So every now and then I'd be browsing Pinterest and my eye would be caught by a 'fun' activitiy you can do to help prepare your child for reading/writing/world domination. And I'd think ooh maybe I should be doing stuff like this with Brodie. And then I would remember that I'm a firm believer in delaying formal education for as long as is possible.
The reason Brodie has never attended any type of formal education, childcare or even activity (other than ball skills and swimming) is because I don't believe it's necessary or even desirable to do so and I've been lucky enough to be at home with him almost full time since he was born. When he was a tiny baby my gut (and screaming child) suggested that attending classes and activites was not for us. And as he got bigger I became more confident this was the right way for us. As he got to 2 we skipped playgroup, at 3 we skipped the first year of nursery offered.
And yet he has learned and discovered independently lots of the skills which preschools and playgroups are keen to teach children his age. He counts all things, every thing, all the time. He sorts things by size, colour, genus. His vocabulary is wide and varied, his curiosity about machinery and process is limitless. His problem solving skills are developing, he completes simple chores, tidies toys away and yes he is quite able to communicate and get along with other children - as well as any other four year old I've met. Well meaning friends and relatives who've suggested he might 'be a bit behind', be reassured I'm confident he's fine.
I've made no attempt to 'homeschool' him, he's never taken part in formal learning activities outside the home he's mostly just played. Lots and lots of playing. On his own, with me, with Grier and occasionally on 'playdates' but finding someone to play with can be tricky when everyone else has a busy timetable of commitments.
I don't direct play, we just provide toys we think are appropriate. He's not one for drawing but there are always materials available. He plays with trains and trucks and digs in the mud. Sometimes puzzles, sometimes turn taking games with dice, sometimes with sand, sometimes with water, sometimes on the computer and lots and lots of reading.
Now at 4 and a half Brodie will be starting nursery 5 mornings a week. Why? Because in a year he'll start full time school in Primary 1 and I want him to be prepared for that. I want him to have experience of entering school, of a classroom and getting along with a room of his peers. I don't want him to be overwhelmed in that setting.
When he was born 4 and half years ago I had no idea that this would be the path we would take. I assumed he would go to playgroup at 2 then nursery at 3, then school like everyone else I know. Isn't it strange the way life turns out? If Brodie was a different child and if I was a different parent perhaps this wouldn't have been the right way for us.
So we've done nothing to prepare for nursery, no writing practice or letter recognition other than that which occurs incidentally. I think he's ready though, my boy. I hope that these years spent together at home will have provided him with the confidence to meet the challenges of a new environment. I hope that time we've spent playing and sharing will help him build healthy relationships with the adults and children he'll be around. I'm hoping he brings me home paintings and junk models because what I really need are 80000 bits of crap to promise to keep forever.........
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