When I talk to other parents about teaching their children, I often sense guilt, embarrassment, and self-consciousness–even from highly educated parents. For some reason, we associate teaching our children well with time intensive projects and fancy gizmos, or flashcards and workbooks, or a whole lot of glue, glitter and glam, or some formal sit-down session where you talk and they listen. And unless you have packed everything from that list into your week, you never feel like you are doing a good job.
Well folks, it really isn’t that complicated. You don’t need a degree in education or a Pinterest board titled “School at Home” to qualify to be your child’s best teacher. The secret to teaching your children is simply to try to see the world as they see it and then help them make sense of it. This does take time, energy, and effort, but does not require that you print off 12 worksheets on the alphabet every day, or follow every educational blog in existence, or buy out the craft store, or purchase every app invented on multiplication. While these things can be good, they are not essential. Just icing on the cake. We are often most effective teachers when we keep things simple.
We just need to talk to our children and then listen. We need to find out what they know and what they want to know and what they need to know. And then build on it. Usually “building” opportunities can fit seamlessly into our day. Learning can happen anytime and anywhere. Often all you need is a conversation and the resources that surround you. Here are a few little instances where learning just crept into our day.
My kids love Costco. They love the samples. They love the fact that they have a responsibility–one child is responsible to hold the card when we go in and the other child is responsible for holding the receipt when go out. The other day my daughter was holding the card as we walked in and noticed the letter “B” on the card. I confirmed that it was the letter “B.” I asked her if she could find the letter “E” on the card. After a few seconds she found an “E.” And so the game began. Through out the whole store I asked her to find letters and numbers on the card and she thought it was great fun to look. When we got the receipt she and her brother started immediately pointing to all the numbers and letters they knew. One of are most enjoyable shopping trips ever.
My daughter decided to spend her nap/quiet time taking all of her newly purchased pull-ups out of the packaging. I went into her room when nap time was over and found a heaping mess of pull-ups on the floor. I almost snapped at her to put it all away, but caught myself. I told her we should sort her pull-ups by the picture they have on the front and then put them away. So we sat down together and made piles of Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, and Dora the Explorer. She spent a good 20 minutes sorting through her pull-ups. I was impressed at her diligence and surprised how excited she was later that night to choose a pull-up from her piles.
I will keep looking for these little opportunities to teach. I would love to know how you do it.
How does learning sneak into your day?
Welcome to ATeacherMom!I used to be a high school English teacher but I recently retired to raise my family. I now consider myself to be a teacher-mom. I am hoping to make my home the greatest classroom of all where learning is continual, innovative and most importantly fun.
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