Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Balancing the Baby

My toddler has now decided that he wants to be involved in schooling too. 

When Sierra or Bailey is reading, he tries grabbing their books and yells at me to read them to him.  (He loves being read to).  When the girls are working on writing and doing their workbooks, he tries to color on their papers. (He's recently discovered coloring).  He's out grown his morning nap, and he won't play outside by himself for very long.  And if he's told to go away, he has a tantrum.  Fun, huh?

Well, here's how we try to cope.  Blake gets read to when the girls do their reading.  He sits in my lap and gets to look at the pictures as they read.  It doesn't always work, but he does feel involved.  When the girls do their written work, he gets to sit in my lap and color on a spare piece of paper.  Sometimes, I'll put him in his high chair with play-dough or food.  For now, it works.

I've heard of some moms sticking their little ones in the tub, blowing bubbles, putting on movies, etc.  Not bad ideas, though they would distract my girls a little too much.  Sigh.  I guess by the time he's able to entertain himself, I'll be teaching him school too.  Ah, such is life.

The Little Things

Some things just make life so much easier.  

I have been completely converted to Crayola's Twistables.  My six year old would go into melt-down when her coloring pencils repeatedly broke and she had to get me to re-sharpen them before continuing to color.  With the Twistable color pencils, that's not a problem.  If the tip breaks (typically because she had too much lead available), she just twists out more.  No more melt downs!  

The Twistable crayons are great too.  When my toddler gets ahold of them, he can't break them, and eating them doesn't do much harm to them either.  Ditto for my three year old (though she no longer eats them).  For me, those few extra dollars are totally worth it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears

We recently started learning about animals for our science study.  We use the Kingfishers First Encyclopedia of Animals as a general resource (as suggested in The Well Trained Mind), but I've found that it really doesn't do much.  There isn't enough information on the animals to feel like you're actually sinking your teeth in, no matter what your age is.

We have discovered that books about the animals written in a story like manner captivate my children best.  Often, these narrations contain enough interesting facts and a wealth of pictures to excite their young minds.  Lists of facts are too dry, but a story is engaging.  You can find a wealth of these books at your library, especially on the common animal topics like bugs, penguins, elephants, etc.

Another great resource that we have found is National Geographic's free coloring pages (find the link on the side bar).  Just print them out, and you've got a beautiful, realistic picture to color.   Other coloring resources that I like are the Dover Coloring Books (found on Amazon for $3.99 each).  Again, they are realistic drawings for you to color.  My favorite ones are the Coral Reef and Wild Animals.  They are less cluttered with background, which is good for the young artist.  Forest Animals is also a nice one with more background habitat.

We're also planning on making a trip to the zoo sometime this year.  (The Denver Zoo has the occasional free day if money is an issue.)  

Science is fun, and kids love animals.  It's going to be a great school year!