Friday, December 23, 2016

Learning about Waiting

Madeleine is actually a pretty patient kid, but if you ask  her about Christmas or her birthday she'll say,
"I'm not excited. I'm sad, because I have to wait."

She's been exploring more the words "irritated" and "bored" lately, but I figured we could take a quick detour and talk about patience and waiting for a few days, especially since we are waiting on the baby to get big enough to be born.

It's easier than most emotions since she already knows the word "wait". I'm not trying to give her a definition on something that is abstract. "Irritating" has been hard since she doesn't understand how it's different than angry, and bored she gets that it's negative but not really the definition.

Anyway, I had picked up a great book two weeks ago when I was browsing the library called "Emily's Balloon" by Komako Sakai. 

I love this book. It is good on so many levels. But what I liked the most is that the word "wait" isn't anywhere in the book. She loses her balloon in a tree and she has to wait for her mom to get it the next day. This book and "Waiting for Mama" both don't actually end by the child getting what they were waiting for. The books ends with the reader waiting just like the child in the book. This book show her upset and dreaming about all the things that she wants to do , but she knows she wants to wait. I feel like it validated her emotions and made the book more relatable. 

The four I did remember to take a picture of are pretty good. I already mentioned "Waiting for Mama" above. "Waiting" is supposed to be a big hit, but really I don't like it much. Madeleine does though because after I read it once she could "read" it to herself. "Waiting is not Easy" we talked about how people can be annoying when they are waiting. We talked about how waiting can be hard but that doesn't mean we need to be rude or annoying. The "I Am Patient" was actually better than I expected because we were able to talk about situations that Madeleine is really good at waiting. She just learned the phrase "Excuse me" and we talked about how we sometimes have to wait our turn etc.

The last thing we did was think about times we have to wait. Sometimes we have to wait to eat dinner or standing in line. But other times we have to wait a very long time like for a baby to come or for strawberries to be in seasons again. Madeleine is really into "good choices and bad choices", so we ended by talking about how standing close to me is good and screaming or laying on the ground is a bad choice. She reminded me if we take "3 deep breaths" how that was good and then we could stand still. I wish it was that easy right? :)

Winter Solstice

This was one of those things that we talked about more than we actually celebrated. I think in the future I'd like to get one or two small traditions started for the solstice but it didn't happen this year. One of the things I kept struggling with is that it is a pagan holiday, and while the traditions they have are beautiful, it just didn't fit our family. So social media was kind of a bust when it came for ideas.

The more I thought about it, I decided that the coolest thing about it is the night is so long. Most things seem to focus on the fact it is the shortest day, but I like the night, so I wanted to emphasize that more. The moon's influence is seen in my opinion the most at the beach. The tides are something you can physically see and lets face it, we are up for any trip to the beach. Lucky for me, the weather was 47 degrees and no wind. Not too bad at all. So we piled in our car two hours before sunset and went to beach.

It was lovely. It always is, but I love the beach in the off season. I love watching Madeleine at the beach now that she isn't terrified of waves. She can basically run as far as she wants and we don't worry about losing site of her. That leads to one happy tired kid, and lets her explore as much as her little heart wants.

There is so much to explore too since there are less people and trash. Finding this clam still with the animal with it was pretty cool. We have a book about sea life that Madeleine likes flipping through so seeing on in person was neat. We felt how much heavier it was and we could even see the clam sticking out a bit. 

Eventually, we watched the sunset and then we read our solstice books on the stairs down to the beach.

They were both pretty good. The Shortest Day was more in line with the general Earth unit we are doing, but they were both good.

This one was pretty short and simple, but since we are learning about the moon and its phases and the Earth's rotation, it's something we talked about more than anything else. We've been also transition into reading about snow and Winter instead of Fall. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Being pretty pregnant and all, Christmas has been a big enough challenge this year. So when Madeleine came home from her nursery school asking when we were going to celebrate Hanukkah, I was shocked. She didn't let it go though. All last week and most of this week she has been talking about it. Honestly, I think she might have been more excited about Hanukkah than Christmas. So I emailed her teachers, and then started getting things ready for our day of Hanukkah.

I'm really lucky that a lot of my favorite customers at Starbucks are Jewish. When I told them that Madeleine had her heart set on Hanukkah, they helped me get a list of what to do and where to get them. They are wonderful, and they even told me about their childish dreams of Christmas and how their parents made their wishes happen. Even Madeleine's teachers sent her home with a little dreidel and book to borrow, so by today everything was almost set. 

First we read some books of course about Hanukkah.

The Story of Hanukkah was really good and religious. 
I have a Little Dreidel was the dreidel song. Turns out there is like 10 verses to it. Madeleine has been learning it at nursery school so she was pretty excited to hear the whole thing.
Then the last book was just a short story about Latkes. It was cute and about helping people.

