Monday, September 12, 2011

Easy as 1, 2, 3! Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning

Children are going into kindergarten and pre-k more and more prepared for school—many of them know the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, and have a vocabulary that might even stump some parents.  Ok, that last was an exaggeration, but the level of most kids entering the early years of education is certainly getting higher as the years go on, and many parents are feeling left behind, or even guilty for not starting sooner. 

If you are blessed enough to be a stay-at-home mom (or dad) and have a child that still has a year or so before entering pre-k or kindergarten, now is the perfect time to begin a kind of home school primer, so that your child will be able to keep up when she is enrolled in school. 

Get Involved

As your child's parent, you will know her learning style better than anyone.  You know how she responds, what motivates and distracts her, and what makes lessons stick.  Use this to your advantage.  It will be helpful to evaluate what your child already knows to develop a lesson plan.  Try quizzing her over the alphabet, digits, colors, and shapes, just to feel out what she knows—you may be surprised!  But either way, don't admonish her for not answering correctly; this step is solely to know what she knows.

Draw It, Say It, Sing It, Dance It Out

After you've established what it is you need to focus on, start teaching!  Sometimes I know it can feel silly teaching your child, but remember that, in addition to helping their development, spending this kind of time with her will bring you closer together.  And the more fun you make it, the more she'll want to be with you, learning everything you can teach her. 

If you're working on the alphabet, get out your crayons, markers, pencils, paper, canvas, paint, paintbrushes—anything that you can make letters with—and start with the letter A.  Draw it for her first, and then have her follow along.  Once she does, do it again, and again, and again, and be sure to repeat the letter and the sound it makes as often as you can.  Learning is all about repetition, especially at a young age. 

As Many Ways to Teach As There Are Letters in the Alphabet (And Many, Many More!)

Of course, you don't have to stick with just paper and pen to teach.  There are a million resources on the web, and your teaching method is really only limited by your own imagination.  You have the advantage of being a parent, in addition to being a teacher, so you can take your child anywhere you want as part of the lesson, and do whatever you like, as long as it contributes to their learning. 

When I was teaching my son how to spell his name (and recognize letters in general) I played Wii tennis and bowling with him, along with other short competitive games for the Wii.  Every time he got a high score (and he always did) I let him spell his name using the Wii controller.  He asked me every day to play Wii and spell his name. 

I thought I had discovered a loophole in the education system.  My child actually wanted to learn.

Be creative, and have fun, and you will be surprised to see how well your child responds to learning.  And the best part is, if you start now, you can actually instill a life-long love of learning and discovery in your child that the education system alone never could.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at onlinecollege about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @

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