Monday, December 17
So here is our plan.
We are going to have a theme each week and do activities based on that theme. Our themes for January are Snow, Tu B'Shevat and Hands. We are also starting with a Nature Club which will meet once a month. I am still waffling on what do for Reading. We will probably use a combination approach mixing this and this and this.
I am setting up a learning corner in our playroom. I have been wanting a reading corner by the fireplace for some time now so we are moving some stuff around to get achieve all the goals. There will be a beanbag by the fireplace with a basket for books and on the wall next to it will be our learning poster and clipboard.
I made a monthly planning calendar which will go on our clipboard as well as our more detailed weekly plan and daily todo list - assuming I am ever that organized
It is such a nice plan. I wonder how it will survive the trenches.
Sunday, December 16
Chanukkah in Chlem - A silly picture book that Froggy enjoyed. While it does not tell the Hanukkah story it does talk about lights and miracles and oil. I found its character portrayal insulting not funny.
Grandma's Latkes - A modern story in which a young girl learns the meaning of Hanukkah with her grandmother. It is a longer, older story that we had to skip though for lack of attention. It is a good story that weaves culture and family in with the telling of the Hanukkah story. A big thumbs up for this one.
Sammy Spider's First Hanukkah - too dumb for even Froggy to enjoy
The Story of Hanukkah by Amy Eirlich - This is a beautiful but involved telling of the Hanukkah story for a mature audience. It is violent and graphic. The artwork is lovely but again violent. We will revisit this book in a few years probably when Froggy is 7 or 8.
Saturday, December 15
According to educators this is a skill which requires much focus and active instruction time. Why I ask? Is this such a difficult concept for children to understand? I cannot believe that. Children easily learn that underpants need to go on before pants and socks need to go on before shoes. They understand things happen in order. Listen to the stories they tell and you will see that when the story is important to them they put things in order. The key is when it is interesting to them. I think the reason student in school have trouble is two-fold. First the story is presented quickly and only one time. Second the story is not captivating.
I might be mistaken and this concept may be more difficult that I realize for students. I have not yet tested my theories. I would love to hear from people who have experienced teaching this to their children.
Friday, December 7
All of this is a prelude to saying that while libraries are great and people should use them, I am realizing they are not enough. We are starting to purposefully build a educational library for Froggy. A couple of months ago someone offered me a complete set of Junior Science encyclopedia which I snapped up even though Froggy won't even be interested in looking at them for several years. And now we just placed a large holiday order on Amazon of books which either the library does not have or we felt are important that we need to own. We didn't get all we want. We started a list of books to acquire as we can.
Here are some of the ones we ordered as well as those that are top of our list. You may notice a theme of religion and the holidays, mostly because these are the ones not available at the library.
Thursday, December 6
Every person in the house has their own menorah. This is a tradition from when I was a girl. I have a special pooh bear one and last year my mother got a special musician one for Froggy for her first Hanukkah. My husband has never had a special one, just the generic one that was mine from when I moved away from home. This year Froggy and I made him one out of Fimo. It was lots of fun to do a craft together and now we all have menorahs with meaning. I will try to post a picture of it once we get it off the camera. Despite him walking in while we were working on it we managed to surprise him which is very unusual. I think he really liked it. Candle lighting was kind of funny this year since both he and I got new menorahs as our presents for the night. Since the rule is candle lighting comes before any other Hanukkah activities, we lit generic menorahs and then moved the candles into our new menorahs after opening presents.
Froggy got to light her menorah as well. I lit the shamash for her and then held her hand while she lit the candle for the night just like my mom did for us when we were very little. One of the signs of growing up was being allowed to hold the shamash by yourself and then eventually being allowed to light it yourself.
Tonight we will introduce Froggy to latkes
Wednesday, December 5
Saturday, December 1
Developmental learning factors help show the steps that each child goes through as they develop. Each stage or path takes different amounts of time for each child. However, the fact that the steps are sequential helps determine the needs and challenges for each child. Ideally teachers will provide instruction in the "challenge" region for each child. Vygotsky calls this region the "zone of proximal development. It is the level of at which the best learning occurs.
