Sunday, November 17, 2013

Learning the alphabet: The letter B

Yikes time can pass by quickly! This week in the Ladybug household we are actually focusing on the letter E, but have not updated the blog since we first began, at the letter A (sorry about that!) 
The whole 'alphabet book' part is going really well, not only is the folder somewhere to store all of Ladybug and Petals craft items, but it also gives them something to look at on their own. A few times now I have found Ladybug sat looking through her folder naming all the letters and assorted things we made or did during that week. She also loves showing off her folder to her Dad and Nanna each week. 

The letter B:

 Here is a list of the B activities we did this week: 

- We looked at some more alphabet songs on YouTube:

- The girls did some bending (I cut off the top off some bendy straws and let them bend it I to an L shape) and glued them onto a big B stencil (I just drew it freehand - our printer still isn't working!) 

- Some B tracing on dotted letters. This part is more for Petal (4) than Ladybug (2) but Ladybug still asks to do her tracing too. 

- We went through some old sticker sheets of letters and found the B stickers. 

- The girls made some plastic badges. I found these ones in our craft drawers so am not sure where exactly they are from, but I think I originally bought them in a $2 shop. The girls loved wearing their badges all day too. 

- On the weekend we went to the beach.

- The girls decorated a drawing of a bird with coloured feathers. While doing these activities we talk about how it relates to the letter we are focusing on that week. 

- We blew bubbles at the park - this one was definitely a fave! The girls also had a fun bubble bath together. 

- The girls learnt the Auslan sign for B. This sign is made by touching your thumb and pointer finger together on each hand and bringing them together as if making an eye mask with your hands. Click here to see a demonstration. 

- We made some balloon men. These were really easy, the girls drew funny faces on some inflated balloons while I cut out some feet from cardboard, threaded the knotted end through a slit in the cardboard a sticky taped the bottom to keep it secure. They loved them! 

- We ate bananas and blueberries for morning tea. Yum, yum 

- Ladybug and Petal painted some cardboard cut out butterflies which we later glued on to paper with some foam butterfly stickers. They also did some butterfly paintings (where you paint one side of the paper, then fold in half to create an identical print on the other half of the paper) 

- And on one of those hot Sydney days the girls helped to make some banana and strawberry ice cream, mmm

- We did also do some beading, but this activity turned out to be a bit of a disaster. The beads were too small and it was too hard for Ladybug (2) to thread them onto the elastic. Even with my help she quicky got frustrated and we ended up with teeny little beads EVERYWHERE which took a long time to clean up! 

Some other ideas for the letter B:

- Banana cake 
- Balloon play 
- Books 
- Boats 
- Balls 
- Brontosaurus 
- Mix and mess with dried beans 
- Balancing 
- Brain 
- Bowling 

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

When did parents become so discredited for the education of their children?

So, I have something on my mind and it's been on my mind for a while. There have been a few incidents lately involving both strangers and family/friends which have completely discredited and undervalued myself and my husband as my daughters educator.

Ladybug turned 2 in August and she doesn't attend preschool or daycare. As a mother I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with her. No, we are not made of money. No, my husband doesn't make a killing. No, we don't have a huge savings account. This is just important to us. Both of us feel that it is important for a child to have a caregiver, preferably a parent, to stay at home and teach the child. More important than money, more important than fancy cars and more important than designer clothes. I know that this thinking is not for everyone and I know that some families simply cannot afford or do not enjoy staying at home with the kids and I am not disregarding what they do, that is what preschools and daycares are designed for! I do see a place for them and understand their need. But whether the parents stay home with their kids or not, they are teaching their child. 

The other day I was told (by a stranger) that my daughter must be so clever because she watches a lot of TV ... When did TV become the teacher? I should add that first they asked if she went to preschool: No. So it must be TV right? When (and why) did we stop valuing the parent as an educator? 

Every moment a parent is with their child has the potential to be a teaching moment. No, they don't have to be crafty with Pinterest boards filled to the brim. When they're talking to their child they're giving them language skills and teaching them how to interact with others. When they're bathing their child they're teaching them about their body and how to care for it. When they're feeding their child, they're teaching them how to listen to their body and nourish themselves. Everything they do is teaching their child something: How to regulate their emotions, how to feed the cat, how to cook pancakes. Children learn naturally from their surroundings and parents are there, always setting an example by what they do. The way a parent acts teaches their child how to love others and how to love themselves. And no parents are perfect, sometimes they teach their children undesirable things, but generally parents will acknowledge that and correct it and by doing this they are teaching their children respect, honesty and human nature.

Being a stay at home mum means I am Ladybugs' primary educator and I take that role very seriously. Despite what society has somehow come to think, I do not spend that time watching day time TV or spending all my husbands earnings. At the moment Ladybug has been doing some pre-reading activities and we are currently focusing on the letter E, size ordering of objects, toilet training and gardening. Being a stay at home mum does not mean that I am lazy, that I am stupid or that I am a succubus draining the fun out of my husband. Furthermore, the fact that I am a stay at home mum doesn't mean that I am alienating my husband from being a parent too. We're in this together and those 'big decisions' are not made lightly! We talk often and keep one another informed. I am not the 'one who calls the shots' because I am the one at home, just as he is not the 'worker' because he's the one with a wage. 

By the way, I'm not trying to take the credit for my daughter 'being clever', I believe this is attributed to her personality and love of learning. She picks things up quickly and her curiosity knows no bounds. These traits are merely complimented by the fact that I am at home with her and enjoy helping her learn. 

So, the next time you see a child write their name or recite the alphabet or tie their shoelaces, how about saying "Nice work mama/dad" because parenting isn't easy and it deserves some recognition. Whether they are a stay at home parent or a working parent, they are always a teaching parent!! 

This is Ladybug and we are her teachers

(And for the record, Ladybug rarely watches TV!)

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