I am a plain person. I have to intentionally choose to wear colors in my wardrobe, my rather boring taste prefers to wear black and white or brown and tan. When it comes to teaching, I would just prefer to dish out facts and let the students memorize them.
That is not how I teach my children for the most part though. I have learned that it is fun to learn while playing.
I am starting to realize that some pre-made flash cards and educational books are more distracting than educational.
While teaching my son the alphabet a few months ago, I was using flash cards. These flash cards contained both upper and lower case letters and a picture. My son would often see the picture and gladly tell me what the picture was, or make the corresponding animal noise.
We have had similar concentration issues with workbooks my daughter likes to work in and even some ‘educational’ TV programs. Adelle (3) is able to read three letter words, but when her curriculum gave her books full of words she could read, she was overwhelmed. She wanted to guess the words based on the picture (which is a good skill but distracting at this age), and she felt intimidated by the sheer amount of words.
That is not to say that learning should always be plain, boring and straight to the point, but why not sometimes just show them what we would like them to learn without the distractions?
I made Index Card flash cards of the alphabet for my son. He still enjoys playing with them, but we could move through the cards quicker and he learned what we sat down to learn a lot faster.
When I took every word from the three books she can read and put them in flash cards, she was able to read them all. No guessing, no distractions, no talking about a story or character (we read several stories a day, but I prefer to do one task at a time), just joy and satisfaction over every word she managed to read.
I know, its boring to use index cards. It is one-dimensional learning. We learn other things in very creative ways (we’ll have to share more of the fun things!), but is it all bad to sometimes just get straight to the point?
I’m sure my children are not the only distract-able preschoolers! How have you handled distractions? Is there a benefit I am missing?