Yesterday was language development day. After a successful attempt at getting the Snapper dressed without a fuss–victory is mine!–taking a stroller ride to KMart for laundry detergent, and some wonderful freeplay, we played with a stack of letter cards together. They’re the kind with the letter and some sort of representative object. We just went through them saying the object and the letter it begins with. I didn’t think it would make much of an impression (he’s only 2 1/2, after all), but at the bus stop as we were hunkered down watching the miniature world of the sidewalk I asked him, “what letter does ‘ant’ begin with?” (‘ant’ was on the ‘a’ card specifically) and he answered “A, Alligators all Around!” quoting a song we love. It was thrilling. Of course it could just be a coincidence and he certainly doesn’t know all of his letters, but it was cool.
After lunch/reading/nap we hopped on the bus to the library, where he had a tantrum over sharing at the train table (seriously, if you are going to have your 14-year-old babysit, please forbid them from texting) and got to see his favorite babysitter. Then we met Attic Man and friends for pizza downtown. One of the Snapper’s most favoritist of Attic Man’s friends was there, and he was ecstatic to have the friend carry him partway to the bus stop to go home.
I wanted to say a couple of things about this preschool-at-home approach. First, it’s mostly for me. I need structure to, as Kohana phrased it, always be moving toward the “next thing” so I don’t get stuck. Second, I really believe there are as many ways to parent as there are kids, and that lots of people do it with very little structure and their kids thrive. Mine wasn’t (well, as much as he could be), and I wasn’t, so I did what was needed. Third, I am not in the least deluded enough to think that this will necessarily give the Snapper any kind of academic edge. He already lives in a language-rich environment with adults that pay attention to him and include him. Honestly the teaching is just a lot of fun for both of us. The moment it becomes work we will change it up. I imagine the unschooling people have a similar philosophy with their older kids, and I can really get behind that. Learning should be fun.
One of the nice things we’ve arranged these days is for Attic Man to do the entire bedtime routine so that I can go to our Community Garden plot in the evenings. It’s been so nice to get my hands in the dirt. I’ve planted peas, broccoli, romaine lettuce, okra tomatoes, peppers, rosemary, cilantro, green beans, and cosmos for the ends of the rows. And I’m planting more today! I may run out of garden before I can use up all my seed packets.
And the Snapper this morning? Playing happily in his room. He hasn’t called for me yet so I’m enjoying the time to myself. He has never done that before.
So life is good.