These are some of the choices/steps that we take in our “delayed educational approach”; they may seem quite basic in many ways, but are things that we find helpful:
– No TV. In an effort to develop their minds and imaginations as well as protect their eyes, we only ever allow very occasional watching (which is basically limited to some short musical parts of Sesame Street as it randomly is the thing they enjoy) that only lasts for 5-10 minutes max.
– Involve the girls in our daily activities and chores when possible even if it slows us down.
– Have the girls help with daily chores and tasks such as putting away their laundry or making their beds as well as helping with general family chores.
– Share and explain things that we see and do or have learned about.
– Choose to view life and the world with interest and awe so that they do the same.
– Slow down!
– Be aware of the things that pique the girls’ interest at various stages and find ways to enhance it. For example: A has been enjoying the stars lately and so she and her daddy have planned to go out star gazing some night soon. I have some books in mind about stars that she will enjoy. Or Cecily has been always counting lately and so we count stairs or fingers and enjoy number books together.
– Try to be conscious of when to encourage and when to hold back. For example: If A asks what sounds letters make or wants to draw them, I generally help her as she has asked but refrain from offering more. She also has fun pointing out letters on signs and we join her in the game but don’t introduce letters.
– Read, read, read aloud with each of them and then read some more. They also see us reading and enjoying it (we have even have times where we all read individually together.) I have written about this in some other posts before but I think it is so valuable to learning and I hope that we will still be reading aloud together even once they are adults. We try to have or to get books that are varied in styles and topics, fun, informative, teach morals and values, rhythmic and poetry, classics etc.
– Offer music, art, stories and imaginative play daily.
– Physical activity and outdoor play; this is one that I think is so crucial and it has to be a pretty cold winter day for us not to spend at least a little time outdoors and here I am so thankful for our covered veranda.
– Let our kids be who they are, not our project or chance to shine or completely fail, but children, lovely children with all their delights and imperfections.
– Love our kids, listen to them, enjoy being with them because these years are passing quickly, and offer tons of grace to both them and ourselves.
I realize that it is so easy to make it sound as if I have everything so figured out and together and I would suggest that you read through some of my other posts if you feel that I am putting that across. I struggle, I mess up, and I place unfair expectations on my girls and myself. I fall into the trap of wanting the “exceptional or advance child”. Some days, I just feel tired or lazy and don’t feel like arting or dancing or even going outside or if I get asked to read that same book one more time I might rip out my hair! But, this is the beauty of my girls seeing who we really are and learning through that as well. I don’t know it all and I recognize that every child is very individual. I am prepared for my philosophies to receive some major overhauling in the next few years. Perhaps one of the girls will be an early reader and I am not going to refuse that. It is possible that one (or both) will struggle academically and I will be forced to question our methods. In the meantime, this is a little of the direction that we are going and I would love to hear any thoughts and input you might have.
*I realize that much of this has been offered from my perspective and even things that I do. Dan and I talk about this often because while he is actively involved and as he said tonight he agrees with most of what I share with him and has no trouble letting me know if he doesn’t, I do spend the most time researching and planning their learning.
** I am going to try to add some links for resources and reading but for right now my time is up and my brain too tired.