Preschool Priorities #2/#3 - Interests and those pesky Rs

If you missed Part I(plans and priorities) or Part II (A Rich Feast), check them out.

As I said earlier, my second priority is learning about what the kids are interested in followed by reading, writing and arithmetic for Lucy. Right now, for Lucy at least, those are often the same thing. 

Writing – This is her subject of the day season. She loves to write. If you come over to our house you’ll see tiny pieces of paper and notes all over the place. She’ll sound out words  by herself. Her CVC words are pretty accurate but the rest gets interesting. I just love sounded out some of the things she writes down because it normally makes a lot of sense auditorily although not visually. She also loves to write silly words such as “lulululubababawee” and then laugh hysterically when I read them to her.  And sometimes she actually asks for my help so I always take that as an opportunity to reviewing or teaching some phonics.

I’ve been hesitant to start anything in terms of lessons when it comes to actually handwriting because I know as soon as I do, she’ll move on BUT she consistently writes certain letters incorrectly and I don’t want her to learn bad habits so we’ll be working on writing. (She draws an e in three parts, first with a line across, then a swoopy bottom and lastly a curve at the top. This is probably the least efficient method possible. But it does look like an e!) While she’s interested we’ll do the copy work part of Alphabet path but if she starts to baulk, it will get dropped, especially the fine motor work.

Math – MEP 1 when requested (plus all that general everyday number fun we have). She's not in as much of a crazy math period as she was but she still asks for it a couple times a week. 

Reading – She got to Lesson 60 of The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Reading and stalled out. I tried not to ask if she wanted to do a reading lesson and just let her request but we had finished one of two lessons on the voiced and unvoiced th sounds and my ocd self couldn't take it and tried to at least finish up that but nope, when she was done, she was done. The little stinker wouldn't even finish the last half of a lesson! But letting that go, I realize that if where she is now is all she knows when entering first grade, I’ll still be happy and since we are getting review in with writing, at least for now, I’m content with letting this rest for now. 

If she or Jonah have other big interests that come up, I can probably fit them into a letter somehow or just take the week off to do fun stuff with that topic. With a whole year and only 24 of so letter weeks (a couple are combined), we should have plenty of time even if we take december and april off. And that's my plan.

I know it took me a long time to say it, but honestly, it isn't much at all and leaves us lots of time to play outside and in.
  • Daily Table Time with bible work, hymn, poem, folk songs and French song practice (probably not each subject each day though).
  • Music – Opera!
  • French – Get me caught up, read few French picture books.
  • Art – Daily open ended art time plus weekly picture study
  • Alphabet Path Extension – Read lots of books and maybe do a few activities
  • Monthly Preschool Co-op 
I think that's really reasonable. We shall see. I'm getting really excited for fall now - and not just because I'm ready for some jeans weather. 


Counting my cold creamy blessings

With all the dietary changes I've had to make recently, I've been counting my blessings on what I can eat. And I'm ever so thankful that my favorite food is still on my okay list. And that my friends, is ice cream. Today was National Ice Cream Day which seemed to fit this weekend for me. Friday was a church lady book club night combined with a ice cream social. Sitting around talking about a book with a group of wonderful women while eating ice cream - what's not to love? Well, nobody really liked the book that much (are you curious? It was The Book Thief) but everything else was a win. Basically the only kind of ice cream I don't like is coffee flavored, which makes sense since I also hate coffee. 

I can justify my ice cream intake because I mostly do homemade and use raw cream and milk, sucanat and grass fed eggs. And since our chickens recently started laying eggs, my next batch will be made with super local backyard eggs! Even if that wasn't the case, I'd still eat it. I've given up gluten but you'd have to pry ice cream out of my cold dead fingers. Yes, they would be cold, because they would be holding tight to my bowl of ice cream.

I've made many different flavors. From the plain vanilla - I like alton brown's recipe although take note of the typo there. Nobody puts peach jam in vanilla ice cream. That would make it peach ice cream which is all very well and good but its' not vanilla, kwim?! I've also tried some crazy ones like peanut butter cookie dough, lemon cheesecake, blueberry mango and salted butterscotch (all from this e-book). I still haven't found a really good chocolate recipe and I really must remedy that because chocolate is my favorite flavor, especially with some sliced bananas (only in the past as bananas are on my no list for now) or strawberries (still MacKenzie approved!). I'll keep trying though. But let me know if you have one I should try - it's for science. The perfect chocolate ice cream recipe is out there and I am determined to find it. 


The things they say

Lucy, frustrated that her duplo isn't working: Here mom, you try it.
Me: Oh, you're right, this one is really tight, I'm not sure why.
Lucy: I think it's been corrupted.

Lucy: Here is some pretend bread. Don't worry, I made it gluten free for you.

Lucy must have inherited Craig's love of re-invention song lyrics. She was playing with glitter glue when I heard her singing "When we glue, something new, let's talk about what we'll glue" (which is a spin of this Daniel Tiger song)

Craig comes home to two wildly silly kids and asks "Are you guys being silly?"
Lucy: Yes. Mama thought she was giving me a probiotic but she really gave me a silly pill.

I read the kids their naps stories and told Jonah to climb into bed while I tucked Lucy in. A few minutes later I heard him talking to himself "Mama la (loves) you, dada la you, noona la you, chickie la you..."

Jonah's getting very independent these days so to preempt tantrums I'm often asking him if he wants help or wants to do it himself. His response? "Me Jojo I!" Because you might not understand the first or second time I guess.

