Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Purchasing Power!

This week, Aidyn and I have been playing with an assortment of math manipulatives. Before we actually put serious meaning to them, I wanted him to have a chance playing with them. His favorite has become the pretend money, both paper and coin. Following his lead, this week we are learning about money, in its most basic sense.

On Monday, while on an outing to the snow with friends, we stopped at Andy's Mountain Deli and Grill. After eating, Aidyn requested a lollipop, and I consented because I thought it would be a good opportunity to let Aidyn "pay" for it himself. I gave him a dollar and basic instructions on how to interact with the cashier. He plopped his lollipop on the counter, handed the dollar bill to the lady as she said, "Twenty-five cents!" When she returned his change, Aidyn grabbed his newly purchased lollipop. The first thing he said once he bought it was, "I'm going to tell Grandma that I bought a lollipop!"

That evening, when we returned home, we played with the lot of math manipulatives but spent the most time playing with the money. I gathered items for me to "sell" to Aidyn while he had all the pretend money. I would then ask him what he wanted to buy. Once he picked something, I told him the cost.

I changed up the prices on several items so he could practice different ways of paying. Even when he ran out of dollar bills, I showed him how to make a dollar using his pretend dimes. In my eyes, we didn't focus too much on the seriousness of understanding money. Instead we played. Through this playful interaction, he picked up monetary vocabulary and etiquette for purchasing goods. I would like to take him on a field trip to a store and have us pay extra attention to price tags. I may give him an amount to spend and let him figure out what he can and cannot afford by reading price tags.

Introducing Money

Week of February 14th:

Theme: Money, money, money, money, MONEY!

Music: Frederic Chopin (again)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Social Fun and Penguin Launching

Yesterday Aidyn had an absolute ball with cousins. By the time I returned home from work, I found them laughing, squealing, and playing in his room, toys everywhere. He loves playing with other kids and often gets wrapped up in a world of carefree play. When the trio calmed down, I brought out our leopard gecko and let Aidyn tell his cousins about his new pet. I answered the older cousin's questions about geckos and allowed them all to pet and hold her. We talked about how she's nocturnal, what she eats, how she behaves, and her personality and temperament.

Later the three amigos played with these penguin-catapult toys. After trying to assemble the toy, they eventually began launching penguins in the air with great hilarity. I asked Aidyn why would these penguins need a catapult in the first place. He looked quizzically at the toy and said, "because penguins can't fly and these ones want to." Ah, out of the mouths of babes. : )

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lovin' the Arts and Crafts

Yesterday Aidyn and I collaboratively made a love tree in honor of the approaching holiday. From an old gardening magazine, I cut out the trunk and branches of a tree. Aidyn helped glue it on a piece of construction paper. He then used crayons to color cut-out heart shapes as I freed pictures of flowers and garden creatures from the magazine. He glued on the hearts and flowers at the top of the tree to simulate leaves. Then, when all was complete, we talked about all the things he loves. First he named off the important people in his life, and I wrote their names on the hearts. He then spouted off his favorite things: favorite cartoon, color, number, food, activity, Disneyland ride, etc. In the end, we had a gorgeous tree of love. He couldn't wait to hang it on the wall, so I let him pick a spot and helped him attach it.

Later, Aidyn colored a "Happy Valentine's Day" Sprout coloring page. Finding a remaining cut-out heart, he brought it to his grandma's room and taped it lovingly to her TV set.

When I returned home from work, Aidyn pulled out his fingerpaints, so I set up an area at the table for him. He sploshed his fingers full of paint and made, what he eventually called, a dragon. As soon as it dried, we hung it on the wall. Yesterday was certainly an artistic day!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February Weekend Roundup

Because of our out-of-the-average schedule we had last week, we did not do any preplanned activities. But anyone who has children knows that they learn and soak up things even when there is no plan in place!

As such, the family had some wonderful experiences this week. Aidyn became familiar with a community fixture: a car lot. He was along for the ride as we scoped cars, test-drove the one we were serious about, haggled prices, checked the engine in the garage, and successfully drove it home. I'm sure that I cannot pinpoint all the things he learned by experiencing that, but I'm glad that we took him.

Since then, he's climbed all over our new vehicle--a stark contrast to our old one, and has rode around in it. He loves it!

This week, I also noticed more "who the heck taught you that" words and phrases, and they are a delight to hear. My favorites include "decompose" when he showed me a banana gone bad and "California Adventures" when he talked about going to the 'other side of Disneyland.'

In other news, our first public homeschool event is right around the corner and we've been busy preparing. We will be attending the Annual unOfficial Homeschool Day at Disneyland for about three days. What I'm most excited about is the group photo in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle and Aidyn's face as he surveys similarly-clad (tie-dye is the agreed on style) homeschoolers. I'm looking forward to little conversations in line for Pinocchio or while sipping a Mint Julep in New Orleans Square about the concept of homeschooling. He probably has no idea when we play with our letters or build geometric towers, practice counting, or take hikes that we're homeschooling, but I hope he eventually see that learning has no boundaries. It is not bound within the walls of home or some building or even by our city limits!