We started our school year this past week. As I sat down this morning to write the weekly recap and a curriculum summary for the (not) back to school blog hop (coming next week), I realized that I need to start at the very beginning; Why we do school in the first place.
Bebop is 4 ½, and Magoo is 20 months. They are way too young for formal schooling. I discovered when Bebop was a toddler that if I didn’t prepare activities for him, then he very quickly found trouble. From the time he could talk, Bebop has asked to “do school” most days. It’s been a challenge because I don’t have any background or experience in early childhood development. Through various websites, blogs and library books, I’ve come to a place where I know my kids’ needs and how to teach them. It also helps that my mom is a retired elementary school teacher, and my mother in law used to teach preschool. They have both provided endless ideas and encouragement.
I have also found that our school time eliminates my mommy guilt. I used to feel like I needed to engage my kids every moment they were awake. When I did, nothing else got done. If I focused on other tasks, I would become extremely guilty that I wasn’t doing enough with the little guys. By establishing a daily school time, I am able to fully dedicate my time to them without distraction. There are days when all we do is play, but it remains time when they are my sole focus. When school is over, I do my best to incorporate the kids into the household tasks. If the kids are not interested in helping, I don’t push. The tasks need to get done with or without them. I no longer have overwhelming guilt, and I am able to balance all my roles around the house. A dedicated school time has been a huge blessing in our house.
My main goal through next year (prekindergarten) is that Bebop falls in love with learning. I would like to see him reading fluently (he is so close). Not all kids are ready to read at 4 or 5, so if it takes another year or two that’s okay with me. My secondary goal is to help Bebop become more independent in his personal care and ability to help with chores around the house. I will be incorporating quite a bit of Montessori style lessons into our daily routine to focus on developing practical life skills.
Magoo has mastered the ability to find trouble. He is starting “school” only because he wants to do everything his big brother does. This not always adorable trait has earned him the nickname “Repeat”. Magoo’s lessons will help him toward his next developmental milestone in various areas. A good chunk of his work will be designed to keep him occupied while Bebop does school. I will also be starting some basic practical life lessons, and hopefully Magoo will actually be able to help with some chores. So far he can put laundry in the washing machine. Great first step!
I’m very excited for the upcoming year. I hope you stick around and read about all our adventures, school or otherwise.