Before we left for our sabbatical, I sat down with the teachers at my son’s school and asked them if they had any suggestions or activities they recommended for my son while we’re away. They told me that kids often forget basic lessons if they take a long break from school — apparently kids can forget how to use scissors, forget how to count, even forget how to read if they go a while without doing it! So they suggested that I try to keep up on these sorts of activities. They also suggested that I take the time to teach my 4-year-old the basics of reading.
I’m not the most patient parent and I’m certainly not cut out for ‘real’ home-schooling, but I must admit I’m actually having some success thanks to these Key Words Flash Cards — containing the 100 key words that make up 50% of those we read, write and speak every day. The concept of flash cards is easy: they gradually introduce the words and, because of repetition, teach kids to recognize and memorize the words on first sight.
I’m also teaching my 2-year-old his letters. I’m using the Early Learning ABC Flashcards which are really good because they include both the capital letters and the lowercase ones. (Apparently different countries do it differently — I’ve been teaching my kids the capital letters, but in the UK they teach kids the lowercase letters first!)
In both cases the flashcards are working really well. My boys actually look forward to our ‘letters and words’ lesson every morning!