As I’ve mentioned in at least one previous post, my husband and I homeschooled our only daughter. She was an obvious natural self-starter and by age three her verbal skills were advanced.
We began teaching her through play. We played one sock two sock while I was sorting the laundry, we played pretend from time to time, and we stopped lessons every twenty minutes to play toss.
I read to her every night from our growing library of fairy tales, enacting each character as I read. We took her to the circus and the zoo, and we took her to astronomy events called star parties.
But one of the most important things we did was to teach her critical thinking: helping her to reason out answers to questions that she posed through dialogue. We also gave her some alone time.
We didn’t hover over her, occupying here every waking hour. I believe that it is vital to stir the imagination through stories and play, and then to allow a child's mind to percolate on its own a bit.
She began to make up her own stories very early on, as children tend to do. At one point, I gave her daily writing assignments, which were to be one paragraph in length, on any subject she chose.
At first she balked at this, but then she came up with an imaginary town called Twee, a British term she found for ”overly sweet.” Out of rebellion, she decided to torture the citizens of Twee every day.
She flooded the town of Twee, burned their village to the ground, and so on. No actual Twee were harmed in her writings; they were simply sent running and screaming out of their fanciful town.
These little vignettes of writing allowed her the freedom to express herself. They were to be composed as tiny stories so that I could avoid a page full of red pencil marks; “No, you did that wrong.”
Eventually, she either grew tired of this scheme or she ran out of ideas for menacing the Twee, and we moved on to larger essay assignments. To date, our daughter is writing her seventeen novel.
Her Clockwork Twist adventure series is available on amazon and at http://clockworktwist.com
Image: Emily Thompson