In the early elementary grades that challenge region can vary immensely within a classroom. An adept teacher may be able to challenge the upper level and mid level students. But due to the outside pressures of the SOL and other standardized tests, they are often forced to present material above the challenge level and faster than the lower students can absorb. If a student has not yet reached a certain developmental level, they cannot master material that requires that skill. They must be allowed to work at and master the concepts appropriate for their developmental level to be successful. This is most important in the early elementary years when students are not only learning cognitive skills but also learning about schooling and how school works. The outside forces which push teachers and students on an external arbitrary timeframe create negative stress and build in many children an unnecessary dislike for school and a sense of failure in themselves.
Sunday, November 25
In my family, most of the traditions revolve around food and it is the woman's job (for good or bad) to make that food. I love our family traditions but I don't want my daughter to feel bound to the kitchen as the only way to special memories. But Thanksgiving and many other holidays are not the same without the traditional foods. And I love to make those traditional foods and teach my daughter to make those traditional foods. But while teaching her to cook, I try desperately to teach her that I cook because I love to cook not because it is a woman's job to cook.
As well, it is important to me that every holiday has traditions that do not involve food. This year we added a Thankful Tree to our holiday. It brings a bit of nature indoors and focus our attention on the meaning of the holiday. Each guest added one or more leaves to the tree showing what they are thankful for. Here is a picture of our leafy tree.
Friday, November 16
So time passed and Froggy turned 2. She knows her letters and the sound they make. She suddenly and unexpectedly (to me at least) starts filling in the words when I am slow completing a page in the book we are reading. So periodically, with some larger print books, I start pointing at the words as I read and deliberately pausing for her to "read" certain words.
She desperately wants to read and just because I have not explained thoroughly how phonics works and how the sounds go together does not mean she is going to wait. I did not intend to use a whole language approach or teach "sight" words (other than her name) but Froggy had other ideas and we will be using a combination of approaches.
I guess this is really what they mean by child-led learning.
Wednesday, November 14
Tuesday, November 13
When I was a classroom teacher, I tried to follow the prevailing wisdom of providing the students with several different types of assignments during each class period so that no single activity took more than about 10-15 minutes. I was horrible at it. Yet the students seemed to enjoy those classes more. So I kept trying. I would always come out of those days feeling horribly horribly frazzled. I thought it was because I was not sufficiently organized.
Today, as a student, I experienced the other side of the coin. In my class this evening, the professor moved from activity to activity switching between lecture, small group discussion, whole group discussion, and individual work. By the end of class, I felt raw. I cringed every time he started to introduce a new activity. The material is easy and fascinating for me. But the short time between transitions grated my nerves creating an unpleasant learning environment. Just as I became comfortable and relaxed in the activity, it was time to be done and begin something new.
An informal poll of the students during break and after class showed that they appreciated the varied activities. One student said "I would be bored otherwise".
I believe the same learning style characteristics that made me uncomfortable in class this evening made me uncomfortable teaching in this manner and that no level of organizational improvement would ever make this style flow.
I am glad to be teaching one student where we can negotiate our own pace without external requirements or influences.
Many parents (I hope) know that good nutrition is important to babies. But frequently when our children become toddlers, something gets lost. A recent study showed that 2% of children under 2 eat French fries daily and 24% eat hotdogs daily (Fox, Pac, Devaney, & Jankowski, 2004). As well, most preschoolers consume soft drinks regularly. I find those results shocking. Birth to 2yrs is the time of maximum brain growth. We are supposedly a culture that prides itself on intelligence and fast paced thinking but we are crippling our children’s ability to get there. Multiple studies have shown that children who receive the right nutrition from birth to 7 scored higher in quantitative thought and expression, reading, and vocabulary 10 years later (Pollit & Gorman,1994; Pollit, Watkins & Husaini 1997) .
