Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Simple Organizing

Maybe we split a hot chocolate while we decorated.

I know this is late, but I am still going to post an activity from December, because I am always late and because you all understand. 

One of Ty's beloved activities is making connected rings from construction paper. It is easy and we can decorate the playroom (our basement) with whatever color correlates with the season. He likes doing it so much that we change colors several times a year: green/red for Christmas, red/pink for Valentine's Day, purple/yellow for Easter and on and on. That is actually what got me started doing this - colors. It was a simple way to teach him colors. 

We have since moved on from colors into organizing and math skills. The math skills are pretty easy to recognize (counting, counting by tens, etc.), but what about organizing?
1. We had to separate the paper from the rest of the colors in the construction paper pad.
2. We organized all our supplies: scissors, stickers, stapler.
3. We sorted the cut paper into piles.
4. We planned out our teamwork. Ty made an assembly line of putting stickers on (we used the free ones from the mail) alternating colors. I stapled them together (he's not big enough for a stapler yet).

Separating piles of colors, and those with and without stickers. Plus, teaching Za colors.

The high school English teacher in me sees this as applicable to future use, such as writing a paper (of course). He can separate the information pertinent to his thesis, organize his information, divide it into paragraphs using an outline, and then assemble the paper.

Anything to add? I feel like I am missing something beside color identification, math skills, and organization.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project: Organizing Kitchen

At one point in my mommyhood, I really (deep down, did not doubt it in my heart) believed I could have a perfect kitchen. The type you see in Pottery Barn catalogs and on television shows that depict unnatural home lives. Then I had Ty and Za and realized several things:

1. I cannot follow my kids all day and pick up. I can pick up in general, but cannot (and will not) follow behind with a spray bottle and towel.
2. I become overwhelmed if I do not lower my house cleaning expectations. This is bad for me, my children, my husband, and generally anyone else I would encounter.
3. I would rather focus on working and teaching my students children. Reading, exploring, building blocks-anything is inherently more important that house cleaning.
4. Pottery Barn catalogs are stupid. (I love their stuff, but really. Really).

In an effort to have some sort of functional organization, I have been working on my kitchen. This room is the hub of my house, especially since my kids eat nonstop. Also, with my attempts at cooking and preparing fresh, non-prepackaged foods, I stand at a chopping board extra time. All of this is fine, but aside from cramming the sippy cups into a corner of my cabinet, I really have not adjusted my kitchen for kids. (We do have safety locks, but I'm referring to organization).

Organized kids are happy kids, and kids who live with organized play things hopefully apply organizational methods to their personal and school lives in a natural, unforced way.

So, stay tuned. Project: Organizing Kitchen is underway.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

SAHM Triumph: A Clean Floor

When I worked full time, my husband and I had a messy house. We just did, and we knew there was not much to do about the situation. We were tired from work and would cook a homemade meal (most of the time we tried, as we feel this is important). The combination of that and chasing the kids, well, something had to go, and it was normally the house.

If we had an upcoming party or holiday (and both times before we had a baby), we hired a maid service. I thought the money was well worth it. I will return to work some day and when that day comes, I have no qualms about hiring a maid again. Now that I am a SAHM though, funds are tight and cleaning the house is all mine.

I wish I could say I had some grand schedule or at least a calendar for cleaning my house. Maybe I could sit down and write out a loose one of what needs done every month (or maybe every week). I probably should, but it just would be a waste of time. I cannot imagine following it. I would find the schedule in a few weeks and feel sad that I spent that time writing it and not following it. It really would be a lose-lose.

I did not grow up with any kind of role model for house cleaning. My childhood home was very messy. Since my house is cleaner than my parents' house, I figure I am making an improvement. Funny how that thought process works, isn't it?

I don't want my children to learn messy habits (like I always try to eliminate from the learned behavior section in my mind) so I have focused and concentrated on cleaning more. Lots more. Since I am fairly certain a schedule will not work, I have made myself a promise. I will clean something (a room, a floor, a section of the bathroom) before I shower for the day. This is specific enough for me to do it, but does not tie me down to a chore I really may not be up for doing during a certain day.

This is a recent implementation in my SAHM household, as I was struggling to clean house while paying attention to Ty and Za. I am following this self-imposed rule and am pretty happy about it, making it my most recent SAHM Triumph.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Naturalist Intelligence

My son Ty (he is almost 4 years) has a huge interest concerning anything he can sort: cars, blocks, trucks, books, tractors, crayons--if they are the same concept but different, he will organize it. I normally attribute this as a mathematical-logical strength, but I try to hit different intelligences when possible. 

Since another love of Ty's is nature (like any little boy, he will dig in dirt and run outside for hours), I wanted to weave some of his passions together. I found a way to use his naturalist intelligence, which deals with sensing patterns in and making connections to elements in nature. Combining the two, I did think of a way to involve two of Ty's passions-organizing and dirt, or mathematical-logical and naturalistic intelligences.  

Sorry for the darkness! The green container (it is the hardest to see) is 'trash'-the rest is recycling! All of it!!
Enter Christmas. We attend at least six Christmas celebrations, including ours. At each one, our children receive gifts from others. (My husband and I try to limit this, but no ploy has worked. I suppose we could have worse problems). The amount of stuff does not bother me, mostly because we do a huge donation for some of our church's outreach programs and I don't have any qualms about giving away "too nice" of toys. What really bothers me is the packaging, the sheer amount of trash.

This year, very little of the packaging went in the actual trash. Ty and I sorted it into the recycling bins, paper and plastic. He was thrilled that the trash would not hurt the ground, which is what he gathered from our environmental discussion.

As a bonus, my brother gave Ty (or Za, I am not sure) the books "The Five Senses" which is about the environment.
Green Start: The Five Senses 

All of the combination led to a very happy little Ty and mama. Do you ever try to "hit" on your child's intelligences at the same time? How?