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?