Our society is crippling itself with poor nutrition. We have programs to help the nutrition of our school-aged children, as lame as it is. We have programs to help the nutrition of infants and provide formula to moms who need it but cannot afford it. There is no help or education for parents when the children are toddlers or preschool. Making low-cost or free nutritional supplements and parent education available for these children has become my new political agenda. I am not by nature a political person but this issue has motivated me. I am in the process of learning how to affect change in this area.
Saturday, November 10
Tuesday, November 6
Unbeknowst to most people, a critical component of this system is the vestibular system of the inner ear. It controls movement and balance. It also influences the other sensory systems. Most of the development and building of this system occurs from birth to 2yrs. New research among scientist show that a lack of stimulation to this system can lead to dozens of learning problems. Early motor stimulation can help provide better attention, listening skills, reading scores and writing skills.
So how do we provide stimulation? Through movement. Even simple movement such as rocking. Recent studies show that most children do not receive enough stimulation. Babies are now spending so much time in their carseats (even when not in the car) that they are not getting the stimulation they need to develop properly.
What is an answer? Babywearing! Not only does it provide the bonding time and closeness and lead to a happier baby. Now it also leads to a healthier baby who is more able to learn as a child.
Silver describes Multiple Intelligences as the what of learning and the learning styles as the how of learning. If I am following what this is saying is multiple intelligences indicates the way our brain works like a more detailed IQ while learning styles indicates study techniques and how to process material. Using that description, I can see where knowing the learning styles of your students and helping them understand their learning styles is important. According to text, I am a sensing-feeling learner. This makes perfect sense especially when compared with the MI results. I wonder if such a correlation exists for most learners.
How do teachers use this information on learning styles? One option is to make sure that each topic is addressed in multiple manners to reach as many learning styles as possible. Another option is to give students choices of activities or assessment techniques so that they can choose one that meets their learning style. Should teachers force or encourage students to work in learning styles in which they are not strong or comfortable? While using intelligences besides the dominant one encourages growth and better proficient like a skill, there in no evidence that using an uncomfortable learning style benefits a student. This would argue that a teacher/school should present material that requires the student to engage in all of the various intelligences but that assessments and assignments should be offered as options so that the student can choose a learning style that is comfortable.
No class room teacher or public school is ever going to be capable of doing that. They may be able to address the different intelligences (although even that is getting lost in budget cuts and the deluge of information required to be presented) but most classroom teachers don't have the time or resources to allow students to choose their own assignments or assessment often let alone consistently.
As a homeschooler, I can. I can provide the interdisciplinary tie ins that engage the less used intelligences. I can provide field trips and presentation techniques that focus on different intelligences in alternation. And I can structure the assessments to my child's particular learning style
Wednesday, October 31
Tuesday, October 30
For example - I learned to properly build a fire on a camping trip when my partner forced the issue. I had previously coasted through trainings, through demos, and teaching girls with basic skills and shadowy knowledge. Out in the field I would let me program aides build the fire because they were "faster". On this trip there was no one else willing to do it. It was me or freeze. I am now competent if not fast.
Tuesday, October 9
My research question is roughly what is the most effective method to help a non-reader "break the code" to become a fluent reader. Is one phonics system better than another? There is one system that does not teach letter names but instead has 40 "symbols" which are letters or letter combinations which supposedly represent the 40 different phonemes of the English language. Is this method better than other phonics system? Where can I find some research to guide me? All I seem to be able to find is by the author or proponent of the system and thus biased.
A second part to question is when you are teaching phonics how can you tell if you are properly pronoucing the different phonemes or help a student who does not seem to be hearing the difference between two similar phonemes?
