Wordful Wednesday: First day of Home Preschool

My sassy independent smart little Monk is now 2 and a half. Ok, she’s 2 years old and 9 months. Which is just so crazy to me.

But being that she’s under 3 she isn’t old enough for any of the preschool programs in our area and we don’t want to put her in daycare just for the sake of having her out of the house for a while (not that we could afford that anyways).

So after hearing from a couple other mamas that were starting homeschooling or had homeschooled before I decided to start a little bit of Montessori-esque schooling with Cedella at home.

First things first was deciding when and how to approach things. Doing some in depth googling facebooking pinteresting research on the subject I came to the understanding that there really isn’t any such thing as a set curriculum for almost three year olds. Which was a relief.

And even more encouraging? After reading a lot of Montessori-based books and sites I realized I’ve been doing most of what is encouraged already.

We read books at least twice a day. I talk to both children constantly and explain what I’m doing. We did sign language with Cedella from 6 months on and I’ve already begun with Izzie. We encourage her to do things on her own and to ask for help when needed. She can go to the bathroom by herself, wash hands and brush teeth alone, picks her own clothes and can dress (the bottom half anyways) and put on shoes by herself. And we try to include her in the kitchen as much as possible. All things touched on in a Montessori program.

And while I always sang the alphabet song and pointed out letters and numbers to her, I owe a serious debt to Super Why and Sesame Street for teaching my kid all of her upper and lower case ABC’s and up to the number 20. She knows all her colors and most of her shapes too, though there are lots of times when she confuses one for another or just forgets all together. So looks like she needs a bit more work in those areas.

More than anything I feel like two things she would really benefit from right now is more of a structured schedule and more socialization. So in conjunction with “school” at home two mornings a week we’d add some at least one outdoor ‘class’ a week and a couple other classes or playgroups.

So last Tuesday we started our first official day of school. And the best part about homeschool? You can go in your pajamas.

Following the Montessori ideal of taking your cues and leads from what the child expresses interest in, I thought cutting and gluing would be a fun way to introduce both scissors (which she is hugely interested in but I haven’t allowed her to work with before) and glue (which she LOVES).

I busted out some old magazines in order to find pictures to cut out and glue and make collages.

She had such a great time doing her first collage that I improvised a second activity adding another level of learning.

We scoured the magazines for pictures of things that were blue. And here’s her blue collage.

Complete with a picture of the First Lady wearing a blue dress (to which Cedella said “Mrs. Bama is so pretty mommy and she’s wearing blue” Yes. Mrs. Bama. There may not have been an O there but I’m proud all the same.

And even Izzie got involved. Though in fairness she really just wanted to know what the magazines tasted like.

Though she hasn’t quite mastered scissors she did really well gluing and finding blue objects. Bottom line though? It was just so neat to watch her learn and try new things.

For our outdoor activity for the week we went on a hike with our local Moms group and BFFs Anna & Leslie.

In fact, Leslie and I had our 2 year anniversary (we met on a moms group hike when the girls were still tiny and in our baby carriers on our chests) and despite the fact that she’s about to have a baby on my birthday (only three short weeks of shopping time left for those that wanted to get me something special) she looked glowing and lovely as ever :) Love you lady!!

And on a whim, after dancing with her Teta and her Aunt Sabah, we signed her up for a pre-ballet class called Tiny Dancers. Sadly we were five minutes late, and the class had started and she was being super shy. Instead of going into the studio she stayed in the doorway of the lobby with me and the other parents for the entire class. And then cried at the end because she “didn’t get to dance”.

This is her all bummed leaving the studio. I call this photo “Sad Ballerina”. But seriously how cute is her leotard/leg warmer/Converse/sock bun combo? Love this kid.

So far I’m super encouraged by the idea that everything we do, every interaction, every outing, every silly drawing or picture, is adding to her education and independence. She really is such a quick learner and a remarkably bright child. Can’t wait to share more about this journey as we go.

Thanks to Mollie, Jen and Diana for the links and information and encouragement!

How do you encourage education in your home, whether it be reading or art or science? Any suggestions for how to add more independent activities she can do on her own?

Happy WW!! Hope the rest of your week is lovely 😉

Wordful Wednesday: Where the Wild Things Are

Summer is beginning to ebb away but you wouldn’t know it because of the temps around here. But in an effort to check every last thing off of our summer bucket list we finally took a trip to the Detroit Zoo with Grandma and the Aunties.

