Sunday, April 6, 2014

This is how we do it (I don't feel bad about not teaching my kids)

When I quit teaching to become a stay-at-home mom, I was really concerned about my children learning stuff:  letters, numbers, maybe some handwriting, some math, and anything else preschool-related.  I even convinced myself I would teach Izzy to read this year.

But that just didn't really work out.

 This is what they would rather do!

And my first few months of staying at home, I was constantly disappointed in myself because I didn't feel like I was teaching anything to my kids.  I mean, come on.  I used to be a school teacher!  But, I just couldn't find the time to sit down and teach them "educational" stuff.

And it bothered me.  Why?  Now that I look back, I'm really not sure.

Maybe I was worried that my kids would get behind.  Maybe I was worried that they wouldn't measure up to other people's children.  Maybe I was worried that they wouldn't be smart enough.

But guess what....I really don't care anymore.

I heard a kindergarten teacher say not too long ago that it really doesn't matter how much kids learn by the time they reach kindergarten, because all of the children basically start over and then are taught at the exact same pace.

I read a statistic here, that said that by the time kids reach the 7th grade, they have already forgotten 90% of what they had learned in previous years.

I read here, that research shows there's no advantage for a child who learns to read at age 5 compared to a child who learns to read at age 7.  In fact, this article said, "Those who learned to read later had better comprehension by age 11, because their early play experiences improved their language development."

The more I observed my kids during the day, and the more I read articles about learning, I eventually realized that children will learn what they need to learn all in due time, and there's no need to worry about it. What kids do need to do this early in their life, however, is....


So, that's exactly what my kids do.  I don't sit them down and try to teach them academic stuff; they'll have plenty of time for that in the future.  I let them play.  They're kids!

And most of the time, it results in a ridiculously huge mess!  Oh well, it's part of it!

See what I'm talking about?

They love to play dress-up.

We try to go outside as much as possible, when the weather cooperates.  You never know what kind of learning opportunities will present themselves.

They love to dig.

We were looking at the little buds on the trees starting to bloom.

I think they were trying to catch butterflies.

Yes, Izzy's fishing.  In the front yard.

I've discovered that playing is one of the most important ways that children learn in their early years.  Through playing, they are able to use their imagination and exercise creativity.  They learn to communicate with each other.  They learn to care for each other.

Almost every time I take a picture of Addy smiling, the camera says, "Did someone blink?"

Now, here's what I'm focusing on instead of academics, since my kids are still preschool-age (and let me say that I am not perfect at this):  how to listen, follow directions, share, get along, etc., which all pretty much boils down to building character.

I don't know why I put this picture here; I just like it :)

We also work on how to accomplish common tasks around the house such as making beds, sweeping, wiping off the table, doing the dishes, vacuuming, folding clothes, and, here's the biggie:  picking up after yourself!

Do you like how Addy wipes the table?  Problem-solver.

They LOVE doing the dishes, thanks to Nana!

When they're playing, at some point in time I'll offer to read to them (reading, I believe, is so important), and they usually take me up on it.  Jared and I read to them just about every night before they go to bed.  I also sometimes read to them while they're eating breakfast or lunch; it's a great time to do that because they're sitting and not running around with a bunch of toys.

Then, when I see them reading (well, at this point looking at) books on their own, it just melts my heart!

Reading to Elmo.

If there's a time when they get bored, I'll offer play-doh, colors, beans (yes, I said beans, like dried pinto beans), something crafty, a game, etc.

Now, Izzy is almost 5.  She knows her letters, most of the letter sounds, her numbers at least through 20, she can add and subtract a little bit, she knows a lot of the shapes, she can color inside the lines pretty well, and that's all I can think of at the moment.  The point I'm making is that I've sat down with Izzy maybe a handful of times in her 5 years on this planet to teach her something educational.  The rest of the time she has just been a kid.  But she has still learned.

Learning at this age seems to happen naturally; through conversation and doing all sorts of things.  Learning does not have to be formal.

Tea party!

Playing doctor.


Addy's face cracks me up every time she shakes the cup.

So, for now, this is how we do it.  We play.

And I am okay with that.

What do you think?  I'd love to read your comments!


  1. Loved reading your blog!!! You are doing everything right I think! The girls are so lucky to have you and Jared loving and teaching them. Most kids learn from there parents and you two are doing a great job....Keep writing those blogs because I love them and I know others do too!!! Love you!

  2. Thank you, Joyce! I'm sure I'm not doing everything right, and I mess up a lot, but we all learn as we go! Love you, too!