One year ago today I was in my kitchen doing dishes when I got a phone call I had been waiting weeks for. My two year old son was on a waiting list to get into a Mom’s Day Out program, a list I put him on the day I found out we were having twins. His sisters were 3 months old, and trying to care for infant twins while feeding the brain of a brilliant, curious two year old was proving to be a bigger challenge then I thought it would be.
The call came, but it wasn’t good news. He didn’t make it off the waiting list. I bawled. I was counting on this 2 day program to fill my sons social and educational needs, while giving me a change to spend 10 hours a week caring for 2 children instead of three. I lost it, and cried for the better part of the day. But after I was done throwing my fit, I gathered myself and came up with a new plan to teach my son at home. These are what I call my “Lazy Mama” tips for homeschooling a preschooler, because they require minimum effort and get maximum results. And when you have 2 screaming babies, sometimes minimum effort is all there is!
1. Put it on the Wall. This is my best tip for getting your child to learn anything, simply put it on a poster on the wall. I firmly believe that hanging the alphabet on the walls of your home will significantly improve your child’s knowledge of letters. School supply stores have hundreds of learning posters to choose from, or you can make your own. We hang up a few focus point posters in the dining room, and they become part of every conversation simply by being there. My son knows all the basic geometric shapes, numbers 1-20, all the letters and every sound they make. Why? Because he spent a year staring at them on the wall. Try it, this really works.
2. Make it part of the routine. In those early days I would spend the morning nap time with my son “doing school”. He knew that as soon as the babies went to sleep, it was his time. Sometimes it would be a structured activity, sometimes we would sit at the table playing with play dough. Sometimes we would be in kitchen making cookies or in the living room playing blocks. It was all learning, it was all one on one. Because we were dependent on my daughters taking a good nap, the amount of time varied from 20 minutes to an hour or more. That was ok, because we still did some sort of learning activity every day.
3. Be flexible and creative. Use whatever you have around to to teach your children something. Are you driving in the car? Play a shape game and ask your children to find shapes in the objects around you. Are you at the grocery store? Play find the letters and have your child identify the first letter of each item you toss in the cart. Help them practice their basic preschool skills wherever you are, whatever you are doing.
While having a set preschool program, at home or away from home, is awesome, don’t let the lack of one stop your child from learning this year. There are so many opportunities to teach your kid in everyday life.
In January I finally got the call I was waiting for, and my son started Mom’s Day Out. While I love that program and believe that it has been great for him to be in a structured learning environment, I think those first 6 months at home were good for us. We learned how to be a family without the help of anything or anyone else. And he learned so much at home, we was a little ahead of some of the kids in his class! I would count that as a win for this Lazy Mama!
Dollimama is the mother of three, a three year old son and one year old twin daughters. She spends her days chasing children and doing laundry. She writes about the chaos of her Life Not Finished whenever she gets the chance.