One of the activities in September's AYOPS checklist is "pond play," with water beads and a frog life cycle play set. The water beads have been hugely popular with both AW and DC (and Himself, to be perfectly honest). Today, AW actually discovered a toad stuck in our watering can. We rescued the toad and were able to gently touch it a few times before it hopped away. AW asked if she could use the water beads for her marble scooping activity, and I said yes. Both kids loved this fine motor activity.
We also did an AYOPS art activity this week, based on the work of glass artist Dale Chulily. To be honest, I didn't really turn this into an artist study. We didn't talk about Chulily at all, just enjoyed exploring liquid water color with coffee filters.
We continued working on projects from this month's Ivy Box (The Lonely Firefly). This included talking about the parts of a firefly and labeling them. We did a literacy tie in by searching for words with the same first letter as the guide.
Today, AW asked to spoon marbles again. She and Himself got to talking and ended up doing a spontaneous experiment on displacement and buoyancy. They started by spooning marbles into a bottle to see how much it would take to overflow the bottle. Then they extended the experiment with an apple and a block of wood. I think they had a pretty good time. And this is one of the joys that I hoped for in homeschooling: spontaneous learning experiences growing out of planned activities. She asked to glue pictures into her science journal.
In other news, AW has once again been asking to learn to read (complaining about me not teaching her to read actually). I do intend on following her needs, but it cracks me up. I posted the following in a Facebook group:
"One of our big motivations for homeschooling is the early push for academics in school. DD is 4, and we were planning on doing a very play based pre-K year. But she keeps begging to learn to read, and complaining to people that I'm not teaching her to read. I had Logic of English in mind for the future and I don't really want to start this year, but was wondering if it would throw things off to buy just Doodling Dragons and read that with her to start."
I posted all the explanation because I always see veteran homeschoolers chiding newbies like me about jumping into academics too early. But almost all of the comments were about how I needed to teach her how to read because that's what she wanted. What AW doesn't realize is that we are working on literacy skills all the time--she's watching me track text with my finger, we do silly rhymes and clap syllables, and we read read read all the time. She already knows all (or almost all) her letters and sounds. It's just that she's learned so organically that she doesn't think I'm teaching her. Which I actually think is kind of cool.
We finished out the week with a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium in honor of AW's fourth birthday. Both kids were completely fascinated, and the adults had a good time too!
(Note: I had this post in draft form for awhile, so it's going up much later. More in the next post).
Well, we're one week into the school year. And how are things going?
Well, we had a small hiccup after our awesome first day. I wasn't feeling 100% for a little while, so we did alternate educational experiences. In other words, I introduced my children to the first three Harry Potter movies and the BBC Earth series, "Life."
Monday was a perfect example of a homeschool day gone wrong. We were supposed to go to Wal-Mart for me to have lenses put in my 18th century style glasses, but they couldn't do it. I was in a bind since my own glasses were broken and my new ones hadn't arrived. I took the optician's recommendation and went to LensCrafters at a mall 45 minutes away. They wouldn't do it either. We spent most of the day in the car and in eyeglass stores. School went out the window. But, in the car, AW was examining this tulip poplar(?) seed pod she'd found. She made observations about it's texture, hardness, and function. Then we had a long talk about human development in utero (she's very curious about her time in utero and infancy). It was a good lesson that school can happen anywhere, any time.
After quiet time yesterday, AW and I both wanted to do school, but I had a splitting headache. Ivy Box to the rescue! All the activities are ready to go straight out of the box. Here she is making a night scene for some fireflies, using scratch paper from the kit. We also made a tissue paper lantern and a glow-stick firefly light. My involvement was minimal. Then, she and DC worked together to make a tissue paper firefly collage.
