This week I was asked by a fellow parent …how do I start homeschooling my child who is in Grade R. At the age of five or six a child should be stimulated by play. My mom has been a preschool teacher for many years. In the last few years she discovered the Montessori method of learning. To be honest I was quite sceptical about this method when she first started applying it in her school. I have since had a change of heart and mind. Montessori is a method of educating young children so as to develop natural interests rather than use formal methods of teaching. It was developed by Maria Montessori an Italian doctor in the early 20th century. My opinion is this is a great method to start kids as young as possible. There are so many you tube videos and websites that you can view. I always encourage parents to do your own research to see if Montessori will suit your family. I will link some sites below.
My daughter didn’t do the Montessori method as I chose to place her in a formal preschool. If this is your choice as well then you can also use a more classical approach while incorporating play at home. During grade R she did Letterland where she learned how to form the letters of the alphabet. Letterland is a phonics-based approach to teaching, reading, writing and spelling.
Learning number formation is also important for Grade R. Number Sense is one of the programs that many homeschool families use. Together with youtube videos and incorporating practical fun ways of learning you can successfully teach maths.
There are also online curriculum options such as Brainline and Impaq which will guide you if you are unsure about doing grade R without support.
When my kids were in grade R I read a lot to them. We would set aside a time to read every evening. My younger son learnt to read just by me reading aloud to him. He came to me one evening and said, Mom see I can read. I was so amazed as he was only five years old at the time. I know many parents are so tired by the evening and you feel like handing over your phone or tablet in order to have a peaceful evening. But if you read to your kids after a long day at work, believe me those 10 minutes will be the best investment you can make for your kids. When they hear you read and pronounce words they will speak better and eventually become readers as well.
So, put away the technology and grab a book. Have fun while learning. Build relationships and form bonds that will never break.
Deborah Pretorius is a mother of 3 kids and a BCom graduate on the amazing adventure of home schooling her family.