My son is still really small (only 1.10) so when homeschooling him I put a lot of stress on fine and gross motor development, playing outside and taking walks. I also try to include him in as much of my daily tasks as possible, such as cleaning, organizing, going to the post office, etc. Sure, I’ve had to get used to everything being done slowly and have also had to completely lower my standards to what is clean and organized, but at least I manage to get a few things done that way and my son usually has a lot of fun with it. “Academic” lessons such as reading and mathematics really aren’t relevant to him yet, and language is something he absorbs all the time from our day to day.
Following the above guidelines, here are some examples of how we spend our time, learning and absorbing many important lessons along the way.
Helping out in the kitchen
It really depends on what you call “helping out”, since more often than not, the kitchen ends up messier than it was to begin with. However, he is in the process of learning how to do things, important things like cleaning and preparing food, and so I work on being patient and understanding and not let the mess bother me. We purchased a Montessori learning tower and it’s been a very resourceful and useful tool to have in the house for this purpose and others. He can help me out in the kitchen while staying safe and everything is at his eye level so he feels included.
Developing Fine Motor Skills
The toys we have around our house are, for the most part, developmental toys but he really prefers to play with his Montessori busy board. It’s still pretty challenging for his age but he likes the process of trying to open the locks with different keys, spinning the wheels on the car and dropping the balls in the hose. As he grows older I’ll add more accessories to the board to make it age appropriate. I also encourage him (gently) to unlock and open the front door when we have to go out, buckle his car seat seatbelt, open Tupperware boxes on the kitchen floor besides me while I’m cooking and basically – everything that I can think of at that moment. In this picture, we actually found some toy beads someone spilled on the ground at the park, so he passed some time trying to string them in a very thin branch he found nearby.
Everything does take twice as long and sometimes it’s just not doable when I have to be on time for something but it’s definitely worth it and is ultimately for his benefit. I’ve also learned that by giving him only age/development appropriate activities I am able to keep the frustration to a minimum.
Developing Gross Motor Skills
We try to get outside to the local playground as much as we can so he can practice climbing, running, spinning, within a relatively safe and designated environment. When the weather permits, we love taking walks outside with him usually bringing his tricycle. We also recently made a DIY foldable Pikler triangle that I let him play on inside our house. Letting him move, run, jump, dance and discover how his body works and learn about how much he can do physically is very important (and a delight) to me so even when he rough plays in the house I do my best to not interrupt him, unless he is in actual immediate danger.
Reading and Storytelling
We try to read to our son as much as possible and sometimes he likes it when we make up stories of our own, with his friends and family members as the main characters. A great tip I read about online said to make up stories revolving around his daily routine that include places he visits frequently and people he meets regularly. Sure enough, those are actually the stories he enjoys the most.
What are some of your favorite activities to do with your children?