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Structured school or "free" for your toddlers?


Forum: Homeschooling

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  #1  
June 2nd, 2009, 07:52 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Do you do structured school time for your toddlers, or is it all free time for them? My DD is turning 3 this fall, and I'm wondering if I should make learning time (though frankly, she's learning all the time) structured or not. Kids seem to thrive on structure, but I wonder if it's too early for a three year old.
Thoughts?
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  #2  
June 2nd, 2009, 09:37 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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We do Tot School which is guided play basically. We wouldn't do anything formal at all if it wasn't for Fritz demanding it. He thinks he's the same age as his big siblings.
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  #3  
June 2nd, 2009, 10:34 AM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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Both. Ben's 3.5 years old right now. He's on a 1st grade level for reading, math, and science, but he hasn't really done much writing. He has plenty of playtime, and he directs what he wants to learn on a particular day ... like, for example, elephants ... but every Monday (or Tuesday if Monday won't work), we have 1-1.5 hours of "structured" time where we do the week's Bible lesson, a little of each subject (that includes his theme... like reading a book about elephants), and some computer time (we'll google elephants and do some prek/k websites). Throughout the week, I'll reinforce what we learned, but it's mostly verbal. I'm not sure what I'll do this fall. I've considered buying a formal curriculum, but I haven't decided. He'll be 4 on Dec 1st.

Last edited by BensMom; June 2nd, 2009 at 10:37 AM.
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  #4  
June 2nd, 2009, 12:16 PM
4boys
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When mine show an interest I work with them a little bit. It's mostly spontaneous like arranging magnetic letters on the fridge, or drawing them on the magnadoodle. Toby really wanted to have school books so at age 3 I got him the youngest ones from Handwriting without Tears and Explode the Code. Ben is now 3 and I've just made him a basket of crayons, papers and stickers to play with while we do school. When he wants a real book, I'll get him one. We've also done lots of Learn to Read at Starfall - teaching comprehension and phonics with the little ones.
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  #5  
June 2nd, 2009, 03:26 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4boys View Post
When mine show an interest I work with them a little bit. It's mostly spontaneous like arranging magnetic letters on the fridge, or drawing them on the magnadoodle. Toby really wanted to have school books so at age 3 I got him the youngest ones from Handwriting without Tears and Explode the Code. Ben is now 3 and I've just made him a basket of crayons, papers and stickers to play with while we do school. When he wants a real book, I'll get him one. We've also done lots of Learn to Read at Starfall - teaching comprehension and phonics with the little ones.
Yes, Ben LOVES reading the starfall stuff! I just wish they had more... especially the music one. There are only 6 composers listed.
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  #6  
June 2nd, 2009, 06:56 PM
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I have a special time with each child every day- or at least I try! I usually do Tot School with them, which is just what Heather said, structured play. We bring out toys that I keep special for these times and they are usually learning toys. I make a general plan for the week of things I think they'd like to play with during the week and I try them out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I make a theme and structure play and activities around that theme. Sometimes I just wing it and we do whatever we feel like. The rest of the day, they can do whatever they wish, although our day is generally scheduled out anyways with naps, lunches, etc.
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  #7  
June 2nd, 2009, 07:47 PM
janaleigh's Avatar Member
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At that age we did not do structured school time but I was working towards self control and creativity. Each child would have room time-we worked up to 1 hour where they would play independently in their room. I made sure they had a limited choice of toys so it wasn't a free for all (and every couple of days I'd rotate to a different box of toys.)

I set a timer and increased the time each day. It was wonderful to see them mature and learn to play by themselves and have the self control to stay in their rooms. With just a few toys, they didn't get overwhelmed and they came up with some neat play ideas. Later on this lead to reading- time so it paid off big time.

I'm a pretty structured person so the day was broken down into little pieces. They seemed to find security in knowing what was next. I think if your child is showing readiness for formal learning then by all means give them small pieces.
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  #8  
June 3rd, 2009, 12:46 AM
Momma Jo's Avatar Monsters Ed
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Location: South Africa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butter View Post
We do Tot School which is guided play basically. We wouldn't do anything formal at all if it wasn't for Fritz demanding it. He thinks he's the same age as his big siblings.
Ditto, I do child let playing though. I put activities out for him, show him how it "works" and then he plays. At this point I won't be doing any parent led activities till he is around 4 years old.
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  #9  
June 3rd, 2009, 07:05 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jolenecmom View Post
Ditto, I do child let playing though. I put activities out for him, show him how it "works" and then he plays. At this point I won't be doing any parent led activities till he is around 4 years old.
That's what I mean by guided play lol
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Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008)
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  #10  
June 3rd, 2009, 08:38 AM
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I just try to teach him things throughout the day. I'll start worrying about more of a structure when he's closer to 4.
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  #11  
June 3rd, 2009, 10:06 AM
Momma Jo's Avatar Monsters Ed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butter View Post
That's what I mean by guided play lol
Oh sorry, I didn't get much sleep last night
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