I’m not really teaching Althea her ABC’s yet so much as I’m introducing her to the idea of letters and the sounds they make. The website Starfall has been amazing for this! It’s also teaching her some basic keyboard and mouse skills that are going to come in handy for texting and online purchases in the very near future… Gleep!
But seriously, exposure and slow absorption is the method to my madness right now. I am interested in the Montessori method for learning letters via tactile impression. The child traces letters with their finger but I cannot stand the sound of Althea’s little nail scraping across the sandpaper figures on the page. My teeth are on edge just thinking about it.
According to an esteemed educator named Paul Kropp the best thing you can do to make your child a reader for life is to be sure that your child sees you reading newspapers, books and magazines on a regular basis! Well. That’s easy enough and I’ve never had a better excuse to bury myself in a book. The other day, our little family gathered ourselves on the sectional and surrounded ourselves with books. All kinds of books. Board books, magazines, non-fiction, comic books, notebooks, picture books and novels. Althea has been reading board books quietly and independently since she was 6 months and still loves them. Of course, family reading time before nap and bed is the favourite activity since it has more to do with connecting with each other and discussing stories together than with the literature itself. In any case, here’s what I’m reading now. “Old Goriot” by Balzac. Highly recommended so far. Will let you know! Oh.. and Althea is reading Corduroy.
Recently we learned all about noses. When Althea’s friend Margot came for a visit we played the “scents and sensibility” game. What a lovely time we had opening each container of scents, passing them around and discussing those we liked and disliked. Lemon and lavender were universally pretty much agreeable to us while garlic and vanilla sparked some interesting reactions. I also learned that my dear friend Jen loves the smell of coffee but can’t stand to drink the stuff. Hm.
Since I’ve started planning little activities like this for our day – I never feel at a loss for what we should do. There is always something in my back pocket when I notice that Althea is getting bored. This is especially helpful during the summer months when most organized activities are on hiatus, friends are on holiday and when it’s just too darned hot to run around outside anymore. For us, having planned activities ready to go just makes “scents” even if we end up getting distracted, absorbed or invited to a play date.
Lately, Althea has been taking fits. Full on fling herself down and wail tantrums are now a reality in our home. During a recent episode and once some sense of composure had been achieved, we tried a little bit of drawing. It was pretty calming. This is what inner rage and frustration look like when translated with a turquoise crayon.
After nap, some remnants of wildness still needed working out and so we chose a mummy and Al craft that allowed me to express how I felt she was behaving and gave her the opportunity to form play dough snakes for the Medusa’s hair. Deep breaths. She may yet live another day. That or I may turn to stone under her awful gaze. Shiver…
There are only so many days in a row you can listen to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.” We learned this during Wagner week last week. Just when we thought it was over on Friday – the sounds of the call into chivalrous battle popped on the radio in the car. Althea and I kinda looked at each other like, “No way! Seriously?” No matter, we turned it up and sang our “bap ba da bah baaah’s” at the top of our lungs as a celebration of our last listen to that piece for a good long while.
Each week we are selecting a composer and listening to his best known works. This is not necessarily motivated by a “Mozart effect” incentive so much as my true desire to spend time familiarizing myself with various classical music composers and bring more beauty into my life. We began with Bach, last week was Wagner and this week is Beethoven. Did you know that his Turkish March is intensely danceable? Well. We think so anyhow. Althea’s elbows were flying and I was doing my best to stay clear of her. Good ol’ Beethoven. He’s still got it.
We spent a great deal of time indoors last week which was okay. In anticipation of the rain, I decided we would have fun with the whole idea of being inside. First, we did the hokey pokey with special emphasis on putting our various limbs in the circle. Then we tossed animals into laundry baskets and Althea decided to sit inside a basket herself – it was snug but comfy. We listened to Wagner while pulling different textured items out of a tactile box only to stuff them back in again in anticipation of the next round. Of course, we built a couch cushion fort but were surprised when it turned out to be a mouse hole in which we could hide from the fox.
Most lovely of all we built a blanket nest and were little birds trying out our new wings on occasion as we watched a documentary on “The Mastery of Flight.”