Thursday, February 14, 2013

My first day off in 4+ years

My kids are spending time with their grandparents and have enjoyed their first overnight trip away from home sans parents. They aren't back yet -- I'm expecting them back "before dark" hopefully so we can get bedtime back on track.

But whoa. Two nights away, roughly 48 hours total ... and it is such a weird feeling. Previously, I've had quick bursts of time away in the form of a solo shopping trip, dinner out, or things like that. Never anything close to this.

I miss them! So much! And yet, this was good for everyone. The kids got to spend lots of one-on-one time with their grandparents, get spoiled x100, I had time to get some things marked off my to-do list and also relax a little, and Shane and I also had some much-needed one-on-one time.

They left late Tuesday night. I did a quick pick-up of the house and Shane and I went out to a new-to-us restaurant and then picked up some essentials at the store. Did some more cleaning after that so we could enjoy a tidy house for a few days.

Wednesday, I got up when I felt like it, and drank my coffee while watching the Today Show. So weird! So quiet! I headed out and went to Half Price Books, Aldi, and a butcher shop. Came home and Shane and I went to another restaurant for lunch.

Then, he got back to work and I went to see my grandma for a little bit. Later that evening, we went to an indoor pool which also had some fun activities, like water basketball, a lazy river (no innertubes though -- I guess that's TOO lazy for their standards) and the sort. I'm not much for pools, but at the same time it was fun to do in February and without having to keep an eye on anyone. That place has a fun kid area and I hope we'll go back soon with the kids.

Then, an episode of 24. We're on season 3 and it's just fun to have something ready to go on Netflix.

Today, I went to the library, out to lunch on my own, and then Trader Joe's to stock up on all things delicious and convenience.

I like to have quick things in the freezer from TJ's, because compared to fast food it's not that bad. Tasty, reasonable ingredients and cheap. Love that store.

Now, I'm just finishing up some stuff online and will maybe read a book or something before they get back.

The kids seemed to have a good time, and went to the mall, rode the mall train, went to WonderLab, and who knows what else. LATE bedtimes for both of them and plenty of treats. Oh my. I just hope they'll be mostly civil tonight and tomorrow once the sugar and adrenaline wears off :)

Just wanted to document this milestone. Kthx.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Should preschoolers learn to read?

I am such a fan of Ruth Beechick. I have the three booklet set of The Three Rs: A Home Start in Reading, An Easy Start in Arithmetic, and A Strong Start in Language. (Thanks, Christie for letting me borrow before buying!)

These are brief but right on point. I'd really encourage all homeschooling mamas to read these prior to the start of preschool.

I wanted to share a snippet from the booklet about reading:
"It is true that some children can learn to read remarkably early. But the fact that they can does not necessarily mean they should. Should is another question. One school district set up an experiment to help decide this question. Some kindergartners in the district received extensive instruction in reading. Others spent the same amount of time learning science. [...] ... no formal lessons in reading were held.

And what did the school district learn? By third grade the "science" children were far ahead of the "reading" children in their reading scores. The reason? Their vocabularies and thinking skills were more advanced. They could read on more topics and understand higher level materials.

The reading children, by starting earlier, used up a lot of learning time on the skills of reading, while the "science" children spent the time learning real stuff. And when they did begin reading, they were older and knew more and learned in a fraction of the time that the others took."

I'd better stop there, or I'll just copy the whole booklet. But wow.

I think there are plenty of 4 and 5yos out there who are ready and interested in learning how to read. There's also probably a good chunk of them who are subjected to reading lessons before they're ready. Early lessons may not accomplish much with those kids (except maybe sucking the life out of them and making them loathe reading).

Of course I want my children to be strong readers. I just hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to remember to slow it down, and make sure they are really ready. It's not about me.