Saturday, February 11, 2012

Peter & the Wolf: Instrument & Music Appreciation

I just wanted to write a quick post about one of the things we did this morning: watch Peter and the Wolf.

It was right after Joey asked AGAIN for MORE of a musical instruments presentation on little reader (;id=6836).  It was such a great way to expand on his musical appreciation, as well as teach him about various emotions, cause and effect, etc.  i love (re)learning with my little ones ... it seems that learning for the 2nd, 3rd, etc time is truly more enjoyable each go!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Programs We Incorporate

Our Routine Goal:
* MORNING BATH w/bath instruments and colorful letter/numbers (with joey we put together words and work on math, with kaelie right now we are working on colors)
* BRAINY BREAKFAST w/LM & LR, followed by YBCR, which we call "Reading Time", thanks to his love for Signing Time
- Mondays: Playgroup @ Healthy Families (consists of 1 hour of free play, followed by art craft, then cleanup time, snack time and then circle time, which is usually some sort of music & movement activity, ending with storytime and a goodbye song with a sticker or stamp)
- Tuesdays: Stroller Strides
- Wednesdays: Playgroup @ Healthy Families (same as Monday)
- Thursdays: Playgroup @ Healthy Families (same as Monday)
- Fridays: Stroller Strides & Gymnastics
- Saturdays: Soccer (although this is a trek for us - 1 hour for his age group, so lately we've just been doing outside play at a park or in the backyard)
- Sundays: ASL Church
* LUNCH & LEARN: Learn typically consists of a few phrases or minutes of review of whatever we're working on, whether addition, reading, sight words, music appreciation or chords.  if we're home, this may be time for a video too, such as signing time, mandarin mickey, your child can discover ... when we get tweedle wink and kinderbach, this will be incorporated here.  if the day is beautiful, we go outside before, during, or after lunch too.  even if the weather isn't so great, i try to get at minimum 20 minutes outside with the kids each day.  typically, it's considerably more, though.
* AFTERNOON ACTIVITY: extension of learning time with solo play time worked in, depending on the kids.  solo play, sometimes turns into play with one another or with me too.  this time could be reading books (with or without an audio pen), legos, blocks, wood train set, piano play, tablet time (educational/fun activities that encourage thinking, reading, writing, etc).  Lately, I would like to see this time more organized/focused (as in, we'll still do a bit of everything, but try to gear it more towards a specific activity), so I'll put the ideal in writing here:
- Mondays: Piano Time/Music Appreciation
- Tuesdays: Coop School (3 hours with kids of similar age in various activities, including play-dough & sticker crafts)
- Wednesdays: Piano Time/Music Appreciation
- Thursdays: Pool play
- Fridays: Piano Time/Music Appreciation
- Saturdays: Soccer/Social Sports
- Sundays: Pool play

Truth be told, life at this age is about learning, and it all gets meshed together a bit.  For example, while we're making muffins in the morning, we talk about the cup being 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, etc full of milk.  Or if we're eating grapes we will mention things like, '2 grapes in this hand, plus three grapes in that hand ... all in your mouth, now - that makes 5 grapes! 2 + 3 = 5! yay!' i just read that another mom uses multiplication with legos, such as 'pass me the 2x3 lego'. i like that idea.  I love art, but paints are so messy! I leave them for bath time, which is when they get a bit of writing on the wall time too.  We do a lot of singing & dancing, around the house, in the tub, in the car, as well as listening to a variety of music, including classical, new age, opera, country, hiphop, salsa, reggaeton, adult alternative, christian, etc.  Everything with our schedule as of late has been a bit chaotic, so I'm hoping to create more structure to ensure that we tap on a bit of everything and don't get overcome by the lazy bug.

Side note: laughter is so key.  yes, there are times where discipline has to be enforced - i believe that it's important for them to learn cause and effect, but each day i try hard to get both kids to laugh.  when you think about how it's their nature to be happy, it's not too hard.  i find that the hardest part is in dealing with my own moods. it's easy to get overwhelmed with obligations and lack of energy.  this month i will be buying a calendar for them to put in their room so that we can do a better job of keeping track of everything. can't wait!

Brief Update

I can't believe that it's been so long since I've last posted.  Ok, since I've been working so much with the GiftedVillage CARES non-profit, putting together this year's Memphis Convention on Early Learning, every little bit of time seems to be going to that. But, I'm visiting family this weekend, so here I am :-)

OK.  Things that come to mind to mention....

Kaelie will be 9 months next week - yay!  She's already attempting short steps and as managing to stay standing longer and longer.  The doctor says she's 3 months advanced, but I think she's just right.  Joey was at the same point at this age, which is exciting and a relief for me, since I worry that she doesn't get as much positive stimulation because I split my time between the two.

Last week, I believe it was, Joey did something interesting: I accidentally asked him in Spanish to read.  As in, instead of speaking English and asking him to read his words, which are in English, I was talking to him in Spanish and asked him to read his words (which are in English).  And he read them to me ... in Spanish!  I didn't even realize it until he happened to stumble onto a word that he didn't know in Spanish and said it in English, at which point it occurred to me what he was doing.  I think this is really neat and further enforces that learning is learning, regardless of the language.  The language is just the expression of the subject.

Along those lines, he's been devouring Mickey in Mandarin, thanks to YouTube! It's funny how people fret so much over screen time and that it will affect their attention spans and whatnot, but on the contrary, there are so many benefits if you're exposing them to great things.  I often wonder what the result of the next 20 years will be.  The possibilities are exciting and I'm really looking forward to getting to know who they are and watch them develop into who they choose to be.

This past week Joey seems to be having separation anxiety.  I started him at a coop school on Tuesdays and  for whatever reason, he isn't doing well unless I'm around.  The good news is that it is a new place with new people, except for his buddy Harper, and so I think this is only natural for this age.  His first visit I stayed in his room the whole time, but his second visit, which occurred 3 weeks later, into the third hour he was starting to stay in his toddler room with the other kids without my being there.  I'm so grateful that I found this place!  Social development is so important too.

We are on a good routine these days, having successfully incorporated Little Reader and Little Math.  He adores his books and writing.  I need to expose him more to arts and music.  Fortunately, I've set up his keyboard at Nani's and will be doing the same this week, so yay! Finally on track there.  Now I just have to order the usb-midi interface and I'll be set.