Tuesday, October 2
Potential is a product of belief
Tuesday, September 25
Wednesday, September 19
A public school teacher may be able to sense the mood of her learners but ehr ability to react to that is fairly limited and more limited is her ability to react when there are several different moods. Homeschooling makes this easy. As a parent, we are more aware and attentive to our children's every mood. As well we are more in touch with what is likely to affect that mood. Lastly we are not under the constraints of SOL and someone else's timetable. If the child is stuck with a subject we can change and do something differently or put down school altogether and take a field trip. When the child understands this freedom, he does not feel as pressured and is able to find the competent mood more easily
Wednesday, September 12
For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas visit Rocks in my Dryer.
Thursday, May 31
Obviously not all reflection is critical, so what makes reflection critical? According to Brookfield, two things. First is to "understand how consideration of power undergrid, frame and distort" the processes and interactions. The second component is to "question assumption and practices that seem to make our teaching lives easier but actually work against our own best long term interest."
Brookfield refers to our classrooms as "contested spaces" and discuss all the power struggles that occur in all classrooms whether they are acknowledge or not. These power struggles are a huge part of the reason we chose to homeschool. These power struggles are not only between student and teacher but among the students. It is a battle with assumptions and social norms. My first teaching assignment was in a very homogeneous school system where maybe 2% of the population was not "redneck". This is the system where I listened to one of my students (an 8th grader) tell me that there were no Jews in Virginia so telling jokes about them wasn't offensive. I knew I could not allow a child of mine to go to school system that bred such close-minded opinions.
One good point that Brookfield makes is "critically reflective teachers will make sure that they find some way of regularly seeing what they do through their students eyes." I think in some ways this is easier for us as homeschoolers and in other ways harder. As parents we know and understand our children better than a public school teacher could ever hope to so getting their perspective is easier. At the same time that closeness also makes it much much easier to "assume" we know how they see things. We need to not assume but ask.
Brookfield repeatedly instructs teachers to get inside the heads of their students as a check on how the methods are working . Sure! Great! That is an important and wonderful idea but it is not likely to happen for a public school teacher. That requires a build of trust and understanding that takes more time than a teacher with a 120 students has in 9mths. This is yet another reason to homeschool.
Apparently, critical reflection is also the"recognition of hegemonic assumptions." Hegemonic assumptions are those that seem "natural, preordained and working for their own good" but which are really bad and serve a "powerful minority interest." I certainly would want to analyze and identify these assumptions. Unfortunately, no indication is made as to how to identify these and distinguish them from ideas which are indeed natural and working well.
One of the reasons many parents homeschool is that, unlike a classroom teacher, they can cater to their child's preferred learning style and help them learn. Brookfield condemns such practices stating that "letting people stick with what comes easily to them is a form of cognitive imprisonment." The truth lies somewhere in the middle. We must challenge our children and help them stretch their minds but we should also present information to them in a way that makes sense for them.
"Critically reflective teachers ... know methods and practices imported from the outside rarely fit snugly into the contours of their classrooms." It is the rare experienced homeschooling parent that has not modified a store-bought curriculum or pulled together several different philosophies to create a personal plan for the year. It appears that more homeschooling parents are critically reflective than classroom teachers. Which came first? Do we choose to homeschool because we are critical reflective people by nature and this shows us the importance or does homeschooling lead one to be critically reflective out of necessity? I believe it is the former and this may be an interesting problem to research.
Brookfield criticizes what he calls "the 'meeting needs' rationale" Used in a public school setting it can be a justification for lowering standards or set up an impossible standard. Yet it is important and a common motivation for homeschooling. The parent with unlimited time and more varied resources can meet the different needs of their children, however many that may be. For the homeschooling parent "meeting needs" is not an impossible standard but a daily fact of life.
In closing this particular section, Brookfield lists several reasons why critical reflection is important. My reaction upon reading them was "Duh!" His wording is different than how I might say it but to me these are all obvious. I think again that is because we are already critical reflective thinkers.
