Saturday, March 31, 2012

Painting with Water

We haven't done many school activities the past few days.  The weather has been way too good to leave the doors closed and the boys just want to play outside.  Link actually said "I don't want to do any school work, I want to play outside."  He really wanted to take the paint brushes outside.  Since I couldn't think of any real reasons why he couldn't, I said yes.  I could think of many reasons why he couldn't take his paint outside though.  Then I had an epiphany!  Water!  Both boys spent two days outside painting everything within reach with a cup of water!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Indoor/Outdoor Space Observation

So far, if the door is open, no school work gets done.

Today, we started working - Link was doing color box 3, Bumblebee was doing a little of everything.  Then, I opened the doors and they both went outside to play.

Maybe I'll try again this afternoon and see what they do.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

School Day - A Little Better

We had a decent hour in the school room.  Once the boys seemed like they were done, I opened up the doors and now they are playing outside.

Bumblebee stayed busy of course.  Link either wants to help him (in other words, do his work for him) but only while Bumblebee is doing it.  Link will only do work if I'm working with him.  He got a few metal insets down to trace.  I suggested tracing the geometric cabinet trays (since that's what they are for after all!) but no.  Then I asked if he wanted to try the red rods again.  We spent the rest of the hour attempting to identify the rods.  Unfortunately he is constantly counting randomly and looking at me like "is that right?"  It's like he wants me to say no thats wrong :)  I don't know how to handle this.

So I have two problems.  Link won't work independently.  Link intentionally does things wrong.  What do I do?

Discouraged :(

Link doesn't seem interested in doing any of his activities.  When we go to the school room, he asks for anything he hasn't done and won't do anything already there.  I gave him a presentation on the metal insets yesterday and he did the first step, but didn't want to finish.  He'll do the activities on Bumblebee's shelves, but they are too easy for him so they don't hold his attention.  Then he just walks around the room.  I added some practical life to his shelves hoping to get him more interested.  He did them once and was done.

He'll be four in a month.  I really thought that by this time he'd be a bit farther along.  I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing the right thing keeping him home.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

First Day With Two Boys in the New School Room

Yesterday we had an unexpected school day.  I wanted to have the room all set up before the boys went in, but they were ready before I was.  We were going to go outside, and of course we have to go through the school room to get to the play area.  I was also wearing the baby on my chest in order to make it more fun to give presentations and keep Bumblebee out of trouble :)

I don't have pictures yet but I wanted to record what the boys did before I forgot.

Bumblebee chose the Peg Board first.  While he was doing that, Link did all the other activities on Bumblebee's shelves.  It worked nicely because Bumblebee watched the entire time and I didn't have to give any presentations.  Of course all of those works were too easy for Link, but he had to do them all.  

Next, Bumblebee chose the pom pom transfer with tongs.  He did this over and over for the rest of the time we were in the school room.  He took a break at one point to do some Geometric Cabinet work, but then went back to it.

The other works that Link did, but not Bumblebee, were cloths pins on a bucket, shape boxes with lids, and the geometric sorting board puzzle.

Link chose the cabinet first.  After tracing one or two, he said "I know where they all go, so I don't need to trace them."  I'm not sure how to handle that :)  I did let Bumblebee do this one.  He just does them like puzzles.  I'm not sure if I'm going to let him continue that, or make him wait until he will do the tracing.  He likes puzzles right now.  Link did two or three drawers.  He looks for the harder ones :)  

I had a hard time keeping him from "helping" Bumblebee too much.  I didn't want to be negative, but I want them to learn to respect each others space.  Link decided to do the pink tower, but after getting it on the rug, he didn't want to finish it.  I had to keep Bumblebee out of it, while also encouraging Link to either finish or put it back.  He decided to put it back, but intentionally did it wrong.  In the end I said something along the lines of  "I can see you are having a hard time remembering how to do this work, I can give you another presentation" or something like that.  I did let Bumblebee help put it back, just because this seemed to encourage Link to help.  

After that Link just hung out while Bumblebee transferred pom poms.  I was really ready to go make dinner, but didn't want to stop him.  Then Daddy came home and joined us.  After doing it a few times for Daddy, Bumblebee finally took it back to the shelves and we left.

Not bad.  We're going to the Hands-On Museum today, so maybe we'll make it back to school tomorrow.

Link - one month to 4 years
Bumblebee - two months to 2 years

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

School Room Renovation Update

We've gone from this:

To this:

It's gonna be great, stay tuned!

Monday, March 12, 2012

School Day! & School Room Changes

Hooray!  We made it!  We actually spent some time in the school room for about an hour and a half on Friday.

I decided to bring Bumblebee in for a few minutes before his nap.  First, Link showed him everything in his sound boxes.  Then he gave a presentation on the pink tower.  That was all Bumblebee could take.  After that I was doing serious diversion because he was wanting to get into everything.  So he went to take his nap.

