Why Themes for Young Children?

Why Themes

The answer to this question goes back several years for me. I always did the “normal” early childhood themes when I taught school; pond, jungle, farm, all about me, weather, etc. We still do many of those themes and more in our own homeschool.  But, this post isn’t about those themes, it is about specific themes chosen based on your child’s interests. What I found with my kids is that they weren’t nearly as energized about the themes I chose, but the themes THEY chose were a whole different story!

When Krash was 2, he wasn’t interested in much of my early childhood stuff.  Poor PacMan went to great lengths to surprise Krash with a “red theme” day and was mostly rejected by busy little Krash, other than the red blocks, it was all ignored.  Red Theme Day

Krash seemed interested in learning, and seemed to be a sponge, but attracting him to certain activities was difficult.  UNTIL the Cars Tot Book entered his hands.

Cars Tot Book

I am not kidding, I still remember this moment {shown above}, when I put it in his hands.  He LOVED Cars and knew them all, I thought it was worth a shot to see if he liked this new concept of mine.  He did, way more than I even expected!  He learned all of his colors enthusiastically with this one Tot Book, it captured his attention that much!

Since that day I have tried to choose materials and themes that my children are drawn to. I began creating printables solely for that reason, so I could develop learning activities around the themes my kids enjoyed!


So, WHY themes?

    • naturally draws the attention of the child ~ the Cars Tot Book above is the perfect example.
    • makes difficult learning tasks a bit more interesting~ a good example is when Krash was struggling with tally marks and could not grasp the concept and was getting burnt out.  I made him some Skylanders Tally Mark work and he had it mastered within a day!
    • shows your child that you value their ideas and interests ~ I can’t tell you how many times my children have truly had that “I feel loved” look on their faces when they see I listened to an interest they expressed and incorporated it into school time. Ladybug had a HUGE love of the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow last year, so I developed a Rainbow Theme Week for her, this was one of those times I saw that look in her eyes!
    • boring concepts suddenly become fun ~ counting, graphing, tracing, and so much more can get old really quickly.  A theme makes the same old work seem new to a child. I truly believe my younger two mastered graphing concepts so early thanks to the Roll & Graph printables.

What to do now?Ask your child what s/he would love to explore! My kids have chosen themes like; Pond Life, Bugs, and more!  You can also draw on natural interests {My Little Pony, Angry Birds, Princesses, Doc McStuffins, Mickey Mouse, Lego, Octonauts}

Once you have a theme in mind, organize your thoughts and plan!


This post is #7 in my series for the iHomeschool Network Spring 2013 Hopscotch. Visit other bloggers participating here!

Hopscotch-With-iHN-Spring42[4]

 

Homeschooling-Tots-and-Preschoolers_Day 1 ~ Where to Begin with Tot School eBook

Day 2 ~ You Don’t Have to Do it All!

Day 3 ~ Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Day 4 ~ Time Invested in Tot Schooling

Day 5 ~ 10 Tips for Studying Nature with Tots

Day 6 ~ Exposure vs. Mastery

Day 7 ~ Why Themes?

Day 8 ~ Teaching Tots in a Large Family

Day 9 ~ Our Favorite Learning Tools for Tots

Day 10 ~ Early Childhood Theme Printables A-E