Friday, 26 March 2010


I'm happy to say my children are super-enthusiastic about many many things. Conversation, listening to stories, imaginative play, discussing how things work and what things mean, watching films, cooking, dressing up, playing games, singing, telling jokes, painting, cutting, gluing, running, climbing, scooting, dancing, Lego and track construction are all popular activities in our house. However, as soon as either of them get the merest sniff that we might be spelling or adding or writing letters of the alphabet - they run for the hills.

My ruse to get them learning about the concepts of number, letters and measure is to sneak them in, by stealth. And so far this method of learning-by-stealth has been working rather well. In their play and everyday activities they get loads of experience in phonemes, simple words and numbers, basic addition and subtraction. They chat about size and shape, they sort and estimate. All that jazz.

However, things that have so far been easily disguised in play are inevitably emerging as activities of learning in their own right at nursery and school. Maybe my children will always be prone to reject anything remotely resembling school work; maybe it's too early to say, but they are certainly making it clear they are not ready for it yet.

So, I've been thinking about how to start translating their obvious enthusiasm for learning (in the widest sense) to include the three R's. Learning-by-stealth can't last forever, you know. Recently I have discovered the phonics and number games on the Family Learning website which are really quite good. Buddy is lapping them up; his love of all things computer-game is being used for good, at last!

Tapping into another of Buddy's passions - Formula One, is a trick I've used before to help him try something new. Using some high frequency word flashcards, I've added Formula One vocabulary (e.g. pit stop, fuel, win, race, flag) to create bingo-style and dice games.

And so to the photograph. This is evidence of this morning's little triumph. Buddy wrote 'formula one' using our magnetic letters. He copied the spelling from his World Championships 2010 Guide And he did this happily, enthusiastically even. Result!

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