Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I is for Imagination

Thank you for joining me as I blog through the alphabet. You can read more of my homeschool AtoZ posts.

I is for Imagination

One worry I have about IntelliGent's rapid mental development is he will be so focused on academic learning that he misses cultivating his imagination.

While other children seem to be content playing, IntelliGent focuses on letters and numbers. Does he play? Yes. But even his self-directed games have an educational bent. He loves to count things, discuss the beginning sounds of words, and has recently taken an interest in spelling. All these things are wonderful, but it does leave me a little concerned. Imagination is such an important part of life.

I've encouraged IntelliGent to play imagination games. He loves his train set, and we make elaborate tracks for Thomas and his friends to go on. He'll reenact the adventures he's seen on the show, but doesn't make up his own story. He's only two-and-a-half, but I would love to see some original creativity come out of his playtime.

Last week, I finally saw the first real glimpse of his imagination. He was eating his Pb&J when he looked at the piece in his hand. "Look! It's a boat." He spent the next few moments pushing his boat along the table. I don't usually allow him to play with his food, but I was too excited to see his imagination at work to stop him. That time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

H is for Half

Thanks for stopping by. I'm currently blogging through the alphabet. Click on the link to read more of my homeschool AtoZ posts. Leave a comment; I'd love to hear what you have to say.

H is for Half

While IntelliGent constantly surprises me with his understanding of math concepts, I was dubious about teaching him about fractions in K4. I thought fractions were something to be taught in upper levels. But even fractions have a simple base that must be mastered before advanced concepts can be built on them.
Isaiah 28:10 - For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
I was impressed at how quickly IntelliGent embraced the concept of half. It might have helped that we used one of his favorite snacks (graham crackers) to illustrate the concept. Once he understood what I was talking about, he was finding halves everywhere we looked. It has been a theme in our conversations, especially at meal times.

"Look, Mommy. My cracker was whole, now I have two halves."

I pray his love for learning continues as we build on the concepts introduced in K4.

Monday, May 12, 2014

G is for Garden

Over the next few week's I'm blogging through the alphabet. I'd love for you to stop by my other homeschool AtoZ posts and leave a comment. Ideas of topics you'd like to read about are also appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to visit and read.

G is for Garden

Spring is finally upon us in the Ottawa valley. After a winter I thought would never end, the snow is gone and the temperatures have warmed. To my great delight, planting time is upon us.

I am not a fantastic gardener, but I do enjoy digging in the dirt and watching things grow. The spring after IntelliGent was born, I started a new kind of gardening. Instead of the traditional row planting, I now use the square foot gardening method.

Square foot gardens - July 2012

We began planting our gardens today. This is the first year that IntelliGent has helped. He loved the idea of planting his own vegetables. Of course, he is still of the opinion that he'll be eating carrots from the garden this evening for dinner.

I look forward to watching my son enjoy the growth process of the plants. While it took longer for IntelliGent to assist in the planting (and I had to get my own perfectionism under control when the seeds were not in perfect lines), I believe the extra time was well spent.

We have a lot more planting to do, but I plan to allow IntelliGent to help as much as he is able. Won't he be excited when the first of the crops are ready to harvest?

Square foot garden - August 2012

Thursday, May 8, 2014

F is for Finished

I'm blogging through the alphabet for the next few weeks. You can read more AtoZ posts by clicking here. Thank you for taking the time to read. I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

F is for Finished

Today, we finished our last lesson of K4. IntelliGent has done a fantastic job listening and learning. His reading has improved and I am amazed at how quickly he picked up on all the different concepts we've talked about.

It boggles my mind that we could complete the whole curriculum in six weeks. I may never get used to how quickly IntelliGent learns. I marvel at the gift of intelligence God has given to him, and pray that Dr. Dad and I can help him to learn to use that gift for God's honor and glory.

To celebrate, Dr. Dad and I are planning a picnic dinner at the park for IntelliGent. We'll take a three day weekend (summer break) before jumping into K5 on Monday. I have no plans to speed through K5 at the same pace as we did K4, but I'll be taking cues from IntelliGent to discover the correct pace for our situation.

