I should have very well called this the Introduction to School With Squeaker because that’s pretty much what this is. I’m not really getting into the reasons as to why I stay at home with her, and I’m not even giving you a break down of our day. All I’m really doing is sharing what’s worked for us in my quest to make the world her classroom by providing everyday learning experiences because for me, learning begins at home- regardless if you’re going to send your child off to public or private school or homeschool them.
I will begin by saying that I’m not a professional and I don’t have a degree in education.
But I don’t let that stop me from providing every day learning experiences for Squeaker. I’m sure that some of these (if not all) will seem pretty self explanatory and I’m not, by any means, trying to insult anyone’s intelligence. I just wanted to share what works for us.
I also try to incorporate special activities (art, sensory play) into her every day learning experiences. When the weather is nice, we also try to take daily walks or play in the backyard. These are great learning experiences for Squeaker. We find a lot of things to look at, and I talk to her about the world around her.
Learning Begins at Home: My Tips
Squeaker loves to be read to.
Mostly from her own collection of books, but she also will listen to just about anything that’s being read to her. For that matter, she enjoys being talked to. And sure, she might not be able to reply in sentences or even words that make sense, but in her own way; she’s building conversational skills.
Books that are designed specifically for babies will often include textures and things that make noise. Talk to your baby about these things beyond the text, or if there is no text, make up your own!
Books, and reading to babies, are a wonderful way to start learning at home.
Are you a visual, auditory, or hands-on learner?
The way that an individual learns is determined over time, and often times a learner might fall into multiple categories of learning styles. For Squeaker, hands-on and visual methods have worked best with her so far, though she also enjoys listening to music and hearing stories.
With that being said, there is no hard and fast rule- especially at this age, that you have to stick with one method throughout your learning experiences. Experiment and see what works for you and your baby. Introduce things in a variety of ways. For example; textures are a great way to introduce a new concept, toy, or experience.
Try making a texture box using an empty tissue box with items inside.
Be mindful, of course, for choking hazards and don’t leave your baby unattended. Another great hands-on experience for babies is sensory play. Crystal at Growing a Jeweled Rose shares 56 ideas for sensory play with babies.
You may have heard of methods such as Montessori or Waldorf and maybe you’ve wondered how to incorporate that into your home. Or maybe you’re already doing that and just didn’t know it yet. Whatever the case may be, do some informal research. I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy every book on the market or break your bank purchasing specific items; but just take a look and see.
Google ‘teaching methods’ or ‘teaching philosophies’ and see what you come up with. Find one or two that interest in you and figure out how you incorporate that into your every day learning experiences.
Squeaker is a very hands on baby, so we’ve found that incorporating a little Montessori works very well for her. How else do I plan on integrating Montessori into the home? Well, I want to introduce treasure baskets and natural materials. I want to teach her life skills and how to be independent in her work. I feel that Montessori principles will work wonderfully alongside other plans that I have for Tot School and Homeschool Preschool.
At the end of the day, don’t stress yourself out.
Don’t try to come up with detailed lesson plans or a strict routine and expect it to work. As moms and parents, we know that babies have their own routine. Yes, you can try to introduce a routine and maybe you’ll have some success. But being flexible enough with that routine is also important. Maybe you could start simple and incorporate themes, but I really don’t think that’s necessary at this age.
Just have fun with your baby and enjoy your time with them. They’re only young for so long. And maybe you’ll also see that there is a learning experience in every day.
In what ways do you, or did you, introduce everyday learning experiences for your baby?