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The Preschoolers Home Ed Thread

(136 Posts)
MathsMadMummy Thu 22-Jul-10 17:13:57

Hi all, I thought we could do with a thread for posting activity ideas and so on, for those of us with preschool-age children (whether or not you're planning to HE them officially).

Today I made a papier mache mountain and we talked about the letter sound /m/. This built on /h/ which DD has been obsessed with since seeing a helicopter. We're gradually making a start with Jolly Phonics.

Been a bit lazy with 'learning stuff' lately though, as potty training has been the (very successful) project this week!

Looking forward to hearing what you're all up to with your little ones

Butterpie Thu 22-Jul-10 18:24:29

Today we read the first chapter of book one of the story of the world (she's a bit young, but we are planning on taking it slowly), then did some of her puzzle adventure book.

Then we made some little pictures of the things she does in the day and coloured them in.

The afternoon was spent building a den and pottering about looking at minibeasts in her little microscopey thing with a lid. The rain apparently made this very exciting hmm

Pretty proud of ourselves today Tomorrow we have a little HE friend coming round to play so we might do some kind of craft with him.

MathsMadMummy Thu 22-Jul-10 19:35:29

ooh is the microscope very child-friendly then? I'd love one for myself and DH the children

just got DD a magnifying glass which she loves.

MrsvWoolf Thu 22-Jul-10 20:09:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MathsMadMummy Thu 22-Jul-10 20:13:08

OMG I used to read all those books with Billy Blue-hat etc! Wasn't sure if they were still around!

Butterpie Thu 22-Jul-10 20:13:51

The microscope is a kind of magnifying container thing. It has a lens on top and a mirror so that when you look through a lens at the side, you see the underside of the object, if that makes sense. It is all plastic, so very child friendly, but not overly scientific

It does make DD1 stop and actually look at things though, rather than just tearing around not looking properly at anything. I try to encourage her to draw what she sees as well, and we talk about whatever it is and then go and look it up in a book.

MathsMadMummy Thu 22-Jul-10 20:16:13

sounds great where did you get it? or rather what company is it made by? <prepares to search Amazon>

Butterpie Thu 22-Jul-10 20:20:35

I got it off ebay in a job lot- I'll have a look to see if I can find the brand name.

MrsWobbleTheWaitress Thu 22-Jul-10 20:23:09

If you haven't already, you should join this group on FB.

MathsMadMummy Thu 22-Jul-10 20:27:26

I have already - although one thing I don't understand about groups is why their wall posts don't seem to come up on my home page? Are my settings wrong or something?

MrsWobbleTheWaitress Thu 22-Jul-10 20:36:12

I know you have smile

I don't know about that; but I get wall post notifications from some groups and not others, which is really annoying.

I'll have a look at the settings on this one compared to another group I'm in where I get no notifications and see if I can suss it out.

Tinkerisdead Thu 22-Jul-10 20:36:15

Can i jump in on this, I'm not necessarily planning to HE my DD but I got sick of people telling me that nursery was better than her being home with me. So i started using the Early Years Foundation to plan activities and play etc.

DD is younger than the children you all mention at 20 months but i wondered what you had done with yours at this age and how you built on it. Today I was told you cannot teach her as you are her mother??!!! Apparently children just dont take information the same way from a parent??!

Sorry to hijack but i need some ideas from those who wont think I'm a control freak educating a preschooler.

MrsWobbleTheWaitress Thu 22-Jul-10 20:39:14

Ok, in 'my account' you can change your settings for applications; and when you get to the 'groups' bit, you can tick to be notified when someone does a wall post. But I don't get notifications from one of my groups, so I'm going to have to have a look and see if there's something wierd about that group.

MrsWobbleTheWaitress Thu 22-Jul-10 20:43:28

You can't teach her cos you're her mother!?!?!?! shock

Well, at 22m, my DD4 is just bumbling along doing whatever her sisters are doing; cutting up thousands of bits of paper is her current favourite; and playing with dolls.

But DD1 at that age...I was consciously doing lots of sticker books; puzzles; playing with beans; baking; singing rhymes; action songs.

Don't focus too much on the EYF thingy - just have fun. She'll learn all she needs to know from doing fun stuff with you. If she's enjoying it, she'll learn something.

join the FB group for some good ideas smile

Tinkerisdead Thu 22-Jul-10 20:58:12

Cant join FB at the moment (complete off topic long story)

i use the early years to give me ideas around the kind of thing she should be doing around that age etc (or i wouldnt have had a clue when she should be able to do a shape sorter etc ha ha)

I do all the stuff you mention, lots of reading, library groups etc, puzzles, mini assault courses round the lounge!

