Closer Look: Early Years

Children come “equipped to learn.” Give them love, meet their needs and plenty of opportunities to explore their world and they thrive. As they become toddlers, their natural ability grows with them. Our oldest child went to nursery school for a year and a half. As a two year old he was always exploring and asking questions, but as he spent more time in nursery school, his curiosity and love for learning seemed to be fading. After a year and a half, we pulled him from the school and his curious nature slowly returned. The transformation helped convince us to homeschool him.

Our nursery school days were over years ago, but I still remember the pressure to keep him in school and the critiquing we received for not doing so. These days parents face much more pressure via programs such as Universal Preschool, but still many families choose to keep their youngsters home during these formative years. Here are some articles that will share how others have enjoyed the early years with their precious little ones and some resources you might find helpful to do the same.

Articles

Playtime A Time for Children and Parents to Share and to Grow – Amber P. Keefer

Parents should not be afraid to let down their hair and have fun playing with their children. The possibilities for creative play are endless, so take advantage of them. Younger children love to play by acting out grown-up roles and creating imaginary situations. They find make-believe much more fun, though, when parents play along. Children like to pretend by playing things like house, circus, doctor or store, and when they can share imaginative play and simple games with others, they find the experiences much more rewarding.

Early Years Child’s Learning Assets – Linda Dobson

While the early-years child’s curiosity is a source of information for him, it’s also an open window on his mind for you as his homeschooling parent. He asks questions about whatever interests him at any given moment. Think of these as daily clues as to what books, activities, and field trips will hold his interest. They’ll hold his interest because they promise answers to his questions.

John Holt and GWS – Helen Hegener

In 1967 Holt published How Children Learn, which grew out of his keen observations of the babies and young children of his family and friends, and later observations of the young schoolchildren he was working with. One of his most important points was the many subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which children’s personalities were changed once they began formal schooling. Holt showed how children are born learners, and the book quickly became a classic reference in child development.

Homeschooling: It’s All In the Family - Wendy M Haddad

His little hands plunk down the piano keys, trying to mimic his older brother’s renditions of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Andrew’s Kindermusik class has been beneficial to both children. Throughout the day, Andrew sings words to some newly created song. In class, his homeschooling friendly teacher asks Matthew to help with the activities or to play “Mr. Frog is full of hops” while the toddlers hop around the room like frogs.

Questions and Answers – Laura Weldon

Baby Blues
How do other families homeschool with babies in the house?

“When my youngest was about the same age as your youngest, he was quite restless at home. He seemed to be happiest when we were out and about (carried in a backpack or sling), so we had one year of what I called the ‘Field Trip Curriculum.’ We minimized our ‘book’ learning that year and took every opportunity to go out every day possible – to museums, nature walks, sports classes, arts events, farmers market, group field trips, you name it. We were happy to be living in a place rich with opportunities for meaningful outings. The year went by quickly and the next year our learning took a different course, but the Field Trip Curriculum served us well for a year.” – unsigned

A Weapon of Mass Instruction in The War On Toddlers – Diane Flynn Keith

“Throughout the country a battle has ensued to usurp parental rights to teach our preschoolers at home. John Taylor Gatto, author of The Underground History of American Education, coined the term “weapon of mass instruction” in reference to government schools. It couldn’t be a more apt phrase to define “universal preschool” in what seems to be an unprecedented “war on toddlers.”

Circles – Helen Hegener

Thousands of parents have started down the path toward homeschooling by doing nothing more than acting on their love for their children. Mark has often said all you need to homeschool successfully is love and a library card, and the library card is optional. Listen to your heart and trust yourself, and trust your children.

A Gift of Time – Sue Smith-Heavenrich

By homeschooling, you give them the gift of time to create their own world. When our children were young, we did not watch TV or play computer games. Instead, we listened to the radio and read lots of books. We kept a bin of costumes in the corner, and another one full of puppets and stuffed animals. We cut plastic milk jugs to make knight’s helmets and rolled newspapers into swords for a spontaneous re-enactment of “The Three Musketeers.” Or to use as hockey sticks for after-dinner games of kitchen hockey. I think we used a small plush ball for a puck.

Why Professionals and Politicians Are Wrong About Preschool – Larry and Susan Kaseman

Politicians, professional associations, and private organizations are working to increase preschool, using inaccurate and misleading information about research on the effects of preschool to bolster their case. We can support children, families, and society by sharing accurate information and in other ways.

Resources

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