Give Your Baby a Head Start – It’s never too early to start preparing your child for success.

Home Schooling My Own Daughter

As I have explained in previous hubs, I home schooled my child all the way from elementary through high school. She has recently turned 24 years old and is currently working with special needs children for the local school district. She is also very involved in a variety of other activities and interests. I wonder sometimes when she sleeps . . .

Several people have asked me to write about my experience as a home school parent and how I went about home schooling my daughter. I designed my own curriculum. This hub will be mainly about when I started educating my daughter and how I did it. The things I will talk about here are things all parents (not just home schooling parents) can do, to help their children get a better education and to have successful lives. They are simple things that anyone can do, but sadly many people do not.

In this hub I will explain the first steps I took in educating my daughter. Future hubs will continue where this one leaves off, so be sure to read this hub in its entirety to get the full value, and check back for the next step if you have older children.

Learning begins at birth whether or not any specific effort to encourage learning is employed. Babies come into this world with a brain that is very much like a sponge, ready to soak up every bit of information and knowledge. Understanding how one’s world works is essential to surviving in it, and so it is natural that babies arrive programmed to want to learn, and generally learn easily. Everything is new, interesting, and exciting to most babies.

Spend Time Reading and Talking to Your Baby

My baby daughter loved reading with her father and me.  She looked forward to it starting at just 2 weeks of age!
My baby daughter loved reading with her father and me. She looked forward to it starting at just 2 weeks of age! | Source

Starting Early Can Make a Big Difference In Your Child's Academic Performance Later

I began teaching my daughter when she was just 2 weeks old. Yes, 2 WEEKS old. Naturally, I started with very simple things. Simple things, but they can make such a difference in how well your child(ren) does in school later, whether you choose public or private school, or home schooling.

As I have advocated in previous articles on home schooling, learning should be fun for children, and never tedious. When learning becomes a chore children are no longer interested in doing it. So keep it light and fun and interesting.

Make the Necessary Time to Bond With Your Child

Bonding with your new baby is the first order of business and that usually happens naturally by simply spending time with your new little one and keeping most of your attention on him/her. Making yourself emotionally available to your new baby as well as attending to his or her physical needs is extremely important.

It is imperative that you ‘be there’ emotionally as well as physically, for your baby. Once bonding has taken place you must maintain that bonding by ‘being there,’ for your child. You will have more influence on your child than any other person so long as you maintain that bond. Your child will want your approval and will just naturally try hard to get it. Your child will want to be like you and do the things you do, so always remember that you are your child’s first and most important role model.

You Are Your Child’s First and Most Important Role Model

What you get when you model bad behaviors to your child while telling them to behave differently is a child who models bad behaviors while telling other people not to copy them. For example, if you smoke while telling your child smoking is bad and unhealthy, and they shouldn’t do it, what you will end up with is a child who grows up to be a smoker who tells their children smoking is bad and unhealthy and they shouldn’t do it. All parents teach by example whether or not they recognize that fact.

The First Things I Did To Start My Baby’s Education

Shortly before my baby was born, I purchased a couple of very inexpensive books at a discount store. Little Golden Books titled The Little Red Hen and The Ugly Duckling. There were three other similar books in the set, but I don’t remember the titles. The ones named here were my daughter’s favorites. They were very simple books with simple pictures, bright colors, and only one or two lines at the bottom of each page to tell the story.

When my daughter was about two weeks old, I took out The Little Red Hen, and she and I read it together. It is not only entertaining, but teaches an important principle -- when you work you should share in the benefits and when you do not do your share, you may receive few or no benefits. Of the books I had purchased, it seemed to have the simplest, most colorful pictures, and that is why I chose to start with that particular book.

The story was secondary at this point, since my daughter was only 2 weeks old. When I opened the book to the first two pages my daughter was immediately interested in what this new object was and every aspect about it. I let her look at the first two pages as I held the book open for her. After she had a minute to take the pages in, I began to point to different objects on the page and to name them. I talked to her about the objects. I talked to her about the color and the purpose of the objects. I talked to her about what the little red hen and other characters in the story were doing.

I did not talk as though I were a recording. I talked directly to my daughter, looking at her and drawing her in as much like we were having an ordinary conversation as possible. It is important to include your child in the ‘discussion’ and make them feel a part of it. They need to feel like they have your attention.

