It is constantly amazing to me how different the children are from one another! To be sure, there are a great many things that are remarkably similar and few people who looked at them would have any doubts that they are related. Still when it comes to learning styles and interests they are each unique.
I was reminded of this recently as I was evaluating the preschool work I am doing with Bull. With the older two I had just worked my way through a series of workbooks from Rod and Staff, supplementing with some extra art projects, puzzles, and cheap workbooks picked up at Walmart (mostly for fun or to keep them occupied). I had been taking the same approach with Bull but began to realize around Christmas that he was neither learning as much as I wanted him to, nor enjoying school as much as I thought a bright, curious little boy should.
There are at least three things that are immediately obviously different to me about him:
He is much more coordinated and active than either of the other two were at his age. He runs, jumps, practicing falling (which I really need to get a video of) and is generally never still. While he can concentrate on things (his toy piano, legos etc.) he would rather be moving.
He is less verbal than either of the other two at this age. That is- his understood vocabulary is excellent, but his speech is not very clear, and he struggles to put his ideas into words. He can do it, but not quickly and he is frustrated by this and somewhat self-conscious that we often cannot understand him. We may well be looking into speech therapy for him as this seems to be a physical issue not a mental one.
He is extremely people oriented and explains his world through narrative not physics. He would rather be doing something with someone than be by himself and if no one is available he will make up someone (usually his bear)to be his companion. He will then involve Bear or his sibling in the story that is going on in his head. Where Buggle and Mouse made “food” on the toy kitchen in an experimental way (what would happen if I did this? Would it be like what Mama does? Can I remember and approximate all of the steps in making sausage using my stuffed animals and blocks?) Bull cooks for me or for Bear in order to please us and take care of us. He doesn’t care that much about how realistic the food looks- his imagination supplies what is missing- he wants our reactions and our approval so that the “story” will end well.
All of this means that a preschool program that is primarily analytically based workbooks is just not a natural fit for him. He needs an approach with many more manipulatives and much more narrative framework. I think I have found just that and will post about it tomorrow.