Over the holidays I took some time to renovate my blog as well as update several older posts. While updating my old tot school posts I began to reflect upon that time. I thought to myself “Why did I give up on tot school? It looked like we were having fun, each post gives an update on Caden’s progress, so he must have been learning. So why did I stop? He could have learned his ABCs and how to count by now.”
After some thought I realized that I gave up because Caden wasn’t interested in the standard tot school themes and printables, and I’m an all or nothing kind of gal, total type A. I wrote about this almost 2 years ago in “When it’s HARD to Follow Your Child’s Lead“. It didn’t occur to me that we could do tot school our own way, so I gave it all up in favor of going with Caden’s flow and doing whatever he wanted to. Which is completely okay, but I now realize you can do both!
As a toddler and even today Caden has a lot of energy and likes to move! Coloring and doing arts or crafts doesn’t often appeal to him, then or now. What I wish I did was ditch the printables, use themes that interested him and focused on activities that he enjoyed. If I could go back I would have lowered my expectations, planned a lot more gross motor/action games, play dough activities and sensory bins.
So let this be a lesson to you, if you find your toddler or preschooler isn’t interested in the standard, letter of the week themes and printables, don’t give up! Just stop what isn’t working and find something that will work. Toddlers are not meant to color worksheets. They need meaningful activities that interest them in order to learn.
After this ah-ha moment, I’ve started to plan fun and hands-on learning activities based on topics and themes that Caden seems to have an interest in. I’ve also been reading Project-Based Homeschooling by Lori Pickert (affiliate link) which recommends this method with preschoolers. Currently I am planning to focus on activities that interest Caden and try to add in alphabet recognition activities, science, math and fine motor activities based on his interests, along with lots of great books and some art and crafts. I hope this is the start of finally finding our homeschool groove!
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I do hands on with my preschooler and toddler. I started off just as you and gave up cause that wasn’t working. Since we’ve been hands on we have had so much more fun and our learning has become more laid back. We use to have full on blow outs where we all ended up angry and discouraged.
That sounds very familiar. Since I stopped with typical tot school we’ve both been much less frustrated with learning. Thanks for stopping by & commenting 🙂
I love this and can totally relate. I am starting this week with a fresh approach to tot school with my almost 3 year old. Thank you for the encouragement- so happy to know I am not alone in this. Would love for you to link this up at my Intentional Parenting link party http://livinginthisseason.com/top-favorite-kid-posts/
Ruth Reynolds says
My daughter is 20-months … and this sentence is exactly what I needed to hear as I look forward to a baby coming in a few months but also wanting to engage her mind and soul: “If I could go back I would have lowered my expectations, planned a lot more gross motor/action games, play dough activities and sensory bins.”
Thanks for commenting! I’m glad this post gave you some peace of mind!
This happened to me last year when my daughter started Pre-K. As a former K and Pre-K teacher I went back into teaching mode. But my daughter learned differently and honestly was a little bit more ahead than I realized! So, half way through the year my aha moment came and that’s when I had to think about how I needed to change my teaching skills and curriculum to math her needs! Loved the post!
Thanks for commenting Victoria! So far he has really enjoyed this new approach & seems to be catching on quickly!
Perfect timing – my son and I are just going through the same thing. There are days when I think he graces me with just enough attention to do one of our “projects” because he feels sorry for me. ; ) Thick skin and a willingness to move on have become my biggest teaching tools.