Sunday, November 19, 2006

Protecting Children Online

It's a relief that many of our challenges and concerns are being addressed a year or two before we're ready for them. Some things are difficult to explain to a child, but necessary. One example is educating Katerina about online predators. She doesn't have her own email or chat with anyone yet, but I'm sure that will happen soon enough.

A great new resource is the Bad Guy Patrol, which Microsoft Canada had a hand in developing. It's designed for children 5-12 years old, and teaches them how to stay safe online.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Educational Toys

When does home schooling really begin? The whole point is to take responsibility for your child's education, and that starts way before they're 5 years old.

Katerina's toys at 3 years, 4 months:

We've looked at (and played with!) so many games and toys - Some we liked, and others hardly got a 2nd glance. As far as early education toys go, by far the best we've found so far is the "Leap Pad + Writing" from LeapFrog. The recommended age for most of the modules is 5+, but that didn't matter a bit to Katerina. She got one last Christmas when she was 2 1/2 (which meant that I had to help her use it until recently). It took her 10 months to figure out how to write the numbers 1 to 10.

I certainly don't push or force any of Katerina's learning - It's more like just trying to keep up with her, and provide for her interests. With all the toys and games she has to choose from, she still pulls out her LeapPad at least once a week and insists I use it with her.

The 2 other classics that she loves to play right now are "Mousetrap" and "Snakes & Ladders".

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Difficulties Prior to Enrollment

Katerina's enrollment in kindergarten is still more than a year and a half away, but it's already becoming clear that the biggest challenge in home schooling is going to be with the responses and reactions of others.

Katerina's grandparents have repeatedly brought up the subject of her starting kindergarten, usually commenting on the parenting challenges involved with public and private schools. My wife and I hinted a few times that home-school was a possible option, and their responses were less-than-favorable.

The few close associates that we've told about our home schooling plans were quite supportive, with most saying that they wished they were in a position to be able to educate their own children at home.

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