Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back To School!

Yesterday I sent Duchess off to second grade. How did that happen? And Stitch is back, since her teacher mama is back at school too. That means it's time for a new semester around here! We still work on skills and do things over the summer, but it's much more relaxed and lazy and there's a lot of lying around and knocking over each other's block towers. We don't do official curriculum and schedule things by the clock.
We started our Very Hungry Caterpillar curriculum and so far we are all loving it. We'll be reading the book about 9 every morning for the next four weeks and then doing all our activities based around that. After just two days of reading it the girls are already saying "still HUNGRY!!" and looking in the kitchen area for apples and strawberries. I found a bulletin board set with all the pictures from the book and yesterday we all painted a section of huge caterpillar to put on the wall. I like the way our work area is looking so far.

Also new starting this week: Kanga and I went to the first half of a Love and Logic conference this past weekend. It's been really refreshing for both of us to have new strategies to deal with the little discipline issues that come up. The kids got it right away too. There's far less explaining with this program, which is a big change for me. I'm used to running commentary. "Okay, it's time to get off the sad wall. Do you remember why you were there? That's right, you were jumping on the couch, and that is not nice. We're not going to do that anymore, right?..." as their eyes glaze over....

With this, you sing the Uh Oh song. "UH OH! A little buckle chair time coming up for you now. How sad!" in this really sweet singsong-y voice. And that's it. You put them in the chair, on the wall, or whatever spot you have set up, and if they choose to be angry about that, it's fine. Once they're calm, they get two minutes of "recovery time" and you tell them, "you can get up and play with us as soon as you're ready to be sweet." When they get up, that's it. You don't talk about what the behavior was- the program says that kids have more sense than the family dog. :) They know good and well what they did.

We had some uh-oh time yesterday morning, and by the afternoon when we would sing UH OH, everybody would look around wide-eyed to see if who was the offending party. They're all smart. After about 30 seconds into her second time in the chair, Silvermist started saying, "I ready to be sweet!!" And she was.

The other part of the program is choices. Give as many as possible, as often as possible, and make sure you can live with whichever one they pick. Would you like Kix or Chex? In an orange bowl or a blue bowl? Big spoon or little spoon? Dry or with milk? Do you want to pour the milk or would you like me to do it? Ask questions and give them choices- let them figure out what is best without nagging or bossing all the time. Then when there's a safety issue or a big thing that you need, you can say, "hey, it's my turn to pick. I gave you so many choices today!" It's working well, but I think our husbands are having trouble with it- either that or they like to mock us. Or both. Kanga said her hubby passed Tigger off to her on Sunday and said, "Okay Tigger, are you going to puke on Mommy's shirt or Mommy's pants?" :) Ha.

Caterpillars, painting, choices, and UH OH. That pretty much makes up the next four weeks. I'm excited!!

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