Educational Toys in Home Schooling
Homeschooling, also known as home education and home learning, is the education of children at home rather than in traditional schools. Parents sometimes hire tutors, but for the most part, parents play the primary role in teaching. The reasons for homeschooling are diverse, but often include religious or political beliefs, or simply a concern for the quality of learning in conventional schools. No matter the reason, it is imperative that home-schooled children have an enriched environment to nurture crucial developmental skills.
Enriching the Home Environment
Because traditional schooling is rich in environmental stimuli, parents wishing to home school their children strive to compensate for this deficit. Learning approaches that engage the child and keep learning interesting are often highly effective means of environmental enrichment. The play to learn approach, in which children teach themselves important developmental skills through play, is an excellent way to enrich the home environment and accelerate early childhood development and learning.
Educational Toys as Learning Tools
Parents also strive to keep their children motivated to learn, and to instill a strong sense of self-esteem in home schooled children. Children are also easily distracted, so it is imperative to keep them engaged in learning. Educational toys are very effective, as they are stimulating to children, and make learning enjoyable. They also help children to extend their imaginations, and can lead to more effective learning. Home school parents often find it very helpful to include them as a part of their children’s curriculum to keep things fresh and to foster a good attitude.
What Home School Parents Should Look For
Not all educational toys are created equal. Some are more effective than others both in engaging children’s attention and in building important skill sets. It is often helpful for these toys to present a style of learning that is structured and comprehensive, but that also keeps children motivated and having fun. Often those toys that are modular in design, and that can teach many different skill sets are particularly useful to home school parents.
What Educational Toys Should Teach Children
Educational toys should be enjoyable, but should also be designed with the intent to develop a particular skill set. It is important for the toy to be structured and geared around a target age group because children pass different developmental milestones as they progress through childhood. For children under 5, they should focus on building a foundation skill set that will be supportive of more advanced learning later on. Important skills are visual perception, shape and color recognition, concentration, memorization and basic linguistic skills. As children progress in their development, it is important to enrich for more advanced skill sets. Toys for children over age 5 should focus on more complex and advanced developmental skills. Important skills at this age are critical thinking, abstract thinking, logical thinking, math, geometry, linguistic, pattern recognition, associative and memorization skills.