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Thread: New Here!

  1. #1
    Junior Member Newbie Sara Davis's Avatar
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    Aug 2020

    Default New Here!

    Hello, My name is Sara and I'm a stay at home mother of 2 littles. My daughter is 4 and son is 2. We just started this homeschool journey and are feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything. We are currently looking into the right curriculum for our daughter, right now she loves doing ABC Mouse and we do daily workbooks and puzzles. The program we seem drawn to the most has been Time4Learning but I'm concerned that it isn't enough and I want to make sure that we are providing the best possible (non religious) education. Can anyone weigh in on this program and if there are others that we might need to use in conjunction with this one to make sure our kids are learning everything (and more) that they need to know?

    Also, not sure if this is the correct area for the message but some days with her go really well, she pays attention and does her lessons happily. Other days are like pulling teeth, she purposely makes mistakes and refuses to do anything. I don't know if there is a "trick" or something I can do as a parent to get her to sit still and do her lesson without both of us getting extremely frustrated. Is there a website or book I can read to help with this situation? I always try to motivate her, she gets to pick a sticker after a good lesson and I encourage her during the lesson and praise her when she does a good job but sometimes it just doesn't matter and she's stubborn and completely unruly. (how do pre K teachers with 20 kids that age handle it?!). Please send help!!!

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  3. #2


    What your littles need for their preschool education is time playing with mommy and loved ones. If you want to put in more academic feeling stuff like phonics, math, and writing, go slow and gentle, disguise it as games, and dont expect it every day. Drawing is better than writing letters (for buildingn fine motor skills), counting up cookies or muffins or meatballs is better than worksheets, and you reading a picture book is far better than sitting her in front of a computer to “learn” something.
    If youre curious about the sequence for learning to read, ask! There are some pre reading things you can be doing.

    We used t4l for a couple months a few years ago, and it was the worst thing we had ever tried. It was scattered, there was zero retention, and I dont think my son learned anything other than how to game the system. They are a site sponsor (or they own it, I honestly dont know anymore), but that doesnt make them a better product.
    Learning with a caring adult is the way to go for these ages, an impartial computer screen cant engage!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    Welcome to the forum, Sara.
    I would keep the "learning sessions" extremely short for a four year old. Maybe 15 to 20 minutes. You've got tons of time. I agree with alexsmom^^^^. You can make the reading a bedtime thing and/or have a reading time(s) during the day.
    Lots of counting with cheerios/m&ms/etc., finger painting, sidewalk chalk, or cool whip if you do want to work on forming letters. Playing, singing, more reading, lots of playing, lots of art, etc. Lots of discussions about anything and everything.
    Some kids will enjoy the structured time and some won't; don't be afraid to switch gears and be done. Children are sponges and are learning all the time.
    You might check out Rebecca Rupp's book Home Learning Year by Year to write down some age-appropriate book titles. Your local library probably has some of them along with newer offerings as well. Rupp's book has extensive lists for each grade to tackle. Don't feel like your child has to achieve everything in that year. Every child is unique and will reach each academic milestone on their own timetable. So unless you want to drive yourself bat-shit crazy, force yourself to just let it go the majority of the time.
    Some kids are early readers, and if you feel your older child is ready for more in-depth materials, then you could solely focus on phonics, perhaps a reading program, etc. Totally up to you. But, due to her age, I would still move slow and steady through the materials, taking breaks when needed.
    I also lean toward making learning a game. If it can be disguised as that, then the learning is much more fluid. My daughter loved workbooks and just wanted her learning straight up. It's definitely what works best for **your** kids.
    We did use T4L for a short time. My daughter was just okay with it. She had already been on a computer since age 3 using educational discs that she viewed as games.
    Last edited by outskirtsofbs; 08-08-2020 at 10:40 AM. Reason: added thoughts

  5. #4



    You have got lots of good advice so far and I will just reiterate that. It is ok to "just" do play-based learning for at least the next couple of years with your oldest. Only move on to more formal reading and writing instruction when she wants to.

    If she does not want to sit still, do active things. Do you have a concrete area outside? One thing that my kids loved for math learning was drawing stuff out on concrete with chalk like the numbers or hopscotch or drawing shapes. Then playing games running or jumping around what they had drawn (hopscotch is obvious or if you have just drawn out a bunch of shapes you could do "find the circle" etc). You could also do letters on concrete. Finger painting. Play dough. All that can be used for numbers and letters.

    Science for that age is great for experimentation. Baking soda + vinegar is always fun and then add in things like food coloring and dish detergent and make bubbles and color with it too. Water playing pouring things and seeing if things sink or float.

    I have found the "...Lab for Kids" series good for active ideas for learning. For example, there is Gardening Lab for Kids, Outdoor Science for Kids, Math Lab for kids, and so forth. We also had a good one about outdoor math from our library but I can't remember what it was called. I would check out your local library and see what they have.

    Both my children did part-time preschool at various places with up to 30 kids up to age 5–6 but they were always play-based ones. So it was pretty much just learning based around songs, games, and activity stations set up doing the things like I have suggested above. I did not see a single workbook. All the kids seemed happy and they learned a lot. My children and happy progressing fine in their learning now.

    My youngest asked to learn to read at age 3 but she was not actually ready for the sitting down/sitting still that involved until just before age 5. To satisfy her want at ages 3–5, I just bought her some workbooks about writing and phonics that she could do whenever she wanted in whatever way she wanted, but I was not involved (i.e., she would just sit and do them on her own if she felt like it).

    Edited to add: My DD7 just reminded me about some other cool books. Rosie Revere's Big Project Book for Bold Engineers, and Ada Twist's Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists. There are also reading books that go with them. She was just sitting do a project out of the engineering one to make a catapult. Usually at this time (start of the day for us), she would be doing math, but she did not feel like it (felt like something more active). So I just let her. She will move onto math soon enough.

    So I guess in summary, the "trick" is, find the way that your kids enjoy learning so much that it does not feel like learning and do it that way. It might not be way that you envision or the way that you learn best, but it will save you all a lot of frustration. Make the box to fit the child not the other way round. And be flexible, if they want to do something different one, it is fine to just let them and they will get back to regular routine in time and be happy when they do.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 08-10-2020 at 04:55 PM.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

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