Monday, November 30, 2009

When I was 3...

Something this little darling is doing that I don't want to forget. She still can't express past, present and future very well. Anything more in the past than yesterday (which she can use correctly) is "When I was 3 years old _______." or if it was a really really long time ago it is "When I was 3 months old ______." SO cute!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Starting to read...

This week in home school, the curriculum started teaching her to blend consonants and vowels together. I literally saw the moment she made the connection with the sounds these letters make and then putting it all together in a word. It is like she is off to the races and I can't stop her. The curriculum wanted her to only read two letter syllables the first day but she was making up words and begging me to spell them out for her. If we were learning the blend "sa" she would start saying, "sa, sa, sad! Mommy spell sad, let's read it!" Or if we were reading "la" she goes, "la, la, laugh! Mommy make laugh!" (of course she would pick a hard word like that one!) It was crazy to watch. For months I have been pointing to words as I read them, trying to get her to sound out short simple words, but she just didn't seem to really get it. This week, I think she got it!

Tonight as we were reading a story she kept stopping me and asking me to let her read. Or I would read a sentence until I got to a word I knew she could sound out and let her read THAT word, she was LOVING it! by the end of the book, she was reading the word kitchen, sat, cake, go, and more that I can't remember. After reading a page she would go back and search for the words she could recognize. Then a few pages over she would ask to go back to the previous page and find the word again! She's got great learning skills, she WANTS to do these things herself. It is so fun to watch her doing this. I don't think it is going to be long before she just takes off reading all by herself.

Teaching your child is soooooooooo addictive! I can't get enough of how fun it is to watch her learning and growing. This is Sunday and she BEGGED to do home school this afternoon, so we did home school on a Sunday! AWESOME!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Growing and Learning!

Our baby girl is getting soooooooooooooooo big! I am just amazed everyday at the thing she can do. What fun to watch her growing and learning at this stage in life.

Tonight she washed her own hair in the bath! She needed direction from me and I'm sure it'll be a while before I can just let her do it without watching and at least telling her where to scrub but I was amazed. At this rate she'll be able to take a bath all by herself by the time she's six. (OH man, did I just say SIX, I can not believe she is going to be six on her next birthday.)

I wish I could always remember all the hilarious things that she says. She makes us laugh everyday and then I sit down to write about it and I can't remember anything she said. But she is sooooooooo fun.

Home schooling is going so well. She really loves it and she is learning so much! She has THREE memory verses that she can easily recite now and we start a new one tomorrow. She has the days of the week and the months of the year totally memorized. This has REALLY helped her with understanding time like today, tomorrow, next week, next month. She is very excited about January coming because it is Kai's birthday AND she can start chewing gum again (she got gum in her hair once and then spit it directly at me once all within a couple days, and is now grounded from gum until January). So she often talks about how this is November and next month is December and then comes January!

Learning to write has been our biggest challenge. She is ready for it and wants to do it but sometimes gets very frustrated with it. I am trying to figure out if she is a perfectionist or just lazy. When she can't write one correctly, she quickly gets very upset. Sometimes she gets upset before even TRYING to write it. Before we left for Hokkaido she knew how to write 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10. She LOVED writing these numbers. As we fill in her calendar each day she would proudly write these without wanting any help from me. After we got back from Hokkaido, the first day back in home school she had to write a 3 and she just dug her heels in the ground and refused to even try. For at least 20 minutes she would NOT try it. She wanted me to write it first and let her trace it. So I would do that and then tell her she had to write on herself and she would get livid. It was a major stand off. I knew she could do it and was determined to make her. She insisted she could not. Then she began to cry and wail about how she had forgotten it. I am still trying to figure out if she was embarrassed because she HAD forgotten or if that was an excuse or what. But after an hour of letting her trace it after I wrote it. Guiding her hand while she wrote it. Making her draw one in the air for me (which she could do with no problem). Making her trace it with her finger. She still insisted she could not do it without help and WOULD not write a three all by herself. I think the entire stand off lasted almost 2 hours. For the last hour she would draw the top of the three and then just let her pencil drag down the paper in a line or make the lower part of the three the opposite way (making a backwards s). It was crazy because I knew she knew HOW to do it, she just WOULDN'T. We had to quit because it was dinner time by then, but I told her the very first thing she would have to do the next day is write a 3. The next day it was about a 30 minute stand off but she finally wrote one. Then after that for about 3 days every time writing a number came up, she would fall apart again. But I kept talking to her about how we don't just give up because something is hard and we don't quit. She was doing this happily and without any problems just a few weeks before. It was really throwing me for a loop, WHY was she doing this all of the sudden.

And now, just a week later, she is happily bringing me papers all day long proudly showing me how she can write the number 3. The first day that she did this so proudly all on her own during play time, she came to me so excited and showed me and then said, "Mommy, I'm sorry." I asked her why she was sorry and she said she was sorry that she cried about writing the number 3.

I don't know if I will ever understand what that was all about. And I am still wondering if I handled it the right way or not since I don't know exactly where those actions were coming from. I am sure every teacher out there reading this is shaking their head at me. I bet that most instruction on teaching would totally tear my actions to shreds and have all kinds of research to show me that it was wrong to MAKE her do something. But I feel like she was testing me, to see if I would let her off the hook and not make her do something she just didn't WANT to do. Up until this point in home schooling I have babied her a little. I learned early on that to push her too much resulted in a fit that would promptly end our day of school. SHE learned that too. The only thing is I knew she COULD do what I was asking her to do this time. And I also knew that if I set up a standard for backing down when she doesn't want to do something, she will use that to her advantage in the future. She'll use that little tactic when something is a little challenging, when she just doesn't FEEL like doing something, or when she just wants to see who is in control. I think she was already using that little tactic some of the time. I am still learning what she does and doesn't know and what she can and can not do, so I was letting her get away with it so far. But I decided it was time to draw the line on being lazy and not trying! So far, we are doing MUCH better in the writing department. I think that the fact she is doing well now means I did the right thing.

What is awesome though is that through all that, she still WANTED to do home school everyday and she still loves it. Writing all that out like that makes it seems like it was a big HUGE deal, but it was only one day that the huge stand off occurred. and all other areas of home school were greeted with lots of enthusiasm and fun. It really is amazing.

So here you can see Hana's writing! (Kai's name I wrote first and she traced it, and same with "Rocky" and "Marla" too) but the rest she wrote all by herself! And the drawing is of Kai!

You know, I don't know how school teachers do it. I am working with her one on one. I can take two hours to make her write a 3 if I need to. What do school teachers do when they have 20 or 30 other students to attend to? I REALLY don't know how they do it. I have so much respect for teachers now!

and now here are some pictures for you to enjoy INCLUDING a paper she was writing yesterday (just for fun) while I was cleaning up after dinner! I am so happy she chooses to practice her letters for fun at non-school times! So neat to see her love learning!

Kissing baby's hand (I love this picture because I did this exact same thing with her and Kai when they were tiny babies!)

Some picture from playing at the park!

A picture of the future...

Before boarding a train in Hokkaido (she loves these things where you stick your head through the hole)

A horse back ride at a Thoroughbred farm in Hokkaido (much more expensive then riding at Bam's house) for $10!!!