Monday, March 7, 2011

Beginning homeschool

It used to be that most kids start school at 4 years old. I skipped Nursery but I think I was already the exception. Now, babies go to school (and they do so in their diapers, of course)-- playschool, even before they turn one! And so Mark and I were pretty excited about the prospect of him learning so many things already. He's one brilliant kid. Before he even turned 2, he already knows the primary and secondary colors, and black and white and brown, shapes, and can recite numbers 1-5 (now he can count to 10), can name most parts of his body, uses adjectives and pronouns well. He does not baby talk and is very conversant already. He loves to read and loves to listen to stories. Now that he's 2, he mainly goes for Grolier's 'I Wonder Why...' book set. Needless to say, he goes into a barrage of WHYs everyday, every moment. And he does listen to our answers. We can already tell that he is, in the 'multiple intelligence' school of thought, a "word smart". We were convinced of homeschooling him, soon--now! So as to maximize the sponge-like property of his developing brain. (Oh yeah, did we say homeschool?! Yes, and we know what you're thinking... NO, socialization shouldn't be a problem. As a matter of fact, the "socialization" that kids gets exposed to at school now a days is among the primary reasons why we will try to homeschool our kids). I was, (and still am), excited (sometimes overwhelmed). And so, here begins our journey on the less chosen way of educating our children.

I've already bought Marek his first Kumon workbooks on coloring, cutting, pasting and stickering, and folding which he already has started to use. Out of excitement, I also bought the 1st three sets of Brain Quest flashcards on early childhood, and their pre-K workbook; Gymboree's Play and Learn; Ultimate Book of Homeschool Ideas by Linda Dobson; 100 Bible Stories; Little Hands Playtime! Book, to encourage cooperation and sharing; and, what I really found useful, The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood (focuses on multiple intelligences) by Pam Schiller. The kids are not exposed to the television (we refuse to own one) but we got Marek (and Markus) videos on numbers, letters, and reading: LeapFrog: Learning Set (his favorite... and, it does work!), the Preschool Prep & Sight Words series, and Your Baby Can Read Set as teaching aids. (Marek always watch with us or Tita Judy who teaches effectively). As for curricula, we've taken quite a good look at International Bacculaureate Organization's Primary Years Program. I'm still looking up and reading on different school of thoughts and approaches regarding homeschooling for they all have wonderful points, that's why we decided to be eclectic (the mishmash of different principles). Right now I'm familiarizing myself with Charlotte Mason's teachings. I love her concept of 'living books'.

At the end of the day, toddlers learn by playing. Also, they're intrisically curious beings, very good at exploring and unraveling many things themselves. So, I don't pressure Marek into going into 'school mode' and force feed him with 'lessons for the day'. And of course, I and Mark give him and Markus time, and space, we let them play, we walk outside, we talk, we read books, and of course, we give our little boys lots of hugs and kisses and cheers.