My homeschooling adventure began on day one with my first child. At first, I did what every mom does. I talked and sang to her. This served to stimulate her brain development. Early on, I began reading to her as well. By age one, she played with wipe-able books, which were placed within easy access with the rest of her toys. I read and sang nursery rhymes at story time. This taught her the rhythm and syntax of language.
As she grew, I further stimulated her brain development by allowing her to explore her world. We provided many age appropriate learning experiences. She went to parks, zoos, the beach, the snow, the airport. At the grocery store, we talked about the foods. I allowed her to “help” as I worked in the home and garden.
Between ages one and three, she sat beside me on the couch reading picture books. I’d point to the pictures and we’d talk about what we saw and what the characters were doing. This built her vocabulary. Soon, she learned to sing the alphabet. While she learned the letters, I pointed to words as I read to her. This way she connected the symbols with sounds. Around age three, when she seemed ready, I made up cards that contained phonetically similar words (at, bat, cat; book, look, cook; can, fan man). I found several first readers that used this method. She was delighted when she opened them and found she could read!
My little student dictated her first story (about a princess) to me at about three and a half. Over the next year or so as she acquired a larger vocabulary and continued to make up stories, I gently introduced the story format: beginning, middle, end. By five, she was writing and illustrating her own little picture books. At six, she began a family newsletter, The Snoopy News, to keep our clan informed about our family’s activities. Now, many years and a few degrees later, she is about to publish her first monograph.—Quinn