I had first heard of tot-schooling earlier this year, around the time when my daughter turned one.I could tell this was something I was very interested in doing for E. It was winter, so we were just going through the motions of each day. During nap times, I would research ideas, themes, projects, and read tot-schooling blogs. I was hooked! (Also, mind you, I am a HUGE planner, just because I spent hours looking and planning does not mean you have to!)
The age for many of the activities varied, some children were closer to one, some closer to two. I was set on starting tot-schooling when E turned two this coming February. However, I realized, I would miss a lot of FUN holidays and seasons (fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.) Yes, I could still DO things with her during that time, but the more I thought about it, the more I leaned towards starting tot-school at 18 months. Why?
- We were bored (or at least I was bored). I felt I wasn't 'teaching' E enough.
- I wanted a bit of structure of E, she doesn't attend daycare and I want to get started on the right foot about setting boundaries and 'rules' (I use this term very loosely).
- I consider this a six-month trial period (between ages 18-24 months). I set our schedule to start learning basic vocabulary for each letter, start learning numbers, shapes, colors, all very basic concepts. Then, after the two year mark, we can start to advance a little bit.
- The trial period consists of many fun holidays and themes, a perfect starting point for learning!
I do not have any formal training in childhood education, so I knew this trial period would be a good start for myself. What can we logically fit in a day? What can I expect from a toddler? How fast/how slow do we need to take units?
These were very important questions to ask, and obviously they will always be changing, daily, weekly, etc.
So, here we are! About a 1.5 months into tot-schooling! It has been a HUGE learning curve for the both of us. Sometimes I have to completely scrap projects because they are too difficult for E, she gets frustrated, or just plain isn't interested. This is perfectly okay! If (when) this happens, just go with the flow. I feel E has been learning a lot of new vocabulary words, and I attribute a lot of this to tot-schooling, more specifically, our weekly discovery baskets. She loves the arts and crafts projects, and takes a lot of them very seriously. It's so cute!
What does this mean for us, and tot-schooling?
We have just gotten into starting the Fall season, soon to be Halloween themes, and it's a blast! We will be taking it easy during the holidays, and not stressing if we cannot start/finish a theme in any particular week. I have so many more ideas planned for the upcoming units, and cannot wait to share with you all!