And so went my conversation a few nights ago with a home schooling mama who understands all about living tiny, raising kids, and wanting the best for your “student.” This is probably the time when I should mention that our daughter is only 2 yrs. and 3 months old. Well, 2 yrs. and 3 months and 8 days. But who is counting? We are told rather frequently that she is very bright and remarkably poised for her age. We typically shrug it off as we have no experience with previous children and little experience with toddlers at all. What our two-year old does and says is what we imagine all two-years old doing an saying. This includes saying the alphabet, recognizing Spanish, using Spanish vocabulary words, knowing her primary colors, praying out loud, telling us parts of Bible stories, counting to almost 20, and singing songs WE didn’t even know the lyrics to. I mean, at this age they are more akin to sponges than humans. You say it or display it and they absorb it. Because of this and because of my own love of education and learning I have been somewhat antsy to get her started on some more formal learning.
We have been rather vocal to friends and family about our desire to homeschool and more recently, unschool our daughter. We both just feel like there is a whole world out there to learn from and unless told otherwise humans want to learn and gravitate towards exploring that which is around them. Why stifle that with a classroom and with Friday quizzes and standardized testing? Why not let her get down and dirty and learn as she is led to? Yet still I want to formalize a few things and set aside times for this or for that. I am a very time-oriented person so having a schedule is key to me. Naturally I am going to sort of thrust that onto my little gal. So this morning we sat down in a corner of our house for our very first day of school.
I have no desire to create a dedicated learning environment at home or to duplicate a classroom setting. I did however think a chair would make things seem more official. My first goals were lofty in so much as we would do all I wanted to do in one sitting. I quickly realized that was not going to happen. In full disclosure here is the agenda for Day 1:
- Listen to the Alphabet Song and sing along. (I felt she would enjoy the Super Why version of the song that she already sings along to)
- Practice recognizing the letter A on a flashcard with the reverse side showing a basket of apples.
- Learn about the Letter A.
- Talk about the letter A being the beginning of the alphabet and then transition to the beginning of the Bible.
- Read Genesis 1:1-31 in the The Jesus Storybook Bible.
- Introduce our memory verse for the week: “In the beginning God created heaven and Earth. ~ Genesis 1:1”
- End with a coloring page of hands holding the globe and the words In the beginning…. at the top.
Here is how Day 1 actually went.
- Listened to the Alphabet Song and did, in fact, sing along. Responded to request to watch it 4 more times.
- Talked about “I don’t know” not being a great answer and that the letter A on one flashcard was, in fact, the same as letter A on a second flashcard.
- Decided that apples taste better than they look in pictures.
- Learned about the Letter A.
- Responded negatively to request to watch Curious George rather than the Letter A. Responded negatively to request to watch Super Why rather than the Letter A. Put the iPad away!
- Read Genesis 1:1-11 or so.
- Listened to a very abbreviated version of the Nativity story prompted by the mention of the word God.
- Introduced our memory verse and was able to say it via “repeat after me.”
- Opted to go outside and ride our bike rather than color.
Total time of first day of school? Just a hair over 9 minutes. Number of giggles? A metric ton. Number of hugs for daddy? 3. Number of times “students” name was said aloud? Well over 20.
My assessment? No, I am not overly ambitious. Yes, I do expect a lot from my daughter. However, I understand her age and I understand and am grateful for the 9 minutes or so she did give me. We will read later on tonight and we may even color during our snack time. Our bike riding together was very cool and we even shared lunch today. All of those things involve learning and I was able to teach her many new things today as well as reinforce older things. So were we successful on Day 1? Absolutely!
Stay tuned for the next 12 years or so as we continue to Homeschool In The Tiny House!