Two weeks of first grade have passed and my first-grader and I are happy with our start. A lot has happened in these two weeks and It has in fact been quite busy, so Im thinking in the following weeks we are going to slow things down a bit :) Although it has been a lot of FUN! Our focus has been on fundamental learning, covering the subjects in our year-plan, with main focus on math and writing. Just before school started we received some textbooks and I have decided to use these for a limited time each day. The reason we are doing this is the importance of fundamantal, basic knowledge before I introduce her to more complex material. This way I can easely see and hear where her knowledge-level is and be sure of what is next on the agenda. By making sure I dont introduce her to knowledge she is not ready for, I reduce the risk of her feeling inadequate, which is not good for a childs natural learning-pregression. Taking the time to make learning FUN is well worth it :)
My daughter has been interested in numbers and letters for years, and a natural result is that the first pages of her textbooks was done pretty fast. When we came further out in the books, to things that she had to use more time on to understand, I make sure she really understands before we move on. A clue is to end the learning-session before the child gets tired or doesnt seem to want to learn at that point, and rather pick up the thread later with a different approach to that specific thing, to keep it interesting. An example is numbers. She knows the numbers in her mind and can count them out load, but when it comes to writing down the numbers from 11 and up, she needs practice. I decided to to make small pieces of paper (purple of course! :)), wrote on the numbers from11 to 20 and stuck them to our stairway with double-sided tape. This way she sees one numer for each step she takes and can easely see what it looks like on paper.
Our foreign language, which is English, can also partly be taught in a similar way. I make little pieces of paper and write "Bath", "Wall", "Book" and so on, on them and stick them to the different places on our house, in the car, in the childrens playhouse and so forth. Just to see if she paid any attention to the notes, I didnt ask her to read them, but simply gave her the opportunity to see the notes herself and read them, and she does! :) Our learning from textbooks and indoor-learning is however only a small part of our day. It is important to get up and about (with a balance of not being too busy), so much of our day is spent outdoors, exploring and discovering. Since the summer is slowly turning into fall, it has been a natural focus for us to learn about the leafs on the trees changing color, migratory birds, berries and fruit, harvest and other things that has to do with the season we are in. We are surrounded by wonderful nature and this is ideal for the way we teach and learn. Examples of trips are harvest-trips (raspberries is the favorite this fall!), fishing-trips and trips to a place we know where we can look at different types of birds. Daddy is above average interested in birds and gave his daughter her very own pair of binoculars last winter :).Friends and family are great company on some of our trips and outings, and the children seems to thrive when the adults really take interest in them and take the time to sit down with them, talk, answer and have fun WITH them :)
Our girl has always been a "learner", she askes questions all the time and this is a great way for me to help her on her way. I make sure I ALWAYS pause and take the time to give her the very best answer I can. If i dont know the answer, we check it up in books, internet or with someoner with knowledge on that area. It it so important to realize how much we get "for free" when we prioritze this. Since we officially started first grade two weeks ago (although it was not a huge transition from our life before) she has asked even more questions. It be what she reads in our school-textbooks, about measurements, about nature and so on. She is a very proud little princess and the fact that she is a REAL first-grader seems to have the effect of her wanting to gain even more knowledge. As long as it is the child itself that keeps the pace, and not the parent, it is good. My task is to inspire, facilitate and be there for her as a safe port and a loving parent.
This was a little taste of how we do things at the moment. Hope to inspire and encourage!