I feel that I don’t really spend that much time teaching my kids. Between all of the meal prep/eating/clean-up, getting ready for school, and nap time there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of “free” time in a day. Plus, I am still nursing V, which takes hours a day. When I do have time to play the girls generally want to climb all over me. Literally. Jungle Gym Mommy!
I have a friend who has a lot of educational toys. She even uses flashcards. Our kids are similarly aged and hers are always ahead of mine in the skills department. One of S’s classmates signed her own name to her holiday cards. They are in 3 year-old preschool and this girl signed her own name. I was impressed, and then immediately felt guilty. It never even occurred to me to teach S how to write. She just started recognizing her entire name.
I’ve since started working on writing her name. We are stuck on the “s”. Maybe it is a difficult letter. Maybe my child hasn’t yet developed the fine motor skills necessary for writing. She can bead (we make jewelry), she can put on her socks and shoes, she can play Plants vs. Zombies on an iPhone. That last one probably isn’t something I should encourage but she really likes the game, much better than the games aimed at preschoolers.
Miss V isn’t all that good with fine motor skills, either. She has that toy with the different types of buttons that have to be manipulated for the animal to pop up. She can do the key turn and the push button. I used to work with S on this toy every day. My friend’s one year-old can do all of the buttons very quickly. I know, I know, I shouldn’t compare. Its hard not to.
My kids seem less interested in formal learning than in imitating what I do. Even in school one of S’s favorite activities is Home Living: playing house with baby dolls. At home she helps me cook whenever she can. She knows how to make pancakes (using a boxed mix, but I add extra stuff), how to mash potatoes, how to decorate birthday cakes and sugar cookies. Fun stuff. V shows me how to make coffee and feed the cats every day, gets out her broom and then the dust pan when I am sweeping the floor. All of my standard early morning activities.
For sure they are learning things. And they have years and years of formal learning ahead of them, which is why I haven’t been pushing it at home. Shouldn’t this time be fun? Shouldn’t they do what they want? My worry is the fine motor skills. Is this something that has to be learned at a certain time, or the window of opportunity is missed?
Maybe I just need more slacker parent friends.