- It helps us to take informed action
- It helps us develop a rationale for practice
- It helps us avoid self-laceration
- It grounds us emotionally
- It enlivens our classroom
- It increases trust
Wednesday, May 30
Back to our example of the toddler just learning the world. Toddler repeated comes in contact with furry four legged beast which is given the label "Dog" Through the part of language development / learning designated assimilation, the toddler is able to make the a connection between the label and the item presented. The toddler then uses that label for anything else that meets that general description. It takes accommodation to allow the child to see that a cat is different than a dog or a horse is different than a cow or that not all women are momma. Accommodation is much harder as they need to learn what the distinctions are while still making the connections.
Eventually as we grow, more of our learning becomes accommodation style and assimilation falls by the wayside. We "link to prior knowledge" and understand.
Tuesday, May 29
A step by step protocol for reflection is extremely helpful. A concrete guideline is useful for linear thinkers. The group dynamic makes the process tricky for me. Many of the problems I encounter and reflective moments are not times I am looking for external analysis. For those times when one wants or needs external analysis, the protocol is an effective method of ensuring that an action plan is created and that the reflection leads somewhere rather than being an opportunity to vent. It is not clear how the step 4 of Part One (What are the implications for my practice) is supposed to differ from Part Two (Possible Future Action).
Although the protocol is designed to be used in a group setting, it is possible to use it as a solitary individual and accomplish the same objective. It offers a framework and a guideline which can be useful. Instead of getting lost in the problem and spinning in circles , the framework provides a mechanism to document the problem and move forward.
The key to reflection is to make it useful. The possible future action section of the protocol ensures that a dedicated user of the protocol, be it group or individual makes the reflection useful.
Tonight, we will go to visit Tatiana to say goodbye. Froggy will come in and visit then her Daddy will take her out and I will stay with Tatiana while she goes to sleep. When I come out I will need to explain to Froggy why Mommy is so sad. Froggy understands emotions and these emotions and seeing the emotions of loss may let her make those connections that provide understanding and learning.
Wish me luck
Monday, February 5
Today we made playdough. I much prefer the homemade playdough rather than store bought for a variety reasons.
- I know what goes into it. Just like the food Froggy eats, I like to choose the least processed ingredients as possible to avoid preservatives and chemicals even if they are supposedly non-toxic.
- It is much less expensive.
- It is better for the environment because there is less packaging
- And lastly it just feels nicer to me, a smoother more pleasant texture.
I have tried several different recipes, both cooked and uncooked. The recipe I like best for durability and texture is the following simple cooked recipe.
3 cups flour
3 cups water
1.5 cups salt
3 tbs oil
6 tsp cream of tarter
Pour all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture pulls away from the sides to form a ball. Turn out onto wax paper. Knead for 2-3 minutes until mixture is smooth. Store in an airtight container.
For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas visit Rocks in my Dryer.
Sunday, February 4
Here are some of the ideas being batted around
Take a picture of your child with each guest. Get duplicate prints when getting the film developed. Use one copy as a postcard for the thankyou card.
Request that people only bring gifts they have made - Personally not one of my favorites. While I am inclined to be craftsy I can see this scaring lots of the invitee.
Place all birthday money into a savings account for college - We are doing half of all gift money regardless of occasion.
Take a photograph of the child by the same landmark (mailbox was the suggestion) each year to see the child grow. Not having a mailbox we chose our lightpost.
Thursday, January 25
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 leeks, whites only, washed and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pear, such as
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup milk
Wrap bay leaves, fresh thyme, parsley, and black peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth, and tie into a sachet with kitchen twine. Set aside. Heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and onion, and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 2 minutes more. Add potatoes, squash, and pear, if using. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add sachet, chicken stock, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove sachet, and discard. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add milk. Bring soup just to a simmer over medium heat. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
Wednesday, January 24
The latest announcements from my shul reminded me that I need to hurry up and start getting ready for Tu B'Shevat. I wanted to make this Tu B’Shevat special as it will be the first we celebrate as a family. Technically its not the Froggy’s first, but the last year went by in a newborn lack-of-sleep fuzz, and so we didn’t do much for some holidays.
