Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 Daily Activities in our Homeschool

This post of mine is another attempt to document what we do daily in our home school.  We’ve been home schooling independently.  We have not used any curriculum so far.  We take our cues from our sons’ interests.  We plan and design our activities based on what our kids enjoy doing and what we think they need to know at their current ages.  We look for ways to integrate appropriate lessons in our activities with them.  Bottomline, we do our best to make it fun for the whole family.

1. Play. – When asked what he does in school, my eldest son would usually say, “Play!”  I do my best to teach him things through games or by playing with him.  I know this to be very effective even with adults since I had been conducting trainings for more than ten years now.  In my experience, I’ve noticed that people learn more while having fun and sometimes learning happens without them noticing it.  But when you guide them in processing the activities you did with them, they would give you good answers and insights.  So, that’s what I do with my kids especially with my eldest who is three years old.  We let him play or we play with him and let him learn in the process. 

One of my eldest son’s favorites is playing pretend.  He pretends that he has a business – grocery, car wash, book store, restaurant, toy store, water delivery, pizza delivery, etc.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up having at least one of these businesses in the future.  I wrote about the benefits of pretending to play store here.  Sometimes, he pretends to be a pilot, teacher, a handy man, a guard, a receptionist, a writer, a priest, a concert artist or whatever catches his fancy on a particular day.  Sometimes, he imitates me or his Dad or his baby brother.  And he’s very good at imitating people that I wouldn’t be surprised as well if he would someday want to be an actor.
My sons playing with building blocks.

In our home, we make sure that the toys are appropriate and safe for our kids.  I screen the toys that get into our household.  I don’t let my son play with toy guns or swords.  He hardly plays with games on modern gadgets.  As much as possible, I expose him to games that will be very engaging for him physically and mentally.  So, I let him play soccer, bowling, badminton, tag or piko.  He plays with cars, airplanes, trucks, puzzles, building blocks, clay, and other kinds of toys he can manipulate and use to feed his imagination.  We also use every day objects and reuse things in the house to make our own toys.

So far, this approach proves to be effective to our eldest son, Yanthy, who is a kinesthetic learner.  He loves to move around most of the time and it seems that he learns fast and best while on the move.

2. Read. – We are a family of book worms!  We have books scattered all over our place.  We read at any time of the day.  My husband and I read aloud to our kids daily.  My eldest who started reading words at age two can already read on his own at three years old so he’s no longer waits for me or his Dad to read to him.  He reads whenever he wants to read.  He also likes reading to his baby brother.  But he still looks forward to being read or reading with us. 

Mateo reads The Purpose Driven Life :)
I do not limit my kids to reading children’s books.  I read the Bible to my kids.  I read devotionals to them.  I read to them my books.  I let my eldest son read our magazines (on Catholic faith, interior decoration and design, parenting, gadgets), too.  When he wants to read my books or that of his Dad’s, we also let him.  So he gets to read the books of our favorite authors like Bo Sanchez, John Maxwell, Robert Kiyosaki, and Stephen Covey among others.  When we are walking or in the car, we read street signs, road signs, store signages and whatever we see around us.  When waiting at the doctor’s clinic, we read the signs in the hospital and those posted on the doors.  Reading is a big part of our lives.
3. Listen to music or make music. – Another activity that we love doing with our children is listening to music and making music by singing or playing musical instruments.  My kids had been exposed to music since birth – from Mozart to nursery rhymes, praise music to songs for the Mass, from folk songs to current popular songs (I screen the songs of course to make sure the songs we listen to do not contain words or themes that come in conflict with our family values.).

Yanthy rocks the house
as he plays with his drum set.
Our eldest likes to play keyboards, guitar, drums, harmonica, maracas… whatever musical instrument we would make available to him.  His Dad had a big influence on him because he sees his Dad playing the guitar so he like to play his own guitar whenever his Dad plays, too.  That’s why these days, song books and chord books are among the “books” Yanthy reads as well.  He has not received formal lessons yet in music.  So far, we have just exposed him to different kinds of music and musical instruments.  We expose him to different songs.  And we’ve noticed that he is gifted in music because he learns to sing songs fast.  He easily picks up the tune and he remembers the lyrics right away.  Sometimes, he learns the tune of a song after listening to it once or twice and he can sing lines of the song afterwards.  We notice this whenever we attend prayer meetings or the Mass because he sometimes sings some of the new songs we heard on the way home.

Since, this approach and methods had been effective with our eldest son, I plan to continue doing these things with our second child, Mateo, who shows interest in books and music also even at 6 months old. 
Mateo reads his big brother's book.

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