ThThis morning, I finally felt like a regular human being again, just in time for a trip to the park with a friend. This is one of our favorite parks because it's shady, small, and secluded. We usually have the place to ourselves, and it's geared towards 1-5 year olds. AW used a bag and collected "nature" as she calls it, and then returned it all back to nature. She discovered an earthworm wriggling at the bottom of the slide, and a spiderweb tucked away in a corner. We took pictures of a few things for our science journal. They also worked on their gross motor skills, but they would have just told me they played on the playground.
So what's going on at this exact moment? She's coloring in the library and he's playing with Little People in the basement. I'm thrilled, even though it's a little early for quiet time. This afternoon, we'll have snack and then try out a new sensory bin: water beads with a frog life cycle play set. It's part of the AYOPS curriculum set.
Speaking of AYOPS, some of the work for this month has just been part of our daily routine. In the Home-Life category, one skill is clearing the table. We've been doing this for awhile, but I've been much more intentional about reminding her to do so. DC likes to do whatever AW does, so he's working on that skill too. We're also working on hand-washing duration by singing Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.
The first week may have been little bit rough, but it's coming together. I'm sure we'll have lots more ebb and flow this year. But that's the great thing about homeschooling--we don't have deadlines. The goal is lifelong learning. I think we're getting a pretty good start on that.
In Part One, Story of a Public School Teacher, I talked about my background as an educator. I loved teaching, and overwhelmingly thought the teachers I knew were fantastic people who truly cared about their students. They were doing the absolute best they could within this flawed system, and worked harder than anyone else I knew. Many felt frustrated and stress levels were extremely high. But overall, they loved their job. I loved it too. I loved connecting with students and trying to make a difference within the system.
When my students started a tangent about a completely fascinating and intellectual stimulating conversation, we had to move on. We had to stop to get back to the lesson, or go to lunch, or go to specials. When they didn't get a topic, I could remediate a little bit, but the class had to move on. We had to follow the pacing guide. I want something different, both for myself as a teacher and for my children as students. Here is what I want:
1. I want to inspire a lifelong love of learning. This was something we talked about a lot in graduate school, but it's something that's really challenging to do in a public school classroom when you are trying to get them to love learning about something that they don't find interesting at all, and don't have time to teach them about the things they are really curious about.
2. Read-aloud is one of my favorite activities to do with kids, and it's extremely important for their development. Read-aloud was a regular activity in all my classes, but my favorite days were the ones where I ignored the schedule because we were so into a book that we couldn't help going on. My first batch of sixth graders were antsy during every read-aloud, but on the second to last day of school, they begged me to at least start Bridge to Terabithia, and we ended up reading the entire book, all day long. It was a magical moment. I want that love of reading and story to permeate my kids lives. If they are caught up in a good book, I want to be flexible around that, whether it's a read-aloud or independent reading. The more they read, the better they will be at reading. Plus, we get to read so many more books.
3. I love field trips. I know a lot of teachers hate them because the change in routine makes the kids go a little haywire, it's stressful to keep track of everyone, and it interrupts the flow of lessons. But there's also magic in field trips. Sometimes the change in scenery creates a new kind of camaraderie, and I saw wonder on the faces of my students when we went on field trips, even on the jaded ones. Even if it was just horses in fields on the side of the road. I want to be able to take my "students" on more than two field trips per year, and not have to be tied to schoolbus schedules. I want to be able to truly explore when we go places, rather than just checking stops off on a list.
4. I believe in child-led learning. Don't get me wrong, I believe that basics are extremely important. My kids will receive math and reading instruction, and in between their own interests, they will get the basic overview of science, social studies, etc. But there's something magical when you let a kid go deep into something they find fascinating. AW has gone through a dinosaur phase, a human body phase, and an oceans phase. I don't try to distract her from oceans in order to teach her about electricity. She's learning, and that's the important part. We'll talk about the basics of electricity at some point.
