Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Florida parcel

Lovely and I had fun this afternoon! This morning I just wasn't feeling good :( & I thought that it would be better if I didn't try to do anything structured with him.

But when he woke up from his nap we sat down together and the parcel-things that C had sent from Florida were sitting by us so we chose one of the books to read. The "Children Around the World" one. And then he ran and got the panda book (Panda Bear, Panda Bear illustrated by Eric Carle) from last night and we read that also. When we got to the Macaroni penguin we stopped and looked at all of the penguin figurines to see which one was most like the one in the book ... then Lovely grabbed the Panda puppet C had sent and we talked about bears and thought of the different types of bears we could think of. Panda bears, Koala bears, brown bears (& we collected the figurine) and then L said "Polar Bear" & ran to get his Polar bear figurine :) also finding a leopard to match to the Children of the World book. It was great.

I said that we should look pull out all of the different bear books that we have and we sat down at the kids bookcase together but he pulled out the new space book I had recently bought & then ran & got the "Jobs people do" book that she had sent with the astronaut on the cover! So while I compiled bear books he looked through them & then while studying one particular photo of an astronaut in all of his cool gear we noted that he had an American flag on his suit. L said "Aussie" - by which he meant 'flag' I think! So, I explained that it *was* a flag, but not ours - it was the American flag - and was then able to go and get our new American flag!!

How cool is that. Finally he moved onto "Hug" with Bobo the chimpanzee and we were able to find a figurine to go with that also. So, actually it ended up being a great learning day & I realised that we really do have quite a few resources now. Thanks our new Floridian friends:)

So, a day that started out pretty shoddy and turned out good. Bravo Lovely.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Little-L does "home school' :)

We have had a wonderful week away for our friends wedding and now we're home & i'm ready to get myself a bit more organised. I wrote out my weekly schedule and it's looking great - there is a definite weekly rhythm but each day is quite different. 

I have been wanting to find some special time to do some focused learning with L and with the new schedule there are 2 mornings (Wednesday and Friday) each week that we can use! It's funny because I've always put activities out for L, but really have been focusing on what I can big-brother Hug can do... but now that Hug's at his Montessori preschool 3 1/2 days a week I've decided that I can begin to look at special learning time for L who will be 2 and a half in June. 

So, today L did Home school! 

I have been reading the Montessori Freefall blog (by a mama who is pre-schooling her 2 year old girl) and decided to be a little more organised in my approach but keep our homeschool times to 1 or 2 sessions a week and start with only a short period (defined by L's attention span). Actually, it isn't really much different that what we were always doing except that I've defined those periods now and I aim to not be distracted by the fact that the washing needs to be hung out or that I need to check my email :)

As you can see above I put out a few activities that L usually has on his "work" shelf, plus a few new ones. I decided to put them out on the table because his shelf only fits about 3 items (both Hug and L each have a little shelf in the kitchen, where I rotate a few activities each week, that they are able to access at any time). So, I think I got his attention by him being able to see so much to choose from.  He had a turn at 4 of the 6 activities I put out for him.

(1) using tongs to move small soft balls from a bowl to a tray - I had to find one last ball because he insisted that there be the right number of balls for the tray :) a boy after my own heart! 

(2) a matching game where we practised the names of the shapes as he matched them.

(3) a colour + shape pattern puzzle. He sorts the shapes into type as he removes them from the box and then the pattern is revealed underneath for him to reconstruct. I think this is still challeging for him as after he sorted most of the shapes he started to throw the blue diamonds! I said it would need to be put away and I started to pack it up and he joined me - so it actually turned out very well.

(4) This cute activity that I recently bought. It's actually a big set of lacing shapes but they are also great for matching by colour or shape. I have done this with L once before and again this time I observed that he was confident in matching them by shape but unsure when I suggested matching them by colour (ie. a stack of all blue etc.). 

But the big hit of the day was the shell-matching activity that I had created a while ago for Hug and only presented to L for the first time today. 

He was great at it! I think he really enjoyed it, calling the pairs "brothers" awwww :)

I had the control sheet in a plastic sleeve and there were actually 3 sheets in there (I had printed a few times til I got the black dark enough - I created it on our photocopier) and he *insisted* on doing all 3 sheets. 

He then asked for his brother's "shells in the box" -  another activity that he hadn't done before, and one that I hadn't planned to give him yet, at least not without simplifying it. But, I wanted to go with his energy so I thought "Why not?!" It involves sorting out a random collection of small shells into a divided box. He approached this work with such concentration, I was very impressed! I left him to do it after a brief presentation and he had mixed them up quite a bit when he told me he was finished but then we worked together to sort them out. 

Later in the day (and again today) he choose to do the shells again and also showed a lot of interest in the book about shells I sat with this work on his shelf. I chose the 3 activities that he seemed most interested in and left them for him to choose in his own time.

So, I think it was a great start! We maybe worked for about an hour and 10 minutes before L said that he wanted to go out and play in the yard. Congratulations my sweet little smart boy.

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