The Advanced Tot

The Advanced Tot

Let me begin this post by saying that I have {so far} 2 completely “typical” children.  I don’t believe either are academically gifted, although they are not challenged academically either.  I have good ol’ normal school boys, and I love them just the way they are!

So, what is an advanced tot?

Recently I have noticed a few and they sparked my desire to share some insight about this {along with a few emails I have received about this topic}.  As always, these are just my opinions and are in no way correct in the grand scheme of things, just my opinions…feel free to completely ignore me!

I have watched little Nathan grow up through Tot School since he was 15 months old.  Here is his very first Tot School post.  Nathan is now 2 1/2 and is blowing my mind with what he is able to do.  Nathan is what I would call, an advanced tot.  You’ll see why below!

I don’t believe there are guarantees that advanced tots will always be advanced academically, it is often too early to tell.  Many children will all catch up to about the same level academically by about 2nd or 3rd grade {when taught well}.

I am NOT a fan of comparing children, but I do think it is beneficial to notice differences if it can help us better adapt our own homeschools for our young children.  What was right for Krash, certainly would not be right for Nathan at this point.  I say this to help you feel OK with the fact that your tot will probably not be mastering skills at the same rate as any other tot, they are all different.  This is why I say STAGES are much more important than AGES with the younger ones.  Exposure is key, not mastery…but what do you do if your tot masters things earlier than the rest?


So, why do I believe Nathan is an advanced tot?  Check out these photos below, and I will also share what I believe is a bit more typical for the same age {based on my experience as a mother and as an early childhood educator}

  • Here Nathan drew specific items with chalk {age 29 months}, which his Mom labels for you here on her blog,


More typically I believe this stage occurs closer to age 3.  Not a huge difference, but if I just compare my boys to Nathan, Pac Man didn’t begin drawing with purpose until over 3, and Krash didn’t begin until closer to age 4!  Obviously there is a wide range of what would be considered normal, and they all fall in that range.

  • Nathan also writes letters {age 29 months also}…

image More typically, this is a late preschool, early Kindergarten skill.  Krash at age 4 is just now beginning to learn to write letters and still doesn’t write any on his own.


  • Here Nathan {age 29 months} drew and A for Apple inside of his apple on a coloring worksheet ;-).  You can read more here.

imageI’d be lucky to get Krash to even color the apple, let alone identify a beginning sound and write the letter on his own!!!!


  • Here Nathan {at age 27 months} is sorting by shape and sequencing by size, using the exact toy we own!

image Krash didn’t master this toy until closer to age 4, this is one that most children would probably master younger than Krash did, but probably not quite as early as Nathan did {unless you also have an advanced tot}.

Those are just a few examples, if you browse through all of his Tot School posts, you’ll see different examples also.  Now, it is common for girls to be a bit more advanced than boys {typically, not always}, so many of you with girls may be at or even beyond Nathan’s abilities!  Nathan is a very advanced tot in general, another example I know of is Alyssa from Tot PlayRocker Tot from The Linton Academy is a bit older now, but he has always been advanced for his age too.  I am sure there are many more out there.  Those are just a few I have noticed.

So what should you do with an advanced tot, if you have one?

  • Go with the flow!!!!
  • Keep doing exactly what you have been doing, following your child’s lead.
  • You don’t necessarily need to do anything differently regarding the format of Tot School, just keep things engaging, fun, and reasonably challenging.

If you need a refresher about what I believe regarding teaching tots, you can read a portion of an eBook I am writing here.  I don’t plan to release this book for a long time {lack of time to actually finish it is the problem}, but will release portions if I feel it would be helpful along the way.

I think it’s important to move along with the academic growth of your child, while also being sure to not push too hard.  It is a beautiful thing when a young tot enjoys learning {those of us with more resistant tots are really jealous, just so you know}, the worst thing we as parents can do is to squash their zeal for learning.  It is a delicate balance ~ challenging our young children, while not pushing them to the point of frustration.

PBS Kids Child Development Tracker-is a great site for information regarding child development.  I compared Nathan to many of their stats and found that he is indeed, advanced for his age ;-).  I think it is the best site that I have found-meaning it’s both concise, helpful, and easy to read/navigate.

