|A backwards photo of his science experiments. "snow" on left, and hand covered in snow., "shoot papr up in water" at top right, "fizz" bottom right. Letter Q being practised in middle.|
My son is 4.5 years old next week, and I'm home-educating him this year, probably next year too. This post is more for me to have a record of his development, I'm going to try to record his "education"/knowledge so far and what he's yet to grasp. It'll be handy to refer to this in the future. Very little of this has been "taught", it's mostly been learned through real life, play, reading and writing in comics and workbooks in a casual way. This is in no way intended to "show off" his skills, and I have no clue as to where other 4 year olds are developmentally, it is purely for ourselves. I'm just publishing it as I have some readers interested in Home Ed.
So far he can write the numbers 1-9 with a little reminder at times. Today I showed him how to do number 8 in one move, rather than 2 distinct circles. He was delighted!
He knows how to write many letters of the alphabet, detailed below, and has been singing the alphabet song since 2yrs. He learned "bubble writing" from his cousin and is practising it like a man obsessed.
The following letters Charlie can write from memory, sometimes needing to have the association reminded, and these associations have been accumulated in the last couple of years, since we started pointing out letters and shapes to him : A for Aunty Ailbhe, B for Buzz, C for Charlie, D for Dada, E for Ella, F for Finan, H- in his name, I - in his name), K for Kitkat, L (in his name), M for Mc Donald's (don't judge me) and later Mama , N for Noah, O in the word Poo, P for Poo, Q interesting shape letter, R in his name, S for Snake, T for Toy Story, U interesting shape, W for Willy Wonka, X in the word "exit" - Sesame St. song, Z for Zorro
He understands about capitals and lower-case, can distinguish some of them and knows that names get capitals. He wrote the word "snow" today by sounding it out. I helped him write "paper" phonetically, and left him with "papr" as it makes sense to him. I'm happy for him to write this way, and pick up the correct spellings when he starts reading. When he does letters with us, we do a mixture of phonetic and letter names, and he can interchange a lot of them. He's not interested in learning to read, and won't "sound out" words, though he loves to write. When he was 3 he loved playing with the magnetic letters on the fridge, spelling "poo" and moving the letters to make new words. Now he prefers to write.
Addition and subtraction: He uses the words plus and minus, and can do simple arithmetic on his fingers, up to about the number 10. He understands the concepts of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and can identify a number like "55" and our house number. He understands relativity and can count ok, though he gets stuck between 14-20.
We've been playing shop and obviously shopping in real life, so he has a great grasp of exchanging money for goods, getting change etc. Doesn't know the coins and notes yet.
Hasn't a clue about the names of the days of the week / names of months of year, or the idea of a new year. We have a calendar, and he understands the working week and the weekend concept, though Barry works weekends too. I'm in no rush for him to parrot off the day's names, I like him to learn everything through practical application. We have certain weekly rituals, and he knows they are coming and counts down the days to them.
He's not really interested in learning Irish - though I played a whole ball game with him and Noah the other day, giving a commentary in Irish and he enjoyed learning a bit. We have some Irish vocabulary books, but I know he won't sit down and go through them, he'll learn by using it.
At 2 and 3 yrs we took him to France, and he was using "merci" ("moh-see") and "oui", and "peux-je jouer" and "je suis Charlie". He knows Dora speaks Spanish and parrots the words back to her when watching it.
Geography - He loved learning about countries, looking at an atlas and maps at 3 yrs, hearing about languages and people /characters from countries. He knows of England, America, France, Germany, Turkey, Africa, India, China, Japan, Iceland by name and could point out Ireland on a map of Europe.
Science - chemistry - he adored a chemistry class in Science week last week, making fizzes with acids and alkalines, seeing static electricity at work, hearing about polymers. Physics - he knew about "grabity" at 2 yrs and would explain how it made toys drop. he and barry made a hovercraft out of a balloon and dvd, and he explained the physics of it to me. He spent 1/2 hour yesterday writing up his experiments, in a hard-back book, diagrams and the odd word/phrase. His cousin asked him "Charlie, do you know what science is?" He said "Of course, I'm a scientist!" He can explain how a particular machine works. He's getting into electrical currents, understands a plug socket and switch has current.
History: He can tell you all about the "old days" before electricity, and how people lived then, candles, horses and carts, hand-washing clothes etc.
Art - painting, drawing, at just 3 yrs old he drew the cast of Monsters Inc, and he loves drawing superheroes and monsters now. He can't colour within the lines, well he can, but he rarely does. He can't join the dots, doesn't follow the numbers as he can't recognise them over about 10. He's great at mazes and spot the differences.
Music - he'll mess around on the piano, can't pick out a tune, loves faking playing on his mini electric guitar, loved drums at 2 and 3 but not so much now. He can sing in tune but doesn't keep to a tune when he's really into a song.
Dance - he jigs and goes crazy to music with no focus, but seems to love it. He gets really affected by melancholy music.
Physical Ed - tumble and backwards (sideways) tumble since he was 2, he's got great balance but is wary of heights. He climbs well but is cautious. He loves the trampoline, and bounces onto his bum, then up on his feet, onto his knees etc. He can't do star jumps. He can scoot on a scooter, up and over ramps in the skate park, do a little "olly" ('cept he calls it a wolly), is learning to in-line skate. Hasn't yet tried his bike without stabilisers, hasn't bicycled since the spring, he's been scooting everywhere.
Singing - He's a Jedward Fan, knows all the words to the album we have, and loves singing with a microphone.
Social skills - he says sorry if he's getting past someone, even baby Noah, if he accidentally hits someone, understands taking turns, queuing etc, makes small talk about the weather to certain neighbours
Technology - he's discovering online video games, rudimentary Game Boy games, good with phone menus, editing photos on my phone, can open windows on the laptop, volume, reload a page etc. He can switch on the tv/dvd, insert a dvd, use the dvd remote to play, pause, use the tv remote for volume.
Nature: Thanks to Brambly Hedge and the changing seasons he knows all about nature, the cycles, trees getting leaves and losing them, the water cycle, planets orbiting the sun, heat, light, shadows, rainbows, water freezing to ice, melting, heating to steam etc. He understands where his food comes from, that fruit and veg grow from plants, meat comes from dead animals etc.
Personal skills: He can wash and dry his own hands and face, use a nail brush, brush his teeth and rinse out his mouth. He can dress himself fully, socks and boots too, needs help with zipping up jackets, but can do it if he's not rushed. He can't do buttons or tie laces, though he can do a half-knot after a recent morning spent playing with a red string. He hasn't needed to use snap fasteners yet. He comes in the front door, automatically takes off his footwear and jacket and sometimes puts them on the hall stand, sometimes leaves them all over the floor. He hates picking up toys after playing with them. He loves imaginary play, teddy hotel, spies, rock band, school, dolls, building a fort etc. with friends/cousins. He gets bored quickly if alone or with me, and needs constant ideas for what to do, but will go for hours from one game to the next with another kid. (I know 'cause I watched him play from 8.30am - 12pm today with his older cousin non-stop).
I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of for now,