Way to go, IntelliGent. Dr. Dad and I are so proud of you!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

E is for EIEIO

Over the next few weeks, I am blogging through the alphabet. I am enjoying coming up with different topics to share. You can read more AtoZ posts by clicking here.

E is for EIEIO

We sing all the time. IntelliGent loves music and has a large repertoire of songs. Because of this, sometimes songs get mislaid and we stop singing them for a time. This week we discovered a lost song.

How we could lose Old McDonald is beyond me. It is such a classic children's song, but IntelliGent moved on from animal sounds almost a year ago. He's current song list revolves around Sunday school songs.
IntelliGent with Grandpa's chickens

We learned about the farm earlier this week. As we talked about the different animals, IntelliGent had the joy of reviewing some of those old animal sounds. It has also sparked a new interest in his stuffed animal collection.

There was delight written on IntelliGent's face as I started to sing Old McDonald. He jumped in immediately, requesting that we sing it over and over again.

I would love to take IntelliGent to a petting zoo in the near future. I think he would benefit from seeing the animals in person, instead of just as a picture. He knows about chickens from visiting his grandparents, but I would like to introduce him to goats, sheep, and cows. Of course, there is always the possibility of over stimulation at a petting zoo, but I'm willing to chance it.

Now for your enjoyment. Two verses of Old McDonald sang by my favorite tot.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

D is for Diapers

Over the next few weeks I'm blogging through the alphabet. You can read more AtoZ posts by clicking here.

D is for Diapers

When IntelliGent was six months old, Dr. Dad and I took a big step and decided to start cloth diapering. He's been wearing the same diapers for the last two years. There are many reasons why we chose cloth.
IntelliGent's first cloth diaper

Saving Money

I'll admit, while not adding to land fills is a good thing, environmental concerns were not our number one reason for switching to cloth. We wanted to save money. Disposable diapers are so expensive. I was appalled at how quickly IntelliGent when through a big box. It seemed that we were buying diapers and wipes every week.

At first, I thought diapers were just a necessary evil, but then I took an honest look at our alternatives. Sure, setting up a diaper stash is a lot of money up front, but it is cheaper in the long run.

No Pins

A sample of our stash
When I was pregnant with IntelliGent I clearly remember my disparaging comments about how I would never use cloth diapers. I didn't want to deal with the mess. Reality check. Even with disposables I was dealing with the mess. There is nothing romantic about baby poo.

Thinking about cloth diapering always conjured images of stabbing my child with a pin. Not any more. Our cloth diapers have not pins, just a row of snaps to aid in sizing. Honestly, its as easy as putting on a disposable diaper. IntelliGent loves listening for all six snaps as I secure the diaper at his waist. Looking back, I wonder why I held such a prejudice against cloth. I was simply uninformed.

Baby Legs and Cloth Diapers
Cute Factor

One of the best things about cloth diapers is the colorful patters and solids available. These diapers aren't just something you hide under a child's pants, but often they become part of the outfit. My favorite accessory to go with cloth diapers are baby legs. These cute leggings add to already adorable outfits and make diaper changes a breeze.

I have never regretted my decision to go with cloth diapers, but after two years it is time to move on to a new phase. Yesterday, we took the first steps in breaking IntelliGent's dependence on diapers. Potty training is in full swing, and I am happy to announce it has been going very well.

Will I miss seeing that little bum in diapers? Yes, because they are so cute. Will I miss cleaning poo out of cloth diapers? Not at all.

Now the big question is, will he be day time potty trained before he starts K5?

Monday, May 5, 2014

C is for Cookies

Over the next few weeks I will be blogging through the alphabet. You can read more AtoZ posts by clicking here.

C is for Cookies

I'll freely admit that I do not enjoy cooking. Making a meal on the stove is something I do because it must be done.

Baking on the other hand is a different story. I love to make yummy brownies and cookies. I don't do it as often as I would like, simply because my waist and hips already too wide.

As a girl, I remember my grandmother baking pies and allowing me to play with the leftover crust dough. She'd even bake my then gray colored creations. No one ever ate my baked pieces of dough (looking back, I don't blame them) but I thought they were wonderful. Was that the beginning of my enjoyment of baking? Perhaps. I do know those are some of my favorite young memories of times spent with my grandma.

Fast-forward to present.

