But because it's hard to really have an accurate view of what this style of schooling looks like unless you've been there yourself (or are close with someone who homeschooled), I know certain stereotypes remain.
As a teenager, I always felt the need to address a few things: No, I didn't know anything about cows or horses. Yes, I was allowed to watch TV and read books other than the bible. No, I didn't make a habit of wearing denim jumpers or wearing my hair in a braid that brushed the floor. Yes, I actually had friends, extracurricular activities, and socialized with many other people aside from my immediate family.
Now, I could write for days about the idea of over-sheltering a child, or the importance of socialization, or the arguments for or against homeschooling, but I'm not exactly here for a debate—instead, I hope to just share a bit of what I'm currently doing to educate Eisley, since we aren't enrolling her in preschool at this point in the game. She is obviously still very young (having just turned 3), but I am constantly asked whether or not she is currently in preschool. I always have this sheepish feeling when I tell people "no" because I almost feel like I have to defend myself (even though I'm sure that is rarely the case).
The thing is, Eisley loves learning. And I'm grateful to have the opportunity to stay at home with her. It just makes sense to keep her at home and encourage learning in any way I can! Who knows what we will decide to do down the road (my husband is still rather skeptical when I mention homeschooling past the kinder years), but for now, it's been rather fun. Many people assume she is already in school because of her language and social skills, so I'm not worrying about what she may or may not be missing in an organized preschool setting. Right now, we're just going to roll with it and enjoy it as much as we can!
See below for just a handful of the resources I'm currently using with my daughter and have found helpful during this stage of learning:
Brain Quest Workbook — A few months ago, I picked up this workbook from Costco, and this is the resource that we use most often during the week. After lunch, she always asks to do "school" and we get out this book. It's broken up into many different sections: letters, vocabulary, science, etc. We can easily do one page from each section in about 20 minutes each day. Eisley loves it, and it's something that is fun to do with her, too! I wish I would have picked up the Kindergarten version, too, because I have a feeling she will be able to easily transition into that one after she completes the preschool version. (That's not to toot my own horn; I've just found that, in general, things aimed at 3-4 year olds tend to be very basic. Just something worth noting!)
2. Scissors — I purchased these from Amazon late last year, and she continues to love using these safety-scissors. They're not something I want her to use forever and ever amen (because they have a much different feel than "real" scissors), but they're the perfect thing to get her used to the idea of cutting lines and such. (And I don't worry about her slicing her fingers off when I look away for five seconds, which is a plus.) She typically joins me in my weekly coupon-clipping session, which is great practice for cutting out basic shapes.
3. Brain Quest Card Deck — We have the "threes" version of this popular card deck. In my personal opinion the questions aren't too terribly challenging for most children this age, but Eisley still loves it. We received this deck as a freebie from our local library, and have been using it since she was 2. We have used it to death and she can now go through it and ask me the questions, because she's grown so familiar with it. It encourages critical thinking and problem solving, which I love, and I recommend it as something to keep in your purse or diaper bag for on-the-go!
4. Dry Erase Tracing Book — I won this book at one of my weekly mommy group get-togethers last year, and I love it! For this age, I recommend anything dry-erase. I know Eisley loves using the markers and feels extra-fancy when she uses this book.
5. Super Why — It may seem weird to be recommending a TV program on a list like this, but I have to say that this is the one show Eisley watches and actively participates in. She'll yell out the letters and letter sounds with the characters (and, of course, belts out the theme song like no one's business). Each episode teaches a lesson and encourages pre-reading/early-reading skills. If there's a show I want to put on for her to watch while I get dinner ready, this is always a good choice because I know it is educational. And it is currently on Netflix, which works perfectly for us.
Later on, I'll share some ways I encourage learning with Eisley aside from workbooks and a short period of "school time" during the day. In the meantime, if you'd like to follow my Homeschooling Happiness board on Pinterest, feel free to do so! I've come across so many fantastic ideas that I'm eager to try once I get a tad bit more organized with everything. Of course, at this age and stage of learning, I love that we can keep things a bit more easy-breezy and not worry about having a rigid schedule. It's all about keeping things fun and exciting. Which is a good thing, if you ask me.
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