Curriculum for the Little Ones
So often the question comes up, “What to do about buying curriculum for my little one?” Especially for parents who have known they would be home educating long before their first child was conceived, the desire to jump into this exciting world is so great ~ the excitement is too much to bear.
But please bear it!
Depending on when you start, your first year or two of education does not need formal curriculum. There are other things to do with this time, to get your household ready for future years of heavier duty and more formal study.
Start With You
This ‘getting ready’ year is the time to get you ready first. What, in your life, needs a little shoring up? Is your daily quiet time consistent? What part of it needs strengthening? What about your response to your husband? Are you respectful? Submissive? Do you answer with a kind heart? Where do you need to work?
How’s Your Household?
Are you an honest steward over what the Lord has provided you through you husband? Are you feeding your family nutritious food? Do you have a system in place that keeps your household humming along? Where are your skills lacking? What are you going to do about it?
Work on Your Children (Training, Routine, Work Ethic)
Are they a joy to be around? If not, why? What are you going to do about it? This is the time to shore up obedience and character issues. If necessary, tomato stake your child and work hard to raise up a little one who is a joy to be around. If you dread that he’s a trial now, it’s only going to get worse unless you do something about it. And sooner is always better than later.
Get your child on a good routine. It doesn’t have to be a formal time table scheduled down to the minute. A general, predictable order of go is plenty. Be sure that a variety of activities are included in his day, including active, companion, solitary, and creative types of play. Play near you, and play in his/her room. Daily quiet time, reading or napping in bed.
Don’t forget to teach him how to work. Yes, it is certainly easier to clean your 5 year old son’s bedroom and/or bathroom yourself. However, a little effort on your part now will leave you thankful later when you could use a little help and can send your right hand young man/lady to be a blessing. (There have been times when ‘life has happened’ and I’ve been able to dispatch my crew of 4 to whip the whole house into shape and get a meal going with in 30 minutes!)
In all of this training remember ~ these things must be done cheerfully, right away, and to the best of the child’s ability. Partial, slow, or half-baked effort doesn’t count and needs to be disciplined!
A special note about routines – whether yours, your household or your child’s routine. Establish them sooner rather than later. Start small, one little piece of routine at a time. Even if you start with nothing, by taking baby steps you can have things in order and humming along within a few months. Routines established now will serve you well for the rest of your life.
OK, but you want to be working with your child, finally breaking into ‘home education’. You’ve read 52 books on the subject, and know all about styles, theory, and methodology. Curriculum catalogs grace your bedside table, and you can’t get enough home educating blogs, magazines, and forums. You are simply burning to order curriculum.
Don’t do it. It’s not necessary . . . yet!
First things first – establish a curriculum category into your budget and start letting it build up for next year. Peruse a few catalogs, do some research and figure out about what you think it will cost to purchase the curriculum you may want to use in a year or two when you really need to buy something. Round up the figure, and then divide it by 12. Then round that figure up. Start depositing that much into your curriculum ‘bucket’ each month.
Yes, yes, yes, but you want to start home educating your child!
OK, OK. While your budget is building up, have a great year with your little one.
Prepare breakfast together, go to the library, and read out loud - a lot. Books about history, science, classic stories, etc. Teach the sounds that the letters make and their names. Get things like crayons, buttons, and legos, and teach how to sort and classify according to color, size, etc. Make patterns with them and have your child copy your patterns. Then have your child make the patterns. Count them, add groups of them. Put various art/craft supplies out and let your child have at it.
So many rush into heavy curriculum right away, but it's not necessary, and this is the perfect time to get other foundational things in line so they're habit by the time you're ready to dive into heavier loads.
Better to take this time than later to establish a schedule because you’re chaos while your disobedience and lazy/argumentative character issues all at once.