Since everyone else takes turns saying prayers in our house, he seems to think its time he gets in on the rotation. Last night it was "Jojo pray" so we said okay and bowed our heads "Da gah (pause) ah - may!" Short and sweet, just how I like them ;-)

Oh these kids, they are driving me crazy this week but I do love them so. 


Paper or Plastic

In my mind I'm an all paper girl. I imagine myself writing at a desk facing out a window onto a gorgeous view. I sit in the quiet with a cup of tea at my side, pondering deep thoughts and expressing them well to encourage and enlighten others. That writing girl in my head is probably named Cordelia. 

In reality, I'm a keyboard girl - and silence may be golden but they are both elusive in this house. I'm currently typing this reclined on a couch covered with towels with a sick boy sleeping on my chest - and a recovering but still incredible cranky girl fussing all around me because her blanket is too small to cover her head and her toes at one time but she refuses to use a larger one. So no poetic moments here but still, I'm writing. So I'm grateful for the computer using girl. Let's call her Anne. 

My other non-blogging writing is a bit more mixed. It's the same poetic Cordelia versus practical Anne. I've slowly succumbed to evernote but I've still got my paper notebook and home journal because sometimes inspiration strikes when i'm outside watching the kids play. I track most of my book reading notes on the kindle but every week or so I transfer them to my handwritten commonplace book. I practice my french on duolingo but still keep a paper french notebook with the words and grammer I'm learning. I love the convenience of a tablet or computer especially when I've got a nursling but paper is special. Paper is pretty, it's real, its got its own smell and its own sound. Who doesn't love the sound of a notebook crackling the first time you open in?  There is something that happens in my my brain when I write something down by hand, it captures it in a way typing doesn't. So in my day to day life, I will be Anne the practical girl, but deep inside lives Cordelia, lover of paper!

*Can anyone guess what book I've just re-read? It shouldn't be hard considering I spelled Anne with an e ;-)


Preschool Priority #1 – A rich feast at table time

I plan to use AmblesideOnline in the future. Well, technically, we are already in Y0. Ambleside Online has an extensive set of Riches (or extras that aren't really extra) such as classical music, hymns, folk songs, and art appreciation. I want to make those a regular part of our schedule now so first grade doesn’t seem like such a big switch – and because I enjoy them myself.

As I mentioned last time, we’ll be following Elizabeth Foss’s Alphabet Path. But we will be paring it down quite a bit (example - we aren’t catholic so we will skip the entire saint of the week part).  Most of what it will become our source material for Table Time this year using the Flower Fairy book, Favorite Poems Old and New (a favorite of mine and I have my mom’s copy so it still smells like my childhood to me) and the art book Museum ABC. Looking at her AP essentials, this is only 3 of the 9 she suggests although I'm also adding in an alphabet bible verse book I already have. All of this means I don't have to search for my own additions which was the hardest part of TT for me.

Last year we did bible verses and catechism in the morning and hymns, poems and folk/fairy tales at lunch. This year we’ll be adding a few new things

Morning Table Time
  • bible memory
  • bible catechism
  • hymn 

Lunch Table Time
  • Flower fairy story
  • Poems (1-2 alphabet themed ones daily + one to keep all month to learn well/memorize)
  • Folk song - We love to listen to folk songs around here but I think concentrating on one a month will help us (me included!) learn the actual words so I don’t have to listen to a certain preschoolers constructive criticism when I can’t remember what comes after “she’ll be wearing pink pajamas when she comes.”
  • French song/rhyme – After going back and forth about languages, I’ve picked French, mostly because I studied German and French but its easier to find French materials. I’m using Duolingo to brush up on my skills which is my main goal for this year but I've found a few songs and nursery rhymes for the kids to start with along with sneaking a couple French picture books to sneak into our book pile.
Other treats for the week:
  • More Books - Elizabeth Foss has a ton of book selections for each week. I’ll just select of a few for our book basket that week, using it as a change to bring out some old favorite from our book closet and try some new ones from the library.
  • Activities - If I want to do any activities or baking based on the letter, I can. I think Jonah might appreciate activities that are just for him and Lucy will like being the helper. The general theme of letters will make it easy to fit to our week and both kids. Depending on the week though, I might not do anything. We will also be a part of a small monthly preschool co-op with some friends. That will be another chance for all those pinterest type activities so if I don't get around to any myself, they won't be totally deprived.
  • Alphabet Book and Copywork - Activities or not, by the end of the session (1-2 weeks probably), Lucy should have a lot of options of things that begin with that letter. Hopefully we will have practice writing those letters a few times in multiple ways (salt, playdough, chalkboard, etc) and on the last day, she’ll make a page with 4 pictures of things that begin with the letter of the week. As long as she is interested in writing, I’ll have her write the letter a couple times and circle the best one. This will go in her alphabet path notebook along with the story. 
  • Opera – We loved doing studying specific works last year so this year I thought I’d pick an opera or two. I've found several sources of opera kid fun but I’m still working out details. I don't know much about opera myself. The one experience I've had involved and Craig and I falling asleep about 3/4 of the way through marriage of figaro although to be fair to us it was really hot in the theater. 
  • Art – Lately we've started having daily open art time between lunch and nap, mostly drawing, cutting and gluing but sometimes painting. That sounds more complicated than it really is - kids color while I do the dishes :-) We’ll keep doing that. I've got Drawing for Children so we might do a few lessons as well. Once a week or so, we'll do Art Appreciation using the Alphabet Path’s recommendation.
This is getting long so you'll have to wait to hear about rest in Part II.