When I first made the decision to stay at home with Squeaker, I also knew that it would mean not sending her to daycare.
I was perfectly okay with this and to be honest, daycare just wasn’t something that we could afford. Most, if not all, of my income would go towards daycare expenses and since I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible, I knew that staying at home with her would be our best option.
It was during one of my searches for early homeschooling that I actually got back into the idea of blogging or at least blogging for profit. From there, I also started to plan out my own Tot School and home preschool plans for Squeaker.
Of course, she wasn’t yet ready for all of that but I could at least start with the building blocks, so to speak. One of the ways that I started “homeschooling” her was by reading.
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I want to foster a love of reading with all of my kids and I figure the best way to start is by reading to them and letting them explore books.
By exploring books, Squeaker is able to pick them up, look at pictures, attempt to turn pages, touch pictures, and of course chew on the books. She’s using her senses and developing motor skills that will help her later on in life.
By reading to her, I create a time just for the two of us. With Squeaker seated in my lap, she can look at the pictures, touch the pictures, see the words, and hear the words. I’ve read to her from a young age, and even when I was pregnant with her- I would read Babar and Madeline.
We love books in our home and my goal is to have books available at all times for the kids.
So, what would I recommend as far as books for babies?
Chunky board books, soft books, and cloth books are wonderful for interacting with. Textures to feel, colorful (or black and white) pictures to engage with all provide learning opportunities just by letting baby play. We purchased a set made by Sassy that included three simple books and a cube.
As far as what I enjoy reading with Squeaker, I tend to look for colorful pictures and simple text. Here are a current few favorite hits in our house.
- Anything by Sandra Boynton, we especially love Barnyard Dance! (Boynton on Board) and Moo Baa La La La – I also created a fun matching game for toddlers based on Moo, Baa, La La La as this is still one of Squeaker’s favorite books!
- Anything by Eric Carle, we especially love The Very Hungry Caterpillar – be sure to check out my accompanying mini unit & printable puzzle pack!
- Goodnight Moon and it’s companion, My World: A Companion to Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; we also enjoy The Runaway Bunny and the Big Red Barn
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
- Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
I try to read to Squeaker several times a day, every day; at night as part of her bedtime routine, then at least once or twice during the day.
It really doesn’t take that long and I feel that it’s a wonderful opportunity to bond with her. I’m fortunate enough that I can stay at home with her and will likely do so until she’s ready to start kindergarten.
I want to make the most of that time, including reading with her daily in hopes that I can pass on my love for reading to her. Growing up, I enjoyed reading independently and being read to; my parents always made sure that I had access to books and in our family, the message was simple- we love books and we love reading.
Because of those fond memories, I hope to create a similar love of books and reading with Squeaker.
Later on, when she’s ready, books will be heavily incorporated into her preschool routine.
I plan to have unit studies revolving around books, similar to Five in a Row, and add in books based on a theme (teddy bears, farm, etc.). I still have many of my chapter books from my own childhood (the Anne of Green Gables Series and the Little House on the Prairie Series) and hope to read them with her when she’s ready.
I’m still not sure as to how long we’ll home school, the plans are to not continue after Pre-K, depending on my schedule. But, we’ll see what happens when we get there. We have quite some time until that happens.
What books do you enjoy reading with your children? Or, if you don’t have children, what are some of your favorite children’s books?