5. Many homeschoolers out there chose homeschooling because they feel that the public school system does not reflect their religious or political values. I feel the same way, but probably on the opposite end of the spectrum. I want to provide broader historical context in Social Studies. The 4th grade Social Studies textbook in use when I student taught included a tidbit about how enslaved blacks enlisted in the Confederate Army by choice in great numbers. That was not ok with me. I'm not ok with kids dressing up as "Indians" for Thanksgiving or celebrating Columbus Day. As a historian, I know that Squanto was enslaved by Europeans long before the first Thanksgiving and that Columbus committed terrible atrocities on the people of the Caribbean. I don't need to teach all of those things to my kids now (ages 4 and 2), but I'm not going to promote romantic mythology for them to unlearn later either. Also, when I was in public school, in my upper level Biology class, my teacher was required to present Creationism (not just Intelligent Design) alongside other theories of Evolution. That does not align with my family's scientific values.
6. AW is extremely verbally advanced, and that's not just me, as her mom, talking. We've heard it from DC's speech therapist, the pediatrician, and other professionals who have interacted with her. It makes it easy to forget how young she actually is. I have to remind myself that she is just four (technically not for a couple of weeks). She has great empathy and a high emotional IQ. And she's intelligent across the board. But she's not equally talented in all areas. And that's ok. It might be that down the road, she's reading at a ninth grade reading level and doing math at a sixth grade reading level, regardless of her actual age. And the beauty of homeschooling is that we can make that work.
7. I want my kid to be well-socialized. You might be wondering what I mean. After all, the number one question for homeschool families is "what about socialization?" I know how much socialization takes place in a public school classroom. It's not much. 30 minutes for lunch, including standing in line, cleaning up, and standing in line again, and 10 minutes of recess. Yes, there are collaborative projects, but not necessarily every day. And it's with a fairly homogenous peer group, which is not a real-life scenario after graduating college, or sometimes even after graduating high school (I went to college with a fair number of students significantly older than myself). I want my kids to learn to interact with all kinds of people: older kids, peers, small children, adults, and so on. My kids actually have a pretty busy social life already. And I think their social skills are pretty good.
8. Academics can wait. The kindergarten assessments made me so frustrated. If kids didn't come to school already knowing basic letter sounds, they were going to fall behind quickly because the pace moved so fast. But little kids need a lot of time to play. They need time to be active and explore and feel wonder and curiosity. I was an early reader, reading fluently before I entered kindergarten. No one taught me, I just learned from listening to my dad read. Maybe my kids will be early readers, maybe they won't. Maybe they'll need explicit instruction. But AW is still not quite fully ready for reading instruction, even though we're starting Pre-K this year. She knows some letters and sounds, but syllables are still tricky for her. She can rhyme a bit, but not consistently. So we won't start a reading program yet. And that's ok. We can move fast when the kids are ready and slow down when they are not.
9. Kids need to get outside. My kids only had 10 minutes of recess per day, Tuesday through Friday. That was not nearly enough time to get out all their energy, not to mention gain the benefits of nature exploration. They were not allowed to run on the playground or play tag or climb the slide. They weren't allowed to play with snow. I want my kids to play outside and get messy. I want it to be ok for them to fall. And I want them to know that I'm there keeping an eye on them but not policing their play choices.
10. We value flexibility. This could be a long reason, but it gave us one bit of freedom right off the bat. We were able to choose a home based on a location that we loved rather than worrying about a school system. We didn't even look at school systems when we were home shopping. We are able to choose what we want to teach our children and when. We can travel in the off season and take field trips when most public schoolers are in classrooms starting the school year or taking end of year tests. We can choose between testing and evaluation based on the needs of each of our children. We can visit family whenever we need or want to. We can easily schedule doctor's appointments. We can have breaks when we want, or start and end school when we want. If it's a beautiful day we can get outside and do our work in nature.
11. We love being together as a family. Himself works from home, and we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together almost every day (sometimes we miss lunch). We are all connected and in touch. I know what AW is interested in and what skills DC has mastered. Even though being together all the time has its own set of challenges, I like how it feels to be a family. We're a team. I know that they will grow more independent as they get older, which is right and as it should be. But their roots will hold them fast as their wings set them free.
