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Like most families, it was the beginning of school in my house. Unlike most families, I started school with my three year old daughter. I knew that I wanted to homeschool from the moment she was born. Throughout the years, I saw my little one become a sponge when it came to retaining information. By the time, she was a year old she knew that if she yelled at me she had my attention. By 18 months old, she could say her body parts. By, 2 she was potty trained and knew her alphabets, could make the phonetic sounds they produced and could count to ten and hold a conversation. Everywhere, we went people were amazed at how much she knew and could express. I wish I could take all the credit but between Cocomelon, Super Simple Songs, The Backyardigans, Alphablocks and pretty much whatever I could find on YouTube to keep her occupied when I needed a moment, she turned out all right. So I thought, why not further feed her thirst for knowledge and start homeschooling her now?
I wish I had known what I was in for.
As you know, it’s only been a week but I just want to say for the record PAY THESE TEACHERS WHAT THEY ARE WORTH!!!
We started our sessions, the Tuesday morning after Labour Day, I wanted us to have a full “school in session” kind of vibe. In all honesty, all she saw was a colourful notebook, some crayons and an overly excited mom…it was probably the coffee mixed with the nerves. I thought it’d be best to start with some alphabet tracing. Since she knew her alphabets it wouldn’t be hard to make that connection, right? My daughter is a genius who is capable of mastering all information within a matter of minutes, right?Wrong!
I don’t know what I was thinking placing such high expectations on my three year old daughter. I will spare you the nightmare. Let’s just say, my once energetic child who would rather do anything than take a nap was actually looking forward to taking a nap. She hated it every minute of alphabet tracing. I was getting frustrated because she wasn’t doing it “right” and she was frustrated and began to shut down. Then I felt like a jerk but I just wanted her to get it right…it was a nightmare. Looking back on it, I really screwed up her first two days and I wasn’t feeling confident in my ability to teach my daughter anything at this point. I just felt like a bum. In a few minutes, I sucked the excitement out of learning.
So I had a teacher’s meeting with myself. The first one of the year. I decided to set some rules that I had to abide by. I knew that if I could do that, we both would be better off. The goal isn’t just to get her to learn but to inspire to enjoy learning. What’s the point of learning at home if it sucks? I knew that I had to learn the way to teach her. She doesn’t learn like me, so to expect that out of a toddler who loves to have fun is ridiculous. I mean we only look alike, aside from that we are two very completely different beings. I wrote down the rules and here they are.
- Keep each lesson at a maximum of 10 minutes
- Once she’s done, move on. Come back to it, tomorrow
- Learn her “learning style”. Turns out, she loves to colour! Use that.
- Positive affirmation is key
- Let her lead.
I’ve been doing this ever since. Would you believe that we’ve been able to get through every lesson? She’s been learning how to write the alphabets a lot more quickly as well as the numbers. We’ve been able to even do some math problems, which is her favourite subject. I think it’s mostly because she gets to colour.
We’ve even added some flash cards into the mix to help her get more familiar with sight words. She absolutely loves the flash cards. Everyday we start our lesson with the flash cards. I usually do a game of sorts with her and the best part of it is, I see the spark return as she is soaking all this information.
On most nights, it’s not uncommon to see my three year old show her father what new word she’s learned, or what sight word she can now write on her own. She loves hearing his praises of her smart she is. At times, she will even pretend that she’s a teacher. It’s really an awesome feeling to know that I can impact my daughter in a way that will ultimately set her for success.
So to all the parents out there, I’m super proud of you for the job you are doing. This year has been challenging and whether you are sending your kids back to school or keeping them at home, I just want you to know that I see you and that I appreciate you doing what’s best for your family. We’re all in this together!