Home School Heartbeat Radio Program

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All About Order
Volume 88, Program 33
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To structure or not to structure—that is the question! While homeschoolers of all levels face this question, it’s particularly pertinent for parents of young children. Join the discussion, today on Home School Heartbeat with HSLDA President Mike Smith and his guest, HSLDA program coordinator Vicki Bentley.

Mike Smith:
On our last program, we talked about early learning and some factors parents may want to consider as they decide when to start homeschooling. Vicki, can you discuss some of the pros and cons of structured learning for young students?

Vicki Bentley:
Well, Mike, if you mean structured learning as opposed to play-based learning, studies show that developmentally, young children benefit from—they really need—lots of physical and creative play: building, pretending, exploring, discovering, trying out their ideas. Remember, what looks like play to us is work to them!

If by structured, you mean having an outlined plan, many moms feel more comfortable having some specific goals, so I just encourage them to have age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate expectations.

For basic academics, foundational math encourages everyday mathematical thinking: things like counting and sorting objects, cooking, even setting the table is one-to-one correspondence!

Everyday language practice can include alphabet puzzles and notes to Grandma and telling you about their latest adventure, or cuddling up for read-aloud time. And if that’s not structured enough for you, then there are guides to help you plan a few activities based on some of those library books that you’re reading together, or on other interests your child has. For preschool through kindergarten or even possibly first grade, an hour of one-on-one structured learning time is usually plenty.

Vicki, thanks for those great insights! I look forward to continuing our conversation on the next program. And until then, I’m Mike Smith.

At the time of recording, this program was still in development. Our coordinator services have since been grouped under the You Can Homeschool banner.

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