Tu B'Shevat is the 15th day of the Jewish month, Shevat which this year corresponds to
February 13th on the Gregorian calendar. It is the "New Year" for trees, and heralds the coming of spring for me. For many years, when I was not affiliated with a synagogue,the January influx of garden catalogues said its time for Tu B'Shevat and garden planning. Every year on Tu B'Shevat I try to plant something. Growing up in
To mark how special this year is I am creating our own Tu B’Shevat seder. There are several good samples available. Most follow a pattern similar to the Pesach seder. Some focus on the numerology of the date using 15 different types of fruits/nuts whiles other focus on the seven species. We are modeling ours after this one. I chose it for its simplicity. I love the beauty and imagery of this one and may well use it or parts of it when Froggy is older and willing to sit longer. We also like this one because of the actions it includes.
Here is my prep list:
- Obtain 15 different types of fruits and nuts - five from each of the following three categories. I chose the specific 5 I did with a mind towards what my family would eat, what was available locally and the seven species.
- 1) fruits or nuts with an inedible outer shell and an edible inner core: pineapple, coconut, banana, kiwi and pomegranate.
- 2) fruits with edible outer flesh and pithy, inedible cores: olive, date, peach, apricot and persimmon.
- 3) fruits which are edible throughout. Here no protective shells, neither internal nor external are needed. The symbolic fruits should be eaten entirely and include: strawberry, grape, fig, raspberry and blueberry.
- Obtain red and white wine
- Plant a tree in
in Froggy’s honor Israel
- Obtain seed starting materials to plant with Froggy on before the seder
- Obtain and learn classic Tu b'Shevat song, "Atzei zeitimomdim"
I saw this at Lindsey's this morning, and had to jump in!
Aprons – Y/N?
Yes – I own one but I never remember to wear
Baking – Favorite thing to bake:
Cookies – all different kinds. I love to experiment.
Clothesline – Y/N?
No, I miss having one since we left the farm. It is great for airing blankets and drying quilts.
Donuts – Have you ever made them?
No. My mother-in-law made some here during her last visit and left the recipe but I haven’t been brave enough to try them yet.
Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:
Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Yes. It is great for freezing fresh summer produce for access during the winter months. It was critical for holding all the suppers I made up during the end of my pregnancy that we lived off for many weeks when Froggy first came home.
Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
Yes – thank goodness.
Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
Ironing – Love it or hate it?
I hate it! I only do the absolute minimum I must.
Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Nope. Junk is everywhere.
Kitchen: Design & Decorating?
I wish. It is what it is. Small and less than ideal for one who loves to cook as much as I do.
Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Being able to see Froggy grow everyday all day long. Knowing that she is getting the best start in life possible.
Mop - Y/N?
No – floors get cleaned on hands and knees the way my mother did. I tried a mop and the floor never seemed clean to me.
Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Washing machine. I don’t wear anything that can’t go in the machine.
Oven - Do you use the window, or open the door to check?
Open the door. I can’t tell anything through the window.
Pizza - What do you put on yours?
Crab and fresh mozzarella and homemade sauce. If it were only me, I would add mushrooms or spinach or some other veggie.
Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Blog, do schoolwork, eat lunch.
Recipe card box - Y/N?
No! Most of my recipes are either in cookbooks or on the computer.
Style of house -
Split-level Which means you enter into the stairwell. The bedrooms and formal living room are upstairs. Downstairs is the kitchen, dining room and family room. It was built in the 1970's and is part of a quiet neighborhood of similarly styled homes.
Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N?
For Shabbat, holidays and when there is company.
Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
Pretty much organized. We cleaned out all the toxic chemicals as part of babyproofing.
Vacuum - How many times per week?
Only about once a week. The only room with carpet is the family room. I sweep or wipe down the hardwood more often.
Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do a week?
X's - Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?
No. On a work weekend I will make a to-do list and I make grocery lists or errand lists
Yard - Who does what?
We are still working on this one. I do weeding and planting and trimming the bushes. Mowing and filling the bird feeders is mostly Dad’s job.
