I have decided to have a new weekly feature on this blog - school corner. I will be describing our forays into more formal schooling activities that happened during the week - reading, writing, math, etc. Technically, a lot of these activities happen over the weekend, when all of us have more time, but my schedule gives me more time for a bigger post on Friday than on Monday. This week we did a few school related things in the afternoons. First of all, Anna was enchanted with the book that her babushka sent her - the one featured on the left. I was scanning one page at a time instead of giving her an entire book. I noticed that this works a lot better for her, because then she focuses on what she has and doesn't flip back and forth trying to find something more interesting. The book gets more complicated rather quickly, but we are still working through straight lines in the first several pages.
I noticed that Anna does every new activity only when she feels ready for it. She is not an adventurous child, and she will push back mightily if she thinks she will fail at the task at hand. That's why I am very excited that desire to "do mazes" led to her desire to try her hand at drawing. She was completely uninterested just a couple of weeks ago. Now, when I asked her if she can draw a smiley face, she applied herself and made a few faces complete with ears and hair. We don't practice any letter writing yet - I read that it's counter-productive to teach children under 3 to write letters unless they are very advanced with their fine motor skills. The required coordination is simply not there, and the attempts at letters will lead only to frustration.
And now allow me to seriously rave about the resource that I picked up from Story Time and More. Clemencia posted about the site called Progressive Phonics. Don't even think about buying Bob books - have a look at this site instead! It rocks, and it's FREE. Since Anna's alphabet knowledge is pretty solid, I printed the first book from Beginner Phonics series instead of Alphabetti series and brought it home. She liked the fact that she is not asked to read by herself, she only needs to read selected words while I read the rest of the text. The stories are very short, accompanied by a cute picture and sometimes rather funny (at least to toddlers). Now Anna is asking me to do a reading game - something that I could never interest her in before. And... she can do it! She can read the whole CVC word and not just guess based on the first letter the way she did before. I noticed a couple of cases when she had difficulties - in unfamiliar words like gab and had. She was confusing lower-case b and d in those words big time, but it's something that we can easily fix with more practice. What is important is that she is experiencing success, and that encourages her to try harder.