15 May 2013
Because all he did all day was run around and climb trees, there hadn't been much development in the area of fine motor skills...he was about to go into prep and he had barely ever picked up a pencil, much less held it properly! I had no idea how to teach him to hold a pencil without holding his fingers in the right spot myself...until I found this great trick. I can take no credit for it, I just found it as I was searching the net for an answer. Simply take a tissue (or half a tissue) have your son/daughter hold with their ring and pinky finger - leaving their thumb, index and middle finger free. Then give them a pencil to hold...it worked like magic. One step down...a million to go. The secondary problem with my son not having much experience holding a pencil was that his fine motor skills were pretty weak...he had no interest spending loads of time drawing pictures so here is what we did...
In order to get him interested in using a pencil more often, I bought him a journal (he actually had this idea himself after watching 'How to Train Your Dragon'...the boy in it had a journal that he drew maps and inventions in). He loved drawing maps in it with 'x' marking the spot (a great way to teach him the letter 'x') and I told him he was only aloud to use the journal if he held his pencil properly...
He also got a present from his Aunty from the Australian Geographic store that was a block of dirt with gems in it he had to dig out (see picture) ...great way to use those finger muscles! Other things we did was giving him a thin piece of rope and getting him to tie knots for us to undo...then we would tie knots for him to undo. Playdough is another good one, playing with stickers, stringing noodles etc...there are heaps of ideas that can be found with a simple Google search...but the above ones our son had the most interest in.
Next...the alphabet and sight words...*sigh*. This is a big one because although he could sing the alphabet song, he couldn't recognize ANY letters (or numbers for that matter). The first thing we did was tell him that once he learned all his letters we would take him to the zoo. I made up half page letters with pictures on them (i.e. the letter 'Aa' with an apple) to put up on the wall that we go through on a regular basis (I don't push this...if he really isn't interested on a particular day I just leave it - sometimes a reminder about the zoo is enough to get him interested). I started with only a couple of letters and didn't put more up until he knew those...slowly the wall is getting filled up. The other thing I do with those is let him colour in the picture on a letter once he knows it well. From what I understand it is better to teach them the sound of the word and not worry so much about the name of the letter...that way they can sound out words.
An idea I have had which I have yet to try out is painting letters on rocks and doing a bit of a treasure hunt. I've tried being silly with a letter...my son loves to see me dance around the house making funny faces and making funny noises with the letters...I tend to do this one when no one else is around...
Reading Eggs is a great online game for learning letters and words. Luckily his school has paid for it because they use it at school. And because it's online he is able to use it at home as well...otherwise it does cost.
Sight words are a bit tricky since my son doesn't yet know his alphabet, but we go through them a bit. I've got a chart set up for star stickers and I point out any sight words as I'm reading him a book. I will tell him there is the word 'the' (for example) on a particular page and if he finds it he gets a sticker. His teacher gave me a board game with the sight words written in blocks and you roll some dice and land on a word...
I also found the idea of using labels and putting individual letters on duplo legos. Letters can be put together to make words...honestly my son isn't interested in this at the moment...maybe when he's a bit older...this can also be used for numbers (he was a bit more interested in this).
Finally numbers...as stated above numbers can be put on duplo legos so they can be stacked in order. One big hit I had was drawing a sort of 'hop scotch' with numbers on the sidewalk. I'd pick a number he had to jump to. This way he had to try to recognize the number on the ground to jump to. This could also be done with a few letters at a time.
Variation is, I think, the key...not pushing, being creative and being silly. I have gotten a lot of feed back from parents who have kept their kids (mostly sons) back a year or letting them repeat prep/kindergarten and I have heard no regrets...yet I have heard a few stories of parents who didn't do this when it was suggested and wished they had.
If you have any more ideas or things you've tried that have worked for you PLEASE leave me a comment I'd love to have more ways to teach my boy!
19 March 2013
My expectation of his year at Prep was that he would be learning his ABC’s and 123’s with a lot of cutting and pasting in between and because he is a boy and has no interest in sitting down and learning anything of the sort at home, I’ve let him run around and climb trees and do whatever else strikes his fancy (except when he is roaring incessantly at his sisters)…turns out things have changed since I was in school…
Prep’s have to learn 100 words by the end of the year, and he’s got 12 words he is supposed to be able to read by the finish of this term (which is a week away). They have to be able to recognize their numbers and begin to write words…
When I discovered all of this I was a touch overwhelmed to say the least. I can’t imagine the pressure on the teachers trying to teach kids all this stuff, and because my son never went to preschool, he did not have any exposure to this stuff. I’m not quite sure what the ‘policy makers’ think this is going to accomplish..
We are now working hard with him at home, trying to let him be the boy he is and get his play time, but also teach him to recognize all his letters and numbers and to read all at the same time!!!
I’m not posting this to get any sympathy. Worst case scenario is that he will have to do his prep year over again, and that’s not all that bad. But I have found as I have talked with parents of children who aren’t at school yet, they had no idea what was awaiting them. If I had known this, we would have worked more with my son to recognize his letters and numbers before going to school so that there wasn’t so much pressure on him…
So I thought I would put it out into the universe of the internet for anyone who might benefit from having this knowledge when you can work on it without the time restraint of school. If you are reading this and know someone who has young kids not yet in school, please give them the heads up!!