A special thanks to Nathan’s mom Katie for allowing me to use her precious son as my example for this post! You can visit her blog, Wilson Ramblings, here.

Edited to Add ~ Here are two other posts that might be helpful {these were written after this post, about my daughter, Ladybug who ended up being a bit more of an advanced tot than my boys were}

Following the Lead of the Child Following the Lead of Your Preschooler at Home



Contacting Me

For those of you who read my blog in a reader or via email, I thought I would post my new Contact Me info here in a post. If you jump over to my blog you will see the new drop-down navigational bar at the top, which is where the new “contact me” info is located. Here it is:

You can email me at 1plus1plus1equals1 {@} be sure to remove the space, I don’t link it for spam purposes.

I try my best to respond to all emails, but my life simply does not allow a timely response for all. Sometimes you will catch me when I am sitting right here and will get an immediate response, sometimes it may be awhile. I even forget {gasp} sometimes. I ALWAYS put my family first, so when the time is not there, it just simply isn’t there. I hope you can understand this.

I sincerely want to answer all of the emails I receive, it is the desire of my heart, but I know it is not what God wants me doing at this season of my life. I DO READ ALL OF THE EMAILS!!!! I file them in my “need to reply” folder and do my best to find time to reply one by one. So, just because you haven’t heard from me, does not mean I haven’t read the email…I read them all, and all of my comments.

I am MUCH BETTER at replying to comments, so if you have a quick question, it is often better to post it in a comment. Other readers might be able to answer it for you there also!

I do have several “From my Inbox” posts, which answer some of the ?s I get via email so all can see. You might also check my Behind the Scenes posts to see if I have done an extensive post about something I commonly get asked about.

THANK YOU for reading along with me and being a part of my online ministry, I pray my site(s) bless you and your family!

Also- I recently got an email from someone labeling me as unprofessional for not answering emails. if this was you {I am leaving your name out to keep your identity private}, please take a moment to check your junk/spam email folder because I did reply to both of your recent emails and copied both of those replies into my last reply.

Thanks to those of you who so graciously support me with your kind comments and emails and offer me grace when I don’t get back to you-I truly am so sorry if I haven’t replied to an email you have sent, I would need an entire day alone to just catch up at this point. I can’t thank you enough for being such a wonderful set of “invisible” friends ;-). I have never before felt attacked at all in a comment or an email until today and although it was minor, it was shocking to me. I try my best to follow the Golden Rule, especially online, and was a bit hurt when I wasn’t offered the same grace {not to mention I didn’t even need grace in this case since I had replied to the emails}. 🙂 Anyway, thanks to those of you who treat me with the grace I don’t even deserve, you guys rock!

Raising Rock Stars ~ Daily Bible Reading

Family Bible Reading

I am taking a break from posting about our weekly family Bible time to share with you what we do each weekday morning.

Each morning {for many months now}, we sit together in our living room promptly at 8:30am.  We begin with Daddy reading from the Bible to us, and end with family prayer time.  Although it rarely takes more than 10-20 minutes, I am so thankful for this time together and that I have a husband leading us like this.  Yes it is wonderful, yes it is amazing, and yes it is difficult.  I must be honest and keep it real, sharing with you the difficulties of doing this, while also sharing the great rewards.

If you notice in the shot below, you will see a few things…

  1. K’s less-than-enthusiastic face
  2. the boys sitting on pillows beneath Daddy’s feet.


These things are part of what I want to share with you.  You see, keeping a daily Bible reading time with young children is HARD.  I think the enemy sets out to just destroy this time {or at least drive us parents whacko in the process}.  We have determined to not let the enemy win and remove this time, but oh it is tempting to just give up sometimes as it can be such a battle and often looks nothing like the dreamy picture I like to envision in my mind.

The pillows are there because of two highly distractible boys, especially in the morning, especially when being read to with no pictures to look at out of a big person book ;-).  After many weeks of naughty morning behavior I began daily afternoon training with the boys to train them how to behave during our family reading time.  During this training time, I had them sit on pillows {to give them a clearly defined space of their own}.  They must criss-cross their legs and keep their hands on their lap.  I set a visual timer {we have that exact one and I love it} for 5 minutes and they SIT.  Each time they move drastically or make a noise, I move the timer back one minute.  I made sure to do this right before lunch, snack, recess or some other thing they really wanted to ensure that the moving backward would be painful for them ;-).  Within a few days it worked and they were able to sit still MUCH better.