Every summer when we were kids my sister and I used to go to Girl Scout day camp at the Detroit Zoo. Some years my Mom was even our camp leader. It was an awesome place to go and it seemed so incredibly large and magical and perfect to a young kid. The Zoo is one of the Detroit traditions that I couldn’t wait to share with my girls.

Some things have changed, but the feeling is still the same. For Cedella, the zoo is one great big amazingly cool place.

We started our day by taking the little train to the back of the zoo. I think this is my absolute favorite picture of me and my girls. I love how they’re looking at each other. Yay for sisters!

We all remember how scary we thought the tunnel was when we were kids. But they’ve put lights up. So NOT scary anymore.

And then we had to consult The Map. Maybe this is the one thing Monk has taken from her limited run-ins with Dora. (*Thankfully she’s not a big fan of Dora cause she thinks that Swiper’s scary and prefers Wallace & Grommit, so proud of my BBC loving baby). Or maybe this is just another trait she’s gotten from her Mama (since I’m the map-reader/navigator of the family).

Either way, she wouldn’t put the damn thing down. And kept saying “Ok guys, we have to check the map”. She’s quite the Explorer.

And the little Boogie got in on the action too. Hamming it up for the camera with her Te Te.

One of the funniest moments? Grandma forgot her hat. So she had to borrow Ella’s. Guess it’s pretty clear where my daughter gets her little mini head from. Sure didn’t get it from her Mom or Dad.

Oh yea, and did I mention, there were animals there?

Like really really close up and personal.

Some were taking their naps when we visited. This gorilla gave us quite a view…

Even though the polar bears were sleeping, the statue was not.

And the ostriches and flamingos were very active.

Grandma and Izzie took a break at the Reptile House. Apparently neither of them care for scaly creatures.

We attempted a family pic by the Rackham Fountain. But this was the best shot. Pretty realistic moment, no?

And we took a couple of baby snuggle breaks. Cause these cheeks deserve snuggle breaks.

When she wasn’t reading her map, Cedella was busy pouting or chasing after her Aunties. Or doing both simultaneously.

Me and Izzie and our Marley wrap ended up putting on a show for the whole zoo. Every time I wrapped her or unwrapped her it seemed we had an audience. And everywhere we walked people stared either in complete confusion or wanted to know all about it. I love public displays of Babywearing!! And I really love that my baby can see what I see in complete comfort.

And when she’s ready she just closes her eyes and has a comfy spot to nap in. Her sleeping face? It makes me swoon.

I was fully prepared to be in the penguin house for ages but Cedella just wasn’t digging it. Instead, she liked the bird house. When she saw the parrots and macaws like in Rio, she went bananas.

And just when I thought everything from my childhood had been erased, there it was, right at the end of the bird house. The chain link curtain. Tracey and I remembered it so vividly. Doing exactly what Ella did when she saw it. It may have been the highlight of her day.

We had such a fun day. It’s always fun being with all the Sims ladies. So fun that both girls passed out within seconds of being in their car seats.

Keeping traditions. Making memories. Giving these girls an incredible childhood. And loving every second of it.

How’d you celebrate the end of summer?

Happy WW!!

 

 

Last Days of Summer

Well summer is coming to a close and we had our last vacation of the summer with my family up north on Lake Huron.  It was super cloudy and not very warm, but we still had a very relaxing and fun time.  Cedella got to spend time with her newest little cousin Brayden, and practiced her kissing skills.  She also got her first taste of sand and the freezing waters of Lake Huron.  We got to spend some serious quality time with my mom, Grandma Linda.  It was so nice to be with her, cooking, shopping and catching up.  My Aunt Joanne made awesome lasagna and brownies.  Lauren and I talked all about being new moms.  And on top of it all I got to hang with my teenage sister and her friend Lisa and talk about who is hotter…Taylor Lautner or Justin Bieber (btw Taylor Lautner gets my vote since Justin Bieber looks like a girl).

All in all it was a great way to wind down the summer and get back into my blog that I have been neglecting as of late.  Look forward to new editions to the blog like ‘Foodie Fridays’ and ‘My Big Fat Mixed Family’ coming soon.  But until then, enjoy the pics…

Walking on the beach
Kylara and Lisa
Watching the waves
Cool dolphin swing
Meeting Brayden for the first time
Giving kisses
 Baby in the mirror
With Grandma Linda at the fire
Beach Baby
Mmmmmm…sand
Freezing in Lake Huron in August
Passed out in her Peapod
Cedella dying to give Brayden more kisses