Jan 17, 2013

Everything is Educational

Those of us who live in states with restrictive homeschool laws become experts at documenting almost anything a child does as educational. Public school teachers do the exact same thing in the primary grades, and you just have to learn to think in terms of what is educational. Even helping set the table is math (pattern recognition). When my first grader plays a computer game, even a "fun" one, he's still learning to read.

Jan 10, 2013

Montessori Philosophy

Much of Montessori is not imaginative play. That's what I thought, too, based on what I knew of Montessori preschools in my area. I discovered that they use the Montessori name, but don't follow the philosophy, to the point that one girl in my care a few years ago had gone to a Montessori preschool, yet she had never laid eyes on any of the Montessori materials I had.

Maria Montessori actually believed that imaginative play had no place in a classroom for kids 6 and under. Not that imaginative play was wrong, as she expected it would be done by the children when they weren't at school, but that it didn't meet the needs of the 3-6- year old in an educational setting.

For Montessori, the really important stuff for 3 to 6-year olds is learning practical skills (which they have a blast with—pouring water, learning to cut bananas, cheese, pour juice, spray the window and wipe...) and developing the senses. So, instead of pretending to clean and keep house, the kids are actually allowed to do it; instead of pretending to cook, the kids are actually cooking; instead of pretending to shine shoes, they are actually shining shoes. Sensorial activities are like games to them; so are all the language, math and culture activities. It's fun, but not delving into the realm of fantasy!

Games for Learning: Ten Minutes a Day to Help Your Child Do Well in School - From Kindergarten to Third Grade

Jan 3, 2013

Just Beginning Homeschooling

You are just beginning homeschooling? Imaginative play is very important. (I stink at it too but my kids both loved it, especially my son when he was young!) We had a big bag of dress up clothes and he was always something.

In much of the Montessori and Waldorf literature imaginative play is one of the most important things a child that age can be doing.

Try not to look at it as him not wanting to do what you want him to do, but rather that HE has unfinished business with his own activities. It's not just "play" for them. They are learning all sorts of things in that brain and working things out that we can't even see. Encourage your child by asking him if he would like more "props", ask him if he would like a tape recorder so he can make up a pretend story about what he is doing. If you look at what your child is doing, a computer game say, maybe that could count as "math" or "phonics" if that is what he is playing. Keep a list of what he is doing and remember that Kindergarten isn't about lesson plans and being on a schedule. Aim for a happy kid who is learning the things he needs to know right now. See if there is something he keeps going back to in his play that is a special interest that you can build on and whatever you do, hang in there an don't give up yet!