For Science!

The schooling highlight from last week was definitely Joey making Cricket a birthday card. I cut and folded construction paper, wrote “Happy Birthday from Joey” inside, and then gave the Toot some crayons and stickers. I also traced his hand on the back . . . poorly. I need more practice at this sort of thing, clearly.

We also had sort of an educational experience for Kit on Friday; he took part in a study investigating what kinds of speech babies like. I got a postcard from the Infant Research Center on campus when he was three months old; I filled it out and returned it; and now my baby is contributing to science. He was much admired (although I wonder whether this is part of a strategy to help people have a good experience), and the researchers told me hopefully that they have others studies of seven- and nine-month-olds. I told them that we’d be delighted. It’s hard to believe how smart and capable he is—last week he figured out how to open a book. He moves with purpose; he sets his sights high and then makes and executes his own plans (e.g., “I am going to crawl under the table, open that book, and just chew the dickens out of it”); he is very much different from Joey, and I keep being slightly shocked by his competence and clear sense of purpose. I keep posting something very like that, I realize—but I keep being surprised! I imagine the big, strong, sociable kid that he very well may grow up to be, and I can’t wait.

Joey’s appointment was cancelled by the pediatrician’s office—they left a message saying that he doesn’t need to be seen until March!—and while we keep calling during business hours, we keep getting their voicemail. I wonder whether they’re having some kind of internal problem over there, but whatever the reason, today we’re going to just keep calling and calling . . . and if that yields no fruit, tomorrow we’ll just go to the office and try to get things straightened out in person. But we keep seeing and hearing about kids whose speech was as behind or more behind than his, and that is (perhaps perversely) encouraging. Once every couple of weeks, he’ll link a couple of words together (last week: “No, mama”).

Meducation

Joey is happier, stringing words together, and altogether responding well to home preschool. I feel a little less conflicted about oppressing him. Most of his talk has been unambiguously awesome:

Q: Is that your phone?

J: My phone!

Q: Are you going to have dinner?

J: Nice dinner!

J: Plane! Plane! Plane fly back there!!

At one point, I showed him a short video of Cricket and said “That’s your brother, Cricket.” He said no, so I tried again—“That’s your brother, Cricket”—and he said “No my brother!” So, uh, great language skills: depressing conversation.

This week we’re going to be doing Music and Sounds, which is right up his alley; tomorrow is Joey’s birthday, so it seems fitting that we’re going to do something that he loves. I have made lesson plans and playlists and am now just waiting for the little Toot to wake up.

Meghann Says

I’m keeping your brother in my thoughts.

I want to hear more about what you are reading. We’re home(pre)schooling as well (and we plan to homeschool once J & A are school aged) and I always like to hear about what other families are doing.

And I’ve been getting a girl vibe from you for a while now. My accuracy when I get a “vibe” is ridiculous; I’ve been wrong once in fifteen years. Heh.

Home/pre/schooling-wise, I’ve only read three books, and they have quite a bit in common: Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives, Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-School Years, and Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child. I’d be interested to hear any recommendations, absolutely including non-Montessori stuff—that’s just a place I know I want to explore philosophically. I like the Montessori idea of letting the child dictate to a greater or lesser extent what s/he’ll learn (hereafter “he,” since I’ve got a Joey in mind); since I don’t have to worry about meeting any kind of official standards for learning, there’s no problem with letting Joey go as far as he can in one direction while ignoring another for as long as it suits him. I don’t want to homeschool once the kids are school-aged—six, to my way of thinking—because I want the kiddos exposed to a wide variety of people and ideas, much wider than I can manage myself even with outings and friends. I don’t have a clear list in mind of things I’d like the Snerks to learn before we send him to school; if he gets to kindergarten and can’t count or recite the alphabet, well, I hear kindergarten is an excellent place to learn those things. I’m concerned with figuring out how not to let my own preferences—for the practical stuff like cooking, gardening, and woodworking, as well as colors and books and sensorial stuff, and away from math or geography—steer what we do. I plan to give Joey choices, of course, but I select those choices in the first place. That’s certainly one reason for wanting to put him into school when he’s six.

I’m (perhaps obviously) not going to do genuine and hardcore Montessori—I’m still working up my tentative plan (right now I’m planning to start when Joey is two, but if he doesn’t seem ready, I’ll leave it until January 2013), but I’m pretty sure that I want to incorporate a different (additional) kind of “sensorial” activity: things from and similar to those on this list. Joey is a very physical kid, and I’ve already needed to start finding ways for him to express that beyond trying to climb into the fireplace or break the dvd player. I pulled out the ball pit that was supposed to be a 2012 Christmas present a few days ago because Joey’s just so full of go and so frustrated that we don’t go to the park twice a day. So far, it seems like he’s finding enjoyable and useful. It’s been kind of a rough week for him, exacerbated by a nap strike, and I’ll take all the help I can get.

My brother isn’t doing well; I’ll write about that separately and soon. We keep getting new bits of good and bad news, but not enough good news. My father is going out to see him in a couple of days, and I’m sending snickerdoodles with him, since my brother says he’s craving them.