I'm not of those mothers who are in a haste to rush their kids to digest alphabets, numbers, phonics and mathematics through enrichment classes. My son is playing 18 hours a day all week still and it amazes me how much he has learnt despite the fact that we have deliberately refrained from forcing him to read/write/draw.
2 examples of what my son does (without any prompting/help):
Right: I, F, O and inverted L (a week ago)
Where he gets 'knowledge' and reinforcement of concepts from:
(1) Fixing/dismantling/arranging his toys
(3) Lots of explanations from us
(4) Observing what happens when we're out (people, building, creatures, plants, furnishings, food etc)
What's available at home:
(1) LOTS of vehicles, tracks, toys of all sorts, bicycle etc and household items he takes to play with
(2) Books, blank exercise books, magna doodle board, calligraphy mat, crayons etc
(3) DVDs of all sorts (educational, cartoon, series, movies etc)
(4) TV/DVD player on stand-by mode (he knows how to get what he wants to watch)
(5) Youtube (short videos of marble runs, trains, planes and bendy buses etc)
(6) Daddy/Mommy (24-hour call centre for help/explanation/company)
Basically, we don't say "okay, finish up 2 pages of tracing now..." or "let's write alphabets now...". My son takes the initiative to invite us to write/draw/play/read instead of us begging him to learn. Which is better, I feel because I really don't wish for the child to grow up dependent on us to set him schedules and tasks (except for reminders to bathe, wash hands and pack up toys).
Scenes from the Letter Factory
This morning, the boy woke up and asked for Leapfrog's Letter Factory. Halfway watching, he sprung up to grab an exercise book. First he drew a blob of monster (Letter 'A' portion had monsters screaming the letter A) and then after he told me he was going to write something. "Look, Q!" he screamed and then after "H", "I" and a few others. Amazing what kids can do if they put their minds to it. I've never taught him to write, only leaving blank books and tracing books around.
Nevermind his Q had 2 tails. He wasn't happy with the first tail and rewrote another tail at the correct place. I'm just very happy as a parent to see that my child is able to write out what he knows. What he's figured out so far in terms of writing: A, C, E, F, H, I, L, M, O, Q, S, T, V, W, X, Z, 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 0. Small letters -- not yet: he doesn't seem to like the baby letters as much and is still getting to know them better. He definitely can trace numbers and letters but that's cheating - I'd rather know what he can write independently!
Just delighted to know this fella can write without help and draw from sight!