Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
#12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
sink time - this only works if you have a sink near where you school, which I am fortunate to have! I have a small tub with water toys that is kept under this sink, and a stool so she can play in the water
bean play - this has been a great entertainer - though if you have little crawlers you need to be careful about the choking hazard. I got a shallow storage box (like the kind for storing clothing under the bed) and filled it with dried pinto beans (courtesy of the Y2K stash!). I also put some plastic measuring cups and spoons, a shovel and some bowls for mixing, stirring, measuring and pouring beans. She can pull the box out herself now, and plays in the floor, then one of the older ones gets the job of sweeping or vacuuming beans. Much easier to clean up than sand :)
bubbles! - again, you have to have the right set up - we have a door off our school room that opens onto a patio - and windows all the way across, so I can let my 3 year old sit on the patio and see her the whole time. We have a box of bubble paraphernalia - and it keeps her entertained for quite some time.
activity boxes - I have 6 small boxes I filled with things that only come out during school. One is full of sticker sheets, paper, scissors, stamps, etc. One has a Mr. P*tato Head set, another contains a lot of little "happy meal" style toys. I filled a box with play doh and sculpting tools. One has "crafts" - pom pom balls, felt, pipe cleaners, glue, sequins etc. The last one contains the Fisher Price Let's Go Fishing Game - her favorite.
other items to have on hand to entertain a 2-4 year old
bean bags - with a box to throw them into
large beads to thread onto laces
large set of plastic jacks
felt story books - I had some of these from my teaching days, and my kids love them - many teacher supply places carry them - they are story books of familiar tales (Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, Hungry Caterpillar) with felt pieces to put on the pages to tell the story (there are no words in the books) They are wonderful for second language instruction (that is why I had them) but they also are just plain entertaining. They are a bit pricey, but would make a great birthday or Christmas gift.
I also have a file box of Zipl*c bags with a variety of homemade activities (sorting, matching etc. ). Many of these ideas can be found at Paula's Archives.
Another great find was a water play station from K-Mart - it was on clearance and cost under $30 - a great birthday present for grandparents to give!Finally, something I learned from MOTH: I have certain times during the day when an older child is assigned to play with a younger child. Both the older ones take a turn with the baby during the day (20-30 minutes), and they also each have one on one play time with the four year old. This is probably the biggest help. So when I know I need 30 minutes of time with the crocodile hunter, the little princess plays with her little sister during that time. Then they can trade off. Not only does this help me, but it encourages them to spend one on one time with each other.
Well, you have read my ideas, now share some of yours - if you have a great way to keep your toddler busy, leave me a comment with your idea or a link to your blog with ideas. I am always looking for more!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
All the while, I am trying to get my home decluttered, my scrapbook room organized (ha, ha), and get ready for school to start. I look back and ask, what happened to summer? August is almost here! I list the above not to show "how much I do" or to make anyone feel like I am some sort of "supermom" (just ask my kids, I most definitely am NOT!). I recognize that my life is no busier than yours, that we are all constantly juggling the everyday events that pop up. I think most people go through life thinking they are so overwhelmed, and that no one else could possibly imagine how hard it is to live their life. But, I know that you have just as many pressing things on your mind, though they may be of a different sort. At the same time, I am immersed in books such as Seven Habits, and that is where the "just say no" comes in. I have been very struck by the time management paradigm that Covey uses. He boils our lives down to four different types of activities. Things are either important or not important, and they are either urgent or non-urgent. Most of us live in the urgent-not important. The ringing phone demands to be answered, it is urgent, but rarely important. The next event is always on the horizon, and life becomes crisis management. I enjoy planning parties. I enjoy teaching, sewing, and scrapbooking (or I used to, before I got 4 years behind!), I enjoy cooking, gardening, and decorating my home. I enjoy being able to have my children participate in activities such as soccer, gymnastics and "bug camp" (that would be for the Crocodile Hunter :). Each of these things is precious to me, they are things I look forward to, things that challenge me. They are not obligations for the most part, they are things I want to do. But most of these things are not that important. I am reminded of the tag passage at the bottom of my blog page, a passage that I have to keep posted in my kitchen to remind me to not become angry with others who in my mind don't seem to do their share when it comes to volunteering for jobs in church and elsewhere. One thing is needful. What a powerful phrase. So, once again, it is time to prune. I will try to focus on that one thing needful.
P.S. Dad, if you are reading this - note I used the word "enjoy" not "love" - see, some of those little pet peeves of yours got through :)
Sunday, July 6, 2008
A quick addition: I just received an email from Ultimate Homeschool Expo, and they are featuring a weekend of talks about getting organized for the new school year. Check it out, looks good! You can listen live for free, or purchase a ticket if you want to access the talks later as downloads.
Well, boy have times changed. We just arrived home from a long trip to visit my husband's extended family. The car ride there was 9 1/2 hours long. It was rather odd to look around our car and see my 2 older ones with headphones listening to Chronicles of Narnia on CD, the 3 year old (christened "the queen" by her godfather) with her headphones watching March of the Penguins on a small TV we had strapped to the console with bungee cords, and my husband and I both with our headphones on listening to our respective i-pods. Now, if only they made little headphones for a 9 month old :). She slept a total of 30 minutes the whole drive (did I mention it was a 9 1/2 hour trip ?) and cried for the last three hours straight. While I miss the days of making tents in the floor of the car on the way to Florida, I will confess, if you have to strap them down for 9 1/2 hours (and only make two 20 minute stops), then at least let them be entertained! That is hard for me to say, since I am all for them coming up with their own entertainment, but for sanity, we gave in to the technology, and only had to listen to "are we there yet?" a few hundred times.