Friday, November 27, 2009

Nov22_Tree_SM We didn’t have much “school” done this week. It was mostly Thanksgiving crafts and books (books post will come on Saturday). I am writing it on Tuesday evening, because I am hoping to enjoy some couple time with my husband while my parents are visiting us. I am sure that Anna will have a lot of fun with grandparents and will learn simply from interacting with them. I also want to evaluate what works and what doesn’t work in what we do.

Phonics. Obviously, Progressive Phonics works great for us, and at her 3 years one month Anna reads at least at the kindergarten level. But I don’t want to continue to push it. Lately, it became more of a chore – read two pages, then you can watch Sid the Science Kid. Read two pages, then I will read you one extra book before bed. I don’t want to create association that reading is hard work, so I am going to stop Progressive Phonics completely and wait for Anna to want to come back to it. I think she will, since she does enjoy the program and proud of her successes. Nov17_Tangram_SM

Math. I was all excited about Beginnings of Mathematical Reasoning book, but Anna is not in the mood for worksheets lately. She refuses them completely, and our school doesn’t have fixed times and defined program. We do what she wants, and mostly she just wants to play – with puzzles, Lego blocks, sometimes with her ruler and measuring tape. She plays board games, plays shopping, counts for fun. I really don’t think that she needs more formal math at this point – she seems naturally inclined to it anyway.


Fine Motor Skills/Prewriting. Anna doesn’t seem close to being able to form letters. She gets frustrated with any kind of tracing exercises and doesn’t really try to do them well. Again – my intention is not to offer her any worksheets in December, but concentrate instead on crafts, lacing, cutting, playing with clothespins – anything that would strengthen her fingers. I am pretty sure that as her fine motor skill mature she will find writing enjoyable (or at least not frustrating).Nov20_PineConeT_SM

Arts and Crafts. Arts and crafts are hit-or-miss in our house. First of all, Anna does a lot of arts in her preschool (this is one of her preschool creations). At home she enjoys guided crafts best and sometimes loses interest in the middle of the project. No matter how hard I try to introduce more open-ended activities, she is only mildly interested in them. I really like Open-Ended Art idea, but somehow it’s always a struggle in our house. I will still try to join Open-Ended Art, but only if I have a good idea and Anna really wants to do it. I am still shooting for doing something creative a few days a week, but I have to face the reality – arts and crafts are not something that Anna really passionate about, and that’s OK too.

Lacking: Gross Motor Activities. Luckily, we still have decent weather, but we don’t spend enough time outside. By the time I come home it’s getting dark, and in the morning of non-school days my husband and Anna have playdates or run errands. After New Year I am going to sign daughter up for dance classes to give some outlet to her energy. We will also play more physical games at home – she enjoys chasing and playing with balloons. And lately Anna rediscovered yoga – time to get out those yoga DVDs again.

Lacking: Science. I want to try and do more hands-on science. Ticia hosts a Science Sunday linky at Adventures in Mommydom, and she has some great ideas. Another awesome place for science ideas (geared to slightly older kids) is The Exploration Station. I just need to get more organized to actually try my own ideas and learn from others – same way I do with crafts.

Lacking: Cooking. It’s not that we don’t cook at all, but one of us usually cooks while another does something with Anna. I have a couple of books about cooking with toddlers, and a lot of ideas are floating in blogosphere. I want to allocate a day when Anna and I will make something together. She loves pretend cooking and always eager to help in real cooking. It’s hard to pass up on such an enthusiasm.

To see what others did this Thanksgiving week, visit Preschool Corner.


Adriana said...

It is a great idea to step back and evaluate what is working and what isn't. I need to do that with D, also. D is the opposite as Anna, he prefers his own "open" art. Lately, structured art projects have not held his interest.

Annette said...

Happy day after to you! I'm glad you've been enjoying grandparents like us.

Meghan also is not close to writing...tracing is also very difficult. I've heard that it's not even worth it to intro letters until after age 3. Since she is a young 3, I don't worry about it.

MaryAnne said...

Emma is more and more interested in reading, so I may try those progressive phonics books with her. She has a few words that she "reads", and she occasionally recognizes words that I spell out to Mike, so I think she's ready to try something a bit more structured.

For cooking, have you heard of the "Pretend Soup" cookbook? We have it, and Emma loves making things from it with us. I like that the recipes use regular kitchen ingredients and are reasonably healthy.

That turkey Anna made in preschool is very cute!

Debbie said...

We all need to step back an evaluate what is working and what is not. I have found as Selena is turning 3, she just wants to be a 3year old, and that is fine. She still enjoys doing certain "school" type activities, but her play is just as important at this age then anything else.

Kylie said...

Good on you to take the time out to evaluate, after all as you said she is only 3!

Do you have a salt tray to use for fine motor work, pre writing work, she may enjoy that?

The Fifth Street Mama said...

It sounds like she is learning well through just play time. Well done to have such a thinker of a kid :)

The girl who painted trees said...

It is always good to stop and evaluate. Good teachers do this often in their classrooms. Bear and I are lacking in the gross motor and science department too. As for cooking, you can just try to include her in everyday cooking, like pouring the rice into the pot and then pouring the water in. Have her slice her own bananas with a table knife. If you ever make smoothies, have her put ingredients in the blender before you turn it on. I cut veggies and then Bear will put them in the pot for me(before it goes on the stove).

Ticia said...

I'll have to check out the exploration station, I'm always on the lookout for new science ideas.
Princess does good to write the first letter of her name. She sometimes will write other letters, she can trace okay sometimes. What she does like are the beginning maze books. YOu might check some of those out, they're great for building up writing skills.

paying-it-forward-one-lovely-blog said...

I've got some more basic experiments and links lined up for The Exploration, so maybe you can find some ideas there.

In the meantime, I wanted to show my appreciation for you by giving you a blog award.

Stop by and pick it up.

growinginpeace said...

I have no idea what happened, except it's 12:35 am and I'm tired.

Anyway, I am going to have some ideas and links for the younger tots at the Exploration Station too.

Thanks so much for linking to my blog (again).

Casey at The Wonder Years
and The Exploration Station.

Kim said...

I'm so impressed that you are able to change course to let Anna do what she is interested in doing. I really do believe that they will learn everything they are supposed to when they are ready. Yoga is great - Crumpet loves it, and I LOVE watching him do the poses. SO cute. And I bet Anna will love cooking, since she's always making food during craft time. Won't she proud to produce real cookies and salad!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Looks like a pretty good week to me. I've found printing letters comes easily if you give it time - what's really hard work today, will be really simple tomorrow - you're right not to push it.

Autumn said...

Hi Natalie,
As you know, the boys "cook" a lot with me. You don't need any special books, just a chair for Anna to stand on and a lot of patience! There are so many things she can help with: washing vegetables, slicing fruits/vegetables with a butter knife, and mixing things.

There are so many learning opportunities in the kitchen - counting, measuring, colors, motor skills (in cutting), and talking about why certain food is healthy for our bodies, and why some isn't. And maybe best of all, they are learning to be helpful to their parents and how to be comfortable in the kitchen.

You could even turn cooking into a family 'generosity' project, by baking goodies to give to your neighbors.

I plan on baking molasses cookies with the boys tomorrow morning, so there will be a lot of talk about how sugar isn't healthy for our bodies (but it sure tastes good!)