My baby and I went from page to page doing exactly that same thing until we reached the end of the book. First I let her look the pages over as I held the book open for her, and then I pointed to different objects and named them and talked about their color and what their purpose was. My daughter was totally focused on the book because she found it so interesting. Some babies may not have such a laser focus, especially if there are distractions around.

My daughter was what is nowadays referred to as a high need baby. She cried most of the time and seldom slept. When we were looking at this book together she was enthralled and never so much as whimpered the whole time.

After simply looking at the book every day for a few days, and again pointing out different objects, colors, and talking about the purpose of some of the objects, and the activities of the different characters, I began reading the story lines at the bottom of the page. I explained each time before reading those lines that they were words, just like the words I was speaking, but written down in a code, a code that I would teach her how to read one day.

Your Child Will Look Forward To This Time You Spend Together

Every day we took perhaps thirty minutes to look at the book and talk about it with me pointing these different objects out and talking about them. I did not have a script, so I did not always talk about things in the same order or use the same words to describe them, and explain their purpose. Even though my daughter was a baby, it was like reading to any child and sharing the different aspects of the pictures and the story.

After a few weeks, I introduced the second book, The Ugly Duckling, which also has a good lesson. I went through the same procedure with the newly introduced book that I had done with the first book. In fact, we now rotated the books so that we still read The Little Red Hen, but also read The Ugly Duckling.

This was an everyday activity that my daughter looked forward to and loved to do. It was one of the times that she was happiest and did not cry. Anyone observing would have noticed that she was paying close attention to every detail and that she was very interested in literally everything, her attention totally captured.

All Your Attention Should Be On Your Child With No Distractions

When reading together, my attention was on my daughter. There was no television and no other person or thing to distract my attention, or hers. It was quiet time we could spend together, and it was time I spent with my daughter that I will always treasure. If yours is a hectic house full of people, then I recommend you do this activity in a quiet room alone with your baby.

If you have twins, or triplets, spend this time with each of them separately every day in a quiet place with no distractions. That will help your baby or babies understand that they are individuals in their own right, and each one is important to you and special in his or her own way. Spending time with each of your babies separately will also insure that each of them receives equal learning time.

Repetition Without Boredom

For very little children who are just learning, it’s important to repeat things over and over again. Vary the way you explain things so that your child will learn early from the example you set, about different ways of approaching things. The learning experience should not become static. Add new things that are similar, but that get just the slightest bit more complicated. Do not try to go too fast.

More Suggestions To Aid Your Baby’s Learning

Another thing that I did starting when my daughter was about three months old was to walk around our small apartment holding my daughter so that she could see as I pointed out different objects. I did this when I got her out of bed from her naps. We would start with objects in her bedroom. Just like with the books, I would name the objects and explain their purpose and talk about their color and other details. We would do this for only a minute or so and then move on to whatever was to come next. We did this daily.

Eventually, when my daughter was still less than a year old, I cut out some big capital letters (about 8 inches high) of all the letters in the alphabet, and all the numbers zero through nine, from bright colored paper and mounted them on a wall in her room. They were some of the things I pointed out to her regularly -- the name of the letter and its color. I waited until she was about 18 months old to introduce the lowercase letters by this same method.

After my daughter had a few weeks to get used to seeing the letters and to think about them, I began to point some of those letters out to her as we read books together. I would say things like, “Remember the letter B on your bedroom wall? Here is a letter B. Look, there are lots of letter Bs on this page.”

After the first two books described in this hub, I introduced many new books starting when she was about six weeks old, but only one or two new books a month or so until she was around 6 months old. After that I increased the number of new books to one or two a week. The books were still mostly the Little Golden Book variety, but with more story to them.

Expanding Your Child’s Knowledge of Their World and Expanding Their Vocabulary

The above activities may not seem like much, but they improve a child’s knowledge of their world and expand their vocabulary. They may not be speaking yet, but they will quickly come to understand the words that you use when you and other people speak, and their brain will be more tuned to learning about new things.

By the time my daughter was 14 months old we were reading for about 30 minutes to an hour every night before her bedtime. She had a lot of books by then and she would bring me the ones she wanted to read. It was a nightly activity we did together, and that she and I both looked forward to.

These are simple activities that parents can do to keep that curiosity and desire to learn, that all children are born with, alive and active. I can tell you it does make a difference.

