We have a problem in our culture. We prize being busy and productive over being present. We glorify worksheets, flashcards, and learning drills over time spent experiencing life with our little ones.
When my oldest started reading at the age of 3, the question came over and over: how did I teach him? And they were always perplexed when I told them I didn’t. We read together, played with letters together, and sang songs together (and LeapFrog may have played a role, too!), but at no point did I sit him down and require that he follow a particular lesson.
That’s what I think so many of us forget about the early years. Language, social skills, confidence, and genuine learning occurs in those unstructured moments of togetherness when we’re truly present and engaging with our kids.
Today we were rescuing worms, and then we found a slug, and upon returning the slug to the grass, we happened upon a couple grasshoppers. We shrieked and giggled as they jumped around, caught them on branches, and examined them before giving them a chance to “rest”. There’s no way I could have planned this as a formal lesson, and that’s part of what made it special. My girls found the animals themselves, and we asked questions and made observations together.