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Playful Path: The Most Necessary Book You’ll Ever Get For Free

by Laura Grace Weldon

Bernie DeKoven may be a guru of fun but he’s got a serious message for all of us. We need more playfulness! This game designer and fun theorist was a pioneer in computer game design and instrumental in the New Games movement. His new book, A Playful Path, is jam-packed with awesomeness. It’s made up of tools and ideas to inspire the possibility-building, wide-open glory of playfulness. Continue reading »

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Tub Schooling

by Jeanne Faulconer

What are the toys in your bathtub? And how good are you at tolerating a little mess? If you’re able to create a nice collection of bathtub toys and allow some extended playtime in the bath, you have the possibility of giving your preschool and kindergarten age kids a good experience “tub schooling.” It’s more important for your kids to enjoy creative play than to sit at a table doing worksheets for hours a day from ages 3 – 6, and there’s no place better to play than in the bathtub. I suggest having a plastic bin full of toys, stocked with… Continue reading »

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The Alphabet Walk: Learning ABCs with Rocks and Trees

by Jeanne Faulconer

Winter is a wonderful time to take Alphabet Walks with your children. In my part of the U.S., this means bundling up for the cold weather, but hunting for the ABCs in nature may be just the thing to get you and the kids moving on darker winter days.

The main object of an Alphabet Walk is to find letters that have been unintentionally formed in the outdoors. Perhaps crossing tree branches form an X against the blue sky, or a cat curved on your deck forms a perfect C. A front door wreath on your neighbor’s house is an O. The brickwork above the windows in an old Main Street building creates a V. Continue reading »

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Delaying Academics: When Homeschoolers Defer Formal Lessons

by Jeanne Faulconer

Schools are pushing standardized testing and formal academics earlier than ever, with today’s kindergartners and preschoolers asked to master skills and content that used to be learned in first and second grades.

Stories like this one from New York and this one from Chicago are popping up all over the country — frequent standardized testing of five year olds (and the accompanying test prep) is becoming the norm in public education. Formal reading, writing, and arithmetic teaching are displacing the time honored traditions of kindergarten — play, story time, learning to share, and enrichment activities that lead to numeracy and literacy.

Some school reformers see the same thing that many homeschoolers do — that a loss of play puts academic success at risk. A complete report on this was issued by the Alliance for Childhood, “Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School”. Continue reading »

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You CAN teach your children a Foreign Language

by THSM Contributor

Languishing in Languages? Let me show you how to teach foreign language through the ages! Ages Birth to Five: For many children, this age range is the best time to start. Before you spend a lot of money on DVD’s, CD’s, “language learning systems” and masses of extra flash cards, take some time to think about your child and your goals for the language. Continue reading »

Winter Educational Ideas For Preschoolers

by THSM Contributor

It’s always fun to use things in our children’s everyday lives to spark discussion and easy educational activities. Since many of us are currently in the midst of winter, this season can be a great topic of “study” for our littlest ones. Continue reading »