Jan. 10th, 2010

Does that even make sense? I've gone back and forth about putting Carter in preschool, and every time I decide it's not time yet. For one thing, we have an AMAZING nanny, and I want to hang on to her as long as possible. This semester, I'm organizing my schedule so that I work two days a week (all day, 7-5) and then spend the other three days at home with Carter.

I'm a strong believer in unstructured play-based learning for little ones, so I'm not really even sure that there is a point here. Carter knows a lot already, and he's learned it all just from play. He can identify the entire alphabet and is starting to be able to tell me what letter a word starts with just by sound. He can count to 12. He can identify at least 10 different geometric shapes. He can identify many, different animals and can replicate the sounds they make. He knows all the standard (10 or so) colors. He loves books and drawing and coloring and sign language. He's just starting to get into imaginative play. Et cetera.

So that tells me that what we're already doing is working fine, and that I don't need to worry about changing it up or adding any structure. And that's the whole point of unschooling, that kids can learn everything they need to know just by playing, and that adults should watch for opportunities to build on children's natural curiosity rather than impose artificial structures and concepts on them. We go to Gymboree play and music classes every week, and Carter has a swimming lesson once a week. He gets lots of time to explore and play outside, and has plenty of toys and books to play with inside. I try to go out somewhere with him most days, so he gets lots of stimulation.

But then I look at fantastic blogs like No Time For Flashcards and I think about all the cool things I could do with Carter to enhance his learning. But then, he's learning just fine already. You know? I have no idea what to do. My instinct is to lean towards unschooling approaches, but there is something in my mind that keeps suggesting I start making it more formal, like doing a "Letter of the Week" kind of thing.

Wisdom/validation from other moms would be appreciated. :-)

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