I’d also be curious to know if other parents have found a similar situation in other states in Australia as well as other countries??
If you are interested to know what strategies we are using to teach our Son the plethora of things he needs to know, while not making him completely bored out of his brain…leave a comment and I will put something together to post. My younger two kids are girls, so I am expecting it to be easier teaching them as I have found girls take to this stuff quicker than boys.
10 May 2012
15 January 2012
BUT, maxi skirts have got to be close to the easiest things you can throw together so I thought I would put up my own tutorial. I’ve made 2 so far and they took about a half hour each and 1-2 metres of material.
PLUS, it turns out I’ve got a baby growing in my belly, so these skirts are going to be my stylish, comfortable go-to skirt for the next several months.
This skirt is all about stretchy, so find yourself some nice stretch material…I got mine for $3/metre and it’s light and VERY stretchy
First, decide how big to make the waste (I wear mine around my hips, so that is where I took the measurements) . It will depend on how stretchy your material is and how big your waste (hips) is. You can just wrap some around your waste and stretch it a bit so it fits comfortably. My hips are 39 inches and the waste of the skirt is 32 inches to give you an idea.
I made the waste panel first and decided I wanted it to be pretty long like in the Splendid skirt, and also because of being preggers. So I cut it 18 inches (it’s going to be folded in half, so keep that in mind, cut yours as long or short as you like).
I cut mine 18 (long) x 32 (wide) – don’t forget to add seam allowance. Make sure when you cut, the stretchiest direction (if there is one) is horizontal. Then fold so right sides are together (making the fabric 18x16) and stitch. Then you can fold it in half the other way so wrong sides are together.
I put it on at this point where I was going to wear it and measured from the bottom of the material to the floor to figure out how long to make the skirt panels. Again, don’t forget seam allowance and hem if you intend on doing a hem (I didn’t do a hem).
Next I cut my panels for the skirt…you’ll need two
Make the top of the panel the same as your waist. So because you have two panels, each panel will be half the measurement of your waist. I also wanted the back panel to be more full so I cut it into more of an ‘A’ shape.
The front panel measured 16 inches at the top, 35 inches long and about 20 at the bottom, the back panel was 16 at the top and about 31 at the bottom…add as much or as little fullness as you want to the front and back (plus seam allowance). Then put the two panels together right sides facing and stitch both sides.
Now it’s time to finish it off.
Put the skirt panels inside the waste (right sides together). In the above photo I have the waist unfolded, but you’ll want to have it folded (wrong sides together) and pin in place (lining up seams). Make sure when you stitch this part you use a stretch stitch or at least a zigzag stitch…and stitch away. YOUR DONE. You can wear these skirts as a dress as well…my only problem with that is I’ve got very full hips, but a small bust so it’s a bit loose on top as a dress…
I made the pink top as well, it’s very simple as well…if you are interested in a tutorial let me know…or I might just do one anyways!
I would live in these skirts if it wasn’t so hot at the moment!!
Ok, first of all we are moving…our lease is up as of the 23rd so we are outta here. And secondly, if you know anything of our life, it seems to be that I am always pregnant when we are moving and it is no different this time. New baby signals new life all around. And so I find myself with a little beauty growing inside of me and no place to live (I don’t know why it happens that way).
We are not fully sure of where we are headed. For now we will be staying with my in-laws (thank goodness for great in-laws). Then there might be a major move coming up, but we are waiting to see if Matt gets the job so I’ll hold off on that announcement until we know it is happening.
And that is the latest…more info to follow.
08 January 2012
01 January 2012
Nothing on the outside of us has changed much, but I had asked God to do something spiritually significant in our lives this year and to be honest I was hoping for something big to happen in a day, but God took us through a few months of simply being with him…doesn’t sound spiritually significant? Well, I’ll tell you I am a changed person. I spend time with God now, just sitting and listening on a regular basis asking God to show me his ways and he teaches me more and more each day. The amount of time I spend with God has increased significantly which changes me a lot. I hear him better than ever, I know him better than ever and I look forward to continuing on that journey.
God introduced us to some good reading this year as well. We have been inspired by reading what Walter Beuttler has to say on getting to know God better. We were encouraged in our time of waiting on God by F. B. Meyer in his book Elijah and the Secret of His Power. And most recently challenged by the life of Rees Howells in his biography written by Norman Grubb. God has been preparing us, making us ready…we thought we were ready last year…but THANK YOU JESUS he knows us better than we know ourselves and we would have crashed and burned had God done things our way.
Are we fully prepared for the future? I’d say not, but we expect that the work we do isn’t the right work unless we need God to do it. Plenty of ideas we’ve had for things to do because we wanted to do ANYTHING but what we were doing (is that a confusing sentence or what?) were things WE could do, in our own strength…but that can’t be right.
So where does that leave us in 2012…well, unfortunately there are a few things I can not yet divulge…I know, I hate it when people do that…but I promise there will be more information forthcoming, it’s just that there are things that need to fall into place, and people who need to know before the blogosphere, but stuff is definitely happening. God has opened doors and begun to move in ways we are astounded by. When you let God do it his way, the impossible becomes the possible…we’ve begun to see it already and I can’t wait to share the whole story as it unfolds, but you’ll just have to wait – we had to!