It’s been five months since we began this different look at learning. That’s given me five months to think about if it’s working for us, how it’s working for us, how we feel about it, and all that. No two days are alike. Sometimes Kaelyn asks for her workbooks and others she wants to do puzzles. And, well… we love it! There are several reasons for that.
First, the mindset for learning is shifted. Instead of trying to keep our focus trained on learning for a few dedicated hours each day, I look for opportunities to teach how to gain knowledge throughout every single day. Despite sounding like that would be exhausting, I’m really just tuning in to what Kaelyn asks and play acts. I encourage those things and make sure that I’m not taking over for her, directly telling her the answer (at least not all the time), and creating a non-pressured environment to foster interest.
This leads to my second reason which is that my husband can be involved as well. Kaelyn recently asked how fuel makes cars go. While I could have answered, I recognized this as an opportunity for my husband to be involved. Since he wasn’t present at the time, I suggested that she ask Daddy since he knows much more about cars than I do. This left her and not me with the responsibility to seek out further information. When she did ask him a few weeks later, I could hear the happiness in my husband’s voice at being included in her schooling. And just a few days ago, he was taking apart some electronics and invited Kaelyn to watch which she did with interest and was thrilled when he let her keep a piece.
My final reason (for today anyway) is that I feel so much less stress. I struggle with perfectionism and slowly am finding ways to handle it. When I tried a lesson plan approach, if we didn’t get through everything, I fell apart. That’s really a topic for another day. What’s important is that I see my daughter thriving while making my life easier.
Kaelyn has a favorite exercise blogger/YouTuber. She was excited to combine exercise with the alphabet one day.
Our library usually has some different learning resources available and Kaelyn picked up this magnetic alphabet to work on one day. Her interest in reading goes up and down but so does mine so I’m not worried if she doesn’t actively work on it every day.
Here’s another literacy moment. My nieces loved helping Kaelyn out with a reading lesson.
“Mom, can you find Aunt’s picture of Rapunzel? I’m going to paint it for my cousin.”
On a recent trip to our local science museum, there were some people from the university there with different language brain games. A little bit for everyone, even my mom got involved! The younger children drew while talking. The drawing recorded the sound and you could play it back by tracing over your original drawing. If you talked loud, the drawing dots got larger. The older children (and my mom!) was given a color word that was in colored font. You had to select the appropriate color that the word gave rather than the color of the font. If the font was green but the word was blue, you selected blue. I believe they had the opposite as well where you selected the color of the font while ignoring the word.
Another day with my nieces had my pulling out empty boxes and wrapping paper. We had some measuring, some cutting, some taping, and lots of sharing going on. And as you can see, my mom enjoys purchasing matching outfits for her grandkids!
We have plenty of independent moments. This one came when she really wanted a straw and really had to do it herself. The straws have since been moved to a lower place for easier non-heart attack moments.
A play acting moment involving being pregnant and giving birth. Or being the baby doctor. Or being the sister. Moments like these are hard to come by when you are an only child. I cherish when Kaelyn can practice cooperative play!
Kaelyn had repeatedly seen this abacus on a blog that I follow and as her interest in maths has grown, I wasn’t surprised when we saw one in a store and she knew exactly what it was. So it became a Christmas gift and it gets used nearly every day. Sometimes she is counting but often she makes patterns.
I find my desire to continue expanding my knowledge and setting a good example for Kaelyn has increased as I see the many ways she is a sponge. As I figure out the numerous things that work for us, I see our family reap benefits.