Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Well, it's been a long time since I've posted. I found out I was pregnant in December and boom.. exhaustion and morning sickness kicked in a big way. It's not until recently, about a month or so, that I feel up to the task of meeting life head-on again. I've gotten my energy back and I've been doing the Before Five in a Row curriculum slowly with Brandon. He really likes it. As predicted, he's at ease with the repetitive reading (I read it every day for at least a week). Brandon likes to really sink his teeth into something if it captures his imagination. He's very much into animals, and Daddy, who's an artist, has recently taken to sketching any animal that Brandon requests. The rule is Daddy doesn't tell him, he comes up with them.

He finds them through some educational TV programs like Go, Diego, Go! and Little Einsteins, in the books we've been reading together or he looks them up in his PK-1st Grade Animal Encyclopedia. He asks questions about them such as, What do they eat? And where do they live? and learns much in the process. Sometimes we watch Animal Planet with him when there are shows that are low-key and about different types of animals. We try to answer all his question as best as we can. If we don't know the answer we'll look it up together in the Animal Encyclopedia he owns or online. I find he really learns a lot in this somewhat casual way.

At home we also listen to classical music which Brandon loves to dance to. He recognizes the trumpet, violin, cello, flute and piano. He also recognizes pieces from Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Mozart. His favorite is Edward Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King. This piece is featured on the episode of Little Einsteins where Chinese dragon kites are missing.

I've also bought a Basic Preschool Skills book. This is not the real title, it's just one of those activity books you get at most grocery stores, pharmacies or office stores. I got mine at Office Depot. We just did a couple of pages today, for fun. When he gets bored we stop. He loves the focused attention he gets from me and the fact that he can circle around objects. I'm amazed at how easily, at 3 1/2, he counts in two languages up to 20 and really knows the numerical values. He also knows the letters of the alphabet and recognizes his name, mine (Mama), Daddy's and his grandmother Alita everywhere he sees them in print.

He also enjoys working for hours on a 100-piece rainforest puzzle that he dismantles and puts back again over and over again. This is not real "homeschooling" in a sense, but he learns much about patterns, shapes, depth perception and the manipulation of objects which I'm sure will be helpful in mathematics someday.

Next time I'm going to explain what has worked for us in terms of "setting up spaces where learning can take place", the all-important concept of educators Charlotte Mason and Maria Montessori "the environment".

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