Home Schooling for Early Childhood
I want this page to be thoughtful for the things that I wish I had right now- an easy access guide and resource channel for how to not only homeschool by children but keep them appropriately entertained and occupied so I can still work.
Normally I have school in the morning and a therapy or a childcare provider in the afternoon for some time, while I am a work from home parent that spends a lot of time with her child, I also have a lot of help. Well, all that structure is gone and I need to figure this out fast, so I am pulling together some resources that I believe will help myself and anyone else in a situation like me.
Here is how I started this. My son is six, he has tons of energy and he hates to do activities that require him to be still. I need to be able to guide him and have him take a little initiative on his own and be occupied for smallish stints of time. 15-20 would be amazing but that may be asking a lot. My additional challenge is that does not do well with sensory processing so he often needs to be reminded to calm his body….
Putting him in front of a screen helps and if I am going to resort to that I need that screen time to be stimulating his brain, speech development and emotional maturity.
Here is what I am going to test out.
Why is it important to develop gross and fine motor skills?
Motor Development, we have this drummed into our heads starting with the very first doctors appoints. thought I also knew why they were important but turns out I did not. Maybe it is only me but I needed just a very simple understanding . So I googled it 🙂 and found a recent scholarly study that explained it quite plainly: Motor Development is closely associated to language development as well as cognitive development and the ability to learn and focus. There you go, that is why it is so important and why I need to make sure that no matter what, I am including activities that help my son build these skills each day.
Mastering both fine and gross motor skills are important for children’s growth and independence. Having good motor control helps children explore the world around them and also helps with their cognitive development. Gross Motor Skills: movements related to large muscles such as legs, arms, etc.
Because motor development follows a natural pattern of larger muscles developing before smaller ones, it is important to work on those gross motor skills first. In other words, holding a pencil should come after your preschooler can paint letters in very large strokes.
Rev their motor development up
Activities for building gross motor skills include:
- Hopping on one foot
- Jumping rope
- Throwing and catching a ball
- Walking on a line
- Walking up and down steps without holding onto the railing
Activities for building fine motor skills include:
- Stringing beads
- Cutting with scissors
- Buttoning and zipping
- Picking up small objects
- Holding a pencil or crayon
- Playing with Play-Doh
Reading – How do I make sure we do not fall behind. What more do we need than just to read books?
Turns out there are very specific skills that help with reading that do not feel like reading prep exercises at all! Who knew? Teachers….
Visual Discrimination- this is the ability to recognize similarities and differences between images. This skill is step one in building reading abilities. What is visual discrimination, the ability to recognize similarities and differences between images. These skills are also foundational for mathematics.
Next, Auditory Discrimination, you guessed it the ability to distinguish between different sounds and the sounds of two letters. This one certainly seemed more obvious to me since it makes sense to be the building blocks for using phonics to learn. However, i noticed that my son is challenged with distinguishing certain sounds with certain letters and lets me honest, the letter C makes three sounds, why, why is that necessary?
Learning the language is not easy. Building strength in this area will help with language skills but also with your child’s overall listening skills.
Naturally learn to read
- Matching colors and shapes
- Matching by size
- Sorting silverware
- Spotting the differences in two objects or pictures
- Matching letters and numbers that are the same
- Sound two notes and ask if they are the same or different
- Say pairs of words and ask if they sound the same
- Read poetry
- Play rhyming games
- Clap out a pattern and have the child repeat the pattern
- Have your child identify sounds with their eyes closed
- Take a nature walk and have your child identify sounds
- Play the “Simon Says” game
How to create a work/teacher balanced schedule.
When you are a work from home parent who has to balance education, time is precious. Everything we do is for our children, so it is important we focus on their learning, however, we need to pay the bills. How do we balance work and education?
This is how I think we do it. (school schedule is in drop down below)
Breakfast and morning routine, get in a few emails. Look at your calendar for the day.
Morning School– during outside time you can fit in a conference call, emails or other mobile responsibilities you may have.
Lunch time, another email or two and during rest you could even get in another phone call.
Afternoon time, you know you will have complete silence during the free computer time!
And at last we are at dinner, few more emails, on the phone while monitoring bath time and in front of the computer after reading books at bedtime!
There you have it my theory on how you balance working will educating your children during a world pandemic or any other normal day.
Routine and the daily schedule
- Eat breakfast and clean up after yourself
- pick out your morning clothes
- brush your teeth
- get dressed
- make your bed
Morning School time
- calendar and memory work – 15 minutes
- reading – I read aloud 15-30 minutes
- math – 15-30 minutes
- Outside time 45 minutes (incorporate gross motor activities)
Lunch Time Break
- make lunch- help
- eat together
- clean up after yourself
- rest 15-20 minutes
Afternoon School time
- writing – 10-15 minutes
- science – 10-15 minutes (experiment with baking goods, household items, etc- easy to find activities online)
- computer games – free education online games (20-30 minutes)
- Outside time- 30-45 minutes, run out that energy before sitting down again
- art project or craft 15-30 minutes (incorporate fine motor skills)
THE DAY IS DONE, time for dinner and bed routine.