Friday, October 19, 2012

F is for Fish and Fun!

This week we focused on F is for fish and had quite a bit of fun along the way. After several weeks of traveling and squishing school into days, we finally had a regular week with three full days of school. Ok, so full day means about 2 hours each day, but still that's what is normal for us.

We started our week with a trip to the local aquarium with Big Monkey's friend Ladybug. We haven't seen them in awhile, and when we pulled up to park, Ladybug screamed out her car window "you are my best friend!" It was very cute. We had a fun time, but I was surprised by how wild and crazy Big Monkey and Baby Monkey acted while we were out. We had a rough night the night before, so I think that was the reason. At least we got to see some cool fish.

Then we used the next three days for school at home. I've noticed a lot of improvement in both boys this past week. It amazes me how suddenly they master certain skills. For example, we got these great power magnets (even I think they're fun) to use with magnet sheets. The boys take the magnets apart (they come stuck together) and then place them in the little circles on the picture. The papers are on top of cookie sheets so that the magnets stick (yup, I lost two of my good cookie sheets to the school room). Big Monkey has always been good at these and has fun using either a single color, a pattern of colors, or just random colors. Baby Monkey used to just take the magnets and stick them all over the page, to each other, and to other random places on the cookie sheet. Then he'd put his pieces back in the box and steal his brother's magnets. Well, this week I looked over (yeah, he got a sheet from a previous week) and there Baby Monkey had 2 magnets neatly placed in the circles on his sheet. He only put down a total of 3 magnets, but that's a major step for him!

Big Monkeys cutting skills have improved greatly. He's now able to carefully cut along a line of almost any shape.

We've also improved on patterns. Big Monkey seems to really get the concept of patterns now. Although I am a bit concerned about some of our color recognition. I'm noticing he often calls red, green, and a few other colors something else. If I call him out on it, he corrects himself. So I'm not sure if he's just not paying close attention or if it's something else. I'm not concerned that he doesn't know colors, he does. I'm concerned about color blindness. Ready for a quick genetics lesson? The genes for color blindness are located on the X chromosome. My dad is shade blind, and I'm a carrier for the gene (it's recessive, so have 2 X chromosomes means I have one good gene that compensates for the defective one). That means each of the monkey boys has a 50% chance of having some sort of color blindness (they each inherited their X chromosome from me and each had a 50% chance of getting the one with the defective gene). I believe that I read somewhere that kids are usually tested around age 5. I might pursue that topic with the pediatrician a little sooner.

He can at least matched the same colors together though.

Another item I've been working on is trying to teach Big Monkey that we read things from left to right. He really likes to read and write from right to left. So I figure we should start now. I point out words as I read books to him. I show him how I write. I've tried to instruct him on which direction he should write and read. None of these things had a very big impact. Then one day I watched him doing 2 activities. The first was counting the numbers of the calendar in the background of the above picture. I had to help him go from 6 to 7 instead of from 6 to 13. He's starting to get a handle on that. Then I watched him singing the ABCs as he pointed along to the letters in the back of the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book. This has been the biggest helper in teaching him to read from left to right!

We do more than paper work during the week. I just don't often snap photos because I'm usually helping or enjoying. This week Baby Monkey played with the beads and an old (cleaned) milk jug. He had a great time dropping them in the jug and then dumping them back out into the container (yup, a cleaned yogurt container).

We also did lacing blocks, which for some reason, the boys think make good "lassos" once the blocks are on the strings. Oye...

We also found a nice little surprise on our front porch this week. We got a boo basket from one of our neighbors. This person went all out and had the boys in mind when they built the basket - there were even 2 pairs of Cars socks! As well as crayons (2 boxes), color and number flashcards, a pumpkin carver and other goodies. I have a few ideas of the sender and we are so greatful!

 Next week we are expecting some rain. This mama might have to get creative on keeping the boys entertained!

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