My youngest is 4 years old. I can’t say that I’ve done a lot with him as far as homeschooling. Well, maybe that’s wrong. I have, but it looks nothing like what I did with my older kids who are now teens. Partly, that’s because I have enough confidence now to take our own road and not feel that I have to copy the school system. Or perhaps more precisely, I know that my husband has enough confidence in what I do with the kids to not worry if I don’t have lots of worksheets to show him. Partly, it’s because I’m too busy with the teenagers and am feeling this need to help get them into adult life. There’s a looming deadline, knowing that they’ll soon be out into the world, going whichever direction adult life takes them, while I have more than a decade with the littlest. But mostly, it’s because I see how much he’s learning and I’ve seen how much the older kids learned from reading and doing what they were interested in.
We went camping over Thanksgiving. We pitched a tent at a local campground and spent three nights and four days. We heated up turkey and stuffing over a camp stove, roasted hotdogs and baked potatoes and toasted marshmallows over a camp fire. We walked, observed the wildlife, and played lots of board games. We listened to the rain hitting the tent, did scavenger hunts, and chatted with our temporary neighbors.
We had a great time, but I also saw, again, how much our four-year-old has been learning even though I haven’t had him regularly working on curriculum. He commented about owls being nocturnal and wondered if frogs were, too. He drew maps and asked for help in spelling words, and I noticed that his letters show a much steadier hand than they did a few months ago and he didn’t need much help in forming the letters. His map showed that his drawing skills have improved, too. More than that, his ability to play board games, his attention span and understanding of the rules and willingness to wait for his turn, have all grown greatly.
Besides, I know that he already knows his colors and shapes, can count quite a ways, recognizes numbers up to 20, knows the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, and can read a handful of words. I can’t see him learning more in a VPK class room.
So while I haven’t focused on curriculum and worksheets, he’s been learning a lot. Which is really what homeschooling–even unofficial homeschooling, since he’s only 4–should be about.