Friday, December 30, 2011

Early Learning Schedule

I haven't really found a groove that works for us. But I take heart from the many homeschooling bloggers who mention that it took several years to get into the swing of things and to figure out their children's optimal learning styles. As I'm just at the beginning of our journey, I find this reassuring.

Below is my tentative schedule (more like suggestions really) for January 2012. I figure I'll try it out for a month, then tweek it as needed.

Sunday – plan Bible stories & verse for the week, evening church
Monday – home day, art/craft, music
Tuesday – home day, art/craft, language                              
Wednesday – playgroup, baking
Thursday – alternate special outings
Friday – family day
Saturday – home day, housework

In addition to the weekly activities, my monthly goal is one of each: museum, concert, field trip, and a visit to a family friend. Reading and math are always on my mind and I just casually (and briefly) work them into whatever we're doing.

Note to self: If I do end up homeschooling CM in a more formal way some day, I liked this idea for organizing assignments using a private blog."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Museum of the Month

October's museum: reptiles, mostly snakes.
      Highlight: we got to touch a boa constrictor.
November's museum: insects, with a special focus on beetles.
      Highlight: we got our picture taken with 3 Hercules beetles clinging to our clothing.

Today Raccoon and I went to visit a water museum. On our way out the door, he saw a friend of his playing in the park, so I asked him, "Park or museum?"
He yelled "Museum!" and ran to get in his car seat. My husband was impressed.

Our favorite exhibit was an upright peg board. When pushed on one side, the indented pegs stuck out on the other side. We did the typical handprints, then a staff person passing through suggested we try our faces. I tried it first and sure enough, there was a mask-like image of my face sticking out on the other side of the board. Surprisingly, Raccoon also wanted to try it. It was odd to see our faces in plastic pegs, almost like a robot clone. I'm not sure what the peg board had to do with water (something to illustrate cohesion I think?), but we enjoyed it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Early Reading

A lot of the criticism around early learning is that the parents are drilling the kids to death. This quote by Dr. Richard Gentry pretty much sums up why I'm in favor, "But surprisingly, teaching babies and toddlers to read need only take little time—five or ten minutes a day along with routine story reading and book sharing. It’s really about brief lessons that are more like word games to the child, lessons that are fun to play with mom, dad or a care giver along with enjoying books together. All children should have these experiences as babies and toddlers. Experts who aren’t in favor of baby/toddler reading don’t get the concept. They usually think it’s forced, formal, or beyond the babies capacity to read. Of course, it isn’t."

Five minutes a day. I hope that some day all children will have access to early, quality stimulation for language, reading, math, and music.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I am reading a Parents' Guide to Raising a Gifted Toddler: Recognizing and Developing the Potential of Your Child from Birth to Five Years by James Alvino. Despite the title and perhaps the first few chapters, I think it's applicable to parenting toddlers in general. It is a bit out-dated, with references to phonographs and cleaning blackboard erasers, but it has made me reflect on some issues I hadn't yet considered with Raccoon, like gender stereotyping in the arts. For me, most of the good stuff started in Chapter 9, "The Enriched Environment."

I'm also reading How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin. It makes me want to run right out and put Raccoon in a Montessori preschool, if I could find an excellent one where I live, and if he and I were different people. Ha. But I do love the ideas on organizing spaces, the need for beauty and reality, independence and involving the child in the family.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Little Bit of Learning

Raccoon is constantly absorbing new information, of course, but today we actually did some intentional learning. We watched some Readeez on YouTube and did our dinosaur and horse breed flashcards on the computer (at Raccoon's request). We both enjoyed it.

I've seen the idea mentioned on several preschool blogs, but I like the simplicity of this one (third picture down). Raccoon likes knowing the day of the week because we do different activities depending on the day.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I think it's symbolic that this post was actually the third that I started to write (on 10/18), but has been hanging out in my drafts because I haven't known exactly what to say, or been bold enough to say it. Most people who know me have no idea. But think I want to change this. I'm not sure. I'll let you know if I ever decide to actually post this.

Somehow, hiding what I love to do has become a habit with me. Even here, if I write more than one post at a time, I wait and publish it on a different day so I do not seem too eager. Ever since I remember, I have loved to learn. In first grade, I got sick and was out of school for several days. I wanted to do the pages in my workbook that I'd missed, but my teacher told me, "It's fine, you don't need to make it up." That pretty much sums up school for me. I wanted more but was told I could do less since I already "got it." Or if I did get more in some form, I was supposed to figure things out on my own, like "Here's the math book, you can work ahead, maybe one or two of your classmates can figure it out with you."

As the years passed in school, eventually I just wanted to belong. By high school, I would only do my best if it was something totally private, like a test or an assignment only the teacher would see. Sometimes other students would "catch me" going way above and beyond what I needed to do and I would feel embarrased. I hated papers being read aloud "anonymously" in class and everyone trying to figure out who wrote it.

I love to learn. There. I'm out of the I'd-rather-learn-than-most-anything closet. I found another entry on another blog about being a Doman mom in hiding. Hopefully my nerdiness (and other things) can finally pay off for my son, and maybe other children, but often I am too shy or afraid of criticism to speak up.

This doesn't seem like much of a holiday post, but I finally feel ready to put it out there. Maybe.