From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


3/15/2012 2:34:50 PM
Vicki Bentley--HSLDA
Early Years: Homeschooling the Young Learner

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
March 2012--Homeschooling the Young Learner

---[ Encouragement and support right in your home ]-------------------

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Dear Parents of Young Children,

Do you sometimes second-guess your "credentials" to educate your child
at home? Parents, you come into homeschooling with the greatest
qualifications: a deep love for your child and a vested interest in
his success!

You Can Homeschool!

You've already been homeschooling your young child--you've taught him
to talk and you've taught him a variety of basic skills and character
lessons. If no one told you that your child had to go off to school,
what would you be doing with him? What are you already doing to
motivate, stimulate, and teach him? Explore ways to simply expand
what you are already doing in the context of that natural
relationship--sort of a "learning lifestyle."

Most young learners (especially preschoolers) want to play with toys
and pretend, so let them! This play is their work - their early
learning; it may look easy to us, but it's not all easy to them, and
it is developing their thinking skills and providing life experiences
to give them a frame of reference--sort of like hooks on which to hang
their future learning. But you pick the toys, so you shape the play.

Provide your child with stimulating, age-appropriate and
developmentally appropriate toys such as Duplos or Legos or building
blocks, thinking skills puzzles, art supplies, and life-skills

Everyday activities are helpful for your child's brain and skills
development. For example, working puzzles is a pre-reading skill.
Having him help put away his things in an orderly fashion is
classification and organization - basic science, math, and English

For basic academics, foundational math encourages everyday
mathematical thinking:
counting and sorting objects, cooking - measuring and pouring, or
dividing the pizza, counting out the M&Ms. Even setting the table is
one-to-one correspondence!

Everyday language practice
includes alphabet puzzles, notes to grandma, telling you about his
latest adventure, or cuddling up for read-aloud time. Don't be afraid
to select reading material that slightly stretches your child's
attention and reading levels; his receptive--or listening--vocabulary
is generally higher than his reading ability. Choose a variety of
books, from classic children's fiction, to biographies, to poetry, to exploration
of the wonderful world
around us. And if that's not structured enough, there are guides to
help you plan a few activities based on some of those library books
you are reading together, or on other interests your child has.

Because these are all things that happen in the context of everyday
living and his everyday play, it's much easier to move at the child's
natural pace and in his learning style. Visit our curriculum section for more everyday
activities to create an intellectually stimulating environment on a
shoestring budget.

Studies show that developmentally, young children benefit from
physical and creative play... building, pretending, exploring,
discovering, trying out their ideas.
While an outlined, structured plan is not a necessity, many parents
feel more comfortable having some specific goals, so I encourage you
to have age- appropriate and developmentally appropriate expectations.
In "What Should I Be Teaching?" you'll find a few resources
with suggested cognitive skills/concepts lists based on a traditional
K-12th grade structure, to give you a starting point.
An hour of one-on-one instruction is about the equivalent of three
hours in a conventional setting, so for preschool through kindergarten
or even possibly first grade, an hour of one-on-one, structured
learning time is usually plenty, supplemented with educational play
and exploration. (Of course, you'll want to be aware of any specific
legal requirements for your state.)

What about Extracurricular Activities for Young Learners?

What does your child enjoy doing? An art or music or creative movement
class might be a great outlet and inspiration. How much of a time
commitment is it? Start with a short-term activity such as library
craft day or the monthly kids' project day at the home improvement
store--activities your child can enjoy if it's a good day, but if
today hasn't been such a great day, you can skip it and just go next

Also, what's the focus of the class? At this age, you're looking for
low-pressure activities to let kids explore their options, get out
some energy, learn some new basic skills, and develop godly character.

Don't overcommit or overstimulate your early learner. Keep your
family's schedule in mind. Is that class at a convenient time, or is
it going to disrupt nap routine or mealtime or bedtime? Not all kids
are ready for this level of outside commitment, so just use your
judgment and don't feel pressured. Waiting a few years generally won't
stunt her progress if she is truly gifted in, say, music or dance. But
if your child is ready to step out, then with the right focus, a well
chosen, low-pressure extracurricular activity can complement her
cognitive learning.

Remember--you can homeschool!

Vicki Bentley


"Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure
and right." Proverbs 20:11 (NIV)


"You Can Homeschool thru the Early Years!" (article and brochure )

"What to Do with a Child Before Age Ten" by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn

"What to Do with Your Preschooler/Early Learner" by Vicki Bentley

"Mommy, Teach Me!" by Barbara Curtis

"Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready" by June Oberlander

"What Your Child Needs to Know When" by Robin Sampson

"The Virginia Home Educator, Preschool Edition," Vol 16, Issue 4

"The Smarter Preschooler: Unlocking Your Child's Intellectual
Potential" by Renee and Mike Mosiman

"Keeping Preschool in Perspective" (The Homeschool Handbook, Nov/Dec 2011 issue, page 18 )

Additional Preschool Resources


"We're not trying to do school at home. We're trying to homeschool.
These are two entirely different propositions. We're not trying to
replicate the time, style, or content of the classroom. Rather, we're
trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes
place from morning until bedtime seven days each week. The "formal"
portion of each teaching day is just the tip of the iceberg." (Steve
and Jane Lambert of Five in a Row , as quoted at Holy
Spirit-Led Homeschooling )


If you're at a convention
this season, please stop by the HSLDA booth so we can meet you in
person (and it's a great time to join HSLDA or renew your

"10 Ways to Get the Most From Homeschool Events" (Teaching Home
e-magazine, February 2012)

"Getting the Most Out of Your Homeschool Convention" by Vicki Bentley
-> You can only do so much...

No one can be everywhere at once. And you can't be at home,
teaching your children, while monitoring your state's legislature.
Through electronic legislative services, HSLDA is monitoring state
legislation for you -- watching and listening carefully for any
proposed laws that could erode your right to homeschool.
Join HSLDA today-we'll watch out for your future.

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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