Then Link and I reviewed the sandpaper letters and read the /t/ and /b/ Sound Box books.  Two seconds of pencil sharpening.  Last we did the brown stair (using teamwork).  I would hand him the blocks and he would take them to the rug.  He doesn't put them out of order though, he just builds it.  He can do the pink tower, red rods and brown stair very easily, he just chooses not to.

I have decided that its time to redo the school room again.  Bumblebee is really missing out and is really ready to join us.  So, for the next week, instead of having school time, we'll be taking all the shelves apart and reassembling them differently in a different room.  I'll add some shelves for Bumblebee with his own works and I'll be adding some new works for Link.

I reviewed this old post over at What Did We Do All Day to refresh myself on handling a child under two along with an older one.  I also reviewed a few posts after that to get some ideas for what type of work Bumblebee may be able to handle at 21 months.  The youngest over there is exactly three years older than Bumblebee.  Specifically, this one, this one, this one, and I especially like this one.   Something about seeing other people's kids have fits makes me feel a little better about mine having them.  I just know Bumblebee is going to be a handful and I really hope I can handle it!  I just cannot see him sitting through a single presentation.  I also cannot see him leaving Link's shelves or work rug alone.   

I have to admit, I don't have a lot of patience and my kids do not seem as well behaved as the ones I read about.  I also have to admit, I avoid doing many things with both boys at the same time because I have a hard time keeping Bumblebee out of trouble.  He is three months shy of two and I am sure he has missed out on a lot that I did with Link by this time.  He doesn't listen - actually, he blatantly ignores me at times.  I am probably too easy on him.  There are two reasons (excuses) I have for this.  First, he is a small 21 month old (the size of a 12 month old) so I tend to expect less from him forgetting that he really is older.  Second, I think I was too hard on Link and I still feel guilty about that.  But I digress.

Next post - Updated School Room!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Baby!

Well, we're home!  My new baby boy is now a month old :)

It seems like yesterday we brought Bumblebee home, now he's about to turn two!  Both big brothers are doing pretty well with our new addition.  Bumblebee has gotten a little fussier and a little more clingy, but that's to be expected.  Link was already in clingy mode, so nothing has changed with him; he still has to be near me all day :)

I'm both surprised and disappointed with my ability to get to the school room since we've been home.  I'm surprised that we have been able to at all.  I thought things would be a bit more crazy with me being tied up for an hour of nursing 4 times during the day.  (Its not like I had 4 hours of free time before.) But we've gotten into a pretty good routine and so far he's not too needy (I know, its coming!).  As long as I can nurse him and then put him down, we don't get too out of sorts.  Luckily, he tends to have his fussy time in the evening when Daddy is home so he can do the holding while I do dinner.

So, in the month that we have been home, we've been in the school room maybe five times.  We did some geography with the map of the continents and the globes.  Link actually chose to do some work that he refused to do before our hiatus away from home.  He did the red rods, cylinder blocks and geometric shapes.  He even gave his little brother, Bumblebee, a presentation on the cylinder blocks!  It was great!  He was so serious and Bumblebee did it right away.  I can't wait to start bringing them both, I think (hope) it will light a fire under Link :)  I can see that I am in need of some new activities.  Link walks through the room and I can see him thinking "I've already done all these!".

Oh, I also introduced two sandpaper letters.  Link has gotten really good at our word games.  We don't do I Spy in the traditional way.  We really just try to think of as many words as we can that begin with a sound. Its a long trip back home and I find that if we do this in the car Link doesn't drive me as crazy with "are we there yet?"  Anyways, he has shown lots of interest in letters so I felt like I should start teaching him what they look like.

Because of my inability to get to the school room, I have decided that I need more structure.  If I keep waiting for a time when "we have time" to do school, we'll never have time.  There are always things to do that keep us from doing school work.  I need to clean the kitchen, wash clothes, go grocery shopping, take a shower, give the baby a bath, or something!  What I'm going to do is start treating it like a real school day.  I need to set my alarm to get out of bed, shower, dress the boys and feed them on time in order to "get out the door" on time.  We'll do school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I'm shooting for three hours, but I know it will just be for as long as they can handle it.  But for that time, I'm "at work" and cannot let things like housework distract me.

Kudos to all those out there who can do it all, but I cannot find the time to both homeschool and do all of the things that I have been doing.  I honestly don't know how working moms do it!  There are not enough hours in the day!

I plan on starting this new routine in two weeks.  I am still nursing every three hours around the clock.  My chubby little baby is either very slow or very hungry, because it takes about an hour to change diapers, nurse and burp, so we only have two hours in-between.  Wish me luck!

Oh no, its past 8:00, I've got to get in bed!