Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What do we DO all day?

Now that we're starting a new year, we've adjusted our routine and made some changes that fit with our growing family. My second daughter is turning three this month and she has joined her older sister in Joy School two days a week for a few hours. I've decided to focus on a certain "subject" or "theme" on the other three days of the week. I've had a few people ask what our routine looks like, so here is our schedule for our mornings (we spend most afternoons with free play time, cleaning up, preparing for dinner, and then time with Dad at 5pm).

Monday: Joy School
Tuesday: Letter of the Week Activity/Reading Skills
Wednesday: Joy School
Thursday: Music/Arts
Friday: Field Trip Day

This is what works for our family. I love to have a plan and I find that my kids enjoy having an activity to look forward to each day. It also helps me to find a balance between time spent with my children and time for myself.

Letter of the Week/Reading Skills
We started our first Letter of the Week activity of the year today. We did this last year with both girls and found it to be a great way to learn our letters and have fun. I'm starting over, gearing the activities toward my three year old, since my oldest is already very familiar with her letters. For my oldest, I've decided to delve into the slightly intimidating world of teaching her to READ. We also attend our local library on these mornings. Here are some tools that I'm using as I attempt to teach this wee one to read (i.e. I have NO idea what I'm doing yet, but I found some great help at my library):

BOB Books

I've heard a lot of great feedback from other moms about these books I just found Set One at my library this week. I also checked out a series called Get Ready-Get Set-Read! that we will try out as well.

Let me clarify one thing, however...I used to feel a lot of pressure to do everything in my power to guarantee that my daughter would be the smartest, border-line genius in her class. Since we started Joy School where the focus is on skills that help our kids love to learn, rather than pushing them to be ahead in writing and reading skills before they enter kindergarten, I've relaxed a bit. I want her to have fun during our activities and I want to supplement her own interests and ideas. I've decided to start her on reading because she wants to learn and has shown a lot of interest. We're taking it slow and I will follow her pace.
My two oldest daughters attend a gymnastics class on Thursday mornings together. I use the rest of our time on these mornings in the arts. I'm teaching my four year old very simple piano lessons and I just recently found a great teaching tool called The Usborne First Book of the Piano.