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Homeschooling Small Children, Here is how I Started
Homeschooling is a part of the work I do at home for my family. While this does not pay money I am rewarded by the satisfaction of knowing that I taught my children how to read, write, and do math. Besides, I am saving money on daycare costs.
My Homeschool Beginnings
I started homeschooling when my daughter was 3-years-old. I began with the basics—alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors. Because of my daughter’s age she was unable to concentrate for long periods of time. At times she would only listen for 30 minutes, if she found the information interesting.
My daughter's attention span increased with age. Therefore, I was able to do more teaching.
In 2011, I added my baby son into the homeschooling routine. He sat quietly listening while I gave my daughters her lessons. Even when my son began to walk and insisted on running around during lesson time, he was soaking up every bit of information.
For 2 years my daughter wanted to watch learning videos that I found on YouTube, which resulted in my son's early learning.
Here are the resources I used to teach my daughter (and my son).
With a simple search in YouTube you can find these resources and many more for your homeschool class.
Have Fun Teaching
It is my personal belief that all children love music. I have worked around a lot of children in my past. I have found that children respond better when music and education are combined to teach specific lessons. They are more inclined to listen to the information and retain the information
The "havefunteaching" teaching channel is an online resource I used from YouTube to teach phonics, spot words, and math. The creator uses rap and dance music to gain the attention of children while teaching. My children always have fun when I use this resource.
My daughter wanted to hear the lessons over and over again. I listened and participated with her as she sang the songs and sounded out the letters. Once she turned 5-years-old, I incorporated worksheets to reinforce what she learned in the video. As a result, my daughter essentially began reading by the age of 4, and reading age appropriate books by the age of 5.
An unexpected result came once my son turned 2-years-old. He was able to recognize letters and numbers at the grocery store. He still requests to see the same videos that my daughter watched for 2 years. At the time of this writing, my son is almost 3.
Here is the first video my daughter enjoyed during homeschool. Although the videos are online for free, there are many others from this creator that are available for DVD purchase or download.
Video Courtesy of Havefunteaching
My soon to be 3 year old son enjoys watching this educational cartoon featuring Shawn the Train. He’s been able to learn counting, alphabet, basic shapes, 3D shapes, and colors.
My son likes continues his education once homeschool time is completed on his own. He watches these YouTube videos for fun on a tablet. My husband taught him how to navigate the search engine through voice commands and does so quite well. He also knows how to access the watch history to see the previous watched programs. All of this is done supervised, and while he is accessing YouTube, I can access my husband’s account to see exactly what he is watching.
The repetition has allowed him to master these basic academic concepts which has been very useful when expressing what he wants. For example, he can express which color popsicle he wants.
Here is my son’s favorite video. Coilbook also sells learning DVD’s to get the lessons in entirety and more.
Video Courtesy of Coilbook
Homeschool Lessons for Ages 3-5
Most parents have a desire to teach their children when they are very young for a variety of reasons. Some may want to continue homeschool exclusively from an early age, others may want to prepare their children for learning in a school setting. Whatever the reason here are some lesson ideas for your little ones.
Learning the Alphabet
This is by far the easiest lesson to teach children because we as parents still remember the nursery rhyme. Singing the songs and saying the letters out loud will help your child remember their letters. As you go into teaching them how to read the letters they will already be equipped with the knowledge of hearing the letters as well as seeing them. If your child is 3 years old, begin teaching them how to read the letters by slowly introducing individual letters on a worksheet where they can color or scribble on the sheet. Repetition is important, and they may want to keep working on this subject as they feel confident in their accomplishments.
Here is one of the workbooks that I use.
You can start a child on learning phonics at age 3 by saying “A is for apple, B is for bear,” and so forth. As the child gets older you can gradually introduce short and long vowel sounds. This is the beginning stages of them learning how to sound out letters while reading.
Since I can’t remember all of the good nursery rhymes from my early childhood YouTube is a resource where you can play the songs and sing along with your child. This is great for music time or if you want to take a break from teaching some of the academics.
Shapes are a fun lesson for children once the lessons go from worksheet to real life. I created a game for my daughter as she got older. We went throughout the house to find shapes of objects in a scavenger hunt game, and I would ask her about the shapes she saw while out shopping. You can begin teaching shapes in the same manner that I did with my children by using “Coilbook” and “Havefunteaching” from YouTube.
Handwriting is your child’s journey in to writing and spelling. Your child will begin to learn how to write the letters they sang about and recited outloud. This is an important part to having your child write their name and beyond. I didn’t have a lot of money for special handwriting paper, so I created my own from sheets from lined paper that I had in a notebook. I created broken line letters, and guided my daughter’s hand in tracing the letters. Once again, repetition is important. Beyond writing the alphabet I created worksheets for my daughter to write her name.
Coloring on coloring pages and painting is the basics of art for children. It stimulates their creativity. As they get older, they may be interested in learning more about art history or doing advanced arts and crafts. One of the things I like to do with my children is to let them play with my cell phone camera, take selfies, or take photos while outside from their perspective. We make colleges from the prints that tells a story. If you don’t have photo printer you can use snapfish.com to print out your photos. You can even create a book with your child. It would be a lot of fun for your children to create a story book online and wait for it to come in the mail. Read the words to them, it is something they will treasure forever.
Reading to your child early in life will help them develop a love for books and reading. I tend to stay away from a lot eBooks for my children. I want them to experience the feeling of turning pages and picking out books from our private library.