Samuel is our third child and such a sweetie pie. He is four years old, turning five in September. He loves learning and spending time with me one-on-one. Even though I have always thought that traditional schooling doesn’t need to start early (because kids naturally thrive in an educational and loving environment), Samuel and I do some structured activities together because he enjoys them. The rest of his “education” is based on living, asking questions, and playing.
Here are some of the things he is currently enjoying:
We have a nice selection of children’s books and we also visit at least one library most weeks. He really likes being read to, and there are four of us who can do it! His 16 year old sister, Maggie, is an avid reader so she’s always happy to read to him, Stephen and I enjoy sitting down with him and reading before bed, and Joshua will read to him when prompted.
He generally thinks he is able to play any and all board games if just given the directions, so we have the challenge of making all games four-year-old-friendly, which we don’t always succeed at. lol We make games sometimes, fully customized to the child’s interests and these are always a big hit.
Places with Animals
Going to pet stores, Zoo Atlanta, the Tennessee Aquarium, and nature preserves are a big hit with him and have been for a long time. Of course, going anywhere outside during the summer months is out unless there is water to play in, so we are looking forward to getting a zoo membership* again in October. Until then, we’ll be looking at indoor animals at PetSmart and such. If we didn’t have a newborn, we’d also go ahead and get another membership at the TN Aquarium (we had one all last year), but we’ll be waiting a few months more before driving that far with her.
*If you homeschool in GA, be sure to get the educator’s discount by showing your Declaration of Intent form when signing up for a membership.
We do art projects and crafts to reinforce letter and number recognition. He loves glue, watercolor paints, glue sticks, and various craft supplies so I usually just draw the outline of a letter or number and then let him go to town with the decorating of it. Of course, I’m usually sitting there doing one, too because it encourages him to see what I’m making. ;)
Lately, he’s been learning different card games thanks to Maggie. She taught him how to play Go Fish and the memory game. He asks to play them regularly. He is SO proud when he makes a match! It’s super cute.
He loves watching television as much as most kids do so I look for shows and movies that are positive, if not educational for him to watch. Madeline, The Magic School Bus, and Max and Ruby are just a few of his current favorites. He also likes to watch The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island with us. :)
He gets an allowance of $2 a week. It’s interesting to see how he chooses to spend or save it. Usually, if something is just one dollar, he is willing to part with it, but it’s hard for him to spend more when he has more. We’re working on coin names, but at the moment, they’re usually all just “pennies.” hehe
These workbooks are what make him feel like he is doing “school” like his big brother and sister. ;) They’re just for basic writing practice and such, but the pictures are really nice and the colors super vibrant.
A few of his favorite things to do outside at the moment are: playing with water in the wading pool, helping “stir” the fire when we do one in the fire pit (to toast marshmallows or roast hot dogs), and blowing bubbles.
I’m not so sure how educational it is but he finds it to be extremely stimulating so I decided to add it here. His imagination runs wild when given a hunk of Playdoh! Sometimes, he just uses one color and makes a monster with it and then creates a whole storyline from it, and other times he plays with four or five colors as well as a handful of action figures.
He absolutely loves playing pretend. Independently and with others, he is ALL about pretending! Right now, he is into blocks, baby dolls, pretend food, stuffed animals, action figures, and costumes. Interestingly, he doesn’t get out his toy cars or wooden train anymore even though I would think, at his age, that he would…perhaps he over-played with them as a two and three year old and they no longer hold appeal? Oh well, I’m sure they’ll make a comeback. ;)
So, that’s what homeschooling Samuel looks like at the age of 4½! We don’t have a routine, but he gets lots and lots of opportunity for learning and stimulation. He is very outgoing and is a great conversationalist, so he’s a lot of fun to talk to. He loves to give explanations as much as he likes asking the questions, which makes us laugh often. :) He’s a sweetie pie! Did I already mention that?