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When we pulled Benjamin out of public school at age four, I found myself suddenly a “homeschooler.” Being very academic by nature, I thought I could just bring him home and do what the schools were doing. In fact, out of spite, I thought I would do even better – even more – for my pre-schooler’s mind. So I brought my moderately autistic little boy home and presented him with handwriting, phonics lessons, Saxon math, a felt map of the continents, and a multitude of online learning options.
Want to listen instead?
For all of you laughing right now, know that I am rolling my eyes at my former self just as hard but let’s extend some grace to the newbie, huh? And remember, it was before I’d met Charlotte Mason.
My early homeschool years can be summed up in one phrase: too much too soon.
There is a natural process known as childhood development that we as parents are expected to work within the boundaries of. The pre-school years are a special time to focus on certain activities. As I talked about in the last post, these can be summed up in the categories of mind, body, and soul.
Although what I was teaching (read: attempting to teach) technically falls under the “mind” category, it does not necessarily fall under the pre-schooler’s mind and certainly not in the mind of a child with the many challenges connected to his autism at the time.
It’s not that what I was trying to do was bad; it’s just that it was beside the point.
For most four-year-olds – especially our precious outside-the-box children – the foundation for learning is all that needs to be laid during the pre-school years. This takes much longer for OTB children than it does typical children so do not despair if your “pre-school” years last longer than you expected. Proper learning will not – cannot – take place until it has a firm foundation to be built upon. If we look at education as a house we are building in our children, the pre-school years must be for pouring the foundation o