A New Year

Happy New Year people of the Internet! I realise I’m a bit late in this post but better late than never.

We’ve been trying to settle back into normal life after the holidays, a lovely New Years Eve and Day with friends, a trip to the in laws and Dan having time off but have been slightly thwarted by being so busy busy busy with boat viewings. However, it seems to have paid off and we appear to have found a buyer! Exciting times but until the ink’s drying…etc I don’t want to believe it’s happening!

The sale of the boat is tying in with some big changes for us but I can’t say anymore yet so watch this space!

So, to 2013…a space yet to be filled. I’m not massively into resolutions but have thoughts on things I’d like to bear in mind as we go on with the year.

I’d like to start running more regularly. I really enjoy running (my teenage self would be horrified!) but haven’t been more than half a dozen times in the last year! I’m aiming for weekly runs so we’ll see. I think it’s the prospect of 30-60 mins of completely child free time to myself that I enjoy most but the exercise is an added bonus!

I’ve also been contemplating doing a Doula training course for a while now. I am really drawn to the idea of supporting and serving a mother and her family at such an exciting and turbulent time in their lives. But I’m not sure if this is the right time for me to be doing it with the kids so young and I still haven’t thought of a solution for child care for such unpredictable hours. Also, there are already a lot of doula’s in Brighton so I don’t know whether I’d get any work anyway. One for more prayer and thought I think!

My final ‘resolution’ for me is less screen time but it actually applies for all of us! I spend far too much time on my phone and Sophia seems to have none for days and then spurts of lots of TV and time on the laptop so I’m going to regulate and limit that a bit more. My one consolation is that as we rely on DVD’s and Netflix, at least I have some control over what she is watching!

In terms of the kids I think I’m going to start doing a bit of structured learning with Sophia every day or every other day. Nothing heavy but just responding to her eagerness to learn and requests to ‘do’ letters…etc. I’m going to keep it really simple as she’s only just 3 but am trying to follow her lead! I’m excited about one of my home-eddy plans but will cover it in a separate post I think.

She’s really into imaginative play at the moment and that was further aided and encouraged by a till, doctors kit, toy town and sylvanian family dolls house (very grateful small girl here after Christmas and birthday a week apart!) so am going to try and remember to join in when requested and also try and bios up a dressing up clothes stash when we’re somewhere with enough space!

For Isaac, I remember the jump from 12 to 18 months being huge in terms of actual play so am going to try and do more messy/sensory play for him and generally make sure that he gets attention as well as up until recently he hasn’t required or wanted much more than milk and room to explore!

Finally, I’m going to try and spend more time outdoors. After so so so much rain, I’d forgotten how much the kids thrive outside so we’ve already bundled up and went to Stanmer Park for a wintry walk with friends on Friday and went to the park on the beach today. I was chilly but the kids seemed unfazed and loved it.

The proof is in the pudding!

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How about you? Any resolutions or plans for 2013? I’d love to hear them!

Eager to read and write…or the first test of Mum’s resolve

This last week I have been consumed by the issue of learning to read/write…it started innocently enough, Sophia has been really interested in learning letters for the last month or so and we had a few activity books where you can trace the letter then have a go yourself so she was just merrily doing that when the urge took her. Then a friend posted a code for a month’s free Reading Eggs so I thought I’d give it a go and oh my, does she love it! For the past week she’s spent 1-2 hours each morning clicking away to howls of protest when I suggest actually (shock horror) going out!

I started a thread on a Christian home education Facebook page and unintentionally opened myself to a phonics vs. ‘whole word’ medley of confusion. I started doing some research which hindered rather than helped. There was talk of flash cards, whether it’s damaging to start phonics first, whether reading can be learnt entirely one way or another and at what age it should be attempted. I won’t spew out what I’ve read as I’m sure many places will do it much more succinctly than I could. But I’ve concluded that:

a) She is not even 3 yet. There is no rush. My gut instinct was to be child led and not push things, I didn’t even consider that I’d be thinking about reading at this age so I’m annoyed at myself for letting my head get the better of me and start doubting what I already really knew. We will continue doing things at her pace and remain largely unstructured through these early years – learning through play and life (as we know it).

b) She (like me) has a tendency to panic if you put her on the spot. Letters and numbers that she merrily recites on her own time seem to drop out of her head the moment you ask her to identify one. I don’t think that flash cards or any attempt at structure/teaching would help her at this point in time. Which really just solidifiies point a) but I liked having 3 points.

and finally

c) I suspect that neither approach is the be all and end all. Every child being different and all surely means that one approach will work for one, another for another and a mixture of both for yet another. And increasingly I am reading of families where a child simply picked up a book and worked it out for themselves. The emphasis seems to be on the child wanting to learn.

But mainly, this has been a a test for me in trusting my instincts and not panicking. Having taken responsibility for their education I need to remain calm, make the best decisions I can and accept that sometimes I will make mistakes. I also need to remember to let God guide me, that he has plans for us and will look out for us!

‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’

Jeremiah 29 : 11