Plant Life

A great way to understand the cycle of plant life is for our children to see it first hand. So part of our science study is to truly see the cycle from seed to plant.

We took some monggo seeds and see what happens in 5 days. This project takes a little patience… Because we observe what happens every day.

Day 1 – We soak seeds in water. We leave it out where the sunlight can reach it. Three major things my children learned is that life needs air, water, and sunlight to thrive.

Day 2 – we observe many of the seeds grew in size and their old cover starts to wear off.

Day 3 – we see roots starting to grow out of the seed. This time we move them to their cups with soil. Don’t forget to make holes underneath so water do not drown the seeds.

Day 4 – The good Lord has brought showers and some hours of sun.  So we left our monggos alone. We let our little farmer play some golf instead! 

Day 5 – My little farmer was so elated to see that his seeds have now grown with stems and leaves. Many of them have rooted themselves well.

What a joy for kids to understand the reality of life and nature. We may plant, we may water the seeds, but truly it is God who causes the growth! 

Addition Concept for 4 year olds…

They say 4 year old boys like math and girls like writing and phonetics. In our case, Joshua was assessed in Eye Level ( a supplementary education provider) and he was better in his math than writing or reading in English. So, I decided that his math continues with me at home.

So what happens during our Math time? We do a lot of playing. We have dice games on a poster filled with numbers 1-100. We drop the dice randomly on the poster and on whatever number it falls on you have to read it out loud! Example the dice fell on 76, Joshua has to say “seventy-six”. It’s a fun game with kids his age!

Next, we start going through the addition concept with some tools. I bought this Math Discovery Kit in Amazon when I was in the US and this has been very helpful.

There are many ways to use the kit. Recently, we used it to learn and practice Addition.

The tools make the addition concept easy to understand. The method looks fun and enjoyable to do for 4 year olds.

Placing and counting these circular buttons help Joshua visualize the meaning of the number. When he reads out  “nine plus six equals”, he starts getting curious what number it will be.  When he finishes counting all the buttons he is confident he got the right number and so he starts writing.

This is enjoyable stage and hopefully we are off to a good start. I pray that I can truly teach him well to love math and be good at it.

Creative Math for Toddlers

Since I want Josh to practice the concepts of numbers I prepared another activity just by using simple materials. The objective is for Josh to really count and understand what the number means.

What I used are the following:

1. cardboard from a used folder

2. Colored paper

3. Play dough

4. Marker Pen

I cut out into similar rectangular shape the old folder. Then I cut circles in different colors from the colored paper. Those circles I would paste at the top part of the rectangular board.  Below the circle, I would put the number. 

With the play dough I made small round circles.  There should be enough to be placed for all the card board numbers that the child will complete. 

  
It is a guided play. I tell Joshua he has to help the circle get their seeds. The seed should be the same as the number. Oh he enjoyed the challenge! But of course, you have to help him count and understand that those “seeds” have to be inside the circle.

  
This was Josh doing number 8. When I presented the card board it was one at a time and in random order.  This way he won’t be so overwhelmed and just feel like he is playing a game. 

  
Here are some of his completed work. The plus part was he enjoyed this activity he kept asking to do it again and again. Of course, that brought a huge smile on my face 🙂

Teaching this math concept will lead him to understand later the concepts of addition and subtraction soon! 

Math concepts for 2 year olds

I have been contemplating about teaching the concept of Math to Josh. He can already tell numbers 1-10 and he is exploring 11-20.  Looking at numbers helps memorizing the look and shape of the number. But how about the concept of the number?  He sort of understands because we count the picture items on number books. 

 
I am praying I will be able to teach him addition and subtraction soon. But first, I must establish his understanding of what the number means.  We try to count things like his cheese and pomelo.

So I decided to do a game with Josh. I will put a number card and an empty container beside the number and a bucket filled with blue bead balls. The game works like this… I must put a number card and then he must put the corresponding balls by counting. Then if he correctly gets it, he gets pieces of his favorite snack. (Ok, it’s chips and I know some moms will debate how bad this is for my son. I agree with you… But for example sake, please bear with the illustration).

 
When he answers correctly he gets a reward! 

  

Of course, in the beginning I needed to coach him how to do it.  I did it about twice until he did it himself. The trick here was to just let him do it himself.  When he holds the balls and gets to count them, it helps in grasping the concept. We have to keep practicing so that he would get better and better. If we keep at it we can start doing math concepts such as addition and subtraction soon. I am looking forward to that day! 

