My son is extremely tactile (hands on…literally) and most of what he does to learn is feel, try, touch and manipulate objects in order to tinker and figure them out. I’m convinced that he’s going to be an inventor, but you never really know. I’m going through a phonics program with him and he does really well with it. He understands what he’s learning and even likes the worksheets but there are lots of times that I think he learns better by using his sense of touch and discovery. I’ve researched a ton of info on how to engage a tactile learner and it’s very interesting since most of our education is set up through rote memorization. Also, how does one teach letters in a tactile way? Braille is likely not the best option for a seeing child and I wasn’t about to make a series of letters out of sandpaper for him to feel to his heart’s content.
Last year I tried the boy on cornmeal design. When I was a preschool teacher’s assistant we had a cornmeal table set up like an indoor sandbox so the kids could play and feel. I read a lot on how to help kids draw letters with shaving cream and frankly that option was not to this clean-freaks liking. I could just see him covered head to toe in cream without any sort of desire to go through the alphabet. So I went with cornmeal. I just dump it out in baking sheets and they draw away. We use to do letters in the cornmeal, he’d trace the letters with his fingers, but he really is ok sticking with a phonics worksheet at this point. But drawing with cornmeal is always a hit. I’ve actually been really encouraged how many moms saw the photos I posted on facebook of our cornmeal extravaganza and tried it with their kids. I love seeing an idea work!
Right now I’m helping Oliver to practice his letters by simply….writing. I ask what he wants to write (a letter to a friend, a story or just a note to papa) and I help him with the words. He seems to enjoy it more than working on the sheets every day. Around Christmas he sent his first letter to a friend and it simply said, ” (name), I like to play with cars. Love Oliver”. We even put a stamp on it and posted it. He also wrote his grandpa over Christmas to say he missed him. A few days ago I started a book with him, “What makes me happy”. He draws things that make him happy (petting his cat) and I help him write out a caption. Perfect! Practicing writing! Just doing it! I’m realizing that home schooling isn’t easy in this beginning phase as we try to figure out a rhythm and flow to who we are as a family and who my kids are as individuals. They are different from anyone else on the planet and I’m trying to tap into what they need and foster a love for learning in their hearts. Everyone needs to find their own rhythm!