More About My Daughter’s Progress

Books have always been my daughter’s favorite things. She loves music just as much and she is a fantastic writer. Most people do not get very far in this world if they are not able to read and communicate (write and/or speak well).

My daughter was completing 100 piece puzzles and reading at a fifth grade level when she was just 4 years old. She was correctly adding columns of 6 digit numbers and correctly subtracting 4 digit numbers from each other at that age also.

Most parents can educate their own children just the way I did. When it came time for my daughter to take the exam to obtain her GED (general equivalency or education diploma) she passed it with flying colors. She did not take any of those courses that teach people how to pass the GED. She went into the exam ‘cold turkey,’ and got 90% or higher on every part of it except the math section where she got 80%. Many of the people she knew who took the exam had to repeat some sections because they failed them, or they had to take the entire exam over because they failed it so badly, even after having taken a GED prep course.

Coming from a home that highly valued education, and married at the time to a man who also highly valued education (see my profile), I tried to make our daughter’s education well rounded with as little ‘busy work’ and tedium as possible. My daughter’s father and I are both products of public schools, and I truly believe our daughter has received a far better education in all aspects than most children receive in today’s public schools. Even so, I realize that not all parents are suited to educating their own children for a variety of reasons.

No Education Process Is Perfect

While some people tend to look at home school and pick out the imperfections, I would simply say that no school is perfect. Not public school, not expensive private schools, and not home school. This is an imperfect world as are the people in it, so it follows that nothing people do will be perfect either. There are pros and cons to everything. It is just a matter of determining what will work best for your family, for you, and most importantly, for your child(ren).

© 2011 C E Clark

More by this Author

Comments 53 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 19 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W., thank you for taking time to comment on this article. Books make a great gift. My daughter loved them at 2 weeks old.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 19 months ago from Houston, Texas

We have a new baby in the next block with seemingly good parents. The new mother plans to stay home to rear her child which is admirable. She is a college graduate and her mother is a nurse anesthetist and her mother-in-law a college professor. They will be sacrificing some income for the sake of their family. Am sure they know the value of books and early introduction of books to their child. Will keep it in mind for future gifts to them! It was always one of my favorite gifts to give kids and I loved getting books when I was a child.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for sharing this article and for G+ing it. Yes, many babies are ready to start experiencing books at just 2 weeks old. Reading to my new baby was one of the things that would get her to stop crying. She was a high-need baby -- some people say colicky, but that isn't the phrase used nowadays, nor was it 26 years ago, because it often isn't accurate.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

With the holidays coming up hopefully gift givers will consider the importance of books as well as the pleasure that they can bring. G+ and another share on HP.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for pinning this article and for sharing your thoughts!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

Going to pin this wonderful hub again to Awesome Hubpages so hopefully more people can learn how to give their own kids a good start in life.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Aunt Jimi, for commenting on this article. You are correct in that bonding with our new little ones and maintaining that bond is so important.

So many people are caught up in the acquisition of material things far beyond what is truly needed to live a contented life that they forget the importance of relationships and and truly being there for their children and spending time with them.

It's important for children to realize that they are more important than 'things,' and we do that by putting them ahead of acquiring that second car, that big house in the upscale neighborhood, those fancy clothes with designer names on them. If we don't put them ahead of those things they too, will learn from our example and always put 'things' ahead of people.

Aunt Jimi profile image

Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

This is so important. Lots of people never bother spending much time with their babies or toddlers and always look for a place to put them that won't get in the way of their lives. This is a great way to nurture a child's love of learning and to bond so that when they become teenagers they will care what you think and what you expect of them.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for tweeting this article, and especially for your kind words.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

This deserves more attention because it is such an important subject. Going to give it another tweet! Your daughter was blessed to have both of you as her parents and teachers in her early life.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for tweeting this article!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Going to give this hub a tweet today! This is such important advice for parents or anyone caring for youngsters to know and implement.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Bingskee, thank you for commenting on this hub! My daughter is now almost 25 years old. She passed her GED with flying colors and took it cold turkey -- no studying before hand.

Wrote my own curriculum based on that I had growing up in public school but skipped most of the busy work (except for math, repetition is important with that), and daughter was reading 2nd grade level at age 4. Ready for college at 11.

To be honest, it wasn't hard for her or me. Maybe because I took a whole language approach. We had school year around, 7 days a week, and it was fun, so it didn't seem like school.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Rose-the-planner, thank you for reading, commenting, and voting on this article, and for your kind words. Babies learn from the moment they arrive and humans continue to learn until they die. That is just the way it is. I learn new things every day and I'm sure you do too. The world is always changing and we have to learn to keep up.

