I am going to let you in on a secret. I can read and plan and buy supplies with the best of them only to have our days spill out like a box of crayons never to be put back in the right order. I often crawl into bed at one AM happy knowing I have set up a great activity, cleaned up our learning area, and that I actually know what we are going to do the next morning.
This set up was one of those times. I found this great vintage magnet book at a book store in Corvallis (do a ton of people homeschool there? Because they have a top notch new/used kids section complete with a homeschool specific area). Earlier this year I snagged a couple magnetic wands and balls from lakeshore learning (via Goodwill). Then I really hit the jackpot and got this cool magnetic building set at Goodwill new in the box for $2.50. Here is a pro thrifting tip: ignore moldy boxes. Open those suckers up and douse yourself in antibacterial spray when you get back to the car. The box on this was NASTY, but inside was a styrofoam tray, totally enclosed with these in pristine condition inside.
I digress. So I collected all this stuff from my
perfectly organized homeschool stash hovel of a basement storage room. I read through the magnet book and got out everything it talked about so Tuesday could recreate the experiments. I cleaned up the learning area (total misnomer, we learn everywhere really), and went to bed.
Five days later when Tuesday actually showed a brief interest in this I of course had a cranky Bennet with me who could not be near the magnets.
So it ended with a few minutes of Tuesday sticking screws into the ends of straws and not caring at all about what’s magnetic or not. And Bennet mad on the other side of this turned over table.
Was this a total failure then? I’m not calling it one. This was a setup I wanted to do. I saw the book and I made the connection with all the fun magnet stuff. Tuesday did not. She did not care about magnets and a book from the 70s with awesome illustrations, but I did.
I actually started this post over a month ago. I decided then I had to stop doing this to myself. Tuesday learns the best when we follow her lead. When she is interested in things she soaks up knowledge like crazy. As much as I want to be the homeschool mom with perfect projects and unit studies it’s just not meant to be with Tuesday. We have no formal school time, no worksheets, nothing. Tuesday does not know all her letters, she can not read, she does not really understand how much bigger 60 is than 6. Why am I telling you this? Do I think she has a learning disability? Oh no I do not. I think she’s brilliant, though I’m always scared to tell her so and instead focus my praise on how hard working she is.
I’m telling you this because she is four and a half. And she plays great. She imagines the best stuff ever. She plays like it’s her job to get a gold star in playing… Because it is. She does not need to know how to read. I don’t care that she doesn’t count to 100. She is 4.5. And if your four year old doesn’t know any of this stuff either here is my official recommendation that you don’t worry about it. Let them be kids. Read to them, read to them some more, and then tangle your tongue one more time on Fox in Socks and call it good. And when they have questions answer them. And if you don’t know the answer figure out together how to find it. And don’t compare your kid to anyone else… I’m still working on that.
Because if you’re homeschooling you are learning all the time. And when your kid wants to know how to write your their name you can show them right then. They don’t have to wait for any other teacher. My new goal is not to have the best most Pinterest worthy trays. It’s to be present for my daughters, gauge their interests and respond appropriately. I’ll let you know how it goes.