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Tips for Teaching Young Kids
1. Each Child Is DifferentJust because your daughter was eager and ready to read at 4 doesn't mean your son will be. Some kids are ready to read early while others meander their way into the skill. Don't worry if your child is moving faster or slower than the other children. There's a wide range of normal.
Instead concentrate on teaching your child, not your neighbor's child or an older sibling. Sit down and teach your eager students. Take your time with kids who need a leisurely pace. It's not a race.
2. Don't RushThe biggest mistake I've ever made homeschooling was trying to rush my children through basic skills. For example I insisted my older children read a page a day out of Phonics Pathways. We'd move forward a ways and then need to go back a couple of months to review.
My 5th child is completely different. We're progressing forward at the pace of a third to a half page a day. A snail would move faster. On the other hand I'm watching with fascination as she has the time to master the material. She's learning the sounds and growing in confidence. We don't need to go back to review because she has the time she needs to learn the skill.
Taking our time is allowing us to enjoy and master the phonics lessons.
3. Augment Curious Kids StudiesSome children are curious about everything under the sun. Why is the sky blue? Why does a snail leave a trail? What is steam? Why are carrots orange?
If you have a child like that, grab a wide variety of books from the library to read aloud to your child. Encourage this curiosity and explore the world. Don't try to spend months studying one topic. Lightly
touch on the subject, answer your child's questions, and move on to the new questions.
There's an entire world out there. Explore it with your kid.
4. Allow Other Kids to Go DeepOther children aren't curious about everything under the sun, instead they are fascinated by one or two topics. They adore dinosaurs or ballet dancing is their life. That's okay! Instead of trying to interest them outside these topics, use these topics to explore the world.
Find out everything you can about dinosaurs and encourage your child to learn about what dinosaurs ate. Learn about the plants and how the plants of the dinosaurs differ from plants today.
Explore ballet. Learn about the music involved, the stories told, and types of dances ballerinas perform. See if you can't expand slightly to Swan Lake and a study about swans. Learn about the Nutcracker, Christmas celebrations, and various types of nuts. Have your child learn the
answer to why nuts even need a nutcracker.
Encourage rabbit trails, but let your children study one topic to their heart's content.
Teaching young children can be tons of fun. Relax and move at your child's pace. There's no rush to master academics, but there is an entire world to explore.
Sara Dennis is a homeschooling mother of 6 children ages 4 through 18. After much research into homeschooling in 2000, she and her husband fell in love with classical education and used it as the foundation for their homeschool. Sara blogs at Classically Homeschooling, and you can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+.