12. I love the chance to promote our Unitarian Universalist values. In the public school system, I was not allowed to answer the question "what does it mean to be homosexual/gay." But I believe that all people have inherent worth and dignity, and that they have the right to the truth. I believe in service, and homeschooling will allow me opportunities to have my children serve others. We sing together and talk about our values. I could do that even if they went to school, but it's nice to be able to incorporate it throughout the day, even if it's a simple "Be kind in all you do."
13. I get to teach school's shrinking or missing subjects. My kids can do art every day if they want to. They can get physical activity every day. We sing every day. They aren't limited to twice a week music, twice a week physical education, and once a week/every other week art. We can do guided activities in these areas or just work from a place of joy.
14. It's like I get all of the things I initially loved about teaching, without all the parts I grew to despise. I get to connect with my students, build relationships, watch them grow, do fun activities, explore the world, and just have a good time.
15. Sometime the real world is the best classroom. I never struggled with fractions, and I'm convinced it's because I'd already learned about fraction relationships learning to bake with my dad every Christmas. They never intimidated me because I knew from hands-on experience that a 1/4 cup was smaller than a 1/2 cup. They nested inside each other in the cluttered drawer in the kitchen.
16. We can take advantage of immediate opportunities for further learning. If we read a book about whales, we can pull up recordings of whale sounds or watch videos of whales breeching. We can get in the car and head to the library for story books or nonfiction books about whales. The opportunities are endless.
17. Homeschoolers are weird. Sometimes people list this as a con to homeschooling, but for me, it's a complete positive. I was a victim of bullying until I found my tribe in the form of high school theatre. I don't think I ever minded being bullied after I found my theatre friends. But it was a long journey to find them. There's a lot of peer pressure to fit in, even in elementary school. Sure, we need our kids to build character to stand up for themselves later in life, but we don't have to throw them into the deep end. I think homeschoolers are sometimes "weird" because they are free to be themselves. It's ok to be nerdy (read: passionate) about something when you are a homeschool kid. It's almost an expectation. I have always felt a lot of pressure to conform by being something I'm not, and I would like to postpone that pressure for my kids while I help them build up the strength to withstand it when the time comes.
I'm actually going to wrap this list up here. There are so many more reasons, and I find more all the time. I started this journey because I couldn't stand testing culture, but the more I read and the more I learn and spend time with my own children, the more rewards I find. But I do have one more thing to say on this topic.
I feel fortunate to have the privilege to homeschool my children. Not only are we in a financial position to do so, but I have a very supportive partner, co-teacher, and co-parent. We live in a state where it is fairly easy to homeschool. I am white and middle class, so I do not worry about neglect or truancy accusations. My race, gender, marital status, and sexual orientation are broadly represented and easily accepted within the homeschool community. I face less judgment than some because people see my teaching degree as a sign that I know what I'm doing when Those Other Homeschoolers have no idea. I live in an area where homeschooling is pretty common so it's easy to connect with other people. Homeschooling won't always be easy, but the choice was easier for me than for many. I'm very thankful to live in a country where we have a public school system for all who need an education. Not everyone wants to or is able to homeschool, and that's ok. Let's keep talking about what needs to be fixed in the public school system.
Alright, one more thing. It's my favorite quotation to describe what it's like being a public school teacher versus a homeschool parent:
Fezzik: Well, I haven't fought just one person for so long. I've been specializing in groups. Battling gangs for local charities, that kind of thing.
Dread Pirate Roberts: Why should that make such a difference?
Fezzik: Well, you see, you use different moves when you're fighting half a dozen people than when you only have to be worried about ... one.
