Something on homeschooling

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Homeschooling while on vacation? At 18 months? My little travel buddy and I extended our two-week vacation at our hometown until Chinese New Year. Our lola needs some little more time to spend with her great grandson. So how do I make sure he gets to experience productive play activities?

While staying here, Mateo and I haven’t done much of our usual bonding and play activities together (which mostly happened in the kitchen). Even reading has gone out of our routine! It has been so easy to just sit back and relax when we have other people to rely on. I’m not complaining, though, especially when he’s spending time with family and I get a break from washing the bottles.

Then I realized he’s already 18 months (yesterday), and I have wanted to be more intentional with his play activities at that age. Sort of a homeschooling for the little guy. Here in the Philippines, he mostly spends his time outside chasing the dogs, playing ball, sometimes playing rocks and dirt, and playing with the cars (real cars!). I love that he’s having those activities in a big backyard. Yet, I wish that he is exposed to more “learning” activities through play.

So I set out to plan for his “homeschool curriculum.” How do you even “homeschool” a little toddler?! It dawned on me to simply focus on milestones, and encourage play activities that hone skills and developments usually expected from kids his age. That’s where Pinterest comes in. Now I have a list of crafts and plays that he may find interesting. I am excited about it (especially on the shopping part – I have to buy those pretty things). Things here are much cheaper than in Singapore so I’m planning to buy supplies much as I can for our activities.

I have decided to finally include more traditional “lessons” for him such as shapes, colors, the alphabet, and numbers. He likes counting (it calms him when I count slowly from one to ten or even up to 50). But I haven’t really introduced him to shapes and colors in a sort of structured way. It just enters our conversation: “Please pick up the blue ball.” Or while pointing to a design on my shirt, “That’s a circle!” Every round thing for him is a “bo” (ball) so I make it an effort to name other round things that are not a ball. As for the alphabet, he doesn’t know them really. I have only introduced how to spell his name. But does he even get that? He just loves to scribble.

Yesterday, “shapes” is our little “lesson.” While doodling and writing, I drew a circle and told him it’s a circle. I think he still remembers the “circle” on my shirt the previous night so he got it pretty easily. He was able to point out the circle when I put in a square and a triangle in the mix. That was it, though. I really don’t want to make him sit and study while I teach. Where’s the fun in that? Traditional lessons are simply integrated in his plays, not as separate activities.

This “homeschooling” thing at this stage is simply something to guide me on raising this little guy. It should provide me with inspiration for plays and activities that he (or we) can do. I want to be more proactive and intentional with what he plays (includes free play wherein he decides what to do with his time). Besides, toddlers learn through play.

There are tons of toys available in the world, and tons of unproductive ones in that bunch, and they can get overwhelming. While I don’t really buy him tons of toys (maybe 95% of his toys are gifts), it just makes me happy and sane to have a bit more structure in keeping an active toddler busy and calm. Mateo can also get pretty overwhelming sometimes.

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