Zzz's - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Put Froggy to bed. Once she is finally asleep (usually between and ), the day is done and I get to relax if not fall immediately asleep myself.
2 cups pancake mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp clove
1 cup milk
2 cup shredded carrot
In a bowl combine the pancake mix, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In another bowl, beat eggs and milk. Pour into the dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Stir in carrots. Pour pancakes onto griddle. (I make silver dollar size pancakes) Turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden.
Look for other WFMW tips this week at Rocks in my Dryer .
Tuesday, January 23
Verbal meaningful words (ie more than just parroting)
momma (frequently pronounced mamba)
baa (her word for sheep)
She understands lots. She points to her nose, head and mouth if you ask her to. She will roll the ball to Lion but not me. She loves walking with her Pooh walking toy but still is not walking alone. She holds her feet out for you to put her socks or shoes on.
Saturday, January 20
I scored a 92 - pretty crispy.
Tuesday, January 16
When does homeschooling start? Many, even some experienced homeschoolers will answer 4 or 5 years old, when the child would otherwise start public school. I disagree. It starts when the family decides to homeschool and for many that may be at birth. We are all our children's first teachers. Why should homeschoolers who are so focused on teaching their children discount these early years? Just because the child can't read or write and is not receiving formal lessons does not mean the child is not learning or that parents aren't teaching.
So let's not pretend our littlest learners haven’t started yet. Let us rejoice in their learning as much as we rejoice in the boy who finally masters fractions or the girl explorer who must identify every type of flora and fauna. And let us chose to encourage that learning deliberately.
So what are we already doing to help these fledglings prepare to take flight? First and foremost we are talking to them and reading to them. As well, any time they are watching us perform tasks or just move around they are learning from us.
Is there more? Yes. I want to share a great book I recently discovered. It offers weekly activities that help foster development and learning without being "school-like". As a first time parent, it gives me new games to play with my little one. If one week's game is not interesting we don't play it as often. If it is too simple, we may modify to make it more challenging. If it is fun and challenging, we keep playing it for weeks on end.
Another recommendation I have to share from our experience is sign language.
I hear of so many parents searching out foreign nannies and taking their toddlers to an immersion program where the toddlers learn a language the parents can't speak, everything from Spanish and French to Chinese and Finnish. Why do they say they are doing this? "It helps the brain development for the child to be bilingual." Unfortunately for them, studies have shown that a child is only truly bilingual if both languages are spoken fluently in the home. And as well if you are going to teach a second language, it would help if it were one that facilitates your child actually communicating.
Sign language has those advantages and one more. If you take the time to learn to sign yourself, you can teach the child signs not just at the same time as verbal language, but actually faster. The child learns to manipulate his or her limbs and hands before they learn all the complex tasks necessary to form words. So you can communicate with your child earlier and easier. Sometimes just a little communication can make all the difference between crying for (what seems like) forever, and a contented child.
Saturday, January 13
Please if you are a Jewish homeschooler or know of one, comment below or link to this post or let me know somehow.
Six Things to Include in Your Child's Day:
• prayer - We start and end our day with the Sh'ma. We are trying to add the blessings before meals as well.
• imaginative play - free play, time to explore indoors and out.
• meaningful work - the froggy's work is play but this is different than the imaginative play. This is guided play where we build her skills and help her grow.
• good books - Both free "reading" and being read to and seeing me read for me.
• beauty (art, music, nature) - Nature and music are easy for us. We are working to add more art.
• ideas to ponder and discuss - I left this one in because I feel it is important. However our conversations are one-sided at this point in time. This is a reminder to me to have those conversations one-sided or not.
Friday, January 12
In Girl Scout parlance, it is the ceremony by which one formally becomes a Girl Scout.
And with that we have my investiture as a blogger. My first official post.
Why become a blogger you ask? To record and share our journey in raising the froggy. To hopefully give back some of the wisdom I gain through other blogs. And to create a Jewish presence in all the Catholic and Christian homeschooling blogs.