Since my husband and I have decided we are going to homeschool our child, we did not sign him up for preschool. He already knows his alphabet, whether the letters are in or out of order, capital or lower case. He knows his shapes and colors, and can count to fourteen. We figured since we introduced learning into everyday activities with the intention to homeschooling we didn't need to spend the money for preschool. For those of you big on socialization, fear not for he does wonderfully with other children. My child has no qualms about introducing himself to new children and plays wonderfully with his friends.
We recently had a discussion about what to focus on currently in order further his foundation prior to kindergarten, coming to the conclusion that it was time to concentrate on the numerical value of numbers: the number ten looks like 10. I tried using children's books we own about counting and numbers, but his attention span wavered. The process became quite frustrating. This past Monday I took my three and a half year old to the local library to check out the upcoming events calendar only to be pleasantly surprised at a section completely dedicated to homeschooling! Not only are there books for parents wishing to homeschool offering guidance in what to expect, but there are topic oriented totes available for checkout, too. The topics range from transportation to weather, bugs to music, and weights and measures to history. The totes are all labeled with the age group they are geared towards, containing a compilation of more than a dozen books with flashcards, toys, puzzles, and/or pictures to provide a completely rounded out lesson plan.
A couple of days later, we returned to the library for Storytime. Upon perusing the tote section I noticed the Time Tote. This tote was not available our previous visit and I decided to snatch it up thinking it would be a benefit to our current course study. The Time Tote provided: a toy clock revealing hours and minutes, day and number flash cards, monthly boarders, and almost twenty books about the seasons, telling time, days, weeks, months, nighttime verse day time, and the difference between yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Really, anything that one can relate to the passage of time is represented within this tote.
The clock proved to be a pivotal object in helping bring out the excitement of learning what numbers look like in my son. It has allowed the process to be less structured and boring, and more interactive and fun. What is amazing to me is how God aligns things within our lives to further a purpose. Today, which is two days from the bringing home of the Time Tote, I saw a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode that involved Mickey and Donald Duck maneuvering their way through a wonderland and decided to record it for my son to watch when he woke. After he was up and fed, we watched it to find the show revolved around a clock and learning how to tell time. This was perfect! We grabbed the toy clock from the tote and played along with the show allowing the cartoon to become interactive. We watched the show twice, resulting in a two hour lesson about numbers at the request of my son, when prior to the Time Tote I had a hard time holding his attention for even five minutes -- It was an awesome experience! I fully believe God was behind the coming together of these events to help further my son's understanding and enjoyment of telling time, and in associating the numerical value of a number to its name :)