Saturday, September 19, 2009


I probably should have found a less cheerful picture for this post, but I took this one when Anna was busy playing “shopping”. As I mentioned in my Friday School Corner post, Anna was very unwilling to do anything this week that she perceived as “work”. I did some “debugging” of our routine and realized that some things need to be changed to make our afternoons together less of a battle of wills.

  1. Anna still has 2 hour nap time between 2 and 4. Unfortunately, sometimes she falls asleep only shortly before 4 and then I wake her up at 5 pm. On these days she is very grumpy and sort of disoriented. I asked my husband to just let her play in her room if she is not asleep by 3:30 pm. Strangely, she is in a much better mood then, and we also have more time to ourselves in the evening, because of earlier bedtime on these days.
  2. I had the right idea in my “ideal schedule” to start the afternoon with time outside or free play, but we are not executing on it, especially on late nap days. I am too anxious to get “something useful” done. I got a good advice in the comments yesterday - “go with the flow”, and I need to learn to do that. At the same time, I should get better at keeping some short activities at hand – connect-the-dots printables, craft kits, etc. for those periods for when she does want to sit down and do something with her hands.
  3. I need to change the pace on Progressive Phonics.  I had it 3 days a week in my schedule. Why on Earth do I keep trying for it every day? Nothing kills interest as fast as pushing too hard. This silly s-blends book with so many sounds needs a month to go through, and I should plan accordingly.
  4. I don’t need to participate in every linky I like. I enjoy reading about what others do for Open-Ended Art, but sometimes Anna is simply not up for open-ended projects, especially when they involve materials that she has never experienced before. So… I will not stress any longer about whether we do an Open-Ended Art or not at any given week and maybe it will happen more naturally for us.

So I am curious – what is NOT working in your “mommy school”? What does? How do you convince your child to do “work”? I am interested in your insights.


The girl who painted trees said...

Definitely try to go with the flow! I am also guilty of trying to continue something when Bear isn't into it, and then I get frustrated. After the fact, I think, why am I doing this? It shouldn't matter if she learns her numbers now or next year, right? So I am trying to "listen" to what she wants...though I am not always successful.

MaryAnne said...

I just go with the flow 90% of the time. It's pretty easy for me to not stress about preschool curriculum because I was essentially unschooled until I was 7, learned to read starting two months before starting second grade (halfway through the year), and was consistently one of the best students in my classes from then onwards... I do make sure to have plenty of educational opportunities available for my children, but we do them based on their interest level. My mother did something similar with me - we had the alphabet up on the wall and I knew a few sight words (maybe 10) that I had picked up through osmosis. I got pretty good at math because I was interested in that, but I'd never shown the slightest interest in reading until I decided to go to public school. I learned to read (at seven) mainly from phonics worksheets and tapes, and because I was highly motivated at that point I quickly became one of the top readers in my class.

I do plan to send my kids to regular public kindergarten and first grade, so I'll have to change my strategy if they aren't meeting kindergarten standards by the time they're four and a half or so...

whisperingwhispers said...

I truly just go with the flow. I started out setting some expectations but soon discovered that Selena is too young to meet my expectations. The expectations have to come from her. When she shows no interest in something I just say, that it is ok praise her on the great job she is doing, put the material away and ask her what she wants to do. At that point it is becoming her school again and she either grabs a book, asks to do free art, or just plainly asks to go outside and discover her world.

As for your comment about nap time. I have problems sometimes with Selena and her naps. I read somewhere that sometimes all they need is the quiet time. If an hour has passed and Selena hasn't fallen asleep, she is permitted to get up and we go about our day. Sometimes they are wound up from their day or just not tired. Selena will actually inform me, "Grandma I can't fall to sleep."

Remember Anna is going to learn no matter what you are doing with her, but that learning has to be fun for her. When you find that happy medium, teaching will become fun for you as well.

Julie said...

I have to admit I actually have to bribe my 5 year old to do his homework. My 2 year old is not that interested in doing work usually so I have a tough time with her too. I honestly don't do much in the way of sit down work with her. I ask her a few times a day if she wants to do different projects, and usually she'll sit and do one thing. But I have project ideas that have been ready to go for weeks and she just isn't interested. I also would love to participate in a lot of the linky projects I see, but I don't because she just isn't interested. I'm not going to push it. We practice counting and colors when we play with blocks and we practice letters with puzzles and chalk. And we do a lot of talking about things, but very little real work.

Our Little Family said...

Ahh, I can SO relate. In fact, this past week, I turned the television off and literally, just let MADDIE decide what to do. I think I've been so focused on getting "things" done (specific crafts, pre-planned lessons, ect) that nothing was FUN anymore. It was amazing, watching what SHE chose to do and letting her guide. I think I get so wrapped up in what I want to accomplish, that it turns into too much of a drill and that is TOTALLY NOT what I want.

So no, we didn't do the Open-Ended Art theme this week, nor did we do what I planned for MTM or our Bible activities. But, we DID do fun stuff like playing outside (which honestly, is not MY favorite thing! Ha!) and some new trays.

Anyway, it's always good to stop and reassess. Anna is lucky to have a mommy like you. :)

The Harris Family said...

I need a schedule for our whole day. My problem is I get going with other things and before I know it it is to late for our activites. I am not a schedlue person but I think a pretty flexible one may help us. One good thing is I plan out the week in advance (with extras) so if Aubrey isn't intrested in one activity I am ready with a different type or we can try later in the day. Sometimes we go a day or two with out any sit down/planned activities and I try to teach her while we play and interact.

Christy said...

I try to go with the flow too. My kids don't always want to do what I plan. Also, now that they are in K and pre-k, and involved in activities, we have a lot less time for mommy school. I do my best to fit it in when they are interested. I also had to realize that I can't always get to the linky projects. I try to get in the kitchen at least once a week and I hope to do open ended art at least twice a month. If it doesn't happen though, I'm not beating myself up over it.

Adriana said...

My little one tends to be a little moody. What three year old is not.) He is either really into a project or he is not having it at all. I am very much a make a plan, do it, and check it off the list kind of person. I have to constantly remind myself that it is supposed to be FUN for both of us. I now kind of have a plan for the entire week and just do the projects when he is ready and asking for a "proyecto".

Shannon said...

I also have problems with Sweet Pea taking late naps. She is always so cranky if I wake her up, but I hate to let her "nap" past 6:00pm.

vidhoo21 said...

Hi Natalie!!
Good to find you finally as I am inspired to read your blog.
As other moms suggested, I go with the flow A likes. If she wants to read a book, I read.If she wants to learn alphabets we do that. She is still not good with lower cases, but I don't pressure myself to make her learn that. Instead I teach her things like our house address, city, state, country and also our phone numbers.Its interesting to see how easy she picks on those.
Good Luck