In this age of Pinterest, Facebook and millions of blogs,there are still wonderful printed resources for parents. Through years of research, I narrowed my list of books for teaching small kids ( and their parents) to the following. Please, let me know what other wonderful books should I add to this list.
Teaching Montessori in The Home The Preschool Years by Elizabeth G. Hainstock is a small book, but it contains most of what you need to know about teaching your child at home, whether you homeschool or not. The book is full of wonderful Montessori activities and explanations. Each activity is described in detail. Activities range form simple ones 9 how to wash hands) to more complicated ones ( How to compile words.) There are many interesting activities and ideas for sensory learning, such as scent bottles, music bottles and color tablets. The book contains no photos, which is its only negative, in my mind.
There are many things I like about the Waldorf philosophy of child-rearing. I love the importance of free play, the connection to nature and the simple chores for kids. I like the absence of television and the emphasis on reality-based crafts. I love the handmade dolls and the beautiful pieces of fabric , which are used as toys. I don’t agree with the theory that children should not be taught academics until they are seven years old: if my kid is interested in reading earlier, I will teach him or her how to read.
My favorite thing about Waldorf is its emphasis on rhythm and rituals. According to Waldorf philosophy, there is nothing as important for the child’s healthy growth and development as the work you do to maintain consistent rhythms in their lives. Noticing the change of seasons with your child is important. Noticing the times of day is important, as well. Paying attention to simple things in nature, like sunshine coming after the rain, helps your child to better connect with their inner rhythm and to tune into the world around them, which they are a part of.
The Waldorf philosophy states that a child develops a sense of self through a carefully-guided, secure and stable childhood. Keeping close ties to the natural rhythms and cycles helps your child develop a sense of well-being and certainty that the world is an understandable, safe, and predictable place. Songs and verses are very popular with Waldorf, as they contribute to the daily rhythm. When children hear the verses, related to specific activities, the transition to these activities becomes smoother.
Hold On to Your Kids by Dr. Neufeld is a wonderful book, written by the “guru” of attachment parenting. The book talks about peer orientation, which is a tendency of children to look to their peers for direction, for a sense of right and wrong, for values, identity and codes of behavior. But peer orientation undermines family cohesion, poisons the school atmosphere, and fosters an aggressively hostile and sexualized youth culture. It provides a powerful explanation for schoolyard bullying and youth violence. Hold On to Your Kids explains that a parent-child relationship should come before child-peers relationship. The concepts, principles and practical advice contained in Hold On to Your Kids help parents to satisfy their children’s need to find direction by turning towards a source of authority, contact and warmth.
Mudpies and Magnets by Robert A. Williams is a book of scientific experiments, suitable for kids from toddlers to elementary students. There are experiments for coloring flowers, for sprouting seeds, for dunking raisins, collecting murals and more. All of the experiments in the book are simple and connected to nature. You would look at lot of them and say: “How amazing! Why didn’t I think of it myself?” This book will last for at least 6 years worth of experiments, so do buy it. there is no photographs, but almost every experiment has a detailed illustration next to it.
Science is Simple: Over 250 Activities For Preschoolers by Peggy Ashbrook. If you have been looking for top-notch, sound, classroom-tested science lessons, this is the book. This book contains so many wonderful experiments, ideas, suggestions, and possibilities it is hard to know where to begin. Each lesson includes objectives, hints, a list of materials needed, enrichment activities, resources, a list of books to read, ideas of “what to talk about,” and, thoughtfully, a “Note Home to Families” which describes the concept under investigation. Unlike some other books of this type, Science is Simple includes a multitude of open-ended questions which guide the student toward self-discovery and creative thinking. I love this book so much that I have been contemplating to use it as the only tool for our homeschool activities for a while. It’s that good.
This book takes all the guesswork out of learning how to read. Through series of lessons, the writers tell you what to say and how to say it so that your child can learn how to read. They also suggest optional games and songs to further engage kids and reinforce concepts, making this program all the more fun and thorough. The concepts are divided by lessons. All the rules and exceptions are listed. My only problem with this book is the absence of illustrations. The child needs visual stimulation while reading.