Wednesday, June 29, 2011

School Time with Little G

I've had a request to write a post describing how I handle school time with my almost-two-year-old.   I'm afraid that lately we haven't been very faithful to have a daily school time.  (We been scrambling around to get ready for a summer vacation)  but I'll go ahead and describe what it looks like when I'm feeling on top of things.

1.  M and G have entirely separate school times.  When I am working with one of them on the couch, the other is having a blanket time on the floor of the living room. 

I like doing it this way for two reasons:

a.  Part of the reason they look forward to school time is because it means one-on-one attention from me.

b. School time at our house is mostly reserved for working on basic skills (phonics, math).  Since M and G are at very different levels,  if I don't separate them, inevitably, the one whose specific skill set is not being worked on finds ways to distract.  (e.g., M will want to answer all of the questions I pose to G) 

We do most other educational activities in a fun, relaxed way together (reading books, birdwatching, little games,etc).

2.  I keep G's school time to a minimal 7-10 minutes.  The girls know that I expect them to focus hard during this time and to not be silly.  M (my almost-four-year-old) is able to concentrate for longer now, but that increase in endurance has come slowly.

3.  We stop right away when I can sense G is tired.  When they have been having a good school time for a while and then G starts to get a little silly or is unable to answer questions I know she knows, I end school time right away.  I try to be tuned in enough to her mood and ability to be able to cut it off right before she starts to fade so we can end on a positive note, but I'm not always able to.

4.  We start each school time with singing an educational song together with G in my lap.  (The alphabet song or another simple song from this list) It seems to work well as a transition into the learning mode.

5  Posture.  I require G to sit up straight while we work together on the couch and to keep her hands on her lap.  Some days this takes a lot of reminders.

6.  Movement.  Lately, I've been increasingly aware that G is just naturally more physically active than M was at this age.  One thing I've been trying to do to help her focus is to work gestures into our drills.  (I'm planning to write a post describing some of these and asking for your ideas sometime soon).

Another time, I may write a post describing our learning content, but hopefully, this gives you some idea of the basic structure of our school time.

I'm definitely learning as I go along, and I would love your input.  What tips have you found to be particularly helpful when teaching two- year- olds? 


Christine Gould said...

Thanks, Katey!  It's helpful to know how long (roughly) you can expect her to sit (sometimes).  :)  I would love to hear about your content, too, some day . . . no pressure!

Jackie said...

I like how you separate their times. My boys are just 20 months apart but the older one seems to always speak up while the little one doesn't always get a chance. I know he's learning but I need to focus on finding time just for him. 
Maybe it's because they are boys but they both require a lot of active movement during learning time. We use puppets, do a lot of acting out. Even when we don't move our whole bodies, I've found they like to clap or stomp along to what we are learning, reading, singing, etc. 

Jdaniel4smom said...

I love that you have included movement activities.