Daniel’s appetite for learning is immense at the moment. He is simply a human sponge; absorbing the mass of information thrown at him each day.
Every day he does something that amazes me. A day of two ago whilst I was dressing him he said ‘Please tuck vest mummy’. As I wrote here recently, our approach to learning is very gentle and it seems t be paying off. I rarely prompt him to say please and thank you, more just saying phrases. So, for example I will say ‘Would you like some milk’ to which the response is usually an enthusiastic ‘yes’. I then reply ‘yes please mummy’. I’m not telling him to say please, but introducing a longer sentence. The same, I am sure as many parents do.
When he stopped to ask me to ‘please tuck vest mummy’ I was amazed. Tucking his vest in is a fairly new thing but to ask me to do it showed real understanding and to add please too. Well. I was speechless.
Yesterday as we got Emma a bib from the drawer he asked for one for his Dino teddy. Dino wore the bib all day until later in the afternoon I heard him say something. I asked him to repeat as I wasn’t too sure I had heard correctly and he repeated ‘Naughty dino took owl bib off’. I’m not an expert on child language development but at just over two I think that is a pretty sophisticated sentence to construct, on his own, unprompted.
Today, as I was preparing dinner I asked him to take his spoon to the table, Emma’s spoon and finally the forks for Damian and I. When I went in he had set mats out (not perfectly but four out on the table in the general space where they should be) and had put the cutlery onto each one. Unprompted but learnt through observing us and what we do.
With such an appetite to learn I am keen to try to feed this, as much as I can. Daniel becomes eligible in just over a years time for the 15 hours of early years education. I am really torn. I can’t imagine sending him to a nursery at three. I can’t quite put my finger on what my reservation is but it just doesn’t feel like the right solution for us. I think my concerns are in the studies that came across my desk in my old life pre children; the evidence about children and how they learn. The fact perhaps that formal education starts at a much, much later date in many other countries. I don’t know. I can’t articulate what it is that makes me uneasy. But it does.
I know that in a nursery he won’t be sat at a desk but that it will be learning through play. I wonder does that offer any more than what he has at home with me? At home he is only competing with Emma for time and attention. In a nursery, by its very nature, he will be competing with more children.
With that in mind I have been reading around the idea of home education.Home Education really starts from age five, when there is a legal requirement for children to be in education (be it school or an alternative provision). But there is a lot of information about early years education there too. I don’t feel daunted by the idea of ‘home schooling’ Daniel (and Emma in due course). I am confident that I can provide them with the time, opportunities and resources they need to continue to learn. What does daunt me however is just the sheer wealth of support and resources available.
The internet is an amazing thing, but it can be daunting. This past week I have joined a few home education groups on Facebook and made some connections on twitter and have started to download some resources as I have come across them. I have found a group that meets each week so I hope to join them soon to meet some people who have made that decision to not use nurseries.
My plan is to continue to research some ideas over the coming weeks and then begin to introduce some things in the new year. It won’t be formal, but just once a week looking to have something more ‘planned’ to support Daniel’s learning.
The key for me is that Daniel shouldn’t notice any changes to how our days are organised, but I should be able to see how he is engaging in different things and get more of an idea of how he learns and what I can do to support his appetite for learning.
I suppose this is a bit of a rambling post, but I have so many ideas in my mind about the next step in our learning adventure and I can’t wait to see what Daniel and Emma do next.
Have you looked at alternative educational provision for your child(ren). What resources do you use? Any advice, support and/or guidance would be great!