Posted by: ginki0 | September 25, 2013

Co-op has begun!

We are lucky to be part of a great group of homeschoolers in our area who get together now and again for co-op classes. Co-op is great, because every family pitches in and the kids can experience a small class setting (maybe 3 to 10 other kids with two or three adults helping, depending on various factors) and socialize with other kids, and learn from adults other than their parents. In our homeschool group, co-op is fairly new, and so the flavor of it changes a bit with each semester. This year, each co-op day (Fridays) we meet for about two hours and the kids get two “class periods” in.

Bug is in my class for K through 2nd grade, where we will be exploring (science) questions the kids have, tackling one question a week. We’ll be using math, writing, and reading with our science, and we began by taking a look at the nature of light and prisms. The kids had some great questions to ask! I think my class went really well, even though Bug spent basically all of my teaching time (about half an hour, since we got a bit confused about time, it being the first time we’d done this set up for co-op) having a tantrum. I couldn’t do much but let him throw his fit and just try not to let him distract his classmates too much. In his class are 6 other boys and one girl (who is a good friend of his and a bit of a tomboy), so the class was very boy. We took a break to get the wiggles out, and then took another to go up to the gym and the boys took up an impromptu game of freeze tag (a game Bug didn’t know, but now he does!). He then had a blast in art and did a great job sharing his markers.

Smiley was intended to be in the nursery, but the first day both of the nursery helpers were running late- it happens. So in the interim I had Smiley go to preschool, taught by a good friend of mine. When the other kids for nursery went to nursery, Smiley clung to my friend’s hand, so she kindly folded him into preschool with the others she had. I am so grateful to know I have friends I can count on to take care of my littles when I’m otherwise occupied! Seriously, everyone should be so blessed! So Smiley is in preschool, since he didn’t make trouble for class and since he is more comfortable there, even though he’s young. I had intended on sending him to preschool class in the spring, since he will be 3 in April, so this is just a little early. But if my little guy feels more comfortable there, I have no troubles with him being in preschool ahead of schedule- especially since he’s not too distracting and the preschool teacher is ok with it!

This blog post has taken me two weeks to write. In the meantime, we have done a lot. We’ve made a volcano, gone to the library and museum, gone to parks, done some arts and crafts, and more. In the last week, however, Bug has had some difficulty with schooling. At first we thought he was bored, since we know he acts out when he is bored. But I upped the difficulty and tried some more in depth fun experiments with him, and he dug in his heels all the more. So we tried to step back and take an objective look at what might be going on. After all, I should not have to plead and cajole and use every carrot and every stick I am willing to use and still be unsuccessful two hours later at engaging Bug. I know sometimes kids balk even at homeschooling now and again, but this was becoming a pattern, and it was a pattern none of us liked.

Daddy was the one who realized that maybe I had begun leaning too far toward formal schooling. After all, it’s all I (and he) know, and Bug is only four. So I took a few days to just let him be him and not push him toward formal schooling. I’ve been immersing myself in Montessori reading and have been changing around our house a little to be more Montessori. And once I let up on the pressure and let him take the lead, he did after a day of decompression. He began volunteering for lessons again and volunteering to play educational games (which he had stopped doing) and cheerfully reading once again.

Speaking of reading, Bug is doing fantastic! He can read all of his Bob books, though he hasn’t. He has favorites he likes to pick. But he’s read over half of them including the last one without an issue. He’s beginning to try regular books too, but lacks a little confidence. Now that I’ve had him take the lead again, he’s been taking to bringing me foam letters and arranging them in made up words for me to read to him. I just recently read that the Montessori way is to spell words before reading them, so that makes me happy- this counts as literary practice! He’s also still enjoying making up stories- one of the projects we did recently was he made up his own super hero, and I wrote down attributes about his superhero as he dictated to me, and he drew a picture of Owentayx the super hero. He also enjoyed writing (dictating) a letter to Grandma and Grandpa, which they enjoyed receiving, too.

Smiley has been busy too. He has begun kicking us out of the bathroom while he’s going potty, and is almost completely independent except for getting dressed again. He reliably counts to two now, and he knows most of his “preschool” colors, although he still gets confused sometimes. He also likes trying to identify letters. We’ve been doing the Montessori way of teaching letter sounds before letter names, which is something we had wanted to do with Bugs but just didn’t for whatever reason. He’s very two, but a very sweet two. It’s a regular occurrence for him to tell us spontaneously that he loves us multiple times a day- compared to his brother, who right now thinks it’s funny to say he doesn’t love us. He loves playing outside, especially in our sandbox, and my goodness does the boy love swings! He could swing for hours if someone would push him that long! I’m looking forward to when he learns to pump so he can swing himself, something Bug is just learning to do now. One of Smiley’s favorite shows right now is “horse”, which he used to call “the cows”- Horseland. Thankfully he still also likes Fireman Sam and Thomas the Tank.

Rocky is also growing well. He is two months old now, can you believe it?! He is already 14 pounds, and his head control is very very good. He’s completely steady with his head for many seconds at a time, and even when he gets tired he can keep from flopping all over creation. He also likes to push away from me to sit up and look around while he is in his wrap. Last night, he gave me 9 hours of sleep straight through, which is up from the 7 hours straight he’d been giving me a couple nights before! I’m getting spoiled by him; I’ve been getting a solid 6 hours at a stretch pretty consistently for a month or so I’d say. Nursing is going excellently, and is easy for both of us now. He makes all sorts of noises now and can communicate many different emotions: happiness, hunger, pain, uncomfortable, needs a diaper change, lonely/bored, tired, and probably a few more I’m forgetting right now. He laughs now, too, which is one of the best sounds in the universe. He hates having a wet or dirty diaper, and we change him super often. We think that may be one place where we went wrong with Bug.

Him being our first, I think we tried to save money on diapers, what with diapers being expensive and everyone telling us to try to “save diapers”. Plus daycare would only every change him so often and never more. We sort of went off the daycare schedule, and poor Bug had so many diaper rashes! We thought it was normal to be buying diaper cream all the time. Then with Smiley, we threw all that out the window as I learned about elimination communication and began doing some of that with him. We changed him constantly, anytime he was wet, even just a little. We went through a ton of diapers, but he only got diaper rash once, when he’d been on antibiotics and having diarrhea subsequently for a couple weeks. I think in the end we used less diapers with Smiley because he potty trained himself so quickly, hating being wet or dirty. Bug just doesn’t mind. So with Rocky, we are following what we did with Smiley, and changing him constantly. I’m going to start doing some elimination communication with him too. We’re hoping to preserve his sense of cleanliness!

We added to our family, too. You know, because three kids, two large dogs, and two cats aren’t enough. So Saturday, we got the boys some fish, and they have been doing a great job taking care of them. They’re just feeder gold fish, but the boys like them. They like to feed them. 🙂 We began with four, but one died the next morning, so now we are down to three. At least Friendly the cat has stopped incessantly hunting them! The fish live on Bug’s desk in the living room, where everyone can see them. We also rearranged the living room, so we have a clear toys/school area and a seating area. So far we love it! Oh, and we got a new vehicle because our two older vehicles died, so now the two car seats get to be secured via LATCH, hooray! However, we had to get Bug a new car seat, one that was very narrow and with no armrests, as anything else wouldn’t fit. The problem is that it’s difficult to buckle him in with how his seat attaches, and he can no longer buckle himself! It doesn’t help that his buckle is set really low into the seat! We’re getting an extender for his seat belt to hopefully fix this problem, so we’ll see.

That’s all for now- gotta go!

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