As you go about the day and need to clean the house, cook, use the restroom, your child is there with you asking to play a game with him, to invite his friends over, to go out with his bicycle, or even if you want mom, we can read books together (till midnight, that is).
And that smart child who already reads, does multiplication, recites the capitals of all our fifty states, is only five, and will soon be starting Kindergarten next fall and you start your frantic search for the perfect curriculum and pray it’s not too expensive and that it works at the first buy.
As you ask your friends, neighbors, even the dog, what curriculum you could buy that it’s fun, hands on, that doesn’t require much preparation and that costs something less than half a thousand, I am here with some news for you.
Ask yourself the following question, what is education for you? Does education mean entertaining? Because I spent six years in the classrooms entertaining 15 students to work with five sitting at a kidney shaped table teaching them phonics and reading strategies to move on those early readers, even when some of those children would rather be exploring and developing their talents and learning. And I had all sort of devices to make ‘learning fun’, flashy flashcards, nice pictures, the best workbooks you can dream of (actually you can buy them at Walmart too), and manipulatives galore.
And then Charlotte Mason resonates in my head:
CM is not about making learning fun. Charlotte Mason felt that, although children enjoy being entertained, entertainment is a passive activity. Children need to apply their own minds to the effort of getting knowledge from their books and making their own mental relationships with the world around them. However, since humans have an inborn curiosity to learn things, the process of education itself, while challenging, can be enjoyable for its own sake. (excerpt from amblesideonline)
I entertain my girls too, many days we paint together, get the play dough out, do some crafty stuff together. Nothing done occasionally is of any harm. I do not think there’s anything wrong with wanting to buy curriculum, have plans, have schedules. I only want to tell you we do not have to have something for them to do every hour of the day, neither do they need to be doing ‘school’, for three hours in the morning when they are only 4, 5, even 6. An hour to two for kinder and first of undivided attention on the student’s side will take them very far. Readings of the best quality, math games and activities, and music and art appreciation, walks and outdoor play, library visits, some dancing (you have to dance to be good at math, or at least stretch ;), and training in habits will do a lot for their learning.
Last word I have to say my girls don’t watch TV. There is no conclusive research that proves TV is bad, however, I see the day they watch movies (we don’t have cable), the have a harder time going back to their usual play and make believe. I have a motto at home: “you can’t be bored”. There are dishes to clean, clothes to put away, paper and pencil, books to peruse for quiet time, and they can always take a long bath, dress up…
I have the perfect curriculum, and it’s almost free, it requires little, it’s called MOM.