Most homeschooling Moms, especially new ones, can attest to the fact that every once in awhile you get bit by the “curriculum bug” and suddenly feel like you should be doing more, planning more activities, having more structured learning time. Since I believe in parenting by instinct, but I also don’t believe in forcing a curriculum on a child, I respond to the urge to DO these activities by offering them to my daughter, and seeing where the learning takes us.
Last night, I was up late and ended up browsing all these ridiculous sites on 18 month olds who knew all their shapes, colors, and were learning the alphabet. Their devouted mom-teachers gave them flashcards, activity trays, montessori this, waldorf that. I thought back to our busy week of family visiting, how we were so busy running around with holiday activities that I hadn’t really taken time to focus on learning and I thought “wow, we better DO some activities this week!”
The unschooler voice in my head whispered “she was learning, she is so much more personally interactive, social, talkative… she has learned several new words each day and is starting to form sentences”…but still, I was bit by the DO bug and there was no going back.
I kept it low key, drew a few triangles on a page, showed her what they were, that they had three sides, what the word triangle looked like. I thought about spending a week focusing on “triangles” and finding them all over our house, nature, building them out of dried macaroni, etc.
At about the third triangle, Miriam was done watching. She grabbed the pens out of my hands and started to draw on the triangles. Trying to save my “curriculum” I drew two or three more triangles. She drew on those too. Then I let go, let her scribble sat back and enjoyed watching her.
What I noticed is, recently she has been focusing her coloring on top of things I draw. Not really “in the lines” (like I would ever force coloring in the lines)… but definitely drawing on my drawings. She even used two colors to draw on the same spot, filling in that area fairly well. She learned to put the caps back on the markers, so her fine motor skills are building! Today she shoved a chopstick through the hole in a cheerio.
I will not fill her week with triangles, I will not force her to do fine motor exercises. I will enjoy her and will give her objects like chopsticks and markers and cheerios to play with. Maybe she’ll learn some more new words. Maybe we’ll just run around and play . It’s up to her, and as long as my curriculum bug stays out of her way, she’ll do just fine.