  

Playgroup – Cloud Clay

I have mommy friends who share the same sentiment about teaching our own child and then getting them to a play group on a weekly basis. So we meet up weekly and do activities that each mom takes turn to prepare. The idea is, Mommy is the teacher. What we do in playdates is to prepare fun, educational activities and sit with our own child and guide them as they explore.

Cloud Clay Play date

Mommy Cris prepared cloud clay. It is made of flour, water, and food coloring. All these she made at home. It is safe and edible for our kids. With measuring cups, spoons, and shape molders kids went crazy on this activity! 

  
Each Mommy then guides her own child to doing much more with the clay! It was fun and enjoyable! Putting in themes like animals unto the cloud just added ideas to our kids imaginations too.

  
You would not believe how much fun the kids had with their mom as teacher and exploring with playmates too! They just wanted to go on for more than 2 hours. 

   

My favorite part about our play dates is having mommy time. These are moments for us to bond among moms and talk about our journey into motherhood. These are conversations that refuel and reenergizes us from all the busyness of raising kids and running a career. 

Truly, I am thanking God for these mothers who want to dedicate themselves as the first and best teacher to their kids. It’s really the original design of God anyway. I pray that we will continue doing more of these and through God’s grace be encouraged to keep teaching our children! 

 

Teaching the alphabets at home

Did you know I was totally clueless when I decided not to put Josh into a day care and to just teach him at home! I did not know what to do and where to start. Good thing, I was able to observe a class done by home school moms. There I saw them have kids get familiar with the alphabet one letter a week.  Also they made sure the child would do an activity that would be sensory for better memory work.

So here in the province, I go to National Bookstore and Daiso to look for “stuff” to use for my lessons. I try to make Joshua’s learning experience be an interesting and fun one.

I found some really cute push pins/pop sticks in Daiso and it was 24 pieces for P88.00. It has different colors and it will make a good tool for motor skill.


Also buy paper plates because there are so much you can do with paper plates. Since Joshua knows A-E, I want to teach him the letter F. So I drew an F on the center of the plate and the drew items that started with F.

Then I got an old box (of juice) and stuck the paper plate on the box. I bore holes on the letter F using the pushpins and made it in a way that you can push and pull out the pins. This way, Joshua would have a sensory activity that helps him draw the letter F.


What Joshua did was push the pins in as I teach him the letter and the sound. We keep repeating and makes him push the pins on the letter.

A week later, I made him do the letter G using the same method. It has made learning F and G fun and creative.

The great thing about this home made letter tool is seeing my little boy play with the push pins and the letters throughout the day. His little fingers get stronger and he also discovered that he can sort the colors of the push pins! He feels great when he accomplishes these fun challenges.

These are so fun, easy, and not really that expensive. You can reuse the push pins or pop sticks for other things later too!

It is my heart’s desire to give mothers ideas on how to teach their own child at home. I hope you can try this or make something creative inspired from my blog. So here is the video of how Joshua learned his letter F.

Sometimes you drive me nuts!

Recently my little boy has brought up a notch on his episodes of meltdowns and crying. He looks for mommy all the time. If I am out of his sight he starts calling “mommy” with a crack on the voice. Soon after he will start crying. When he does not get what he wants, he starts crying again. 

It is quite annoying when his crying escalates into higher decibels. It just drives me crazy! Either I shut down and freeze or I just get all irritated. Telling my son, “please don’t cry, just talk to me”, sometimes does not work. My little boy has tantrums and cries. We need a time out! His Yaya has to get him and we need to separate. I feel so exhausted and feel such a bad mommy because I can’t control the situation and have a peaceful dealing with this 2 year old!

 

When Joshua gets impatient, or irritated because he can’t get what he wants, or frustrated because I don’t understand him, or upset because he can’t have my 100% full attention, then the tantrum begins.  He can wail for 20 minutes and it can be so tiring and exhausting and provokes me to get angry. Agh… It’s hard to keep cool, and I know I must. 

 

 

So, I asked other moms about their experiences and many who have passed this stage I am in. I almost got a unanimous answer… They said they can’t really remember what they did and how they managed! That account alone consoles me. It means, these days shall pass and will be a memory that does not scar! Praise God!  Hahahaha… I need that simple encouragement.

