My youngest is 3. At times she is really excited about school. She loves the morning routine of calendar and the pledge of allegiance. Some days it takes some coaxing to do daily learning notebook. Most days she sings the hymn of the day with my older daughters and I from their curriculum. She loves the Bible verse memorization with actions. The other LOTW activities are hit or miss. Sometimes she loves them. She in general prefers the activities to coloring and tracing, but some days is excited or at least willing to do those pencil and paper activities.
But now that we are to D (going in recommended order so we did all the vowels first and are on week 8) she barely wants to do any of it and it has become a battle, a very disruptive battle. There are some of her sisters’ activities that she can be included in, but she gets bored with history and science text, even if it is in a living book the third grade material is too complex for her to follow. I have found some ways that got her excited for a day to do her work, but I think now that she has mastered her 0-10 counting and numeral recognition, sorting and letter matching she is bored with those things. Coloring doesn’t hold her interest for more than a minute or so. Puzzles she will do once. Her cutting needs more practice and that excites her. The do-a-dots she still likes due to the use of a dobber.
Thoughts? Ideas? Obviously we can work on numerals greater than 10, she has the counting down. Maybe I start her on Math-U-See Primer and just use letter activities? Maybe I supplement with activities? Maybe I try K-4? What do I do next year then? I have other worksheets that were given to me I try to work in, but she isn’t interested in pencil and paper.
At age 3 don’t force anything on her. The point of “school” at this age is to foster a love of learning. She will learn just as much through you playing with her, counting steps as you walk, pointing out colors as you play, letting her mix things in the kitchen, etc. don’t stress if you are not “doing school” as much as you want. Forcing school on her will only make her dislike it.
More and more day cares are calling themselves “preschool” to make parents feel better about sending their kids. But kids at this age learn by interacting with the world around them and playing.
I only do letter of the week with my 3 year old son when he asks for school. We are on letter C now and started 12 weeks ago. He loves most of the activities. But we don’t do the morning routine things or learning notebook because they don’t work for him. Instead we read a bible story and do a craft from Pinterest.
I also try to do more active games with him. for example, place four different colors of construction paper in four corners of the room and have him sort objects by running to each piece (we have a “colors” flash card set I use for this. Or hold up a number and have him count and hop that many times or take that many steps or clap that many times. 3 year olds were not designed to sit still and learn while they are getting their wiggles out.
I realize this is a highly personal preference as to when to begin “school” with your child (at what age), but if you are asking for opinions, I would say stop altogether unless she shows interest in joining in. At 3 years old, trying to include her in history and science text is most likely not going to work even with living books. Even daily learning notebooks (which I have also used) should not be coaxed into at this age in my opinion. Children at this age are learning so rapidly just through daily life/play and overhearing what older siblings are learning/doing around them. I am not surprised she is not interested in pencil and paper at 3 years old. Many schools of thought suggest not beginning formal school whatsoever until 6 years of age. I personally would stop everything, read lots of books out loud to her, offer her a few activities to choose from when she asks for them, but don’t coax her into anything. I also have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader and a 3 year old at home. We’ve been homeschooling for four years now, and I intend to go much slower into school with my 3 year old than I did with my middle child who jumped in too soon in order to keep up with his older sister (my doing). His Kindergarten year was more on track with a 1st grade year and his Pre-K year was actually a Kindergarten level year. If I had it to do over again, I would not have moved so quickly with him. I would have taken it slow and let him and myself enjoy those early years more. I will be doing that with my now 3 year old for sure. Again, this is totally opinion. Best wishes!
She wants to do school with us. I have tried to keep it optional and fun. I’m wondering if part of the problem is she is working the system because she knows I don’t force her to do things she doesn’t want to do. If I give her an activity she refuses to do, I keep making suggestions until I find one she wants to do, because she needs something to do while her sisters do school. I think she might be taking advantage of this and making demands to get attention and see if I will cater to her every whim. We have tons of different “busy bag” type activities, puzzles, educational toys and the LOTW stuff which is all fun and she has enjoyed doing and is capable of doing. Our family room adjoins our school room, she always has the option to go play, but she doesn’t want to leave us, so instead she stays and disrupts what we are doing. She does get to watch an educational show that focuses on early math skills in the afternoon, but I don’t want to just put her in front of the tv all day.
I’m thinking of giving her some activities to choose from maybe like a work box or tray system including LOTW options along with some educational toys and puzzles. When she finishes what she chooses to do for the day, she may quietly look through her books or go out to the family room and play. I can help give her directions when she chooses an activity, but I won’t be presenting her with ideas and trying to coax her to do them.
This sounds like a great idea. I would start there, and if she doesn’t want to do the activities you have provided then I would suggest she go find something to do in the adjoining room
When my dd was 3, staying with us while we did school (such as reading aloud history etc…) was a privilege, not a right. She was allowed to stay in the room with us as long as she did something quietly and didn’t interrupt. If she was disruptive, then it was roomtime (playing in her room with toys–not a free-for-all, I pulled out a few things for that 30 minutes). It took training, but gradually as the year went on, she stayed with us longer and longer. During our work times (math, handwriting, phonics etc…), I rotated bins of toys–things like math manipulatives, lacing beads, puzzles, play dough, and other educational but fun things to do. She would generally “work” for 10-15 minutes on an activity. I didn’t search for things that she would like at that exact moment–now it’s time for puzzles–but I did rotate things I thought she would enjoy. If she said, “No, I want to play dress-up,” I’d say, “now it’s time for puzzles, but you can play dress up in your free-play time before snack.” (I always put a few free-play times into our day, alternated with other predictable time frames to give the day structure.)
Man, your 3 yr old sounds very similar to mine! I feel like I have bent over backwards to provide her fun school things to do but as soon as she pulls something out she literally works on it for a few minutes and then doesn’t want to do it anymore. I can’t concentrate on my other kids because she is constantly asking me to allow her to do this or that and then doesn’t want to finish it and hen needs my help cleaning up or its a huge battle to get her to clean up. I absolutely can relate to what you are saying. I am praying for a solution because I’m pretty miserable during school!
Look into the homegrown preschooler. I just bought their curriculum and am looking forward to doing it with my 2 year old. It is mostly all play based.
I also have a tot shelf where I rotate “school time only” activitirs or toys. My son has the option to join us, read, go through his tot shelf, go in the other room, or request an activity. He keeps pretty well occupied, though some days are harder than others.
I do set out letter related items, but we don’t do anything formal. I switch it up every week, and we may talk about the letter and sound but again nothing formal. We’re working on getting our light table set up so that will be another option.
Here’s an update. I never got the work box theory organized. I did stop giving so many choices and took up more of a take it or leave it approach. I also started insisting that disruptive behavior meant having to leave our school room (she can play in the adjoining family room and I can still supervise her if I leave the door open). I also grabbed a few extra fun printables and she took up an interest in some little educational activity books that provided more variety.
Suddenly she was coming to me for activities and asking me for more, since she was no longer getting attention for refusing to do things. Then she started doing way more activities than I had ever planned for her in a day. She is loving school activities and begging to do school on the weekends.
All of this also coincided with a major growth in skills, her cutting and coloring especially improved and she was able to do these activities more independently, which is her favorite way to do things. Her personality is also really coming out more which is fun (except the strong-willed parts that were creating our issue, but we are making progress there).