Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lessons in Regular Life

People often tell me my kids are so smart...and although I think they are innately brilliant (ha, ha)...I have to admit that I 'work' with my kids all the time. However, I rarely sit down and do structured academics with them (even our 10yo). I take whatever we are doing and use it to learn something new or practice something old.

For example....
Learning left and right...
Our 3yo is really interested in this so we ran with it (tip!). The best place to practice this skill is in the car (since you naturally make lots of turns). I start by telling him which way I am turning (running commentaries are good!). Later, I ask him which way we are turning (and correct him, if necessary). We have taught him that right is with the hand he writes with (sorry, lefties). And ask him to raise his hand on the correct side. We also say they we are putting on his left shoe or mention that his is eating with his right or his sister is sitting on his left, etc.

Making print important....
One step in learning to read is understanding that print/words are important and tell important information. Therefore, I point out print and tell them what it says (often running my finger under the words). For example, our 3yo noticed a Wet Floor sign on the floor at a restaurant. He asked what it said...I told him and he repeated it. Next time we saw it, I asked him what it said. We also look at street signs while driving and see what they say (like hospital, library, stop, street signs).

Counting...
You can count anything (and count almost anything backwards). Our 1yo likes to count but in the wrong order...and that's ok. Since our 3yo can count into teens (not too precisely), we ask him to count things...like you can pick 5 books at the library or you need to eat 10 more peas. Our 10yo (obviously can count) so we use a lot of real life math all the time (cooking is great for this, or shopping, figuring out times, etc.).

Honestly, I often do not even think about what I am doing. I am simply talking to my kids (we talk a lot---that's a great strategy for ALL types of learning (social, cognitive, emotional, motor, literacy, language)). But in retrospection, I think they have learned a lot about lots of stuff through simple everyday occurrences and play. So, relax about what your child is learning and get involved with them and use opportunities as they arise!

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Jenna, you are such a good mom. All your blog entries illustrate that fact. Those kiddies are very lucky to have you.