Friday, September 24, 2010

Third week

We had several fun and not-so-fun "firsts" this week:

1. Henry's first play. He and Greg went to see a community theater production of Blue's Clues. Greg reports that Henry was entranced, and that the interactive format proved to be a perfect first theater experience for a three-year-old. Here's a picture of the two theater-goers.

2. Our first big power outage in Grand Rapids. Our power went out Tuesday night at 9 and didn't come on again until 2 PM the next afternoon. Fortunately, we didn't lose too much in the fridge or freezer. Henry thought it was all very exciting (especially getting to use flashlights) but sitting around in the gloom on Wednesday morning was not the most fun, although we livened things up by making food coloring and coffee filter fall leaves.

3. The other upside of the morning in the dark is that it inspired me to get to the Y and take Elizabeth to the child care center for the first time. It felt wonderful to finally be able to workout without a stroller (although I could no longer blame my slow pace on having to push the stroller!) Kids in the day care require an ID card, so we went early and got Elizabeth her very first Y card. Henry also had his picture re-taken, since his was from when he was six months old. Aren't these adorable?

The new cards:

Henry's old card:

And, a couple other highlights of the week. Henry had a lot of fun playing with his magnetic pattern blocks.

We also played "store" during our school time for some stealth practice with counting and simple addition.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 2

Phew! We had a busy daytime schedule this week. Friends over to play three mornings and one afternoon, a dentist appointment and pediatrician appointment, two church meetings, and Henry's first speech session. We've had a lot of fun, but I'm looking forward to less busyness next week.

Henry's first speech session went great. His therapist seems very friendly and professional. They got right to work, learning the "snake sound" and practicing S's. Henry's homework was to read a book in which he calls for a dog named Spot before lifting the flaps in the book to look for Spot. Even in just a couple days, he's already making progress.

All our playdates this week were lovely. Since our days seem to go better if Elizabeth gets a good solid nap in the morning, I've been making a point of inviting friends to come here (although this week's schedule got a little out of hand!) Henry's starting to play with his friends rather than just next to them.

One of the highlights of school this week was "fishing" for magnetic materials in the rice bin.

Henry and I also played Go Fish. Henry's still has a pretty hazy idea of what winning is all about, but we both enjoyed it.

Henry drew about magnets in his journal and I transcribed his words.

And lastly--drumroll, please!--the results of Elizabeth's two-month-and-a-little-more check-up: 24.75" (greater than 95th percentile) and 11 lbs, 15 oz (75th percentile). She's beginning to hold up her head more easily, and is looking adorable in her hand-knit sweaters.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First week of school

On Tuesday we had the official first day of school. It was a little anticlimactic, since it was so similar to what we do usually anyways. But, later that day, as Henry was playing with one our neighbor girls, she was telling him about her first day of kindergarten and said, "When you're bigger, you'll start school, too." Henry replied, "I started school today!" and seemed very proud to be included in such a "big kid" event. It made me glad that we started the same day the the other area schools begin.

From Learning Together

Our usual routine is to read books together on the couch for about twenty minutes and then do four short activities. Our focus for reading this week was books about fall and seasons.

Henry was excited to find trains on his workbook labels on the first day of school. I put one activity in each box; I like how this system clearly defines what we're trying to accomplish each day, and it makes my planning much easier. Some of the workbox activities this week were drawing a first day of school picture, making his name from magnetic letters, sorting pictures that begin with the letters m and r, and using his fingers to tell how many colored blocks were hidden behind a card.

From Learning Together

Other school activities were lots of playing with magnets and rolling acorns around in a box to make a splatter paint picture.

From Learning Together

From Learning Together

Some other highlights of the week for Henry were bike rides to the park, lots of playing with neighbors, and the beginning of regular Sunday School. Henry's also enjoying puzzles a lot, and he's amazed us with his progress. He can now do 24-piece puzzles independently and likes the challenge of 50-piece puzzles as long as he has a little help and encouragement.

Homeschool Presents

On Monday, we got ready for the school year by opening homeschool presents. I figured that since I was buying all these homeschool books and toys anyway, we might as well make a ceremony out of giving them to Henry. So I wrapped them all up, and Henry had fun opening them all up (although he was less than excited to find some of the gift bags had workbooks in them.) A set of magnets and a new Thomas puzzle were much more exciting finds.

From Learning Together

From Learning Together

From Learning Together

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

We had a great first week of homeschooling. We started off the week with a wonderful hike at Blandford Nature Center on Sunday. Henry actually hiked two and a half miles, and Elizabeth happily slept in the front carrier the whole time. Henry is really into maps at the moment, so he got a kick out of carrying the map and looking at the posted maps.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Homeschool Plan

Plans are always subject to change, especially when a small baby is involved, but I can never resist making them. This year, our main goals for Henry are:

-Encouraging his wonderful interest in the world around him. Last year, we dabbled in everything from the Statue of Liberty to musical instruments, and we'll continue to read voraciously and learn about the random topics he becomes fascinated with. I'll also encourage interest in seasonal topics and some science topics. Some activities planned for the fall: magnets, observing leaves change color, and trips to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch.

-Read lots, especially classic picture books, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and poetry.

-Solidify his alphabet knowledge and practice pre-reading skills (like tracking word-for-word and taking apart the sounds in words) so that he'll have the skills necessary for learning to read when he gets interested.

-More understandable speech, with the help of a speech therapists. The "L"s are finally appearing--now if he can learn "S"s and "F"s, we'll be able to understand him a lot more easily.

-Practice basic number skills and critical thinking skills like sorting and comparing.

-Have fun exploring art materials like paint and clay and practice fine motor skills like cutting, folding, and coloring.

-Begin to memorize Bible verses and to see the connection between the Bible and daily life.

-Enjoy playing with other kids and continue to develop social skills (especially not grabbing toys from other kids!)


So, what's the purpose of this blog? Mainly to provide Henry and Elizabeth's doting grandparents, uncles, aunt , and other assorted admirers with a sneak peek of what we're up to each week.

I make no promises about how often I'll be able to update--I do have a two-month-old after all!--but I'm hoping to post some pictures and write a little about Henry's preschool adventures each week.