Parents are the first and most important teacher their child will encounter. An important tip is to start teaching your child from the day he or she is born. Research the myriad ways you can create a stimulating nursery environment for your baby to optimize cognitive development. Speak to your baby, often, if not constantly, during her waking hours. Cut the baby talk and stimulate your baby’s development using gestures, tonal variations and body language where possible.
By the time your child is a toddler, you should already have established play areas and work stations in the home. It would be preferable to have a spare room available for the long-term to store all home schooling resources.
Outdoor education is vitally important, so it is advisable to make a designated safe area with a sandpit and water table from as soon is baby is able to sit unaided. If one is home schooling ones children then every activity becomes a learning activity and a chance to stimulate your toddler’s curiosity. You need not spend a fortune on sandpit and water toys. Use plastic kitchen containers, jugs, salad spoons and the like to dig and make mud pies outdoors with your child. Your home is a perfect source of free home schooling resources.
Work stations need simply be a clutter-free toddler-friendly table and chairs. Make sure there is a storage area close to the workstation. Organize your storage area to promote ease of access to your resources. Use cardboard shoe boxes or storage units from hardware stores to keep paper, scissors, glue, art materials and so on together. An important tip is to make sure that, from day one, this cupboard is a treat and treasure trove for junior. Every time you sit down at your child’s table and play, give your child 100% of your attention.
If your project for the day for your one-year old is finger painting, get the materials ready before you let your toddler loose. Let your baby enjoy the texture, taste (paints must obviously be home- made and non- toxic) and mess of his or her first painting experience. As soon as baby loses interest, allow him or her to stop the activity. If you keep pushing your child beyond his or her concentration span or ability, the experience will no longer be fun and, even worse, could put your child off art work for a long time.
Make sure that you display all end products, that is, your toddler’s art works around the home and write your child’s name in lower case letters on the art work. You should record the date at the back of the artwork to enable you to file these masterpieces chronologically at a later stage.
A third and very important tip is to start early with the stimulation of your child’s interest in or knowledge of the natural sciences. Again, you need not purchase expensive items such as cages and animals destined to be strangled by an over-zealous toddler. Scout around your local used-goods stores and find a few plastic or glass aquariums. Make your display cages as attractive as possible. The addition of a fluorescent light to a tank full of snails crawling over lush green leaves can serve as an attractive nightlight for your toddler’s room.
Keep changing your displays and set the insects free after a few days. As your child gets older, if his interest in living creatures persists, make sure you have containers ready for him to place the creatures, he has found himself, into. By the time your toddler reaches age three, it is time to start revealing lessons such as metamorphosis. Invest in some silkworms from your local pet store or simply access a caterpillar from your garden. Talk your child through the process. Show him the eggs, the cocoon or chrysalis and remember to set the resulting moth or butterfly free once its wings are dry enough for flight.
An older toddler can benefit from water pets such as turtles. Make feeding time fun. Go outside and hunt for crickets and grasshoppers to feed the turtle and watch it eat. A visit to a stream nearby with a net could yield a catch of tadpoles. Place the tadpoles in water and feed them fish flakes or mincemeat. Make sure you keep the water clean. Once the tadpoles start to grow their legs, place flat rocks in the container or tank for them to sit on when they are ready to leave the water.
Set the frogs free after a few days. Tip four would be to use repetition as any classroom-based teacher would. Reinforce the current learning experience by pasting frog pictures in your child’s room or workspace. Give your child paints and crayons to draw her own frogs. Start reading fairy stories like the Frog Prince at bed times and keep cultivating a love of and interest in natural science. If you need additional resources, simply browse the Internet sites which offer free homeschooling resources and download posters, art projects and items containing frogs. if your child displays an interest in amphibians start the alphabet chart at letter F for Frog. No-one said it is mandatory to learn the alphabet from A to Z.
If you have decided to home school your children, it is vital that you start as early as possible. Do not be put off by doomsayers who tell you how expensive it will be. The world is a classroom and it is full of free home schooling resources. The fifth and final tip I have for parents who wish to home school their children is that children learn best through instructions given with love. Who could possibly love your child more than you do? Parents, you are the most important teacher your child will ever have. Step up to the plate and assume your rightful position as your child’s teacher.