Ally is at an age where many of her friends are attending school. We have intentionally kept her at home with the intention to home school her till she’s ready for K1. One of our main reasons for keeping her at home was for Ally and Max to spend time together.
I use the term “home schooling” very loosely because I don’t follow a specific curriculum. I borrow a lot of ideas from here, and here Preparatory Weekly themes for ages 2-4. and letter of the week preparatory curriculum.
We do not schedule set times for lessons, its hard to do that with Max around since the duration of his naps are never fixed. Since toddlers have naturally curious minds, we take that as a starting of point for our learning. Ally usually asks ” What are you doing Mama?’ and ” why mama?” at least 20 times a day. Depending on the situation, I let her get involved if its age appropriate. For example, she likes to come into the kitchen when I’m preparing meals, sometimes she helps me wash the vegetables, other times she measures out cups of rice. We count how many carrots we’re washing, the different colors of the vegetables/fruits and how much liquid is needed for the soup. This isn’t always possible since there are times I’m rushing to get a meal on the table. Other times we’re interrupted by Max who is usually very good about entertaining himself.
The kids go almost everywhere with us, we don’t have a helper at home so they follow us to the supermarket, the bank…etc I’m proud to say that Ally knows how to behave properly when we’re dining in a restaurant. She will say ” please” and ” thank you” to the service staff and always greets the hostess at the front door.
Every bath time is an opportunity for water play. Old plastic bottles, an inexpensive scoop and a plastic bath are perfect for hours of water fun. Painting is limited to the bathroom as well, makes clean up a whole lot easier. Sometimes Ally decides that her paint brush is a drum stick and her plastic tubs are drums, she will happily transform herself into a one man band, singing and drumming to the beat.
I know many parents are always worried about their children falling behind academically. Honestly, there are moments when I wonder if I’m short changing her by keeping her at home. The Singaporean in me starts to feel this kiasu twinge, thank goodness for my dear husband who is always reassuring and comforting. He was raised in a totally different education system, no pressure is placed on the children to excel at a very young age. The children he went to school with might not be as academically advanced as a Singaporean child, but they were mature and street wise beyond their years.
Its so easy to get caught up in the rat race that our dear country is so famous for. Parents are willing to shell out their hard earned money to send their children to the best enrichment classes around. I personally have nothing against enrichment classes, but I don’t believe in hot housing my children. I remember an incident at our neighbourhood playground, we had taken Ally there as usual and we met another little girl and her father. She was about Ally’s age and was just standing at her father’s side, unsure of what to do with the playground equipment. It was only with the father’s coaxing and instructions did she start playing. It made me sad to see that there are some children who have to be taught to play.