As a mother who believes in hands-on education, I am pretty much enthralled by the vast variety of products these days to match any child’s learning style.
During a child’s early years, parents actually need not spend on hefty enrichment programmes or specifically place them in supposedly extremely branded preschools. What they need a lot of is love and time. The resources are a bonus if parents would be keen to invest.
I started to build my resource library since my teaching days and I am somehow glad the fetish lasted for till today, it has served me well and my children are fortunate to have had their hands on these treasures for some of the resources are either no longer in production or no longer in print or the company/manufacturer itself may have closed down already.
Since I’ve an abundance of these learning materials, I started on a daily routine with my girls to each have at least 3 to 4 hours of hands-on activity followed by outdoor play. Hands-on activities allows children plenty of room to learn without almost realizing that they are learning or studying. In Montessori terms, we call it “working” (on materials). They were homeschooled using the Montessori Method of Education.
Our timetable since preschool years have served us well till today. Our simple daily schedule was simply :-
Monday : Language Arts Tuesday : Math Wednesday : Mother Tongue Thursday : Science Explorations Friday : Craft & Music
Not many may know that children actually thrive on routine and they like having some order in their lives. Children of preschool age can help make the schedule too. They can decide what they would like to do first if they are old enough to know what they want that is. Simple visual cards can be placed left to right, with or without time range as a header.
My girls look forward to it and slowly as they grew, they were also allowed to amend the schedule to their preferred order.
A timetable to organize our wants and needs a little clearly can come in handy especially when it comes down to power revision in a mere one month!
A timetable offers time management assistance with a specific target time frame. This way, we can pursue small successes at a time. Needless to say, it can also be a good form of reflection on what has been done and what has not.
So what was our Revision Timetable for last December hols?
Last December holidays went by in a flash and we realized how much more effective revision we could’ve done within the month; if
1. We didn’t need to do housework 2. I didn’t need to breastfeed the boys 3. There’s alternative caregiving to watch over the babies 4. Don’t have to cook and clear up 5. Try not to play too much 6. Try not to read storybooks 7. Don’t sleep
7 is my favourite number so whatever lists I need to come up with I try to have 7. There can be more or perhaps less… but a list of sevens would be just nice. LOL!
I have 4 children aged 11, 9, 2 and 9mths old.
No matter how I try to strategize or prioritize, whether I like it or not… different things take priority each day.
Sometimes it’s one of the children who had fallen ill or worse still, all of them! Other times, it could be the boys not wanting their naps. It may not be just the mundane housework. Occasionally, there are days with totally no priorities. They are called lazy days, where we just wanna chill out and do nothing or just go all out to play… at the risk of piling on the other responsibilities.
So did we get any work done at all last Dec? Yup. We did. It was quality work. Quality work counts for more in our household that’s always pressed for time rather than the quantity of work.
If children are taught to declare work for the afternoon once they return home from school, they can already plan how they can complete their work before the moon beckons sleep. My girls knows how to put on the table all their communication book and homework (preschool) or pupil diary and homework (primary) when they reach home, so can gauge how much time roughly needed to be able to complete them (if any). If not that much work, should they decide on a power nap first… they will do that. If too tired, also still have to nap first. If a lot of work must prioritize. They collate all ambiguous or difficult questions to ask hubs or myself at the end of the afternoon to look at them together at one go, instead of always coming to us at every difficulty. This way, they require no hawking over their time with work and encourage discipline plus the fact that they are responsible for their work.. to know/understand their work. Of course there will be days where we may need to repeat concepts when we find they lost their way in certain areas and that’s about it.
The girls have been quite good lately keeping up with a new skill. To complete homework in school. This way they have more time at home.. to either just sleep/rest.. revise.. or go outdoors to play. At times, we meet up with our close friends on weekday afternoons too.
The thing to note is no matter what tool or skill one uses to prioritize or plan for what’s ahead, it will not work without discipline. Lucky thing for our household is that I started early and started them really young. Children thrive on routine more than you know it… and you’d realize once they grow older, the timetable has been ingrained in them it is almost automatic.