When my husband and I talk about what education looks like for our kids, it is filled with a solid faith foundation that curates the mind to learn and explore all the possibilities. As a former teacher and support resource and service provider in the schools, I have seen first hand how the school system can negatively affect the learning potential of impressionable students-black and brown students especially. Sadly enough, I have witnessed the school to prison pipeline for young black and brown boys especially. It’s disheartening, debilitating and dangerous. With the ever changing policies in the school system, we knew that we wanted to guard our children’s minds at such a young and impressionable age, and ensure that they have the room and liberty to learn as much as they desired. So it was a no-brainer when we came to the idea of homeschooling. Though intimidating at first, I had the faith and encouragement from my husband, that I could do this, and that my son would thrive. I spent the last 10 years educating other people’s children, and now it was time to invest into my own.
So it began! At two and a half, I wanted to start doing early education with Duce by doing play learning and school time with him that was fun and engaging. We have embarked on learning inside and outside of the home through many experiences. I am a fond believer that experiences last in children’s hearts and minds, filled with the joy and adventure that never leaves but flutters around in their memories; defining their childhood and impacting their adulthood.
Duce and I have focused on his learning and mastering counting, colors, letters and shapes this past summer and fall. This winter we have transitioned to letter and number recognition. This is important to us, as he has developed a serious love for reading. We have been blown away by how much he enjoys reading and play learning and how well he retains information. We have had so much fun schooling, that I have been encouraged as his mom and teacher to see how successful he is as we grow and expand his knowledge. Learning for Duce is done inside and outside of the home, and I truly believe it keeps him engaged and enjoying education. Three days a week we do outside activities where he is able to learn.
Tuesdays we do play dates with other toddlers in a mom group that I am in. This play date occurs at an indoor playground, and though it is full of fun toys, bounce houses, pretend play, slides, riding cars and more, it is still an opportunity to learn. Duce is able to interact with peers, work on his vocabulary and speaking skills, but also engage in pretend play at the grocery store and restaurant or in the houses. He sings songs while jumping in the bounce house with other kids, and most importantly he is physically active, which is very important at his age to ensure that he stays healthy. We spend an hour or two hours there-sometimes I have to drag or trick him to leave!
Thursdays are our Bible Study Fellowship Day. This is a very fun and fulfilling time for the both of us, because both of our cups are filled. They have a mommy and me program where Duce goes to his classroom and I have my own classroom of moms. The program is an hour and a half a week, where we dig into the word together as moms. Our kids are taken care of by loving teachers who teach them the same word that we are learning, in a fun and engaging environment with other kiddos their age. I remember when I first dropped Duce off I was so nervous of how he would respond, because he had never been away from both mom and dad. And if I can be honest he cried every week for 4 weeks straight when I dropped him off. It was like I was deserting him and betraying him, going off and getting my cup filled. I was so thankful for the moms in my group who encouraged me through that, and even supported me going to check on him throughout that half an hour, to only find out that he was doing great-having fun, playing and engaged in the lessons. By week 5 he was walking into his class and waving bye to me. And a year later, he is eager to go to bible study, talking about it during the days leading up to it! An extra bonus: going to Chic-fil-a afterwards for lunch and play time with my groups kiddos in their indoor playground. He loves every minute of it! I am so proud of him and thankful to God for the safe space that allows us both to grow in Him and grow in our relationship with each other as mother and son.
Fridays are a super fun learning day for Duce at the Library! He absolutely loves it! When I decided to start taking him, I wasn’t sure what to expect nor was I sure how he would react. Boy did he fool me! He not only loved it, but he looks forward to it just like bible study and play dates every week. He knows what day it is and is excited. There are days we have been late (when I was super pregnant and tired) and I wanted to just sneak in the back. NOPE! Duce wasn’t having that and ran to the front and sat down to listen to the story. The ladies who run the program usually read two books, do a song that consists of them singing and dancing, and then they have stations where the kids can do arts and crafts and other activities that relate to the theme of the day. We both love it and are so surprised how fast that hour goes by. I have also started checking out books that Duce and I read for our education time. So Duce looks forward to getting the books I have reserved off the shelf and taking them to the counter to check them out. He also loves the end of library time where the security guards give out dum dum suckers! 😂🍭Library time is such a rewarding time full of learning and fun that allows us to bond and for Duce to meet other kiddos and practice social skills like playing well with others.
Well that’s a typical outings week for the Whitaker Clan! How do you and your kiddos spend your week outside the home? How is God challenging you to keep your cup filled while you care for your little ones, meeting their day to day needs? Share below! I would love to start a dialogue on how we can engage our children in the community to spark their learning and foster great social skills. Stay tuned for part 2 where I share what materials, curriculum and more I use to homeschool Duce!
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~Soli deo Gloria💜
Copyright © 2020 by Da’Quisha Whitaker
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the writer.
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