Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tricky Tuesday - Anxiety

This challenge is on my mind with our upcoming travel for my grandmother's funeral.

If I tell Raccoon we're going somewhere, I need to be ready to get in the car NOW because he starts to worry. It's almost like he thinks I'm going to forget to take him, which I have never done, I swear. Okay, well maybe I have gone off to the corner store once or twice without saying goodbye, but he's usually happily playing with his dad. The longer it takes us to be ready, the more he freaks out. But as soon as he's strapped in his car seat and we're on our way, everything is okay. All of a sudden, he's magically happy and we're completely frazzled. I do have to admit that my father was the same way any time we were going on a trip, but my husband and I are not. I think it's funny that my son is the same even though he's rarely around his grandfather. Inherited travel anxiety?

He also has severe separation anxiety, even if I go into another room at home. After a minute I'll hear his little voice calling me, "Mama, MAma, MAMA?" If he doesn't hear my answering call, he'll either come looking, start to cry, or both. It's hard because I don't get any time to myself unless he's asleep. He's not the kind of child to cry a little when I leave, then get over it. He escalates and cannot be calmed down, trust me on this.

I would classify these challenges as ongoing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

No School For A While

My grandmother passed away and so my days have been consumed with travel plans and visa problems. I had hoped to start an overview of the human body this week, but I have not even opened my son's lesson plans. We did go to the library and take out a book on the human body. My son likes it because it has a skull on the cover.

We will be travelling for the next month or so. I hope to visit some museums where we're going, but family is really our first priority on this trip, so we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Museum of the Month

We went back to the dinosaur museum because Raccoon loved it so much. The mammoth and the acid-spitting dinosaur from Jurassic park were on loan to another exhibit, so it wasn't as fun this time, although Raccoon still loved the life-sized Spinosaurus.

We also went to a sidewalk exhibit of giant masks. Raccoon found some of them scary, but he wanted to hold the camera and take a picture of each one. We recently celebrated Carnaval here (a milder version of Mardi Gras) and silly string is Raccoon's newest obsession.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Searching for Ideas

What I look for in new materials:

*cheap or free
*as ready-made as possible
*adaptable to my son's level of ability and interests

Sunday, February 19, 2012

YEAR B Curriculum

in a nontraditional pre-K program.

I do a weekly lesson plan for Monday to Thursday with four categories: language, science, math, and a combined one, music/movement/art. So I have 16 different activities for each week. Ideally, I do the lesson plans and any necessary preparation over the weekend. Once I have everything ready, I just try to do them all at some point during the week. We don't have a particular "learning time," so I just introduce the activities into our play throughout the day. If my son isn't interested, then I give it up immediately and move on. If he really likes something, we might do it several times. If it takes two weeks to get through one lesson plan, that's fine. My goal is exposure to a wide variety of topics and materials, but not mastery of any one subject.

I call what we do "non-traditional" because we are not covering the alphabet, basic counting, shapes, or colors. And writing worksheets in general are strictly out (for now), but I do encourage more free-form fine motor activities, like painting and play dough.

Some of my son's recent favorites:
Language - homemade feeling book (1 photo and word on a page, both very large)
Science - pond diorama (source below, I put the cutouts on popsicle sticks and we use it as a stage for imaginary play, I assemble the diorama by myself ahead of time)
Math - making odd/even towers with legos (from Exploring Patterns below)
Music/Movement/Art - painting a coloring page and glitter & glue

My favorite resources for this month are from Scholastic (I got the PDFs on sale for $1)
Instant Habitat Dioramas
Lift and Look Science
20 Instant Math Learning Centers
Exploring Patterns in Math and Beyond

And my favorite links are:
BBC 1st Level
BrainPOP Jr.

Disclosure: I don't have any connection to, or profit from, any of these sites.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Philosophy of Education

Thoughts on my son's early years and enrichment:

* Help him explore his interests, follow his lead, and enrich his environment whenever possible.

* Do what is enjoyable even if it doesn’t seem “normal.” For example: as long as I take into account his need to talk and his high energy, I love concerts and he loves museums.