This is my second year of homeschooling a preschooler. After completing one year with McKenna who believes she should actually be teaching me, I’m expecting this year to go much more smoothly with my youngest. Sawyer tends to be a little more easy going than his sister who has been wearing the same rotation of dark pink (and only dark pink) dresses since last winter and he also still thinks that I know a thing or two. With one year complete and another underway, the number one tip I would give to someone new to homeschooling a young child is:
Use what your child knows
Since Sawyer is my newest little student and he happens to be in love with Thomas the Train, we’ve been incorporating trains into his learning from the day he began. We’ve counted with trains and sang songs with trains and read books with trains and pretty much worn our own train track into the carpet of the house. Here are a few of our favorite activities to sneak in some learning with Thomas the Train:
T is for…
1. Help your child make the shape of a T with his trains, arranging them in a line horizontally and then a line vertically.
2. As you make the T also repeat the sound that a T makes.
3. Explain that T is for train and then help your child think of more letters that begin with T. As they master the T sound, ask them to think of a letter that begins with T for every train they place into the T formation. Once they have mastered the T sound you can also use the trains or train tracks to make other letters and go over their sounds as well.
1. Talk about patterns with your child, if you are just beginning to introduce patterns try something simple like red/blue/red/blue.
2. Help your child make a pattern with their trains, if you don’t have enough trains for a pattern you can cut them out of construction paper and have your child arrange them on a table.
3. As your child masters their understanding of a pattern try making it more complicated or introduce different types of patterns like train/caboose/train/caboose. You can also try this with train tracks too, alternating the types of tracks you connect.
Tell me a story
1. Pick your child’s favorite book about trains and let him or her tell YOU the story.
2. Encourage your child to look at the pictures and make up a story about what is happening.
3. If you pick a book that your child is familiar with like mine is with Thomas and Friends you can start introducing book-related words like “characters,” explaining that Thomas is a character in the book and asking who the other characters are in the story.
4. This is also a good time to introduce the beginning, middle and end of the story. If your child is like mine and you’ve read the book over and over and over again they will have a much easier time learning these concepts.
1. Let your child be Thomas (a cute Thomas t-shirt helps), standing in the front of a line. Stand behind him or her, making the rest of the train, if you can recruit a few siblings it’s even better.
2. Chugga-chugga choo-choo through the house and let your child point to objects and tell you what they are.
3. If you are working on a certain letter let them lead you through the house finding things that begin with that letter. If you are teaching colors, name a color and ask your child to take the “train” to something that color. You can really get creative with whatever you are currently teaching and let your child take the lead in learning.
No matter what you decide to do with your kids, if you keep in mind what their favorite things are and incorporate them into learning, the day will be much more fun for you both!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mattel. The opinions and text are all mine.
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