For training time, I also read to them from Proverbs for 5 minutes too.  We are still trying our best to remember to do this every day-I have yet to make this a concrete habit, although I am trying.  When we began, we did 5 minutes sitting silently and then 5 minutes paying attention to me even if they had no clue what I was reading ;-).  I also did lots of teaching and explaining to them about why this is all important.  I certainly didn’t just do the training!

Morning Bible reading time has improved greatly but is still a struggle sometimes.  Daddy does a good job of keeping the stories real for the boys, like he is doing here showing Krash how Moses lifted his arms up.  He was sharing the part about how they would begin losing the war when Moses put his arms down.


Even below, you can see that Pac Man was a little done with all of this arm raising stuff.


Me having the camera out on this morning certainly did not help any.  I did it so I could share with you here, but I will not be letting the camera distract this time again.

We know there will soon come a day when we all sit around the living room for morning devotion/prayer time and everyone is behaving, because they are older.  We will  remember these chaotic times with a smile-I am sure of it.  We are trying our best to enjoy the moments each and every day-even the imperfect ones.

Visit theRaising Rock Stars Webpage to download your own notebook pages and to see links to previous Rock Stars posts!

My Little Rock Stars…

Raising Little Rock StarsI was sitting in the chair, getting ready to read, “Is Your Mama a Llama?” to my kiddos for our daily reading time. They all sat down together and I looked out and was hit with the realization that this is my class. You see, I used to teach public school Kindergarten and this time each year I was getting to know my new class. My class was VERY important to me, I took teaching very seriously and did everything to the absolute best of my ability. As I looked beneath my feet and saw these adorable faces ~ Pac Man, Krash, and Ladybug, I realized that though there are only 3, they are equally as important as any large school class.

Thankfully my camera just happened to be sitting right next to me (imagine that?) and I quick snapped what I saw before me. Later in the day when I sat down and looked at my photos the words “Rock Stars” just hit me out of the blue. I giggled it off and didn’t think much of it at first. But then, God got all into my head and I realized that thought I had of them being my little Rock Stars was from Him!

As I thought about our goals for homeschooling…why we do it, how we do it, what we hope to teach them in these precious years with us, I realized that teaching them to be Rock Stars is IT! Now, before I lose you, keep reading… NO I do not want my children to be your typical Rock Stars, I don’t want them to be typical anything for that matter! I want them to learn to stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ-the SOLID ROCK and shine for the world like BRIGHT STARS for HIM!!!!

I pray for my little Rock Stars, that they will be the most amazing Rock Stars throughout their lives. I pray to use my homeschooling time with them to teach them many, many things, the absolute most important being the truth and hope found in a relationship with Jesus. I pray these verses over them…

Matthew 7: 24-27
4″Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the
rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Psalm 18:2
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Philippians 2:15
15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you
shine like stars in the universe

Daniel 12:3
3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

Matthew 5:16
16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Thank you Father for allowing me to be the teacher of this most precious class.

 From this Raising Rock Stars vision several things have stemmed…

Here’s our main Raising Rock Stars page {sharing our family Bible time}

Raising Rock Stars Preschool and Kindergarten are here!


Blown Away

I am often left speechless by comments, emails and general support from people I have never met in real life. Blogging will do that to you. I never knew that when I began, but have since learned what a blessing it is and that so many of you are truly friends and an incredible part of my life. I sit in awe of an amazing God who just knows how to bring the right people together online at the perfect time (some of you know exactly what I mean, don’t you?).

One of those speechless moments happened this morning when I read this on my blogging friend Tara’s blog. You may know Tara as the creator of the amazing Itty Bitty Bookworm Curriulum, I know her as an online buddy, who I have gotten to know via email, and might even get to meet in real life soon!

I am actually reviewing her wonderful curriculum right now for our upcoming 1000 Subscriber Celebration and I am VERY impressed with it. Stay tuned for more thoughts on that! In a nutshell, I think it’s great!

Tara is generously donating 10% of all sales between now and August 3, 2009 to go towards the purchase of the Redemption House!!!!

Click the image below to see what she has to offer for your tot or preschooler!!!

Thank You Tara!!!!!!