Tuesday, June 30, 2009

# July Plans

Sometimes I am jealous seeing how organized some other moms are, when it comes to planning their time and activities with their children. Of course, I don't exactly have a homeschooling mentality and I don't have the whole day with my daughter. When I am with her, sometimes it feels that I am trying to fit too many things at once. I am still looking for a system that would fit our busy schedule. I like the idea of workboxes, but I am still undecided if I want to do a theme of the week, dedicate every day to something or maybe try a book-based curriculum. Also, I know very well that in July our time for any kind of "formal" learning will be even more limited. Our friends with two kids will be visiting from Germany, and we hope to have a lot of playdates and activities together. Then I will be on a business trip in Israel for a week. So, based on Anna's interests, I decided to focus on a few themes during this month and not worry too much about the systems. Here is what I plan to do:

• Increasing observation skills. Anna is very good at noticing even very small changes in her immediate environment (like a book out of place), but I noticed that she struggles with workbook pages that ask to find an object out of four that is different than others. She can do it, if the difference is obvious (e.g. a different color or a different letter of an alphabet), but not when the difference is subtle, for example, a handle on a door is on the other side. So if someone knows of any good worksheets on "same and different", please kindly drop me a comment.

• Understanding patterns. Again, patterning activities seem very much beyond her comprehension at the moment. I am not talking about complex 3D manipulations (those IQ puzzles are beyond my comprehension as well). I am referring to simple ABAB patterns. I am curious as to why it's so difficult for her, since she is excellent at color and shape recognition. It seems, however, that she recognizes them as separate objects, not as sequences. This is probably why our reading is also stuck on recognizing the first letter of the word and trying to guess the meaning from it (or "reading" the pictures instead). We are going to do some beading and Lego building to promote pattern recognition.

• Tracing and coloring. Anna's fine motor skills are OK, but she doesn't seem to enjoy painting or coloring for long. I suspect that her fingers get tired. I saw this month that she is getting better with activities that require fine motor skills - such as peeling stickers off the sticker sheet and tracing, and I want to keep the momentum going.

• As always - book reading. I have a long list of books to look up in the library. I cannot say that Anna has a particular interest in any topics yet. If it were up to her, she'd probably read every Dora and Diego book on the toddler shelf, but I happen to not believe in reading books that retell TV shows. I also got a big lot of Let's Read and Find Out books from eBay. Some of them are way over her comprehension level, but some are more appropriate. I think we will start with the simplest of the bunch - My Five Senses, and we will do some extension activities around it - it will tie nicely with "increasing observation powers" theme of the month.

• Empathy - sharing. We expect to have a lot of playdates in July, and since our friends are coming only for a month, they will not bring a lot of toys. I already set expectations with Anna that I hope she will be a good sharer. Usually she is pretty decent, but not with our friends' older daughter, since they had some "disagreements" when they were both toddlers. I also hope to do a lot more emotion labeling and discussions about feelings - based both on books and on real-life experiences.

Well, you can track our progress throughout the month - we'll see how well we will do. Stay tuned :)