Sunday, July 27, 2008

HomeSchool - Creating an environment to learn in

Our small attempts at homeschool are have been giving really encouraging results. T may not know her ABCs and 123s but knows a whole lot of practical life skills. She can get her slippers by herself and put them on. She can pour liquid only spilling occasionally. She knows how to self feed, but is often too lazy to do it. She's aware of her daily routine and reminds us when time is due to bring her to the park, give her a shower, etc...

One evening we were getting ready to bake and she can recall the basic ingredients and knows where to get the flour, milk, egg, mixer.... Actually, I forgot about the egg and she was the one who when to the fridge and called out Egg, Egg !!!
How I wish those entrance interview to nursery would ask her for the ingredients of a butter cake rather than to name the colours. Hmm... perhaps I should just enrol her into SHATEC instead.

I really want to embrace the Montessori approach of letting kids learn how to do thing for themselves, as I do clearly see T being more independant and mature than most kids her age. It is relatively easy for me to bring her out myself as she knows how to behave in public, knows what the limits are and I seldom have to raise my voice at her.

Having said that. We used to store T's toys in plastic storage boxes and stacked the boxes up. When she wanted to play with something, she would point at a particular box and say : "This, This, This". Its not always that we know exactly which box she wanted and this causes some frustrations for both of us.

So after reading some Monterssori books, I decided to sacrifice our already tiny dining area and use half of it as T's homeschool area. This weekend, cousin AhBeeJie helped me shop for some shelves and together we assembled them up and displayed T's toys on them. (These shelves were being sold as shoe racks and only cost less than SGD 15 each)

Now all of T's toys are within her reach and she has free access to them anytime of the day. She was so pleased when she woke up from her nap and found this play area (Yes, we went out to buy and racks, assembled them and displayed the toys all within 2 hours, thanks to my little 10 yr old helper).

Having all toys out in the open may mean more cleaning and tidying up for us, but I hope that with time, we can teach T to use her 'freedom' appropriately, choose wisely, and be responsible for her own toys. IE, putting them back into their allocated place on the shelf by herself. I've already noticed today that she is playing with a wider variety of toys than she used to. (This is partly our fault, as in the past, we were unwilling to open more than 1 storage box a day, and very reluctant to access to most bottom box as that means having to lift and move 4 others first)