....so little time. There is not enough time in a day to do all of the fun things that there are to do these days.
The boys and I have been having a great time lately. After receiving some great advice from an experienced homeschooling mom and also reading the articles on this site: http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/early.htm, I have changed my philosophy on my homeschooling approach for preschool...or maybe it is that I have finally come to a conclusion regarding my homeschooling approach for preschool. Either way, it is a good thing.
Most (pretty much all:) people that I know who have children 3 to 4 years old are sending their kids to preschool one, two or three days a week. So, I started really feeling some pressure (from myself!) to start 'doing preschool' at home a couple of days a week. I kept thinking about it and pondering it and wondering if I should start this but, after the advice and the articles I mentioned above I am no longer putting pressure on myself about this.
Our approach with preschool homeschooling is that we are pretty much not going to do it:). What we will do is lots and lots of reading, cutting, coloring, reading, running, jumping, skipping (once they learn how:), reading, painting, playing with playdough and modeling clay, reading, going to the zoo, museums, parks, the library, reading, etc.....pretty much what we have already been doing:). Doesn't that sound like fun?
I am really excited and having fun with the boys again, now that I am no longer worried about 'doing preschool' at home. The really neat thing about it is that I finally realized that we were already doing all of the things we need to be doing and we just need to keep doing it. We need to do more field trips type things (zoo, museums, library, etc.) but, other than that, we are doing great and the boys are learning all kinds of things along the way.
We are really getting into the painting thing lately. I really enjoy it a lot and could spend a lot more time doing it if the boys had longer attention spans. Yesterday I visited the local homeschool consignment store and got some great deals on some simple art books. One of them shows great examples of some simple things to make with finger paints. Another one shows some great things to make with playdough, which will be very fun. The third one has lots of great projects, from drawing and coloring to painting and also making crafts. We are going to have a great time with each of these books.
The weather here is now a bit cooler and more tolerable. I am not much of a morning person so I really prefer to have our outdoor time in the afternoon, after nap. The cooler weather helps with this. Yesterday I showed the boys how to make mud pies:). Now that is the first time I have made mud pies since I was a little bitty kid and we had a ball! They really enjoyed it. After we were done, we hosed them down and then put them in for a quickie shower with the dad. That was the first time they took a shower and they really enjoyed it.
One of the things I love about kids this age is how any new thing is such a novelty to them and will keep them busy for the longest time. It does not have to be anything fancy or special. I can just find something in the back of a kitchen cabinet and pull it out and they have a blast. The other day they were having a grand time with the colanders and one day they had a fun time with these two little lunch type bags that keep food cold. It really does not take much.
Another thing I found at the homeschooling consignment store is a set of sequence puzzles. Each puzzle has three pieces and, when you put them together in the correct sequence, they show a "story". An example of one: the first pieces has a picture of a caterpillar crawling along a leaf; the second piece has a picture of the caterpillar wrapped in a cocoon and the third piece has a picture of the butterfly that the caterpillar has become. The boys really like these more than I thought they would. This morning they spent quite a long time working the puzzles. When they finish putting one together, they want me to tell the "story". They love that part. I had been wanting something like this for quite a while and I got this yesterday for $5, which I thought was pretty good.
In other news, Ben is sporting his second black eye in the 20 months that he has been home. We went to "the jumpy place" the other day. That's the indoor jumping place where they have those big blow up things that kids can play on. Ben was jumping off one of them onto the floor and he fell and hit the side of his face, just beside his eye. This happened when he still had a nasty looking bruise on the other side of his face, right on top of the scar where the mole was, from a fall he had at the mall play area. Fortunately, the first bruise was pretty faint by the time the black eye really made it's appearance. I was telling someone about it over the phone the other day and B was listening to my conversation. I said "poor kid!" as I was telling the story and B turned around and smiled at me, laughed and said "no poor kid!". It was funny. They are talking so much these days....I know I say that every time. It still just amazes me how well they communicate already.
As for the potty training, we are basically back to square one with Nick. He just does not have the time nor the desire to go to the potty, unless we are out and about and Ben has to go. They both like seeing all of the public bathrooms so they do great when we are not home. At home, Nick might as well be in a diaper these days and we are discussing doing just that. I have mixed feelings about it. I'm not so sure that Nick would really care one way or the other but I really cringed at the thought of doing that to him at this point.... mostly because I think he understands potty training and he can do it if he wants to....he is just not interested just yet. He does not turn three until mid November so I think he is still somewhat young. I am content to let him continue to wear his pull ups. They are easier, he can undress himself, which he likes, and he does not have to lay down (like a baby) when he is changed. The dad was pondering this too and was wondering if it might be a good incentive for Nick to put him back in diapers and lay him down to change him, so he sees the distinct difference between himself and Ben. I have thought this too, at times when my frustration level was high, but I am pretty much past that and I have just accepted that he will start going when he is ready. What do you think? I would be interested in hearing the opinions of other experienced mom's out there, especially those with boys.
Ben, on the other hand, is really doing very well. He usually just runs in the bathroom, pulls down his pants and goes when he needs to go. He might or might not yell "I have to pee/poop" on his way to the bathroom. If he does yell it, he will also yell "coming?". But other times, he just disappears and I later see him come out, naked from the waist down, saying "mommy, I done!", with a big smile on his face. He still has an occasional pee accident, although I am not quite sure they are truly accidents so much as on purpose to get attention. When it happens, he is usually standing at the bathroom door or just in front of his potty chair and when he tells me about it, he has a huge smile on his face, as he says "mommy, I pee pee floor". And it is that kind of smile that says "look at me, look what I did, isn't that funny?". I believe I am correct in my interpretation of this, since I have seen him have one accident that truly was an accident, when we were at church one day, and he was not happy about it at all. But, the vast majority of the time, he is an ace at going to the potty and I am very appreciative that he is doing so well. If both boys were doing what Nick is doing, I would have put them back in diapers and waited a while before trying again.
I have nap duty today so I must run now but I plan to post a bunch of pics a little later.