February 5, 2011

Starting School

Avila has always picked up things pretty quickly and I notice that she gets bored easily. So, in order to deter her from walking around the house aimlessly and in order to make sure I spend some good, sit down, quality time with her - nurturing her interests and skills - we have started school.

When Max goes down for his morning nap, Avila and I have our school time - usually 1-2 hours every morning (except for Tuesdays, which is Kinder Musik class and Wednesdays, which is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd). We switch roles from mother/daughter to teacher/student (which helps her understand she can't goof around and helps me understand I can't get impatient). There are lots of different sites, blogs, printables I pull from but in order to make it easy on myself, I am not using any set curriculum and I don't make things too fancy. For now we are focusing on the basics: handwriting, early math principals, drawing/coloring, and lots and lots of talking and reading.

And she LOVES it. One Saturday she asked if we could do school. I told her school doesn't usually happen on Saturdays, and she started crying. So, we spent the next two hours working on math flash cards and tracing numbers and it turned out to be one of the best Saturday mornings we've had.

This school time has been extremely beneficial for Avila and my relationship. We have the same (stubborn, type-A) personality and we can butt heads quite often. But this time teaches me how to be patient and it gives her the quality time with me that she craves.

I am really really excited to continue this time with her - and our other kiddos to come. And I am finding that teaching moments can happen all throughout the day - not just in set school time. I have her help me with dinner (learning about measurement, where food comes from, that daddy goes to work to buy us food), we practice our letter sounds on the way to the grocery store, I sometimes read to the kids while they eat lunch, and on and on and on. Every moment is filled with richness and beauty that children are craving to learn from. And I feel so blessed that I get to share these moments with our children.

On a side note, here are a few of the resources I am using. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what I'm using or what's good out there:

Mommy, Teach Me and Mommy Teach Me to Read - both by Barbara Curtis
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
1+1+1=1 blog
Christian Preschool Printables
Free Worksheets/Printables
Google "Handwriting Worksheets" for many different tracing and handwriting resources
And, of course, a shout out to my awesome laminator: Scotch TL901 Thermal Laminator

back in December, helping the shepherds get to baby Jesus!

learning patterns

working on our Christmas alphabet book

I found her making her own pattern strip!

our "classroom" aka: the weird space in our family room. This space has been transformed half a dozen times since we moved in, but this configuration works the best so far. Who says you can't do a lot with a small space?!

Our Lady of Fatima, given by Grandma Mauss this past Christmas. She watches over Avila while she does her work.

And of course we can't forget about brother! He always wants in on the action...

where I found Max the other day...all by himself, in a corner, reading a book. be still my heart.

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