When should I start introducing phonics and reading as an actual concept, she loves counting with her forefinger outstretched. So when she wants to count i'll say get your counting finger ready. Today I got her to get her counting finger and ran it under a word as she was playing with flashcards but my mum snatched it off me and told me "not to be ridulous as she isnt even 2" but it felt natural to show her that words have form and a flow in the same way that numbers have sequence.

MrsWobbleTheWaitress Thu 22-Jul-10 21:05:33

Do you read to her? If so, just keep doing that lots and lots. Have lots of things with letters on around the house - alphabet wall charts; books with the alphabet in; alphabet puzzles. You'll find you're naturally saying the letters and the letter sounds to her as you talk about what you're doing with her, and she's likely to just pick them up.

She'll also learn the idea of how words flow by seeing how you always read a book in the same 'direction' and, if you really want to (although I think it could spoil the experience of the book for her) you could run your finger under the words, but there really is probably no need to right now.

Just give her a rich environment to enjoy and grow up in; and an engaged mummy who wants to play and chat and explain things to her; and she'll learn. Don't worry too much about comparing her to others - that's what's wrong with the national curriculum IMO. Just like all children learn to walk, talk and potty train at different stages, they also learn everything else at different stages too. You'll only find out if she's ready to do stuff by giving her things to try. If she's keen, she'll do it over and over until she's mastered it. If not, then who cares? She'll learn it when she wants or needs to.

KimberleySakamoto Thu 22-Jul-10 21:18:07

Ooh. Hadn't realised that I was home educating by not sending mine to nursery or pre-school before they started school at five (delayed start, as I didn't want them to start at only just four). I thought I was just being a SAHM. grin

Doctor'swife: I'd go completely with the flow. My son was reading fluently (I'm talking about the Daily Telegraph here) when he was just three; my daughter has just started reading really well at five. If your child shows an interest, there is tons of stuff you can do. I never 'introduced phonics' to my son: we just used to walk to the shops, and at two, he would point at the letters on a gate and ask what they were. He then did it with every gate and every road sign. It took forever to buy a loaf of bread, but it did the trick. He also liked spongey letters that stick on the side of the bath. We used to see which sound was going to jump in first, which appealed to a toddler boy. grin We also, of course, share our house with several thousand books.

I think any child who spends all day with an interested, engaged parent who does everything with them from exciting days out to mundane shopping and laundry will learn vast amounts. Quite apart from 'learning' about letters and numbers when they're ready, they learn 'life skills': how to queue up in a shop, how to talk to elderly ladies in the street, how to post a letter, how to weigh things, how to operate a self-service till, how to cross the road safely ... all things that, I think, give children a sense of security and groundedness. I've heard of children at nursery being shown DVDs on how to go shopping hmm.

I also think that the really, really great thing about 'home educating' (if that's what you want to call it) a pre-schooler is that you can catch them at exactly the right moment. They don't have to fit in to someone else's scheme that says that children of such-and-such age 'should' be able to do x, y, or z. If you can catch them at the right moment, they will make astonishingly fast progress. Likewise, they're not held back by professionals who say that children should not be allowed to read until they start school 'because they'll be bored once they get there'. Grr.

KimberleySakamoto Thu 22-Jul-10 21:19:37

PS Doctorswife: I'd bin the EYFS myself. That kind of thing is precisely the reason I wouldn't have wanted mine to go to nursery/pre-school. You know your child: just go with the flow!

Tinkerisdead Thu 22-Jul-10 21:22:25

Thank you thats fabs advice, yes I do read to her an awful lot, which is why i ran her finger under a word on a flashcard purely as she is obsessed with "counting" things.

By no means am i going to start running my finger under words, but i picked up the signs that she wants to touch things when looking at them etc. You've made me feel better as I just reacted to what she has been doing.

Thank you, I feel really inspired today. the person who said a mother cant teach a child, is a friend who's offered me a fulltime job. So i felt swayed by their comments into going fulltime, but I have a job where i work from home with just 1 day in the office. its less money but my one pull was that I love being at home "teaching" her. my friend didnt get it saying they learn it all at nursery but I tried to explain there is nothing like the feeling that all she can do, i have helped and faciliated. Something i just want to build on.

MathsMadMummy Thu 22-Jul-10 21:45:33

"there is nothing like the feeling that all she can do, i have helped and faciliated"


It's an amazing feeling especially when they're choosing to learn something (as opposed to what your mum was possibly thinking about you forcing her).