Daughter still loves to learn and she will be 25 in just a few months. Babies are naturally curious about their new world. Spending time with them and making sure they have plenty of things to stimulate their curiosity is good so long as it isn't overdone. Along with breastfeeding, spending time with baby and helping him/her to better understand their world also encourages bonding and trust.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for sharing and pinning this article!

bingskee profile image

bingskee 3 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

it is always amazing to hear how the brain of a baby is like a sponge absorbing almost everything...

it must be a very challenging and tough job to do home schooling. salute to you!

rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Wow.......this is truly an amazing article and you are an amazing person! I think it is wonderful how you started the learning process for your baby almost immediately. You certainly developed a great learning environment. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

I am going to link this wonderful hub to mine titled Best Books for Children ~ First Photo Baby Books ~ Baby Shower Books.

Reading to children at an early age is so important as you have nicely demonstrated in this hub.

Sharing again and pinning.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you sgbrown for reading, commenting, voting on, and sharing this hub, and for sharing your own experience on this issue also. Very kind of you too, to be so generous with your compliments. I'm proud of my daughter and she has done well in everything she has attempted.

Children who receive lots of attention from their caregivers, especially their parents, in early education and are exposed to the love of learning often do very well in school whether home schooled or public/private school.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Kathleen Cochran, thank you for reading, commenting on this hub, and sharing your personal experience on this subject. Children can learn so much from reading and the time spent with them will always be special to both (all) of you.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

DIYmommy, thank you for reading and commenting on this article and I hope it is helpful to you.

I'm so glad everyday that I home schooled my daughter who is now 24. I work for our local school district and even though I had 100 reason why a parent should home school their child BEFORE I actually home educated my own daughter, I can tell you I've collected at least 100 more reasons since then.

My doctors told me they didn't think I would ever have any children at all, so I think of my daughter as a miracle child for that and many other reasons I won't get into here. She was born as perfect in every way as any baby can be, but there were so many things against her ever being born in the first place! But if I had other children I can assure you they would have gotten the same education, or maybe an even better one, since I would have gotten practiced up on my first one! ;)

You can make the Capital and lower case letters out of a variety of different materials that don't have to cost a lot and decorate the letters in bright colors and designs to make them more interesting.

You might want to put a few bars of music on a different wall than the wall the letters are on, with the notes in different colors and the names of the notes underneath them -- if you want to give your baby a head start in music. I used to play age appropriate music on very low at nap time for my daughter.

Reading is still my daughter's first love and music is her second, or maybe they're tied for first place!

With the way the education system in this country is going, not to mention a lot of other considerations, I highly recommend home school if you are able to manage it.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

dhannyya, thank you for stopping by!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

rajan jolly, thank you for reading, commenting, voting on, sharing/pinning/tweeting this article! I appreciate you sending my URL to your daughter also. I originally planned to write about how to teach children to read (literally, not just learn to love reading, but to actually read), since I designed my own reading program for my daughter myself, but I'm toying with whether it might not be better to write the program and put it on Amazon/Kindle. It's pretty extensive and very probably too big for HP.

Parents can't possibly spend too much time teaching their children and it should be fun so that it doesn't become a chore. My daughter doesn't even remember when she could not read because she learned so early and because it was a natural progression of many small steps.

Thank you again for your high praise!

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

It's amazing how much children can learn at a very early age. They are little sponges and pick up on everything. I agree that reading to our children, even at a very early age, is so good for them. My 16 month old granddaughter and I walk around the house and she will point at things. We stop and I tell her about it, the colors and textures, what it is and what it's for. She loves it! It sounds like you have done such a wonderful job! Voting this up, awesome and sharing! :)

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

A bath, two books, and bed. That was the routine for my three children from just about day one. Number two and number three were involved from day one because the pattern was already set for their big sister. The fact that they are all successful college graduates is secondary to the bonds we formed early on. So many good things come from this one habit. Thanks for writing about it.

