By Dinah Whitton

Preschool and Kindergarten – Take 2

It’s our fourth year on this eventful home education journey and there truly isn’t a dull moment. Four years ago we pulled our daughters out of public school (grades 3 and 6). During that time I also enjoyed my only son’s fun preschool and kindergarten years shortly after giving birth to our fourth child. Now our last child is a rambunctious and sassy 4 year old little lady who’s full of spunk with little interest in learning.

Since I’ve only experienced homeschooling preschool and kindergarten once, I made the silly assumption that it would be just as easy the second time around.

My son absolutely loved anything to do with learning something new. I remember the day his eyes lit up when I said “I’m going to teach you the power to read!” Now he’s 7 years old and can read almost anything I put in front of him with ease (although he claims he doesn’t like to read). This year I tried introducing the same alphabet and number games we used in the past, but my attempts were futile. Apparently learning the power to read is not as fun as hiding your siblings pencils, poking them with the missing pencils and hiding food around the house. Then there are the days my little lady asks ever so sweetly, “Can I do school work like the big kids, mama?” Of course I am beyond thrilled and proceed to use the same methods that worked with her older brother. Within a few short moments my little eager beaver loses interests and even proclaims how exhausted she is. Since we’re just starting out, I let her take a break, but seconds later she’s back to rearranging the house in that special spunky way of hers. Meanwhile, I’m trying to ensure her older siblings are staying on task despite the constant interruptions. To say I’m exhausted is an understatement! But, my resolve to provide my children with a quality education at home remains strong.

Fortunately, when I’m faced with a challenge I immediately start searching for help through trusted, like-minded friends and resources. HSLDA Canada has been an outstanding resource for my family throughout our journey. Naturally, the HSLDA Member Site was the first place for me to seek help. The Preschool Guide provided thorough information, encouragement and practical tips for this particular stage. Here are just some of the many highlights that provided food for thought:

      • Build a close-knit family

        Your preschooler’s chief desire is to build a close physical and emotional relationship with you (and it’s best for psychological development). Your child will learn naturally, and will learn best, by learning from you, the parent.

      • Let them learn naturally

        In John Holt’s book, Learning All the Time, he encourages parents to act as facilitators to the learning they’re already engrossed in, and give them opportunities to imitate and mimic these skills. Help them to learn in a non-structured way that is both valid and fun in these preschool years.

      • When you feel overwhelmed

        It’s more important that these first years plant such a love of knowledge into these little hearts and minds that the next 12 years of hard-core schooling are a delight and not drudgery, regardless of the subject matter.

 

Recently I was introduced to a new website that’s also filled with incredible home education information: www.homeschool.today.

This is a great one-stop shop for all things homeschooling, including the latest news, research and help for home educators. The extensive FAQ section caters to new homeschoolers and veterans alike. If you know someone who simply has questions about home education, this is an ideal place to start.

There is literally something for every parent on Homeschool.Today, but there was one section that caught my attention the most: How to Harness your child’s potential through their learning style. While this should have been obvious to me, I must confess that I did not consider my preschooler’s learning style because of her age. With my older children this was top of mind likely because they were coming out of public school. It was very helpful for me to understand how they best learn so that I could effectively help them at home. The following are some highlights from Homeschool.Today that I found particularly helpful.

Many Ways, One Goal

Page-2-Many-Ways-One-Goal

 

      • There are nine learning types based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily kinesthetic, spatial visual, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential/spiritual.
      • Gardner’s focus on human potential relies on the fact that people have unique skill sets and capabilities.
      • Students may have a stronger ability in one type of intelligence, which may pair well with another learning style they also possess. Students may fit into a few different styles, which may differ from how you, the parent, learn.
      • By playing to your child’s strengths and unique learning style(s), you will see your child grasp concepts faster and retain them longer.

 

Not only are the various learning types listed, there are also suggested activities to support your child’s learning. Time would fail me to list all the golden nuggets in these informative resources. Take a moment to browse both HSLDA’s Member Site and Homeschool.Today.

These resources served as a great reminder of why home education is so important to our family. We’re not in the business of raising children based on a cookie cutter system. Each child is unique and should be treated as such from the moment they are born. So if you’re like me and feeling a bit overwhelmed with a rambunctious preschooler, let’s take a collective deep breath and take 2. Take some time to observe your little one, dig deeper into the latest resources and determine what’s actually best for each child.

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