So here’s how my first week officially home schooling Gavin went:
On Monday, we went to the play gym and did a little Signing Time in the evening. Gavin seems to have mixed reactions to the play gym because sometimes he’s keen to go and other times he doesn’t want it. When we arrived on Monday morning, he flat out refused to go even after I tried tempting him with the ball pit (which is his absolute favourite place in the whole jungle gym).
I felt really bad because it was supposed to be a play date with M and K and their respective Mums. By the time we arrived, M and Mummy were there about to pay to go in. M was all rearing to go and was naturally rather upset when we changed the plans on him (poor boy, I felt so bad). We ended up scooting across to Fitfor2 for a drink while the boys entertained themselves.
After our drinks, Gavin seemed to have warmed up and changed his mind about the play gym so off we went. I suppose that is the advantage of home schooling – you can modify the program to your own child. Or is it perhaps a disadvantage in that he gets to dictate what is done?
This is the third play date Gavin has had with K and he seems to be doing well. He looks forward to her company and appears to be much more adventurous in the jungle gym. Initially, he would only go on the baby slide, and then only if I held his hand. Eventually he progressed to sliding on the baby slide on his own. Then he started tackling the bigger slides, but only if I went with him. Now he eagerly climbs off on his own and tackles the slide without me.
On Tuesday, I attempted a music class and a computer session. Music class didn’t go quite as well as I had imagined in my mind so it looks like we’re going to have to be more creative for our next class. What worked best was playing his Thomas and Friends music so maybe that’s the place to start?
The computer session went well – as always. We played Thomas and Friends Special Delivery which I eventually bought since he enjoyed it so much.
On Wednesday, I was going to take him for golf but it appears that the Kindergolf in 1U has also closed down (although from their website it looks like they’ve moved all operations to Bangsar Shopping Center). The other alternative is Little Golfers which I’ve still yet to check out – part of the reason being that I was hoping to find a venue closer to home. In the end, we ended up doing a little Signing Time and another computer session in the evening.
The plan for golf, the idea of which I stole after watching some rock climbing toddlers in action, is to start a regular putting session with the real club and ball. I tried to buy him the toy set but he didn’t want it. So I figured that if he saw Daddy and Mummy “playing golf” on a regular basis, he might actually develop an interest in playing it himself. We’ll see how it goes…
The Wii Golf didn’t really work, although I suspect it is because he can’t really get the idea from an imaginary golf club. Additionally, the visual images on the TV weren’t sufficiently exciting enough to draw him in.
I’m also planning to expose him to a little rock climbing action to see how he takes to it now that he’s been demonstrating some toddler urge to climb things, such as the supermarket trolley, the freezer section of the supermarket, and many other things we don’t want him to.
On Thursday, we did cooking and art, both of which went well, as usual. I wasn’t planning to do the cooking class, but Gavin seemed to have made that decision all on his own when he told me he wanted to make “egg bread”. I’m surprised we managed to squeeze so much into one morning because we went shopping, made french toast and painted a picture (which you can see here).
On Friday, we visited Daddy at the office and I tested Gavin with a few self-made Kumon activities to see how he would take to them if I bought him the books. One of the problems with buying anything for Gavin that isn’t related to Thomas and Friends or Little Einsteins is that it is difficult to tell if he will like it or not. You can’t ask him because he’ll always tell you he doesn’t want them.
On Saturday, I bought him some Kumon books from MPH, after he proved to enjoy the activities I created for him modeled after what I had seen in the Kumon books I flicked through the first time I saw them.
On Sunday, I tried out a few of those Kumon books and was relieved to find that he really enjoys the activities.
What I’ve learned after a week of home schooling:
- the best laid plans – even school ones – will always be foiled by a toddler
- toddlers will only learn what they want to learn so the key is to present it to them in a way that they find interesting
- the need to be flexible about the “school timetable” I created for him
- being a teacher is a very challenging job (I’ve only got one student – I can’t imagine a classroom full of them!)