FWIW we're not HEing either. DD is doing amazingly at preschool (2 sessions a week ATM) and is always talking about going to big school, so she will be going in 2011. And the few things she's learnt at preschool... well, of course I'm still proud, but I do feel a bit sad that I didn't actually see her learning it IYSWIM!

anyway, the preschool is very unstructured and so I'm trying to do a lot of activities at home. I'm really enjoying being a mum more now that I'm making more effort about it. DH and I are very pro-HE (very sad not to be doing it TBH) and firmly believe that it is our job to teach her stuff (even when she goes to school in the future), to enjoy all these crafty things with her and going shopping (rather than watching a DVD on it! how bizarre!) and everything like that - hence me starting this thread

Tinkerisdead Thu 22-Jul-10 21:55:21

This is a great thread. I've found that I'm not deemed to be educating or teaching DD because she is "preschool" therefore beyond teaching. Which is ridulous as never before will be prob learn at such a fast rate.

Maybe thats why I leant on EYFS as it added substance to what I knew instinctively as a parent. I did want DD to start preschool for a couple of sessions when she hits 2 purely for the group interaction/independence away from me. How did others tackle this part if they went on to HE to school age?

MrsWobbleTheWaitress Thu 22-Jul-10 21:57:10

" I just reacted to what she has been doing"

That's all you should be doing - it's just perfect. If she doesn't like it, if you go too far, she'll switch off and all you have to do as a parent, is learn to switch off too! So if she say's what's that letter Mummy?', just say 'It's a, like in apple' and not 'it's a, like in apple, and it comes before b, and sometimes it makes an ah sound but if you have a magic e at the end of the word....' IYSWIM.

I don't feel that I teach my children anything except how to learn the things they want to learn. I facilitate, answer questions, provide opportunities and enjoy being with them and doing things with them.

MMM - remind me why you're not HEing? Is it because your DD is enjoying preschool so much? Don't lose heart! She might hate actual school - I have a friend whose DD loved nursery, yet screamed every day when she had to go to school. They HE now.

MrsWobbleTheWaitress Thu 22-Jul-10 22:04:52

We met up with other HEors, Doctorswife smile And then had more children grin

My DD1 was nowhere near ready to be doing things without me at that age, and was only really ready when she turned 6. DD2 was slightly younger, and DD3 younger still. I don't think that there is any need in the slightest for children to be in preschool unless they are desperate to go. In fact, I think it's probably bad for them if they woudl prefer to be doing things within the family; or at least sharing the socialising like at HE groups.

Children don't need to be away from their parents at age 3 to be able to become very socially adept and independent when the time is right for them.

Seriously, if you met my eldest daughter now, you would not believe me if I told you how clingy and shy she had been for hte first 6 years of her life. She now waltzes into new social situations without me, chatting to adults she's never met before, starting playing with other children. I never thought the day would come, but I am so, so glad I had the guts to stick to my guns when she refused to go to anything without me or someone else she loved (like my mum or her dad).

MathsMadMummy Thu 22-Jul-10 22:10:50

we'd decided on HE until DD started asking about preschool (she's actually at a daycare i.e. expensive one ATM, then gets funded places in Sept) and we decided to give it a shot. the change in her is unbelievable, in a good way!

we're sad, but not devastated IYSWIM - proud that she's doing so well there at any rate. we're also very lucky to live near two brilliant schools.

anyway, we shall see - I'm excited for her that she'll be trying it out, and I hope she loves it and does well like I did - but it's good to know that DH and I both agree that if there's any problems, we'll be able to take her out and get on with HEing.

Saracen Thu 22-Jul-10 23:22:57

DoctorsWife, it's true, children don't take information in the same way from a parent as in a preschool environment. I think you might really enjoy this book: "Young Children Learning: Talking and Thinking at Home and at School" by Barbara Tizard and Martin Hughes.

The authors observed interactions between four year olds and their teachers at preschool, comparing these with the interactions the same children had with their mums at home. They found that discussions with mothers were far more extensive, more in-depth, two-way, wide-ranging, and frequent - much more educational in every way - than discussions with teachers. This was the case even when mothers were quite busy with housework, jobs, and looking after younger children, and even when mothers had a low level of educational attainment.

I found it odd that the authors did not go on to question the need for preschool. They seem to have assumed that while the value of preschool did not lie in teaching from adults, preschool must of course have some other value for children.

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