22 months-ish: I really start to become even more intentional about teaching our children scripture at this age because they are talking really well and should be capable of repeating short verses after me. I call whatever verse we are learning "our verse of the week", but in actuality, I will teach it for as long as it takes for them to learn it. Sometimes, they can learn a verse in one week, but sometimes it may take three, depending on the length of the verse. I believe I've already mentioned that we start with Colossians 3:20, but very soon thereafter, we move onto verses that deal with behavior issues, such as sharing or whining or fear. These are more than behavior issues; they are also heart issues, so the verses are also used to correct and train in righteousness. Eventually, we use the book My ABC Bible Verses by Sharon Hunt. Once all of those verses are learned, I look at what's going on in my children's lives to determine what character needs to be built and choose verses to memorize accordingly.
22 - 24 months: If your child is showing good signs of being ready to potty train, now may be a good time to do it. Using the techniques described in the book Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day by Teri Crane, our oldest daughter was trained in just four days, just six weeks shy of her second birthday. Our second daughter took maybe a week at the same age. Our third daughter showed signs of readiness even earlier because she was seeing her big sisters go on the potty, but I hesitated knowing that we were soon expecting a baby and I didn't want her to need to be retrained after going through the shock of a new child in the house. I did decide to train her at the same age as we had with her big sisters, but surprisingly she took a little longer, maybe a month. After such ease with the older two, and with her interest expressed as early as 18 months, I was taken aback, but it did stick after her baby brother arrived, with only just a few accidents.
Now, with the success of the girls at such a young age, I still don't see that I will begin so early with a boy. We'll see in another year or so how he's doing.
Some of you reading may think that the title of the book is crazy, that there's no way that works. I wouldn't believed it myself if I hadn't known someone else that followed the same techniques, and the couple I knew that used it before us had a boy. I have friends who were going through the same training as us at the same time, also with a boy, who had great success. Read for yourself and see what you think. I believe it most important to look at your child's readiness signs. If they are there, next make the commitment that it is time to learn. Don't look back. Pull-ups can delay being fully trained (though we do use them at night until nighttime readiness occurs). Move onto big boy or girl underwear in one full swoop despite any accidents that my occur. Your child shouldn't get stressed if you also keep yourself calm. Do that by going into your private prayer closet!
*Cloth diapers also prepared us in this area. Cloth diapered babies often train faster because they know the feeling of being wet better than disposable diapered babies.
Two years: We begin bringing our children into the sanctuary for special church services. Our second daughter turned two near Christmas, so there were several services in a row that were particularly special, and she never wanted to go back to the nursery, so I kept her out for good. Our youngest is in every service also at 2 and 1/2, but by three years is always our goal.
Three years: At this age, I get even more intentional about doing what we nicknamed "homeschool preschool", making sure that all academic areas are introduced, that they learn how to sit still at a table, use paper and pencil, scissors, basically do anything that they will need to know to be successful in kindergarten. It is fun!
Four years: Nothing new at this age that I can recall, but for us, we did not and will not send our kids to pre-K. Our conviction is that our children need to still be at home at this tender age. My husband and I didn't want to hand them off to someone else for so many hours of the day to be influenced by others so early in their lives. Good teachers can never replace the individual care given by parents and the time for spiritual instruction found at home, especially during a child's formative years.
Five years: Before I get into the school subject, I will say that we don't allow our oldest daughter to go to children's church held during our regular church service. It isn't held every week at our church, but we've recently decided for all of our girls to stay in church with me. When my husband was doing a study for several weeks on the Ten Commandments, we really wanted them there, and we just let that start a new precedent. But really, for five-year-olds, if you send them to school to learn for five to six hours a day, can't you expect them to listen to the pastor for 30 to 45 minutes?
Something could change, but for our oldest, we sent her to public kindergarten. Some homeschoolers may be in shock that with the type of convictions we share with many of them that we would allow any of our children in public school. The reasons for her attendance is that 1) our local primary school (K-2nd grade) is a good school, and 2) we have a connection with the local community that we as a ministry family would not otherwise have if we were homeschooling. Most anyone who meets us in the community meets us as we're introduced as the pastor's family. My husband and daughter have been asked to pray many a morning for the felt needs of the teachers at my daughter's school. It has been great!
Like any parent who has ever been a teacher, I can have a critical eye, and there are some things I might would do differently if it were my classroom, but they are all actions of little consequence. As a Christian parent, I do watch carefully, and should the Lord ever direct my heart to homeschool, I have all the training necessary to do a good job. We watch our family time carefully. Should homework ever take over family evening time, it is likely I will head that direction, but for now, all is good in that department.
In July, I'll have a six-year-old, so here is where my timeline must stop for now. One thing I've wondered, at what point do you allow a child to go into a public restroom alone? For now, I crowd all three of my children into one stall with me, unless no one else is in the restroom. Then, I allow my oldest to go into a stall alone. Smartly, the last time she and another had to go really badly, she went into a stall alone, but waited to exit the stall until I was done with her two sisters so that I could keep an eye on her. I thought she had a brilliant idea! What do you think?