Friday, June 4, 2010

Teachable Moments During the Day

A few months ago I realized that my youngest does not know the same things her older brother knew at the same age. Simple things like colors, alphabet, etc. No, I am not one to compare my kids amongst each other, but I do believe that because she is otherwise very smart she should know these simple things already. I wholeheartedly take the blame for not spending more time with her individually to teach her these things over the past year. Being that it was our first year of homeschooling, I think her educational foundation fell by the wayside. I truly feel bad-mommy guilt for that! Thankfully, these simple things can be taught at any time of the day and anywhere. Like today for example, we did a quick 5 minute lesson on opposites and colors.

Our lesson took place in the pool of all places. We were playing with 2 balls and while we were throwing the ball back and forth between ourselves I asked her questions comparing the two balls. For example, which ball is heavier? Which ball is louder (when it hits the water)? Which ball is bigger? After each question I would turn the question around a bit. Something like, which ball is smaller? Which ball is quieter? Which ball is lighter? I also asked her to point to the red ball then the orange ball. Not only was this lesson fun but it was purposeful. My daughter never knew she was even learning, it was just a fun game for her.

Which over the years I have come to realize that early learning is all about fun! It doesn't have to be formal. I don't need to spend hard earned money on a formal preschool curriculum. Everything I need to teach my kids the early fundamentals is right at home, at my fingertips. Much to my relief after working with my daughter for just a bit these past few months she has caught up to where she needs to be. And best of all I can save all that money and just buy her fun stuff to use for school when she is older. :)

Other teachable moments during the day include:

  • ask your child where the "x" colored car/truck is
  • if there are older siblings in the car with your preschooler play eye-spy
    • "I spy with my little eye, something "insert color"
  • Ask your child to hand you things, but ask in a descriptive manner
    • "Please pass me the white flour."
    • "Please hand me the yellow lemon."
    • "Can you please give me the smallest spoon?"
    • "Can you get me two forks please?"
Playing; (these options are endless)
  • sort colored cotton balls in groups then count the balls in each pile
  • coloring; "Please hand me the red crayon."
  • place flash cards with numbers, letters, or colors on them on the floor. Have your child jump on or hand you the card you ask for.
  • bath time; I bought colored bath letters and numbers for my kids. My 5 year old essentially learned  all of his letters and numbers this way. I asked him to hand me a letter or number. This eventually progressed to spelling words in the bathtub.
I'd love to hear more of your great ideas. Please share!!

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