Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How Do I Start Homeschooling My Baby?

Yes, you read that right. Homeschooling your baby. When I say this to people, they laugh. They think it's such a far-fetched and silly idea. But it can be done. I started homeschooling my child when he was just 5 months old.

Contrary to what most people think, homeschooling a baby is really quite easy. You don't need a concrete lesson plan, you don't have to plan every single activity and you can do it on your own pace and time.


What do I need to get started?

Toys, books and music! That's it really. 

Toys

Invest in age-appropriate toys. Do not buy flimsy toys or cheap toys. They are dangerous and they don't last a long time. I've had my fair share of cheap toys and they just don't work. 

Our favorite brands of toys for babies are:

  • Lamaze 
  • Leap Frog
  • Munchkin
  • Hasbro
  • Fisher Price

Books

I wasn't into specific books when my son was still a baby. I bought what I liked and I also got some "baby" books. I would read to him every now and then. I started reading to him when he was still in my womb.

this is a great sensory book - counting, colors and textures

I know that here in the Philippines, we don't have a lot of quality libraries that is why you need to invest in books. If you are on a strict budget, you can go to Book Sale, Books for Less or you can swap books with your friends and relatives. Book Sale holds regular sales so be on the lookout for that. They have plenty of second hand books but you have to dig through a ton of dirty and dusty books to get the really good ones. Trust me, they're there. Books for Less offers cleaner second hand books. The prices are almost the same. Book Sale has branches everywhere. Books for Less is harder to locate. 

Music

With my son, we listen to classical, popular music, nursery rhymes and baby songs. I also bought him a "foot" piano which I placed near his feet. He kicked a lot when he was in my tummy and when he was a baby so this was perfect for him. Every time he would kick, he would hear a sound. This was a great stimulus for him. 

Schedule

Homeschool with your baby when you are both relaxed. For us, it was after the morning feeding and in the afternoon. 

What to do

We start with a Bible story. Then we do some tummy time play on his play mat. I gave him different kinds of sensory toys such as squeaky toys, toys with different textures, musical toys, etc. I would also let him crawl around and discover different "treasures" which I put all around his play area. 

After that we listen to some music or we sing action songs. I would demonstrate the action and then I would help him do them. 

The next thing that we did was to look at charts. I bought a bunch of posters - shapes, numbers, letters, colors and animals. My son started saying a few words when he was 5 months old so I tried to make him mimic me while I say the names of the shapes out loud. Singing the alphabet song also helped a lot. He learned his alphabet when he was around 7 months old. 


Counting cereal and puffs - great for math and fine motor practice


We had other activities such as sensory box play, counting while snacking (counting his puffs; he started eating solids when he was around 4 months) and playing with wooden toys and puzzles. We also did some art with finger paints. Just be sure to always be there to supervise your child and wash the hands after this activity. 

lightweight cars such as this one (Color Changer Ramone) is a total hit in our homeschool

Routine?

Absolutely! Babies thrive on routines. We usually do our "formal" homeschooling in the morning and we always do the same things one after the other. That way, he knows what to expect. 

Of course, we don't do this when he is not in the mood. Don't force your baby to do something he doesn't like to do. This is why I always have a few other activities handy. Sometimes he just wants to cuddle or have some extra milk. Sometimes I let him lie on my chest and he would explore my face. I would take his hand, run it on the length of my nose and say "nose" and so on with the other parts of the face. Other times he just wants to lie down or go exploring on his own. Sometimes I just give him a box of toys and let him go crazy. Twice exceptional children are very temperamental. They also get bored easily and their attention span is very small. I am fortunate that my sister is an expert in this field that is why we were able to identify signs regarding my son's condition at an early age and I was able to cope immediately. 

I believe babies need a lot of stimulation in order to develop well. Parents and primary caregivers are the ones who can give them the direction and stimuli that they need in order to thrive. Homeschooling babies can be a fun and rewarding activity for both parents and caregivers and their little one. 

If you need more activities for homeschooling our little one, just explore my blog.


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