DIYmommy profile image

DIYmommy 3 years ago

I, too, was home schooled as well, strait through high school. Not that I'm necessarily a "control freak", but recent events (school shootings) have caused me to actually become quite concerned about sending our now 4-month old newborn to public school. The debate between homeschool, private school and public school still rages on between my husband and I, though. While we haven't decided definitively, I do think we will likely decide to homeschool. Thanks for this hub, as your suggestions were very helpful and this was definitely very timely for me. I loved your suggestion about putting upper-case letters on your daught's wall. Did you ever have additional children? Did you promote education similarly with all of them?

dhannyya profile image

dhannyya 3 years ago

wonderful hub...

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

I'm impressed, Au fait! I remember teaching my kids, I think most parents do this, while they were a few months old pointing out various things and naming them and did this regularly; though not as early or as you did with the books. I definitely think you did a great job here.

I'm enjoying this home schooling series by you and I am passing on your hubpages link to my daughter, so that she can learn how to go about educating her child from the beginning.

She got married recently and is not yet pregnant though.

Voting this up, useful, interesting and awesome. Sharing here and on Fb, and tweeting and pinning as well.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

sweetie1, thank you for commenting on this hub. We also have preschool or prekindergarten for 3 and 4 year olds in public and private schools. These recommendations are for people who wish to send their children to public/private school as well as for people who plan to home school. Children's brains are like little sponges up until they're about 5 or 6 years old and it's a shame not to take advantage of that by helping them learn as much as possible -- always in a fun way. Always.

sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 4 years ago from India

Very nicely written Hub. Out here, children go to preschools and I remember before my Niece got in the regular school in nursery class, she knew more than 100 poems in Hindi and English and could count till 100 and ABC. So I totally agree with you that it is a must that your children knows things asap.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for helping to promote this hub! I hope everything works out perfectly for your granddaughter and her new little one!

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

I am sending this to my granddaughter again! Her son will be born on January 21 by C-section, I think maybe because she had a hip replacement also.

Anyway this is good advise for her and her husband.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

moonlake, thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing this hub! This hub is intended to help parents know what to do to encourage their babies to want to learn, to get in the habit of learning, and to foster a close relationship between children and parents. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

You are so right so much good advice. I can't remember a time I didn't read to our kids. My husband and I took turns in the evening reading to them. Voted up and Shared.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub, and for sharing! My daughter's favorite thing as a child was books. She added music to that list of favorites as a preteen, and her taste is diverse. Reading and listening to good music early with one's child can have an amazing affect. Thanks for the votes too!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

What a marvelous sounding mother and teacher you were to your daughter. My parents also took the time to read to us every night when we were little and books became my most favorite gift as I grew old enough to read them by myself. This will undoubtedly give new parents some great ideas of how they can impact their children's education. All the up votes except funny and definitely sharing!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Adama Gidado, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

profile image

Adama Gidado 4 years ago

This is a great guide for parents. Thank you for sharing this.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron. It's surprising how many mothers don't take time to do these simple things that can make such a difference in their child's enjoyment and ability to learn.

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

You are welcome, Au fait. This is such a wonderful guide for mothers to be. I just hope my granddaughter reads it. I will text her also.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for posting me on FB, Shyron!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron. So many people depend on daycare and preschool these days for the simplest things. The activities I recommend here will also help people bond with their children, which is so important in getting one's children to care and respect their parent's opinions and advice.

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

I don't know if she read this or not so I also put it on her FB page.

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

I have passed this on to my granddaughter, who is due in January.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Nicole S for commenting on my hub!

Getting children started learning about new things early encourages a curiosity and love of learning from the start.

Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 4 years ago from Minnesota

Great article. I agree, it's never too early!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Mhatter99: Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub! Your time and thoughts are much appreciated.

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Agreed! my son is now a dinosaur hunter, my daughter is a "big shot" chef. booth make great money and are living their dream.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Brett: Children are amazing and their brains are like high-dollar sponges. They only require the information be presented in a simple easy to understand way and the right attitude.

rebeccamealey: Could not AGREE more! What a difference it would make if more people would take a few minutes every day to do this.

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Reading to babies and young children is the top most thing to do! Great Hub!

Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 5 years ago from Thailand

You are so right about starting young. I have had the experience of having some Kindergarten classes this last year. When I started, I wondered if I was trying to do to much. However, because I made classes fin, the students tried really hard. Now, at only 5-6, they can hold mini conversations in another language ... children are amazing learners!

Thanks for SHARING.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my newest hub, Jonny W.!

jonny W 5 years ago

little red hen - that's such a cool book isn't it.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article