Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting Back to the Basics of Learning

As some of you may remember, I’ve decided to work with Younger Boy on learning some preschool basics while he’s home. This past week we have been working on tracing and learning the letters. He’s been very excited. I’m not sure what he’s absorbing, but I do know that he really wants to do it. In the middle of coloring yesterday he asked if he could write letters. I don’t even think I could describe my excitement in the fact he initiated the want to write some letters.

We’ve worked our way up to G so far. We tried some free-hand letters but his little hands just can’t quite grasp the crayon the way you’re supposed to be holding it in order to write. So I’ve been writing the letters down and letting him trace over them with a different colored crayon.

I also have letter magnets on the fridge and we’ve been going over some of the letters and words that start with them. Like Thomas starts with the letter T and Olivia starts with the letter O. I don’t expect him to get it, but I’m still excited that he’s been asking what letter different words start with.

He wants so very much to be like his older brothers and to be able to read and write. I want to embrace his excitement to learn and do things, but I want to make sure that I’m doing it right. I need to dumb it down I guess – get back to the basics. I’ve found that to be one of my more challenging things lately when it comes to teaching and helping the boys learn. Remembering how hard it was to learn simple things like letters and adding, because I learned all of that so long ago. Taking that step back is a lot harder than I thought it would be. But I have confidence that I can do this.

I’ve been thinking about getting some letter stencils or alphabet specific coloring books. I’m thinking more hands on things instead of flashcards since he is going to be 4-years-old., but I wanted to see if any of you have any ideas of other things I can get to help teach him the letters and to become familiar with handling crayons?

Younger Boy writing his letters.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Updates – Cats and Kids, Preschool & Meeting Jane

So before I went MIA for two weeks straight I thought I ought to jump on, wave hello and let you all know that I’m still kicking. October is by far a busy month, socially and work wise. And I haven’t been able to have much of a break because Jane canceled the last two weeks for one reason or another. I’m really feeling it, but I’ll make it. FH and I are flying out to St. Louis for a friend’s wedding. So we’re totally going to soak up some time together.

Cats and Kids
I’m writing a blog for work now for our cat website. It’s about blending a new family with instant kids and a cat. I’m only one entry in so far but I’m hoping that people will like my blog and I’ll get to blog more frequently. Right now I’m at about once a week and I already have a huge list of things to talk about when it comes to cats and kids. I'm really excited because not only do I get to talk about my cat as much as I want (because I do talk about Nasty Cat a lot), but I also get to put a face out there for being a stepmom. I always like to think of me and my cat as a packaged deal of our own. Especially for those moments that FH is not pleased with something that Nasty Cat has done. He brought the kids and I brought the cat...that's just how it is. Take it or leave it.

After much discussion, although we could afford to send Younger Boy to the preschool run by the city, it would not be helping us save money for the wedding. I really took to heart all of your comments about how well he’s been learning at home with me. So we’ve decided to wait until next year to send him to preschool. In the mean time I’ve bought some materials and resources so that I can work with Younger Boy at home on learning basic things like tracing, letters, counting and creative play. I’m also going to be looking into the local library hours and possibly some playgroup opportunities.

Meeting Jane
That alone explains this part of the update. It was two weeks ago at her kid’s first birthday party. On the way over I had decided that I was going to go in and meet Jane. A big part of it was because Allison was going to be there and I knew that it would help me feel stronger and less intimidated. Another part was that I realized that I wasn’t as intimidated by the thought of Jane as I used to be. I think meeting her in a public place in front of everyone was a good choice. Although, she had the chance to meet me earlier this year for Allison’s daughters’ birthday party so this wasn’t the first opportunity. I guess it also didn’t hurt that I was in one of those “I’m going to walk in there like I own this position” moods I get in before a job interview. Confidence has never failed me.

It was cake. We walked in and I got big hugs from Allison and her family. I was welcomed by her aunt. And then I pretty much introduced myself to her mid-conversation when it was apparent that no one else was going to do it. I think she was more intimidated by me being there. Especially when we went to pick the boys up because they came over to give us hugs. We lingered a bit afterward talking to Allison. Jane filtered in and out but pretty much kept on the other side of the room with her friends.

The boys made me feel good because I wasn’t ignored. They came over and talked to me, and asked me stuff, and they didn’t throw a fit when we were supposed to leave. I think my main fear was always that I was going to be made to feel like nothing special– and their actions showed both me and Jane that I was anything but nothing special.

So that’s the latest.