Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Organized and ready to go

Well I have spent almost every waking moment over the past week and a half obsessing about my organization for "Briena's school." After muliple trips to The Lakeshore Learning Store and The Container Store I think I'm finally done. I know none of this matters to her but I can't function unless I have everything in it's place and organized. (And yes each drawer has divided sections for separation of supplies. I know, it's OK to laugh.) I also felt the "need" to get what I call "education essentials." Briena is very interested in all the new stuff. During this process I have been working on teaching her about not touching without asking permission. She's doing pretty good but still gets into things occaisionally.

I went in the kitchen this evening to pick up some toys and found Briena had gotten into the Pom-Poms, or what she calls "fuzzy balls." She placed some in each of the paint containers that were on the easel. It almost looked like she was sorting by color. It was so funny I had to laugh. I'm glad she had already gone to bed so she didn't know I thought it was funny.
I had to change my plan on the curriculum. I still plan to start in July but I will use the Itty Bitty Bookworm September curriculum calendar instead of July. I thought I needed to start with the current month but after reviewing the material July was towards the end of the school year and they were doing review. September is the beginning of the school year and I wanted to start from the beginning. This meant I had to buy different books and order the September lessons which set me back a bit but we'll make it on time. Since I am going to be doing this part-time, I can't do ALL the activities. I have to pick and choose without missing the monthly objectives for each long term goal. I'm working on a calendar to keep me on track and help me organize all the activities so that they build and correlate with one another. Once I get my calendar completed for the month of July, I will post it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Getting Started

I ordered the Itty-Bitty Bookworm today! This is a preschool curriculum that is a simple, organized, teach-it-yourself curriculum specifically designed for children ages 18 months - 5 years of age. Based on quality children’s literature, each week will focus on a different book – while all activities and projects revolve around these stories. Not only does this format keep learning fun and relevant – but it will also help us quickly build a library of children’s books that Briena will enjoy again and again. There are two different curriculums to choose, Bailey's Curriculum for ages 18 months - 36 months or Bo's Curriculum for ages 3-5 years of age. I first learned of this curriculum from my cousin Felicia's blog. She is using the same curriculum. I knew from the first time I found out I was pregnant that I wanted to do things different this time. With maturity I have learned that raising a child is not just about keeping them alive until they reach adult age, but it is about teaching them how to be responsible, productive, happy adults. And my belief is that a good education is the foundation. I've tried on my own to teach her the basics like letters, numbers, colors, shapes, animals, etc. and she has done remarkably well. But now we have reached a point that I don't really know what to do now. When I found this curriculum I was excited to see a road map to help me teach her. I have had experience with The Abeka curriculum which is phonics based and plan to implement some of what I already know into this plan. But the Abeka plan alone was too rigid for my taste. I'm starting with the July calendar because I needed a little time to do some reading and material preparation before I start. I ordered the books last week because I knew it would take time for delivery. And so the journey begins, I'm ready to go!!

Moody Gardens

In an effort to try and plan some kind of family vacation this summer, I thought Sea World in San Antonio would be exciting for Briena because she loves fish and sealife, but I was afraid that she might be too young. So we went for a trial run at Moody Gardens last Saturday. Our timing on the visit was due in part to a new exhibit they were opening, 'Dinosaur Live.' Briena is really into dinosaurs right now and I thought she would love it. All the dinosaurs were lifesize and animated. With the combination of the sound effects and background smoke it was kinda cool. It was a great learning opportunity to reinforce what she had been seeing in her dinosaur books. The exhibit was outside in a tent and since Briena is sweeter than sugar, she was eaten alive. Poor thing probably had about 10-15 mosquito bites. I read about the exhibit online but there was no mention of it being outdoors or I would have been prepared. We also went to the Rainforest where we got to see many different parrots. These two we caught kissing.

We saw many different types of plants. The signage was really interesting. They informed you on different uses for many of the vegetation, ie. medications, food, clothing, etc. I wanted to read many of them but a two year old won't stand still for that and really isn't interested in that. It's nice to know that we can come here again in a couple of years and it will be a different experience and another learning lesson at a different level.

The Aquarium gave Briena an opportunity to see in real life many of the different fish and sealife she could recognize from books and movies. She even had a chance to touch a starfish. She learned what a starfish was before she learned her shapes. So everytime she sees a star she calls it a starfish.
Even though we had a great deal of fun, I did discover she is too young for Sea World. She was not interested in many of the exhibits and it was a battle at times trying to get her redirected.
I really wish there was somewhere we could go at this age. If anyone has any vacation suggestions, let me know. I want something that will be fun for her.

Letter Painting

Today we went to the local painting place. My plan was for Briena to paint a letter 'B' to hang in her room. We did this a couple of weeks ago but she broke it the same day. Anyway, of course children have different plans than we do. She wanted to paint the letter 'R'. I decided to take this opportunity to use it as a teaching lesson. We talked about the sound 'R" makes. "Rrrrrrrrrrr" she liked that part because it sounds kinda like a dinosaur roar. (Which she is really into right now). We also talked about things that start with 'R'. I'm not sure how much she absorbed, but she had fun. The table was set-up with all the paint colors in small contianers with lids. She would pick a color, submerse her paint brush as deep as it would go, with as much paint as it would hold and then dab 1-2 dots on her 'R'. Then she would say "all done" or "nudder color." The entire outing probably took less than 30 minutes. I guess that's the typical attention span of a 2yr old.
Thoughtfully they supplied t-shirts to protect the clothing. Of course this does not work with 2yr olds. She got paint on her clothes anyway. Glad she wore one of the inexpensive Wal-Mart shirts.

The Beginning

This is my first blog. It was inspired by my cousin Felicia. She has a blog about homeschooling her children. I really liked many of the activities she was doing with her children. However, she is a stay at home mom and I am a working mom by necessity. I plan to use different curriculums to both meet the needs of my 2 yr old and fit into my already busy schedule. My time right now is being spent setting up the blog and getting it to look just like I want it. This is very time consuming since I have a FEW OCD tendencies. That will be funny to people who know me. I hope my journey will demonstrate that working moms can do it too!