The toddler years may be one of the best times to begin involving others in the educational journeys of your children. During this precious time there is no required course enrollment or testing. Most family members and friends will be open to parents fulfilling the primary educational needs of their children. This open mindedness and acceptance can lend itself to easing the burden of encouraging the involvement from individuals important to the family, but who have reservations about homeschooling. The following is an abbreviated list of some of the ways we have begun to involve people important to our family in enriching the lives of our children.
Ways to Involve Family and Friends:
1) Ask Them to Share Their Skills
We love to have people demonstrate their skills and interests for our children. Our favorite example is during the holidays when my brother and his significant other who just happen to be musicians are kind enough to offer a private sold out performance for the family.
2) Invite Them to Community Offerings
Our area library branches offer toddler level story and sing time on weekdays and Saturday mornings. There are a multitude of community events centered on toddler themes and activities offered via local venues. One of Grandma’s favorite activities is taking our toddler to story time at the library.
3) Encourage Your Child’s Involvement in Family Interests
Every member of our family loves nature; animals, plants, sun, stars, etc. Each of us offer our own interpretation of the world around us. My mother sings the Mother Goose rhyme, “Daffy Down Dilly” every time she sees a daffodil growing and my husband won’t pass up an opportunity to show our little one an insect.
4) Say Yes to Family and Friends Offering Safe Field Trips/Errands
Our extended family is exceptional at remembering to offer to take our toddler on errands and we make it a point to make sure she gets to go. Two of her favorite places are the grocery and hardware stores. She loves spending time with some of her favorite people and we love keeping her occupied and happy.
5) Thank Family and Friends When They Initiate Learning
Our neighbor does a fair amount of our yard work and upkeep. He often goes out of his way to save special mementos like giant pine cones, wildflowers, and other yard trimmings of interest for our toddler’s inspection and enjoyment.
Each of these experiences not only provides precious bonding time for the children, but also offers plentiful learning opportunity for both teacher and student. Counting the numbers of bananas in the bunch in the grocery store, admiring the various colors of flowers blooming on a nature walk, and learning how to dump water out of a watering can are all beneficial and fun learning activities appropriate for most toddlers. A happy side effect of adult involvement with early childhood development and learning is a continued appreciation and expectation of ongoing non-traditional education as the children enter the preschool years.
In what ways do you involve others in the early education of your children? Make sure to also check out all of the other community themed learning ideas found here on Enchanted Homeschooling Mom.