I believe learning can take place in every day moments and does not have to be forced.
It has been fun watching our 3.5 year old learn many things in the last 1.5 years. Over the summer I thought this fall would be a good time to start teaching him how to trace letters because he has known letters since he was 2. He loves to learn and catches on and remembers easily. I’ve always let him lead and have never had to force learning.
Getting our feet wet and establishing a very, very loose routine this year in preparation for next year has been my goal. So onto tracing letters we go!
“I’m excited,” I thought. “He will love this!”
And he did.
We started out by using sidewalk chalk on my parents newly paved driveway.
I would write ‘A’ in one color. I let him choose a piece of chalk in another color and showed him how to trace. This was a really unique and fun way to learn this. I randomly came up with the idea while he was playing with the chalk. So I definitely recommend trying this fun idea! He even wanted to learn how to trace the numeral 0, too.
After witnessing his excitement over tracing, I decided to get out the Language Lessons for Little Ones and work on the next page that had been awaiting us; copying the letter ‘A’.
He will love it.
He was frustrated because I was frustrated that he could not grasp the concept of writing on top of the line, let alone write an ‘A’. It was the same way when he was trying to write the numeral 0 on top of the line (“Hey, at least he can write a 0,” I told myself).
After 10 minutes of frustration from both of us I told him we were done and that it was ok. I decided not to force it on him and that we will try again next year.
No battles, no tears.
Flashcards are a favorite of his. I put a pack on the table for him and he took them out and placed each one on the table. He told me what was on the cards and asked questions if he had them. It counted as learning AND play time for him.
As I sat there I began to reflect on all the things that go on in just one day spent with him; how several moments of learning happen every single day.
Questions are always asked when I’m making a meal, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up, reading to him, tending to his little sister, when he is PLAYING. That makes for a lot of opportunity for discussion; a lot of learning moments.
Yes, I’m going to still work on his letter sounds and blending sounds over the year (using Children Learning Reading). I’m still going to let him work on tracing. I’m still going to review numbers. I’m still going to memorize Scripture and do catechism (Truth and Grace memory book #1) with him, and so on.
No, I’m not going to force anything that is not interesting to him this year. He’s 3.5. He is just getting his feet wet. Battles and tears are not worth it! Whatever kind of educational things make his eyes light up over this next year I’ll give more focus to.
And play time. We cannot forget play time. Lots of play time. Nothing is better than to burn off all that energy (that I wish I had!).
So, that is a peek into our learning year!
What educational approach do you take with your preschool-aged children?
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