Look at the light on the floor in the following picture. What do you see?
The other day at the grocery store, this woman stopped her shopping, put her nose up, looked at Adam and asked, "Shouldn't he be in school? How old is he?" I was super-irritated, but I tried to be nice by answering a few questions and kept walking.
Yesterday, I took Adam out to ride his tricycle and splash in the puddles. A neighbor that was just making conversation asked me if Adam was in school. She didn't seem judgmental, but my mind automatically went buzzing, "Does she think I'm a bad mom? Why does she think he should be in school?" I told her that he is only three and is not in school but that I work with him a lot at home. I beamed and said, "He is starting to read already." She quickly replied, "Well, I just let my children be kids and allowed them to enjoy their childhoods."
While I do work with Adam, it is not to unrealistically push him or take away his childhood. I believe in teachable moments...those unplanned opportunities that arise, giving an ideal chance to teach and share insight with children. When Adam is playing and tells me that "Tammi and tulip have the same beginning sound" we sit down and talk about beginning sounds. When he asked me how water got into the clouds, we talked about God's amazing creation, and I did a lesson on the water cycle in the kitchen with the teapot.
Children are born with inquiring minds, and they want to know. Adam's "why's" and "how's" inspire me to be in awe of the world around me. His questions and thoughts make me think and give me fresh perspectives on life. I am thankful every day that he is not in school and that I am able to spend these precious days with him, taking advantage of those teachable moments.
Keep your eyes out for moments you can use to teach your children. You don't have to homeschool. You don't have to be a stay-at-home mom. All you have to do is take advantage of those moments that pop up throughout the day. Ask questions about what they see. Point out colors and shapes. Count things. Discuss how people treat each other in different situations and talk about the kindness you want to see in your child. Demonstrate kindness in your actions. They truly are sponges. Don't miss a moment! You may not have have lesson plans or a grade-book, but you are the most important teacher your child will ever have.