[Fezzik drops unconscious to the ground]
(From The Princess Bride)
Here is a some background for you. It's a long story, but bear with me. In 2007, I was in college and working in a cafe and didn't really care for the way the waitresses were being treated by management. Another college student I worked with told me that she was about to quit to go be a substitute teacher. The pay was better than what we made at the cafe (we weren't allowed to keep our tips), and she told me that substitute teachers had complete control over their schedule. That sounded pretty fantastic, although I wasn't sure if I really wanted to be with kids all day every day. I was a history major, which meant people were always asking me if I was going to teach when I graduated. I really had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn't want to teach. And I had one more year of school to figure it out.
Within a month, I'd quit the cafe and had my first day as a substitute teacher. Within two weeks of starting subbing, I was researching what I needed to do to apply to graduate school to become an elementary school teacher. I fell in love with the work instantly: interacting with kids, sharing my own love of learning, and building relationships, even for a short period of time. The next fall, I wanted something a little bit more predictable as I needed to figure out how I was going to pay for grad school, so I ended up getting a job as an assistant teacher in a Montessori preschool. I worked with three to six year olds and learned a couple of things: I didn't love teaching reading, as much as I loved reading books. Preschool was not my favorite age group. And Montessori wasn't the place for me because I wanted childhood to be full of imagination and magic as well as practical life skills and math manipulatives. Over that same year, I also started dating my husband, got engaged, bought a house, and graduated with my history degree. In the fall, I ended up going back to subbing because I missed working with older kids. I almost immediately got a gig as a semi long-term 3rd grade sub in a gifted and talented classroom. It completely reaffirmed my decision to become a teacher. I grew to love (almost all) the kids in "my" class. Read-aloud time became a special part of my day. In January of 2009, I became a long-term sub in a 6th grade classroom, and taught that class from the end of January until the end of the school year. They were a tough bunch but I loved them fiercely. I also began to see some problems with the system I was getting ready to join.
My kiddos were really struggling with fractions. I'd exhausted all the material in my math text, and asked my team mates for advice on how to proceed. They gently told me that I needed to move on anyway, because there was too much more material to cover before the end of the year. They were compassionate, sympathetic, and sadly right. If I'd spent all the time I needed to get 21 students to master fractions, we would have left a great deal uncovered and they would have been woefully unprepared for SOLs.
I went through a lot with those kids. We took field trips to Pennsylvania and DC, including one on the Metro. I sat in an art gallery with my bunch of tough guys and talked about what makes art. I found out that one of my kids, a refugee kid from Somalia, had been masking his inability to read with a tough-guy attitude. He was fluent in three languages but couldn't read or write fluently because of interruptions to his education. I had to send him off to middle school at the end of the year and pray that a teacher there would understand the wonderful boy behind the tough guy facade of a six foot black seventh grader. When he hugged me goodbye on the last day of school, I teared up and could hardly say good-bye. While I was with that class, I had my interview for grad school. The interviewer, who would later become my mentor, asked "Why do you want to become a teacher? Don't say you love kids, everyone says they love kids." I talked about the joy of seeing one of my preschool students go from struggling with letter sounds to reading whole words, seemingly overnight. I talked about the growth I'd seen in my students. I didn't say "because I want to help kids bring up their test scores."
After winter break, I successively long-term subbed in another 3rd grade classroom, a 5th grade Advanced Academics (formerly Gifted and Talented) classroom, and a 6th grade classroom again. In all of these jobs, I formed relationships with my students. But I was already beginning to see a discrepancy between the ideals my professors were teaching in graduate school and the reality of No Child Left Behind.
In the fall, I started a long-term substitute position as an art teacher. I'd briefly been an art major and loved working on art with the kids, but mostly I loved the freedom. I had a strict curriculum to follow, sure, but art class was process oriented, not product oriented. I started a writing club and ate lunch with students as they shared their writing with me. I was sad to leave at winter break, but excited to start my student teaching.
