It feels like we’ve been doing school for more than two months already, but subhanAllah, time just flies. We feel pretty settled in Kira’s routine at this point, and of course the little ones are always changing routines as sleep schedules change, and their interests change. Here’s some of the highlights of the last month!
The most exciting thing we’ve done this month was head to the SeaLife Aquarium during their homeschool week. Aamina and Amatullah loved it, and seemed to soak it all in! At this stage, it’s all about exposure, not mastery, so just strolling through was enough for us. I have to say I love MN and all the homeschool events available. Normally it would cost upwards of $40 for just me and the little ones to go to SeaLife Aquarium, but during homeschool week, we were able to take part for only $11! The kids had such a great time, and alhamdulilah, they seemed to really pick up the variety of complexity of sea life. Not all fish are just fish!
We got started with busy bags in October, and in sha Allah I plan to continue building our busy bag stash in November as I build up supplies. I was able to find enough supplies at the dollar store to make five busy bags. Now, the trick is to convince Aamina that the busy bags aren’t more interesting than her school work!
I picked up Jolly Phonics, and was so excited to get started! Aamina loved the first few pages, but has lost her spark when it comes to anything school-like. I’m really excited to use Jolly Phonics though when things pick up again. It has enough variety in the work that I think it’s exactly what Aamina needs. Sure, it’s contained in a workbook, but with the stories, letter-sound actions, stickers, games, and activities, it’s the multi-sensory type of curriculum she needs.
Like I just said, Aamina has really lost interest in doing her school activities, whether it’s a lap book, work book, or other projects. She’s still so young (turned 4 today, mashaAllah!), so I’m not too terribly worried about it, but I was hoping we could have some nice one-on-one time before the baby is born, in sha Allah. Kira loved workbooks, so it was easy to just pull something out and work together, with little to no prep work. Aamina seems to be the type of kid that really wants hands-on activities. Kiwi Crate has been awesome for that, but there’s only so many kits I can buy in our budget, and I’ve been really slacking in the preschool prep department.
I think what would really help is if I found stuff both Aamina and Amatullah could do in the morning, rather than trying to do preschool stuff during Amatullah’s nap time. Aamina seems like she uses that quiet time in the day to recharge also, and doesn’t want to do something that requires a lot of thinking. Most mornings I spend an hour or two catching up on things on my laptop, kind of like reading the newspaper in the morning. It’s going to be a hard routine to give up! Or, I can try to wake up around 6am to have that time to myself. Or, just wait until she’s older to try again for nap time school work.
Busy season for Kira
Kira’s in the midst of the busy season for fencing tournaments. She is actually out of town right now for a competition, and was gone two weeks ago for another competition. Since she doesn’t do school during the summer (we’ve tried and that just doesn’t work very well for her), she doesn’t take full days off from school when she goes. Rather, she tries to work hard to finish up her week’s worth before she leaves, only taking with her reading, or other easily traveling items. Earlier this week she was quite stressed out, but in sha Allah it’s a lesson in time management and each competition gets a little easier.
Less TV time
We were using the TV tickets for quite some time, but no matter how long I was consistent with only allowing the TV tickets assigned at the beginning of the day, Aamina would get upset when she would run out. One day in my pure exhaustion over fighting about the TV, I took away the PS3 (how we watch Amazon streaming – basically our TV) for a whole week. Sure the house was quite a bit messier with toys strewn about, but the lack of fighting over the TV made me far more patient to deal with it. Alhamdulilah, so far I’m really enjoying our no-TV weekdays, and then she has a free pass for however much TV on the weekend right now. I do allow Signing Time during the week, basically as my way to get a nap in while Aamina is up and Amatullah is napping. Life is fluid, though, so this will probably change again over time. On the plus side, Aamina and Amatullah have really become quite imaginative in their free time!
For next month? We shall see. As of right now I’m pretty happy with how much imagination the little ones use in their free time, so I don’t feel pressured to get academics in. I feel more pressure when we are using the TV often.