Then we made dinner. Madeleine had made the applesauce with me earlier this week, so we just had to make the latkes. 

After dinner, we played the dreidel game, ate our jelly donuts, and lit our "menorah".

Madeleine surprised us by knowing what each side of the dreidel meant. She would sigh or try to cheat each time she landed on "shin".

She was super concerned that we didn't have a big helping candle in the middle.

 We briefly talked about temples and how we would be sad if someone trashed and hurt our temple, and how we would celebrate having it back. I think she got that part.

 I learned a lot about Hanukkah and it was a fun family evening. This whole week is just a week of celebrations. Tomorrow is the Winter solstice which we are planning on celebrating, and then of course, Christmas, and Madeleine's birthday.

Monday, December 19, 2016


Now that we are towards the end of pregnancy of offspring #2, I'm realizing that I'm probably going to wish that I kept a record of the homeschooling stuff that I did with Madeleine a little better. Instagram gets a lot of it, and I enjoy using mostly for tracking my day to day things, but typing things out on a computer is much easier than trying to do it on the ipad. On top of that, even though I haven't blogged a lot, Matt and I still refer back to here regularly to see what we did with Madeleine as a tinier human. I'm guessing we'll keep that up for the long run, so it's worth putting more things on here.

My basic homeschooling philosophy is to expose Madeleine to things and hope she learns something in the meanwhile. We have very low expectations for her. Pretty much we expect her to try it, and let us know what she thinks. We don't do almost any letters or numbers in our home. Most things are units based on what is going on in our lives, or something that Matt and I are interested in that we think Madeleine might like too. The wonderful thing about 3 is that they are curious about everything, so it's really hard to have something flop. I don't think anything has yet to be honest, even with the kids I babysit everyday. As long as I present it as something that I'm interested in, they are usually pretty cool with it.

What we've done so far...
Age 0-1: Survive as parents
Age 1-2: Learn how to not kill self
Age 2-3: Emotions, colors, and started with foods

  • Emotions
    • Happy
    • Angry
    • Sad
    • Hurt
  • Colors
  • Foods
    • Berries
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Honey
    • Eggs
    • Bread
    • Asparagus
    • Apples
    • Yogurt
    • Where meat comes from
  • Other random things
    • Introduced butter knife
    • Laundry

Age 3-4: We focused mostly on food, but we put other things in too.

  • Food units
    • Meatballs
    • Spaghetti
    • Lettuce
    • Lavender
    • Ice cream
    • Strawberries
    • Blackberries
    • Tomatoes
    • Pears
    • Peaches
    • Apples
    • Bread
    • Salad
    • Pickles
    • Cucumbers
    • Soup
    • Cookies
    • Radishes
    • Scallops
    • Honey 
  • Emotions (kind of)
    • Disappointed
    • Mean
    • How being tired effects how we feel
    • Excited
    • Patience
    • Calming routines
    • How our words can effect others (like calling someone fat or saying you don't want to play with someone)
    • Bad choices v good choices 
    • Frustration
  • Other stuff
    • How babies are made
    • How families are connected
    • Blood
    • Being nice to the Earth
    • Rosa Parks
    • Gardening
    • Butterfllies
    • Composting
    • Microbes
    • Seasons (This one is on going. All other units revolve around the seasons for the most part)
    • What kind of music we like
    • Making grocery list and sticking to them
    • Quilting
    • Forests
    • Geography
    • The Nutcracker
  • Social Scripts
    • How to act in a library
    • How to order food
    • How to pay for food
    • How to ask others for help
    • How to say and use the phrase "excuse me"

The general outline for a unit is lots of books plus an activity a day.

For food, we go to the farmer's market and she gets to pick out and pay for the food that we are going to do. Then I already have a list of books on hold at the library. We then generally make 2-3 recipes with said food. The idea behind it is that she tries new foods and that she learns that she can "not like how something is cooked" but she can still like the food. Ex. She hates pickled onions but loves onions in salsa.

The rest are pretty similar with the exception of scripts, since Matt and I rehearse with her, practice, and then make her do it. After we do a debriefing too. :D Right now we are working on speaking up when ordering at somewhere loud and giving people a bit more space when waiting in line. We don't wait in line near her. We usually are 20+ feet away because otherwise we find that people try to yell across the restaurant to talk to us instead of talking to her. For things that more complicated than Costco ("I'd like a hot dog, please."), I sometimes send her with a piece of paper, but for the most part she can do it. I also send her with almost if not exact change, so the money part isn't an issue.

And that's pretty much it. :) I'm going to hopefully start putting up the activities and books we are reading. Right now, I have the current unit on pinterest and as we do the pins, I delete them. But this way, hopefully I can keep everything together for future reference.