Friday, October 26, 2012

Musings - More About Us

We didn't do Tot School this week since we have visitors and our rhythm of life has been different. Instead, I thought I'd write about some different things that have been on my mind. We've been doing Tot School officially for a little over a month now, even though I've tried to incorporate fun learning activities into Raccoon's schedule since he was a baby. I think a little reflection at this point is good, especially if our Tot School eventually turns into homeschooling for K and up.

* I am getting a better sense for what will flow in and out of our play, and I like that. I'm also figuring out how to choose activities that I'll actually put together, versus other ones that seem like good ideas but I'll never get around to doing.

* My current goal is to expose Raccoon to new information and to have fun together at the same time. He's never been fond of adult-led activities, so I'm not sure how that will work out in the future with his schooling, but for now it's still okay.

* I saw this post on learning styles and at this point, Raccoon falls into the visual/spatial, kinesthetic, logical/mathematical (some), and interpersonal categories. It'll be interesting to see which style dominates as he gets older. And I have to add, could this BE any different than me!? I am strongest in verbal/linguistic and intrapersonal. Ha ha. That explains.... a lot. It also reinforces my doubts of school being a good fit for him in the younger grades, when his self-control will probably not have caught up to his raccoon-ness.

Other thoughts on how I do Tot School in particular:

* A friend of mine saw my blog and asked me how long we spend on each activity. I think she envisioned Raccoon nicely working on things all morning, or something. Ha ha... um, no. Our activities last between 1-5 minutes usually, then he's off to something else. So even if I have 20 pictures, we've probably done 60 min of activities spread out through the day, tops.

*Sometimes on other blogs I see the comment that their son or daughter "worked on it for a long time" and I'm curious how long that actually is. The longest Raccoon and I ever spend on anything is about 20 minutes if he's super engaged and the task is fairly open-ended. As I've mentioned before, he does not like repetition. This affects the things I choose for him because I don't want to spend a long time prepping activities that he'll be through in 1 minute, nor do I want to create elaborate materials that he'll be interested in once, then never touch again.

* Partly to solve the above-mentioned problem, I have started to pass on some of our activities to two of Raccoon's cousins who are a little older than he is. Especially things like the matching activities, tracing sheets, mini-books, etc. They are primarily Spanish speakers, so although the level of the activity is a little low for them, I'm hoping their mom uses it to help reinforce their English. We'll see how it goes, but I feel less wasteful if I am at least passing on the things Raccoon is only going to do once.

* Which leads to... is it a waste of paper/my time if he's speeding through these activities once? I  have pondered this, and I think that they are valuable in moderation, because it does expose him to new things. He often suprises me when he does choose to do something I've offered before with no luck.

* How I pick themes - if it bores me, it's probably not going to interest Raccoon either.

* When do we do Tot School? I am not a morning person, so the earliest we ever start is around 10 am. I like to just have stuff ready so that we can do things whenever we have time, whether it's in the morning, afternoon, or evening. The most we ever do is about 30 minutes at a time.

I'm always curious about what others do and how things work, so if you have a "how we do things" post, leave me a link and I'd love to read it.

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