ABC’s

[click picture for source]

A good friend of mine recently asked me what I have done to teach my four year old the alphabet.  And really, I cannot think of one thing I have done that worked over the others. Honestly, we used to watch a lot of Super Why and I think that did teach her more than I realized, but I didn’t want a TV show to do the ALL of the teaching… 😉 We sang the alphabet song a lot. I have an old alphabet banner hanging in her closet door. (Compliments of Grandma who is a 1st grade teacher.) But the one website I frequent the most for helps in my preschool endeavors is No Time for Flashcards dot com. Another good friend directed me there last summer. It is hands down the most complete and well rounded resource for me to draw from. You can search by topic. By age. By whatever- and if you have the gumption and time, you can make a lot of these activities turn out fabulous. All last winter for our preschool time I would let my daughter choose which letter she wanted to learn about and then do an activity based around that letter as found on that website. It was easy. It didn’t take too much time. (Because we all know how long is a toddler’s attention span is!) And it was effective! I found that the activities were more effective when I let her take the lead. I was just there to facilitate and pour the glue. (When she lets me!)

Anyway, this week a post showed up on No Time for Flashcards that was a perfect answer to my friend’s question: How do you teach the letters? Well? I’d say one at a time, and through simple activities that involve play and independent thinking. And lastly, I’d tell anyone asking the same question that it is okay to take it slow. Nobody has set a solid deadline for a kid to learn their ABC’s. It’ll come, so patience is key and providing opportunity for learning is also key.

Check out the website and I hope you love it like I do!

If you cannot find something on this post about teaching the alphabet, then you’re just crazy! 🙂 

Have fun!

PS: who else is singing the alphabet song now?!

Reading Too Much. Writing Not Enough.

On WordPress’s Freshly Pressed page, I read this blog post (featured by WordPress. How nice of them, no?) There are some great books listed there that I am interested in reading. But not until I finish the books that are currently on my nightstand and other convenient places throughout my apartment.

In no particular order or preference, here are the books I’m reading:

  • Eats, Shoot & Leaves, The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss
  • A Double Life, Discovering Motherhood by Lisa Catherine Harper (Winner of River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize)
  • Old Friend from Far Away, The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg
  • Writing Down the bones, Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (although I have not opened it in a few months…)
  • Nothing to Envy, Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (I only have a few more chapters of this one…I got distracted by Natalie Goldberg!)
  • The Memoir Project, A thoroughly Non-standardized Text for Writing & Life by Marion Roach Smith
  • River Teeth, Stories and Writings by David James Duncan
  • The Second Comforter, Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil by Denver C. Snuffer, Jr.
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (I’m reading the Little House on the Prairie series aloud to my daughter.)

*****

There are so many good books and just not enough time to get through them fast enough! But remember a previous post of mine about doing one thing at a time? Reading books should definitely fall under that – and it does. But I just cannot help myself! Sometimes I feel like something light, and other times I am crave instruction and mentoring. I create a menu that includes everything from gourmet to fast food material and as each mood calls, that need can be met. Its brilliant really, although my husband would beg to differ. The library fines add up and the books clutter the house.

Does anyone know of a good book that will teach me how to speed read? That is the answer!

*****

In case you didn’t click on the link above taking you to River Teeth Literary Journal, (there it is again) I’ll share a little bit about that here. This Literary Journal publishes the best of the best nonfiction work in the country. Authors and novice writers like myself will be gathering for a conference in May. A writing conference. Did you hear that? I am so lucky to be attending this prestigious writing conference! I hope to rub shoulders with a few published authors and learn how to better apply myself to the craft of writing. I will be able to go over a manuscript with a professional and get some feedback on my projects. I am both excited and nervous about that…

I attended a writing workshop in Park City when I was 16 called Writers @ Work. It is in its 27th year. Dear old Mr. Daugherty, my Jr. English teacher, submitted my application and with the help of a scholarship (and my dad) I went for a weekend and received writing coaching from poets like David Lee and other fiction and nonfiction authors whom I cannot remember. It was a while ago and I am certainly in need of a mini writing boot camp. I will be going to OH for this conference with my mother. It should be a fun time, and a trying time as I am forced to dive headlong into a project that has been eating at me for years.

I’ll keep you posted on that. Wish me luck on all the pages I’ve got to read and more so for all the the thousand’s of words I will be writing.

Montessori School

For years, I have been interested in the Montessori method of schooling my children. Even before I had children of my own, I knew that I wanted to send my kids to a private Montessori institution. After having worked in a public school setting for a school year, my heart was saddened by how many children I saw without a light in their eye. The following video may help you understand what I mean when I say that.

My 4 year old daughter is a Learner. She, like most children her age, is naturally inquisitive, probing, independent and a hard worker. I would hate to see that natural drive be thwarted by an educational system that seems to be broken. I love the Montessori philosophy. I love the innovative thinking and I love that it is a Child-led learning environment. We do our best to provide this same way of being in my home. We have held off on enrolling our 4 year old in a conventional preschool program. (You can read my reasons here) But as my daughter is maturing, I can see that she may be ready for something beyond what we are doing here at home, either that, or I need to up my game. (Which translates to Homeschooling…) And I am not talking about traditional academia. I am talking about keeping that flame of wanting to learn alive! I believe my responsibility as a parent is to cultivate that natural drive. And I believe that providing my children with the best possible education is part of that responsibility. (Whether from our home or an institution.) Speaking of “upping my game”, I think I could spend my entire life savings in this store!…then I wouldn’t need to enroll my children in a school!

There are many Montessori school in my area, however they carry an expensive price tag. It is a price I am willing to pay and the time is soon approaching that I need to take a step forward for enrollment. This reminds me of Gilmore Girls when Lorelei finally breaks down and exchanges the cost of tuition for Rory to attend a prestigious Private High School for Friday night dinners each week! (Pilot) (I don’t think it will come to that. We already have dinner with my parents a lot.)

Anyhow…if you are unfamiliar with the Montessori method, or you see your own child struggling with conventional schooling , I hope you’ll take some time to learn about the other great options for educating your children and what you can do at home to help them rekindle that fire. There are some great videos that follow the one above that you can watch.  I feel so excited about this!!! Seriously excited.

From the above link “montessori method” :

The potential of the child is not just mental, but is revealed only when the complete “Montessori method” is understood and followed. The child’s choice, practical work, care of others and the environment, and above all the high levels of concentration reached when work is respected and not interrupted, reveal a human being that is superior not only academically, but emotionally and spiritually, a child who cares deeply about other people and the world, and who works to discover a unique and individual way to contribute. This is the essence of real “Montessori” work today.


In other news, said 4 year old daughter had her very first piano lesson yesterday! She loved it!