IntelliGent is often curious about what is happening in the kitchen. I likes to be picked up to see the water boiling in a pot, or meat sizzling in the fry pan. I try to include him in these activities by talking as I work or, if appropriate and safe, placing him on the counter to watch.

Watching the Mixer

When we started the K4 curriculum, one of the early lessons talked about the Gingerbread Man. I decided to make some cookies with IntelliGent. Was I insane? My mother never baked with me and Grandma only let me play with the leftovers. Still, I grabbed our aprons and got to work.

IntelliGent stirs the dry ingredients together

It was a wonderful experience - one we have repeated a few times. IntelliGent was involved in every part of the process. He helped me read the recipe, stir the dough, use the mixer, cut out the cookies, and decorate them.

Can you tell which ones IntelliGent decorated?

Baking with a toddler does take longer, but I am impressed with IntelliGent's willingness to help and I believe he is learning important lessons as we measure, pour, mix, stir, and cook together. We both agree the best part is enjoying the yummy goodies at the end.

Friday, May 2, 2014

B is for Bible School

For the next few weeks, I'm blogging through the alphabet. You can read read more AtoZ posts by clicking here.

B is for Bible School

I'm beginning to think that "school" is IntelliGent's favorite word. He loves school in all its shapes, from Sunday school to letter school. One of his favorite's is "Bible School" with Dr. Dad.

IntelliGent has been attending Sunday School with the older children in our church since he turned two. He has a fantastic memory and we spend a lot of time practicing memory verses. He loves reading story books about the Bible. 

We have talked with IntelliGent about the Bible and God since before his birth, but it wasn't until recently that we decided to add some formal Bible instruction in the home.

Dr. Dad and I bought the BJU Bible Truths curriculum (Walking God's Way) at the same time we purchased the K4 materials. We chose not to work through the Bible curriculum at an accelerated rate. The biggest reason for this decision is that Dr. Dad is teaching the material, and Dr. Dad doesn't have a lot of extra time on his hands to prepare lessons.

I love watching these two work through the lessons and talk about the Bible together.  

Could there be a sweeter sight?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A is for Attitude

Over the next several weeks, I will be blogging through the alphabet. It seems appropriate with this being a homeschool blog. I hope you'll join me on the journey from A to Z and leave a comment on the way.

A is for Attitude

IntelliGent is an only child. He believes the world revolves around him. In some ways he is right. Our day does revolve around his needs. If he needs a diaper change, everything stops to take care of the stinky bum. When he is tired, we stop and take a nap.

With no siblings, Dr. Dad and I are his playmates. He loves the attention, but it is becoming increasingly clear that IntelliGent does not like to share. He doesn't want to share his toys and he doesn't want to share his playmates. Too often we've had to remind IntelliGent to be sweet when he tries to get between us as we hug. We have made him share toys with us, just so he understands he is not in control of the world.

These lessons are hard. His feelings get hurt. He whines and fusses, he screams and throws a fit. And then we correct the attitude. Sometimes it involves sitting in a chair, or on his bed, until he calms down.

Some days, "be sweet" are repeated every five minutes. I wonder if he is even listening.

IntelliGent is a perfectionist. Nothing is more frustrating to him than things not working like he thinks they should. His perfectionism means we can go from calm to screaming in a moment. Usually the offending toy is flung across the room in the process. These angry outburst have been a huge source of concern for Dr. Dad and I as we try to help IntelliGent learn to regulate his emotions.

Being perfect is stressful, I understand that. I was an oldest child with perfectionistic tendencies. I would rather not do something than face the prospect of failing. It is hard to see those traits magnified in my son. How can I help him with his attitude, when I constantly have to check my own?

Some days, "be sweet" is my mantra. Not just for him, but for me as well.

IntelliGent is getting it. With all the harping we do about being sweet and obeying from the heart, it is sometimes hard to know if IntelliGent is even listening. Then I hear him instructing MagnifiCat. "You have to be sweet. Now say, 'sorry for bumping the tower over.'" Apology accepted. A gentle hand pats MagnifiCat's dark fur.

It does my mommy heart good to see him living out the instruction he's been given. Are we done with attitude problems? No, but at least I know the idea is working inside of him. He really is a sweet boy, when he wants to be.