worry about them signing back to me, I just like it when they know what I’m signing to them.  In their own time, they will start signing back.  Charlie is almost one and he is just now beginning to start signing back to me.  Baby sign language is a great start to their language development! is a great site to use. In addition to sign language we read.  We read as much as Charlie will let us read to him.  He has his favorite board books he will sit for.  Gradually we are working towards longer books as his attention span grows.  But don’t think my 1 year old boy will sit for a long time.  Usually 5 minutes is his max…if that long!

Toddlers.  Keep reading!  And sing!  A toddler will often sit longer while you read if you sing what you are reading.  You may feel silly, but they will love it!  And the best thing is your toddler doesn’t care how off key you sing!  With our toddlers, we play because that is how they learn.  As we play we are counting, saying our colors, letter sounds animal names, etc…  As we drive down the road we are pointing out the cows that say “mooooo” and the horses that say “neigh”.  Simple stuff.  We don’t have iPads so our kids are learning the old fashioned way.
Toddlers are very kinesthetic and need to touch to learn so I try to have activities that nurture that need to touch.  Since it has been a long time since I had a toddler I am looking for new idea’s & of course Pinterest has been a huge help.  I have pinned several blogs & sites that feature some neat idea’s for Charlie when he get’s a little older.  Check out my Pinterest board, Toddler Play
Another great site for Toddlers is called Totally Tots. Click on the picture below to check out that site.
totally tots
For my toddlers, no curriculum needed…just my time, a few household supplies and my willingness to let him be messy.

Preschool.  This is when it can get really fun because your baby isn’t a baby any more.  They are capable of sitting longer while you read, following directions better and helping around the house.  Chores should always be included in a child’s day. It is just as important as the academic education. Make the jobs simple.  Pick up toys, clothes, help make their bed.  They can learn to help unload the dishwasher and clean off the table after a meal.  I love how my toddlers don’t see the chores as work, they see it as fun and helping mom.
My favorite all time homeschooling site for Preschool is Homeschool Creations.  It is chocked full of idea’s and printable activities for your preschooler.

You will be on this site for days.  Get your printer ready, she is has a ton of stuff that your preschooler will love. Her activities cover learning phonics, counting, shapes,etc…
And don’t forget to check out my long list of homeschool freebies which includes a lot of websites for the younger ones too.
Crayon Background
Keep it simple.  There is no need to go buy expensive curriculum for your younger kids.  They can learn everything they need to get ready to start school without formal curriculum.  Make the right stuff available to them & let them go!
Keep it natural.  Did you set aside time everyday to teach your baby how to walk?  No, they learned that naturally and you helped.  Learning happens naturally with the help of the parents. Keep playing, that is how they will learn.  If they learn as the play they will love it.  If you make them sit at the table and require them to spend 1 hour everyday practicing phonic sounds they will eventually not love it anymore and grow to hate it.
Whether you homeschool your kids or not, you will always be their greatest teacher. Your teaching began the day they were born and it will continue until you die.  So, while they are little, nurture that desire to learn and it will flourish!