I student taught in fourth grade and kindergarten, and had fabulous teacher mentors and a great mentor professor (the same one from my interview). I learned a lot about teacher language and the work that goes behind the scenes in a kindergarten classroom. But man, the teachers at that school worked so hard. We were supposed to stay with our mentor teachers until they left for the day, no matter the time. My fourth grade mentor told me that she and the rest of her team had made a New Year's Resolution to leave no later than 5pm each day (after arriving between 7:00 and 7:30am). We stuck to that pretty well. Kindergarten was harder. My mentor teacher sent me home usually around 7:00-7:30pm each day, while she left around 9:00pm. I was never close to being the last one to leave the parking lot. You see, this was a "failing" school. It was a Title I (high poverty) school, with lots of English Language Learners. It doesn't take much to see that a 100% pass rate was unrealistic when kids were arriving from foreign countries each and every day. Yet meetings were all about data. You didn't want to have too many "red" squares on your classes spreadsheet (failing scores). You wanted "green." Kindergarten assessments took so much time that we didn't have recess many many days. I worked in Kindergarten in March and April, and I don't think we went outside a single time in March. This was in northern Virginia, so March temperatures are usually above freezing. I guarantee, this was not how the teachers wanted things to be.
That summer, I started interviewing. I got a job at another Title I school, fortunately one with much more positive leadership. I loved working there. I loved the administration, my team, and my kids. I didn't work quite as long hours as I did student teaching in kindergarten, but I still usually stayed until 5:00 most of my first year. By this time, I had already decided that testing culture was too intense, and was considering homeschooling when I became a parent. I had seen how kids got left behind or held back, depending on their skill level. My students, almost all of whom were at least bilingual, thought they were stupid because they could't pass reading tests that often confused the teachers. I had a brilliant boy from Central America. He arrived in October and did not even know enough English to understand my "good morning." By June, he was writing poetry and participating in class discussions. These were supported experiences, but mind-blowing compared to the general expectations of language acquisition. He was exempt from the reading SOL, but still had to take the Math and Science SOLs in English. It takes an average seven years to learn academic language. He'd had less than a year. I had another little boy that year who came in for the Writing SOL sick as a dog. He was intelligent and a decent writer, but he was so sick that day that he got the sample question wrong, even after he was told which bubble to fill in. He had to take the test anyway and it went in his records. No matter how great the school was, the system failed these kids. They left feeling defeated and "bad at school," and headed off to a middle school with gangs and preteen pregnancy. They did not have the armor they should have had. I don't know what they are up to now, but I think about them and the rest of their classmates frequently.
At the end of my first year of teaching, redistricting meant that many of the teachers would be "destaffed" and need to relocate to different schools. I was guaranteed a job, but either needed to interview and be hired or be placed in an unfilled position later in the summer. So I started interviewing. I was also seven months pregnant. At one interview, the principal pulled out the dreaded spreadsheets. She showed me one class with many red boxes. "This teacher deviated from the lesson plan here. He won't do it again." Given that I'd just told her one of my strengths as a teacher was my creativity, I was not surprised when I didn't get the job. I ended up taking a year off.
I realized something during that year. I loved being at home. I still had a need to work, but I loved being a mother and spending time with my new daughter. And looking at her, I wondered how I could put her into such a broken system.
After a year, I needed to go back for at least one more year, and fortunately ended up finding an opening back in 5th grade at my old school. It was the advanced academics class, which meant that I had more freedom. My kids were more likely to pass the tests because they were good students and mostly proficient in English, so I didn't have the same kind of pressure. We were able to bring in some fun math curriculum (they raced oranges down the hallway with their noses--I can't remember why but there was a good reason), studied classic literature, and dove head-first into National Novel Writing Month. Yes. That was why I wanted to teach. I wanted learning to be invigorating! By the time testing rolled around again, I knew I wasn't coming back. I was nine months pregnant with my second and we had moved out to the country.
My students told me that it made me nervous when I walked around the room monitoring testing. They said that it made them change their answers because they worried that they were wrong if I stopped too long. They said my footsteps were distracting. But state rules require constant monitoring, so I was told that I had to circulate.
