Since Matthew could talk he has always been interested in everything. Anyone that knows him would agree with me that he never stops talking. We have always travelled by public transport which he has loved since he was young, he used to point out things he could see through the window. Gradually I realised that he was recognising words on shops and asking about them. (I’m just glad that he didn’t ask about the Red Rose.)
Trying to look back I can’t remember how it all started but I printed out easy work sheets for him on the computer. These were simple things such as draw a line to match the gloves, or two blue objects. He couldn’t get enough of them. I felt a bit awkward doing these with him as he was so young but he loved them. So I decided as long as he wanted to do them I would encourage them, but if he didn’t want to I wouldn’t make him.
He has always liked company and as a toddler/spielgruppe kid he never wanted to play on his own. I must admit I didn’t want to sit driving cars around, so we often fell back on crafts of some kind. Almost without thinking words gradually got included in our play. To start with he had the days of the week, and months. Then we would write colours and shapes to match with pictures. He loved it all. It wasn’t at all long before we realised he could read bits of easy books.
Not having had anything to do with small kids before he came along I didn’t realise this wasn’t really normal. We used to go along to the Basel children's trust playgroups and I would chat with other Mums like we all do. While chatting I just mentioned that Matthew was reading. The other Mums were surprised at this OK he was only about 3-4 years old.
His reading continued to improve at a great rate and now at 6 years old he loves reading and can read chapter books. Every time he finishes a book he is rewarded with a new bookmark. (He is a kid really)
I realise he is still young and don’t want to push him but if he is interested in something I go along with it. We have been through phases learning about Vikings, pharaohs, Space and of course trains. Recently he has got interested in learning to write and do maths. Often when we are sat at the table he will suddenly start asking maths questions, 1+4 or 9-5 or if you have 6 apples and 3 children how many apples does each child have. One day he was doing this on the train and we were getting strange looks from a mum opposite before she plucked up the courage to ask how old he was.
He is now in Swiss kindergarten so is learning German or should I say Swiss German and he is having fun. But he won’t even start to read, write or do maths till he starts proper school next year. I have always realised It would be down to me to teach him reading and writing in English but didn’t realise I would be doing maths, geography and history as well. He still loves to learn about everything and I now feel like a part time stay at home teacher.
I’m always looking for crafts and educational activities on the internet. There are various different blogs that I follow and Pinterest is a great waste of time. Sorry I should say source of knowledge, crafts and activities. I have found lots of simple maths and spelling games that are either easy to make or print out. I’m always amazed at how he takes to them and often when he has spare time he will go and get one of these out instead of playing cars. One of his favourites must have been a maths game using bottle tops. Numbers and symbols are written on the lids and then a sum is laid out we then take it in turn to answer them.
I leave him to take the lead but as I’ve always thought if he is interested in something I should encourage it. Just a shame that he is missing this time at school when he could be learning all this there. I just hope that he is still interested next year when they do it at school and not bored because he knows it all.
Recently I started doing a blog as Mothers Madness sharing the activities and crafts that we get up to. Thinking that family can see what we get up to and other mums might like to use some of the ideas to entertain their own kids. I’m always amazed at what you can find on the Internet with a bit of time. Here are a few sites you might find helpful.