Saturday, September 16, 2006

Oh, Thank Goodness

I've been home pre-schooling Dylan in an unofficial capacity for about three weeks now, and I have to say: this whole process has been very enlightening, for him and me! We're not really doing anything we haven't done before (with the exception of the "Who Am I?" workbook series that I'm working on with both Dylan and Caitlyn, and which we all really love), but it seems that as soon as I added just a touch of structure to our every day learning, I began worrying all the time: Am I doing too much? Not enough? Am I pushing him too hard? Too soon, too fast?

But then I read these inspiring words by Melissa Wiley, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. She says, in part:

There's no need to rush into early academics; in fact, I think it's a downright bad idea. Childhood is being shortened and children are being pushed into scholarly performance at ages ever more tender: six years old, five, four, even three. A Newsweek cover article asked recently, "Are kids getting pushed too fast, too soon?" The answer for many children in this country is emphatically yes. They're being pushed into Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic when they ought to be playing Red Rover. A young child's "curriculum" should be mud, paint, acorns, and dough.


Yes! This is exactly what I've been needing to hear! No longer will I worry if every day does not find us sitting down in a tidy, dedicated learning area with straightforward, uninterrupted lessons. Instead of waiting for Meghan's morning nap and hoping and praying that she actually stays asleep long enough for me to work on some meaningful lessons with Dylan, I think we'll instead continue with what we were doing best all along: snuggling on the sofa with our Bob books; writing stories in which Dylan asks more often than not, "Mom, how do we spell _____?" ; building thinking skills by playing games such as Candyland, Briarpatch card games, and the maze workbooks Dylan so enjoys; and enjoying learning in the context that every new day presents us.

Maybe next year will find us ready to dive into structure. But for now, it's all fun and games.

3 comments:

mom-in-training said...

Melissa,

Thank you for this insightful post. I have been having the same worries regarding our homeschooling sessions. Last week I began having doubts and felt like I just couldn't make it work. Your post has reminded me that my chilren are still little and this isn't the time to fret over structure or actual lesson plans. If we succeed one day with a lesson I have planned - great. If not, so what. In time we will be able to accomplish more in a more structured process, but for now, keep it fun. Thank you for helping me to see that!

Robin

He who wears the most black wins. said...

Ditto, Melissa. Thanks. I, too, worry all the time whether I am doing too much or not enough stimulation of their young minds. What I forget is that the examination of the desiccated exoskeleton of a stink-bug is just as educational as a word-find.

;) Have a great week!

erin said...

Hey, you could always ask Rob to teach him about dinosaurs. His class was fun when we were little. Of course, now that I think about it, it might have been fun because he was frustrated and that made me laugh. Not sure though. I remember taking my school games very seriously.

Stamps, Liss. That is all you need. No matter what. Stamps (and stickers) will make it fun. And mud if you can work it in.