Pretend Homeschooling


Remember how in the summer I was all “Check out the really impressive homeschooling I’ll be doing with Ella while we’re in London!”?

And then a reader emailed me a month or so ago and was like “how are you making this work with Ani’s naps?”

Which meant I was reminded about my grand plans which I’ d done. . . .zero of.

There was just a lot to get out and do in London, and also (here is where I sound like a total suburbs mom), I felt so claustrophobic staying home in our tiny flat.

So we did basically nothing on our list.

Ella did actually learn to read over the fall, which was pretty thrilling, but I can’t take a lot of credit for that – we’d worked on it over the summer a fair amount, but then she just sort of ran with it when we were spending so much time in cars and airplanes in August and September, and suddenly could read almost anything. (The fact that she can read to Ani has made my life so so much easier).

In place of more formal schooling, we tried to incorporate more learning activities into our daily lives.

We continued to check out giant stacks of books from the library and read them together or let the girls read them in the mornings before they came in to wake us up or while I was getting ready in the morning. (I haven’t posted much about picture books here in the last few months, but I’ve been consistently sharing our favorites over on Instagram).

When we were out exploring London, Bart and I (mostly Bart) made a big effort to tell the girls stories, ask them questions about what we saw, and explain some of the things we were doing. They probably won’t remember a bit of it, but . . . it make me feel good.

And we’ve been playing around on the new Mickey’s Magical Math World app (you can download it for free here). It’s part of the Disney’s new learning brand for kids between about 3-8, with the goal of engaging through the power of imagination and creativity.

Ella has been an enormous fan (she hides under my parents’ baby grand piano so that Ani won’t try to steal the iPad from her – I wish I’d snapped a picture). I’ve been impressed by how intuitive the games are – she’s easily picked up how to play them without any help from me, although she’s shown me all of them because she thinks they are so cool, and there is a lot of good review for her on pattern sorting, basic math, and problem solving.

There’s also a parent app, Imagicademy: Parents, where you can monitor your child’s progress and also get lots of ideas for ways to interact with your child and help them learn. I love that it’s basically like a highly curated Pinterest board of parenting ideas that are totally do-able.

One cool thing is that several of the projects I did for the now-defunct Spoonful over the last two years will be on the parent app in the next few weeks. I’m happy to see some of those posts get new life.

I’m hoping that when we get back to North Carolina next month, I’ll be able to do more school activities with the girls, but with a new baby, I’m not holding my breath.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  • Reply Elaine December 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I think it's pretty impressive that Ella is reading at 4. I don't think that doing worksheets is all that important. She has a love of learning and has had the enrichment of travel. Sounds like great home-schooling to me! I have always been very impressed with the quality of Disney's software. The apps look like fun.

  • Reply MommySizedHeart December 15, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Awwwww, sweet Ella!! You should totally pay video of her reading to Ani! Melt my heart!

  • Reply Jodi December 16, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Sounds about like me! I'm inherently lazy, even as a parent. It takes serious discipline to get myself to be on top of organized learning. Which is why I've learned that I don't think I would like homeschooling. We just read a lot, and play and talk about the world. And teaching to read- whoa- I don't even know where to start. I'm afraid to even look it up- information overload.

  • Reply Paige Flamm December 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Haha I totally had lavish ideas of doing preschool with Kyle and I did it for a total of one week… Derek said he doesn't trust me to actually home school our kids when they're older now 😉

  • Reply Lauren December 17, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Do you use the free app? Because to buy the whole pack is $20. Just wondering how much is actually available for free.

  • Reply Janssen December 17, 2014 at 3:53 am

    We used the free one at first (and then as part of this campaign I got the whole thing). My suggestion is to test out the free one and see if you're interested in getting the additional add-ons. I basically never buy paid add-ons until my girls have shown they really like the free version enough to justify paying for an expansion pack.

    • Reply Lauren December 17, 2014 at 4:11 am

      I did just try the free and it only allows one little game and build a rocket. Not really enough to tempt my little guys into playing it and $20 is pretty steep to get everything. Which is a bummer because they love disney and would probably like it. Hopefully the price will come down after a while.

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