I haven't been working with Donna too much on official school type things. I'm of the mind that a stimulating home environment is equally valid at this age with any kind of seat work or real school type lessons. Ok, yes, sometimes I'm not very good at providing stimulation, either. But we always have books and toys, games and puzzles, tools and stuff, that active little minds can turn into any kind of learning opportunities. And kids have their innate curiosity and sense of discovery. Who needs a teacher at this age? No offense to any of the great pre-school and kindergarten teachers out there, but, well, there it is. Sorry.
But Sophie likes to play school with Donna and Inge. She pulled out some Kindergarden readers the other day for her "classroom." Since these books were out already, and since Donna is beyond ready, we've been working a little bit each day on reading lessons. Yesterday, Donna graduated from "a" to "i" in her reader. Today, she pulled out her Victory Drill Book to practice the "i" list. The Victory Drill Book is a compilation of lists of 100 words each. Each list, or drill, teaches a certain phonetic lesson.
Donna is easily sounding out her words, so now she likes to stop and talk about the meaning of what she is reading.
Today's drill lesson started with fib, win, sin. Donna didn't know what fib meant, since we don't often use that word. After I explained it, she continued on to win and sin. After she read sin, she stopped again. She pointed to fib and sin and said, "We shouldn't do this or this, but," she continued, pointing then to win, "This is a good thing."
When Donna got to rib, she wasn't sure what that was, so I tickled her on the ribs. Each time after that, when she got to the word rib, she giggled a little bit and said something like, "I don't want you to show me what that one means."
When names come up in the lists, I've always pointed out the capital letters, and explained that names must always start with a capital letter. Today we had Jim and Bill and Jill and Tim, for instance. That made a good lesson to point out the difference between Bill and bill. And when we got to Jim we talked about the Jims we know from our churches; and Jill C. is Donna and Inge's friend, Alexa's mom, so that was fun. My sister who we don't see often has a son named, Tim, so we talked about Cousin Tim, who we see when we go to Grandma Eskew's house.
The other game the kids have always enjoyed playing when we've worked with these drill lists, is to come up with places where the word order makes sense. For instance, today Donna found things like, "Sip did nip Tim." And, "Jim hit pin." The little ones often come up with some pretty cute combinations of things that make sense to them. And almost to me, too.
But my favorite part of all was Donna's little foot, which she kept looping over the hand she was using to hold the book. She'd then point with her toes at each word as she read it. She didn't notice anything strange about it, and I didn't say anything about it. But to me, this little action kind of epitomized the comfort of learning at home. My daughter, snuggled up around me, reading. We, being silly with the fun word games. And her, having the freedom to point at her words with her toes.
I am so blessed to be able to recapture some special school moments with my two remaining little ones.