We've been getting a little more intentional with learning this week. I haven't written a post about our plans for Peanut's education for the coming year (that post is coming soon). Obviously, though, she's home with me this year. I don't - in point of fact, I refuse to - call myself a homeschooler for my under-4 year old (I'll talk about my objection in that forthcoming post) but instead I try to work with her interests and follow her lead as best I can. Previously she has shown very little interest in literacy despite a life-long love affair with books and reading. Attempts at introducing her to the shapes and sounds of letters were met with glassy eyes and blank stares followed by near-immediate running off to find something - anything! - else to do. Recently, though, she's been expressing real interest in knowing what letters and numbers she sees in books and on signs. She'll look at the keyboard of the laptop and ask, "Where does my name come from?" ("What letter begins my name?") Time for letters, then.
We started with a trip to the dollar store for scrapbooking paper. We got some surprisingly cute paper - packages of 6 pages for $1.24/pckg - as well as a roll of blue masking tape and some alphabet stickers. This week we're learning the letters of Peanut's name. We could have begun at A and worked through the alphabet in order but that seemed a little arbitrary and uninteresting. Each day we learn two letters. We begin with Peanut choosing a sheet of scrapbooking paper and then cut out a large letter from the paper. We look at the shape, trace it with our finger and then tape it up on the wall. Then we do a neat trick I saw on Pinterest: we take the blue masking tape and make a large letter on the floor and "walk" the letter with our feet.
Finally, we take a sheet of plain paper and practice writing the new letter. Some letters are easier than others. For the trickier letters we try tracing it with our fingers and connecting dots that I draw in advance for her. We always sit where we can look up at the letter on the wall and down at the letter on the floor to help remember what the letter should look like when we write it. We get our alphabet stickers, find the letter we're learning, and Peanut puts the sticker on the sheet with her written letters. Then it gets hung on the wall under the big letter.
While we're tracing and writing and "walking" the letter we talk about the sound of the letter and what words and names begin with that sound. She's loving her new adventures in literacy, reminds me that we need to do our letters in the morning, and is very excited to find the letters she has learned on tags and in books. And this morning she was able to write her nickname herself.