Friday, July 11, 2008

The Alphabet Game

So technically, Oliver wouldn’t be eligible for preschool until 2009, but a few of his friends are starting preschool this year. So, whenever there is group of moms at the park or neighborhood playgroup with kids Oliver’s age, the question “where do your kids go to school?” always comes up. 

Most of the time I say he is young and avoid the whole thing.  Occasionally I say I am planning to homeschool.   Often, people seem to take this personally.  Kind of like the way they take a person’s decision to breastfeed personally.   Like I am judging them and their decision. 

Some people want to know more.  Sometimes I mention that I am/was a teacher.  That can actually complicate the discussion.  Moms nod their heads and assume that because I had a classroom of kids that homeschooling will be easier for me.  Maybe, but I won’t teach my kids the way I taught in school.  I have had a major shift in my thinking about how kids learn.  I could never happily teach in a regular ol’ public school again. 

When Oliver found these bean bags with the letters on them he decided the best thing to do with them was put them in order and he figured out a way for Benton to help.    So, the Alphabet Game was born.   Once the bean bags are in order, the second part of the Alphabet Game, includes saying the alphabet over and over and running the line and past it without messing it up.   My kids are crazy, but sure fun to be around.

The other is picture is Benton stringing beads, which is great for those fine motor skills and makes a fun necklace.  Painting, drawing, working with clay, singing, dancing, marching, hopping, reading etc.  Our kids do all those things because they want to, not because it is on the schedule.

Nothing wrong with a schedule, but it just doesn’t seem to work with my kids.  I have tried, but every day is different and I am ok with that.

I guess the advantage of having been a teacher of young kids, is the collection of children’s books I own and the 20 boxes or so in the attic that have school stuff in them.  I doubt I will use much of it, we’ll read the books for sure, and I’ll pull things out, like the bean bags, but I’ll let them figure out what to do with them.  It is more fun that way.  Actually, Oliver doesn’t really like it when I try to “teach” him things.  He likes to do it on his own.  Benton seems to feel the same way.

By the way, Oliver already knows more than the majority of my kindergartners did at the beginning of the year.  He has started spelling words and knows stuff like the sound “oo” and “sh” make.  If he were going to Kindergarten we wouldn’t begin until 2010.   I can only imagine what he’ll have figured out by then.

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