23 July 2010

Summer School with Little Ones

Well, this mommy is a hands-on learner.  So we are going to fill this summer with lots of outdoor learning experiences.  Day trips to the zoo, the park, the library, the water park, and museums is my goal for this summer.

As well as our basic learning experiences like coloring with crayons and pencils, using play dough to shape animals and objects.  Learning to spell our name...quite a challenge, learning that our name begins with a "J" easy!

I am teaching Julia and Mark Nursery Rhymes now...this week we started Hey Diddle Diddle.  I'm doing a workbook with them.  We cut out the characters and as we say the rhyme I show Julia the order in which the characters are introduced...Hey Diddle Diddle, the cat and the fiddle (cat with fiddle card ), the cow (cow card) jumped over the moon (moon card)  the little dog laughed to see such a sport (dog laughing card) and the dish ran away with the spoon (dish and spoon card).  I taped each card in order that we say it on our white board easel and then after a few practices Julia helps me put them in order...Mark just claps.  Next week we will work on making our own Hey Diddle Diddle booklet, and color all the characters, Julia is learning to color in the lines and she is doing really well, Mark draws lines with the crayons and we are still teaching Mark that crayons do NOT go in our mouths (smile).

This week we only did our Nursery Rhyme once since we were recouping from being sick, but next week we'll do more practice and start a new one.  I think we'll make characters too with paper figures on Popsicle sticks...Julia loves puppets.  Nursery Rhymes are important because it teaches them phonemic awareness (rhyming words and syllables).  It also expands their vocabulary and teaches them pronunciation and introduces new concepts and ideas.  Like, we talked about how cows do NOT jump over the moon.  That is so silly mommy!!

Julia and Mark are learning their letter sounds and Julia is able to recognize her numbers.  She knows how old she is, Mark is and most of her friends...we talk about ages of all her "friends" in the car.  I say, "How old is Brenna?"  Julia shouts, "Three!"  And she holds up three fingers proudly.  I ask, "How old is Jo-Jo?"  "Two!"  How old is Marky?  "One!" I've learned that practicing things in the car really helps because she is sitting still and is focusing on what I am saying.

Some other Summer School goals are for the kids to start recognizing their letters.  I have this really cool book called, "Looking for Letters," By Finders Keepers: Fun to Find Basic Concepts.  Written by M.C. Leeka.  I like it because the illustrations are big and colorful and have all different animal picture scenes (my kids LOVE animals) and within each picture a certain letter is hiding in many different parts of the picture.  We can find the letter and practice the sound.  With Mark we just work on the animals and pictures and the sounds the animals make (he's 13 months) besides he hears what Julia is learning and he is very motivated to keep up with her.  He looks up to big sister very much.

Julia at the Turtle Back Zoo in May.

I also am teaching the kids sizes.  Usbourne First Learning book: Sizes ($4.95) is a workbook we have and  its by Jenny Tyler and Robyn Gee.  I like it because it helps children work with their parents and they discover how to compare and measure in fun ways.  It's a great way to build mathematical understanding in a very non-intimidating way.  If I had more fun books like this as a kid I think I would have enjoyed Math more as a student and I wouldn't have approached it with so much fear.  There are lots of fun pictures and underneath the pictures are 4 or 5 questions for the parents to ask their child.  Questions like, "Which balloon is the biggest?" Then you have them color it red.  Next: Color the biggest animal to the biggest balloon.  "Who has the biggest cracker?"  "Which ladder is the longest?  Who is climbing it?"  Now, some of these questions may be hard for a 2 year old, but it helps build vocabulary, it helps them to start thinking, and you can always tell your child the answer and explain why/how.  I just like the dialog it helps you with your child.  And sometimes I make up my own questions or we simply name the animals and talk about colors.

Flash Card Finatic

Remember I said I'm a hands on learner?  It's true.  In school I would study vocabulary words by making index cards with the word on one side and the definition on the other and quiz myself til I memorized each one.  I also would make up silly songs and word sentences to memorize places on a map.  I can remember exactly how I memorized all the places on the African map, Benin, Togo, etc  I made up a story about how I was "beginning to go to"...

Now flash cards are fun because it makes Julia and Mark excited just to hold the card.  It's so funny it's like they have to touch or hold whatever I touch or hold.  So we practice letters, numbers, animals, and objects with flash cards.  They are so cheap and easy to find.  The Dollar Tree has a whole school aisle and we are always dropping by to pick up a new workbook, coloring book, reward stickers, or flash cards, or BUBBLES."  Mark doesn't say much, but he does point and tries to say something, mommy just doesn't know what he's saying just yet.
I love my little brother, but I'm still learning how to share my toys with him.

Even babies love to learn and see new things and new places.  Mark at Turtle Back Zoo.

For some reason I thought this summer would be really hard once Mark started to walk.  I thought my life would be over and that all I would be doing was chasing the two of them, but honestly it has gotten easier (well, except the past week and a half when they were ill).  Now Mark plays with what he chooses to walk over to and discovers things on his own, while Julia and I can color or practice and learn what she is ready for.  The one thing that has gotten more difficult is SHARING.

Now  that Mark can walk over and choose a toy, its very hard for Julia when he chooses something she feels is only hers...but Mark really just wants to see it.  He doesn't play with dolls, but he likes to hold it and figure out how it works and why it has long crazy hair.  He's very curious, and Julia hates this.  She even says to him, "Don't touch my toys!"  Oh my, why is it easy for her to share with strangers and not her own brother???  So we practice, and practice and we are still working on sharing...anyone have any tips???

1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely amazing, Kristi! These special learning times will stick with them forever! (I can remember my Mom teaching Donna and I, we called it "Story Hour", at 2&3)...You are a great mommy!


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