Well! That backstory was a bit longer than I expected. Stay tuned for Part Two, also known as the TL;DR version.
Well, we have day one under our belts, and I thought I'd do a little bit of a play by play. AW came running in at exactly 7:00am. I taught her to read the hours on a digital clock, and she knows that she needs to stay in her room and rest until 7:00am unless it's an emergency. My brother-in-law was visiting over the past couple of days, so we didn't get the good night's sleep I'd aimed for. Himself got breakfast for AW while I slowly got ready for the day. I think I finally dragged myself downstairs around 8:00am. (My goal was to be up by 5:30 today. Oops!). The kids ate cereal then played while the adults had eggs and coffee. Normally, I like to start morning time at 9:00am, but the kids' uncle was only going to be around for the morning, so they went off to play. At 10:00am, they looked like this:
Yup, they are still in their pajamas. Now, as homeschoolers, this is completely acceptable first day of school attire. However, it's part of our routine as a family to get dressed every morning before starting the day. It's been important for our psyches to make the transition to starting the school and work at home day. Pajamas are for sick days, snow days, and lazy days.
So, we got dressed, made beds (well I did), brushed teeth, sang a handwashing song, and headed out to take care of the farm chores. DC fed the chicks, AW fed the rabbits, and we all work together to give the animals their water. By now, the humidity level was about 1,000%, and I decreed that we would go inside after taking a first day of school picture or two.
From there, we moved onto journal writing. I asked AW to dictate to me about what she wanted to learn in school this year. She told me that she wanted to build things out of wood, learn to climb ladders, and learn to drive. We'll aim for 2/3 on those. Then she drew in her journal, while her little brother asked to go do play dough in the library. It wasn't long before she joined us there.
Drawing pictures and doing playdough wasn't in the lesson plan. But that's the beauty of homeschooling. They're both working on building fine motor control and working on pre-writing skills...but to them it's just playing! DC took a little break to build with some blocks. We read two books while he played: Hot Air (on the AYOPS book list) and Ugly Pie (an AW favorite). But by then, we were getting hungry so it was time to work on some life skills for the day. I taught AW how to wipe down the table before we ate lunch, and then she got a lesson in making tuna salad. She now has a three recipe repertoire: egg salad, PB & J sandwiches, and tuna salad.
After lunch, she saw me prepping her quiet time activity, and begged me to start quiet time. I held her off awhile, because DC definitely won't nap if we put him down to early, and I like them to have quiet time at the same time. I prepped some activities for him too, in case nap wasn't in the cards today. Then we snuggled up on the sofa to read more books: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom; Baby Cheep Cheep (one of DC's favorite board books); and The Giant Hug (from AW's very first Ivy Box). To AW's great relief, it was now time to head upstairs for quiet time. What was she so eager to do?
This is one of the September activities from AYOPS. She used the spoon to scoop marbles into the water bottle. I also gave her an old oatmeal canister filled with clothespins for her to clip to the edge of the container. From the sounds coming from her room, she had a great time with the marbles. Note for future reference: this is not a "quiet" quiet time activity.
DC expressed zero interest in napping so after he'd shown no signs of going to sleep, I went in and gave him his quiet time activities.
This was one of AW's favorites when she was around DC's age, and he was no different. They put the pom poms in the top of the jug and pull them out at the bottom. It's amazing how long they can repeat this. I gave him this tray, a vehicle puzzle, and our Leap Frog phonics magnet set. He was completely content in his room for the next hour. It was his first time with quiet time activities and I was pleased with the success. I'm not sure if he's totally done with naps or just in a phase, but I know that forcing sleep on him is ineffective to say the least.
AW knows from her clock when quiet time is over (3:00pm) and came on downstairs where we opened up her latest Ivy Box. The book is The Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle. I love the excitement on her face when she opens these packages.
We read the book and then went out for ice cream to celebrate a successful first day of school.