As I’ve mentioned, our tiny human is definitely the curious sort. His high energy, high needs, super persistent personality means that everything is interesting and subject to ardent scrutiny. We do a lot of baby/parent play without the tv, radio or noisy and flashy toys to help prevent him from getting over stimulated. It’s usually a lot of fun and if we catch him at the right time it works out great.
I have to admit, homeschool blogs are my secret addiction. I love seeing homeschool rooms, looking through projects and reading awesome anecdotes about parents teaching their kids. It’s strange, I know. I’m pretty sure I have a very romanticized version of homeschooling in my head that makes me think it is something I want to look into in the future, even though my boyfriend is definitely not a fan. I read posts about different styles or curriculum and sort of just file the information away for later. It doesn’t really apply to me right now, right? My baby is still so young, we don’t have to worry about school for a few years.
That’s what I thought until I came across Tot School over at 1+1+1=1. Goodness, was that moment magnificent. You see Tot School is not homeschooling your baby/toddler. It’s simply “focused time with your tot, exposing early learning skills through fun play.” How absolutely perfect is that? We already do that! Kind of. I mean, I spend most of the day playing with him and reading to him, that’s time spent focused on my tiny human, right? Really the biggest difference is the emphasis on the early learning skills. Life around here can seem kind of hectic and sometimes we don’t make that kind of stuff a priority in our focused play.
Last week, we tried our first day of Tot School. He lasted 40 minutes before deciding he wanted to move on to something else! It was great! Tiny human loves to drop objects into other objects but he hasn’t quite figured out his shape sorter yet. I’ve been trying to help him work on his gross motor skills, but he usually get frustrated and winds up throwing whatever we are playing with. I wasn’t sure exactly how we could work that practice into our first day of Tot School. It took me a full week before finally the epiphany came. He was banging on an empty coffee can while I was doing dishes one morning. I watched him pick up one of his blocks and bang it down hard on the lid. He pulled it away, looked at the block, looked back at the lid. Looked at the block. Then back at the lid. Then he looked at the block again. And tried to shove it into the crack between the oven and the broiler. And that was it. Less than a minute of watching him try to force a block into places it couldn’t go, and I knew what we were going to do!
During nap time, I took the coffee can and cut a hole in the plastic lid. I washed it out along with the lids from the empty baby food jars that were sitting in the recycling. Ta-da! A sorter he could drop round lids into without struggle. He took to it instantly. He had no problem grabbing the lids and he definitely liked the loud plink noises the lids made when they landed in the can. He loves to stick his little hand in and pull out the lids. We did this for a few days. Then we spent a few days playing with shakers for Tot School. He’s surprisingly good at repeating rhythms! We set aside a little bit of time each day for these activities.
So far we’ve noticed that Tot School helps prevent him from getting overstimulated and actually calms him down before nap time. It kind of helps calm me down too. It pulls me away from worrying about getting the house clean or finishing up any writing I have to do. I can’t say I’ve seen any progress in his gross motor skills yet, but it’s only been a week. We will just have to keep trying and see!.