The "Writing with the Younger Set" Tea with Julie series continues.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
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Cincinnati, September 4, 2021

Hi Friend,

You're my favorites: young parents eager to bring the whole wide world to your kids. So eager, in fact, sometimes you jump the gun and are out of the blocks before your kids are ready.

S L O W  D O W N!

I'll help you. Ages 0-6, let's go!

Ages 0-5

Every now and then I read a message from a mom who has really young kids (maybe they’re like 4, 2, 1 and 6 mos.). She’s made friends with local homeschooling moms and loves what she’s heard and sees. Now that she has a four year old, she’s certain that she can start homeschooling. It’s like there’s this big “Mommy playground” and she’s almost tall enough to get in.

So she’ll go to the homeschooling social media spaces and ask what curricula she can use with her kids, you know, to get started.

I have one word of advice for parents with truly young kids:

Find a hobby… for yourself!

If you are really excited about homeschool, you really ought to wait.

Five and under is the time to:

  • snuggle on the couch,
  • go to park days,
  • eat Jello straight out of the box,
  • make Play-doh,
  • write graffiti on the bedroom walls with crayons,
  • and read library books.

In your free moments when you would be researching homeschool and getting excited about it, study something. Anything. Study a period of history. Learn about writing (for yourself). Make a quilt. Read all the Dorothy Sayers mysteries. Watch the Sister Wendy Story of Painting video series. Repaint your bedroom (once you start homeschooling, you won’t paint any rooms of your house for ten years…)

Do something for yourself that enriches you. This is the season when you can grow a little bit as a person so that you nourish your mind while you do lots of care-taking tasks. These deposits will reap amazing rewards in your homeschool later because once you have tasted the power of learning for its own sake (not because someone told you to learn), you can bring that enthusiasm, empathy, and experience to your children.

Age 6

This is when most of us begin. Homeschooling parents now want to catalyze the writing bug, or they want to help their kids learn to read or spell or handwrite. All fine. Just don’t teach them. Instead, create opportunities for these things to be the truly amazing discoveries that they are.

  • Read aloud.
  • Go to the art museum. Here's a guide.
  • Sign up for zoo passes.
  • Visit the library every week. Let your kids pick out story books, you pick out books, you create times to read together on the couch.
  • Have poetry teatimes.
  • Count cracks in the sidewalk, blue houses, red cars, cups of sugar to bake muffins, all the jellybeans your kids can hold in their hands at once.
  • Play with Play Doh—make all the lowercase letters of the alphabet. Now make all the uppercase. Say the sounds as you do and try to make every sound seem like an animal is saying it. Or every Star Wars character.
  • Buy LEGO sets.
  • Take nature walks in the woods. Find a field guide and look for birds to match.
  • Jot down the incredibly cute things your children say to you and read them back to them later in the day.
  • Play with language. Use pencils and pens and crayons and white boards and paints. See what it feels like to write in big sloppy ways and small careful ways. Using a big paintbrush with water: write names or little messages on the hot concrete and watch as they vanish in the sun.
  • Watch a lot of TV. (Yes, you read that right.) Television, amazingly enough, is a great resource for growing in language acquisition. 

But put away the workbooks. Stop the schedule.

If you homeschool, get rid of “school” and focus on home. Add brownies.

Remember, the best curriculum for a six year old is face paints and dress up clothes.





P.S. Catch up on all the “Tea with Julie” emails here!

Julie Bogart
© 2021 Brave Writer LLC™

Brave Writer




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