Homeschooling preschoolers: life is the curriculum

The following post was written by contributor Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys, and was originally published on September 9, 2011.

When I am asked by homeschoolers interested in Waldorf education to recommend a curriculum for their 3- to 6-year olds, I tell them, “Relax! Life is the curriculum for the young child.”

Young children will learn everything they need to know and be prepared for formal learning later by participating in family life, household tasks and receiving nurturing care.

Being conscious of what children need to grow in body, mind and spirit, allows you to provide them with everything they need during these early years through daily living.
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How to help your child learn to read

Written by contributor Jena Borah of Yarns of the Heart

My little guy was six years old and we had been casually talking about letters and their corresponding sounds. I put a phonics page on my refrigerator and used it as a guide to talk about letters and sounds over a box of cereal every morning.

A month or two later, we were at the library and he noticed a banner on the wall that said “Reading is magic!” It must have been Halloween time. He turned to me and said, “Yes, reading is magic,” and continued playing with the toy train.

What? Did you just read that?

Not every child learns to read as easily as Peter. My daughter was 10 before it started to make sense to her, but all children go through that first stage of learning their letters and sounds.

5 Simple Tips for Teaching Reading

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The truth about preschool

The following is a guest post written by Carletta Sanders of Successful Homeschooling.

I absolutely love reading blogs written by well-organized, energetic moms who are creative enough to dream up fun activities for their preschoolers, and disciplined enough to follow through with their plans.

However, for all my reading… and dreaming… and planning… I’ve learned that I’m just not one of those moms.  In the haze of multiple pregnancies, post-partum fogginess, regular household duties, and everyday life caring for four children ages 18 months to 10 years old, I’ve never consistently taught preschool at home.

The good news for those of you who are like me is – you can set your guilt and fear aside.  My older children are excelling academically despite their mama’s shortcomings.

I’ve finally relaxed and embraced the truth about preschool – preschoolers can learn everything they need to know in the school of life.
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Help! My 5-year-old won’t “do” school!

Help! My 5-year-old won't do school
Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

On occasion emails pop into my inbox from mamas concerned about their children.

Are these kids on drugs? Hanging with the wrong crowd? Suffering from serious diseases?

No. Usually they are five or six-year-olds, often boys, and they don’t want to do school.

Here’s an example of what I mean (I’ve created this sample based on questions I often hear):

Dear Jamie,

My son is five. He would love to spend his time doing Legos, drawing, and playing outside. Rarely does he want to sit down and practice writing his name or anything else. What do your kids do all day?

What does academic learning look like at five and six? What are “school” hours in your house?  Do you ever worry that they are learning appropriately? Thank you for taking the time to share any advice.”

Sincerely,

Concerned Mother

My response:
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Resources for Early Learning (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Ages of my children: 7.5, 6.5, and 6
Educational Philosophies I Pull From: Waldorf, Leadership Education, Unschooling

When I had two children, both still toddlers, I planned out their entire education for the next 15 years. I spent hours drawing charts, researching, thinking about socialization, and narrowing down curriculum options.

We haven’t followed any of it.

Since then I’ve found a better strategy is to plan for tomorrow, not next week or next year. I don’t mean you should never look ahead; I just mean that when stress or overwhelm kick in, that’s your clue to stop.

Today I want to share not only the resources we’ll be using in the upcoming year, but also what we’ve used in the past. Hopefully this will help those of you with younger children as well.
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