It’s so funny because during my birthday weekend, we had friends with us in the farm. Then, my girl friend Jade who has only one child entered our room. She saw Joshua in his meltdown episode and my little daughter also crying because she needed to breastfeed. Both of my children were crying. So you can imagine how the room sounded. I got Anna to breastfeed her, while Joshua was wailing in front of me. It was happening for a good 2 minutes. My friend was watching this episode. There I was trying to calm my nerves about it — all I could say was “Please stop scaring Tita (Auntie) Jade, she may never decide to get pregnant again!” Jade and I laughed at my remark. To some moms that scene would look sooo scary!  

I thank God for His grace. No wonder when I see mothers who have more than 2 children, they have patience and calm spirits… The catalyst in developing that character are their husbands and children! Hahahaha! It’s absolutely true! 

 

 

Okay my kids drive me nuts sometimes. At times, I have to be disciplined to discipline too (it means not to delay disciplining my child when he is disobedient or disrespectful).  But bottom line is — these moments shall pass and my heart will continue to love them despite these little shortcomings. I think many times I fail as a mom… I get totally clueless what to do, plus my emotions get involved. Yet,  I must remember the privilege God has given to me to be a mother… Though times get tough — in the end God rewards me with my children’s hugs and kisses. And all those bad moments go away! And they really do! 

Training to Potty

Sometime ago, I wrote about buying that toilet seat for kids that you place above the adult toilet. My son was able to poop on it and I was so mighty proud. Little did you know that he did that only once. Since then, that toilet seat has become just an point of reference on where people should sit when they need to go to the bathroom .

For months since that successful event, we have tried to make him sit on that toilet seat and see nothing happen. We would still end up with soiled diapers for he refuses to poo sitting on that high toilet seat.

Now at 1 year and 9 months, I need to get some intervention. My son’s change of diapers have increased and that’s because he urinates more and poos as much as twice in a day. I know my son is very smart, but on the potty a bit lazy.

It was last week that I went to the baby store to see the kind of little potty they had. I needed my son and husband help me make the decision on what to buy. And we finally did our purchase — the Safety 1st Comfy Cushy 3-in-1 Potty.

We brought it home and Josh kept playing with it like a new toy. He would open and sit and then close his potty. We also kept instructing, “this is where you pee and poo”.

However in the evening, I got frustrated because despite the push to use his potty he still chose to soil his diapers. I decided to not let him wear any diaper and just walk around the house in his shorts. It was only then that he wet himself and the floor. It became our teaching moment. We explained to him that when he feels like peeing to go to the potty. His daddy also demonstrated what Josh should do.

In my frustration, I really prayed out loud. “Lord teach me what to so I can effectively teach my son to potty!” I was losing my patience over this, so I rested from the potty training obsession.

The next morning, after Joshua wakes, he tells me to change his diaper because it is “puno” or full. When I was changing him I saw he was ready to pee again. So I raised him out of bed to his potty. Then with time and encouragement he finally succeeded! His smile was ear to ear with all the words of praise and high fives.

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He was so happy with his achievement he called his Yaya and showed her his potty. Then on his own, he sat on the potty and also poo-ed on it. What a bonus! I thanked God for the blessing and I pray that my son will be potty trained fully. As they always say repetition makes perfect!

Music and intelligence

Even when my son was in my womb, I had sung to him songs. I made him listen to my ipod tunes. They say, if you let your child listen to classical music, they get brain stimulation. For me, any music can stimulate a child.

Maybe its partly genes that my son is just a natural music lover and dancer too! But I am more inclined to believe that exposing a child to music at an early age just helps in their development.

I have never stopped singing to Joshua. I sing songs I know, I have also discovered and reconnected with many childhood songs, and I also put melodies to my own sentences. Music is part of our mother and son relationship.

I also bought him musical toys like a small xylophone. He also liked playing with a baby drum. I also downloaded a baby piano and a baby drum application on my tablet. He started playing with these as early as 4 months.
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A few days after Josh turned one, I decided to take him to a kindermusic class in gymboree. It was there I discovered that Joshua was quite ahead. His exposure to music at home gave him so much confidence. I was a bit embarassed actually. He was getting all teachers attention while the other kids were still figuring music out.

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listening to percussions at a wedding

My son at 15 months can do the actions of several nursery songs (about 8 children’s songs or more). We are constantly exposing him to instruments and music. Its been a wonderful thing to do songs together and affirming him when he gets it right. It is a new level of fun!

As a parent, I can’t stop praising God for the joy I experience with my toddler. Music has been a great blessing to my little intelligent baby too.

Thank you for the music… the songs Im singing… thanks for all the joy they’re bringing”