Have you ever been embarrassed by your small child repeating something you said? Swore just to hear your angelic three year old repeat you verbatim? Welcome to the grammar stage or parrot years of a child’s life.
Grammar Stage or Parrot Years
During this time of life, children absorb information like sponges and parrot the adults around them. This is wonderful when it comes to eating with spoons and minding their manners. Horrifying when it comes to adult language.
Classical education takes advantage of these sponge-like years by exposing children to content and memorization to lay a solid foundation for future study.
Expose your child to scientific concepts such as cells, cell walls, and the parts of a cell. Let them see pictures of the universe, cut outs of the earth, and pictures of atoms. Take a nature hike and look for worms, trees, flowers, and birds.
Take your children on field trips to various stores, fire stations, factories, banks, and libraries to see how their society works. What does the post office do? How is a letter mailed?
Learn about history and geography. How did people live in ancient Egypt? How do people live in Egypt now? Where is Egypt? The Nile? The Rhine? How were the pyramids made? Who were the pharaohs?
Expose your children to stories. Read stories of great men and women, fairy tales, mythology, and Bible stories. Classic children’s literature such as The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh or Peter Pan also makes wonderful read-alouds.
Foundation of Memorization and Skills
The parrot years are the ideal opportunity to memorize lists of pharaohs, US presidents, states, and capitols. Learn the parts of a cell. Teach children about current events by learning who is the mayor of your city, the governor of your state, or the president of your country. Don’t forget to memorize poetry and excerpts from great literature.
This is also the time to lay a solid foundation of skills for future studies. Children learn arithmetic and to read and write. They copy excerpts from literature and narrate stories they hear.
The goal during the grammar stage is to expose the children to ideas and vocabulary. For them to memorize lists of facts for future use, and to develop an appreciation and enthusiasm for knowledge and great literature.
Remember not to overburden your child with drudgery but rather focus on developing a love of learning. You can’t memorize every fact in the world, but a child who is fascinated by the wonders of the world will make homeschooling a delight in future years.
We’re laying a foundation, not building a mansion in the grammar stage or parrot years.