Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting Started

I wasn't kidding last night when I said I was off to make another little Warhol dress, but I haven't had a chance to take pictures or try it on Olivia yet, so, more on that later.

Speaking of Olivia, she's getting bigger.  As in, older.  She picks up on way more than she used to.  And while some might argue (and sometimes I try to have this argument with myself) that a 14 month old isn't ready for preschool, I know better.  Not daycare preschool.  At home preschool activities.  She's ready to get into markers and make a mess.  She's ready to do little activities.  She already asks to read stories all the time.  In other words, she's ready for a little bit of structured time every day.

But am I?

I know that in a few months I'll look back and think about the me I am right now and feel dumb about not knowing how to get started.  After all, I did teach preschool for a few years.  I used to have to write lesson plans and all that jazz.  But it's different doing it for a job as opposed to doing it with your own kid.  I was aware of that even before I was married and had a child.  Because, working as a teacher, you see kids come in totally ready to learn and you can't help but wonder sometimes, "Why aren't their parents doing more with them at home?"  It's not because they have bad parents and it's not because their parents are too busy.  It's because their parents so often tend to think of their little ones (even three and four year olds) as their "baby" still.  And when you're drifting through everyday life and you spend every single day with your kid, sometimes the changes are so subtle that it takes a while (or an outsider's eye) to realize, "Oh!  My child is ready for this!"

That was definitely the case with Olivia and crackers.  I don't remember exactly how old she was (maybe 6 months?) but we had sort of started her on solids, but we were being kind of slow about it.  Then one day Olivia and I were hanging out on the playground with our friends.  The little girl there that was Olivia's age had an older brother and her mommy was, well, quite a bit a tad more kid-savvy than I am.  She was feeding crackers to her little girl and offered to share with Olivia if it was okay with me.  It was kind of "duh" moment for me.  "Oh?  Crackers?  She's never really had them, but sure.  Thanks."  And then Olivia proceeded to eat them like a pro.

So anyway, I've been thinking about doing preschool activities with Olivia for a while now, but it's hard to get started.  I'm sure she'll love it and have no problems with it.  It's just me over here feeling awkward about starting structured time out of the blue.  I mean, when a kid starts elementary school it's a big day every day-- The First Day of School.  It's something that's planned for and looked forward to--or dreaded, depending on who we're talking about.  :)  But starting preschool stuff with Olivia is more like, "Hey, well, here we are at Thursday.  Let's start this thing now.  Uhh... I guess we'll read a book and do an activity or something."

Furthermore, when a kid goes to elementary school, there's a curriculum to follow.  A teacher knows before the year starts what they need to cover and, generally, what order it needs to be covered in.  I don't have this luxury.  I mean, I know I'd like to read with Olivia a lot and get her going on numbers, but there's nobody telling me, "Well, first you start by doing this and then you go to that and then you'll move on to..."  It's just me sitting around thinking, "Well... you've been playing with elephants... maybe we should read a book about elephants?"  Haha.  It sounds so dumb in print, but that really has been the thought muddling around in my head for the past couple of days.  See how awkward I feel?

Anyway, I really do plan to get started.  And I plan to do it today.  But I'm pretty sure it's going to be a bit lame starting out.

I'm already aware of the following great blogs for at-home preschool activity ideas:

Helping Little Hands
Little Page Turners
Jada Roo Can Do

Any other great recommendations?  Especially for kids under 2?

Edited to add:  I'll keep adding links to the list above as you share them.  Thanks!  Also, I've started a blog roll for Preschool Activity Blogs under the Crafty Blogs column, so the ones I like will show up there too.  :)

P.S. Speaking of kids under two, don't forget to enter the Wendy & Peter giveaway!  Those bows are often the only thing that let other people know Olivia is a girl.  For reals.  And sometimes I even wear them.  For reals.  Go enter.


Beth said...

Jada Roo Can Do! She has little plans and ideas, I alter them a little to fit my kid. The best way to do it is to just jump in. Grab some cheap flash cards, not to sit and make her stare at them everyday and get on her if she doesn't remember, but kids love flash cards. My kids sometimes fight over them. But the cheap ones or even free ones you just give to the kid, and if they bring it to you, then talk about it. Say: "This is an elephant, look at it's long trunk, what color is it? It's gray, huh?" I always talk to them like they know the answer, and sometimes they surprise you and tell you.
Oh, and don't go buy those over priced Crayola crayon stuff for babies, my son is the same age as Olivia and all he does it chew up the crayon and throw the holder, we just use the chunky crayons and he does SO much better with them.

Katie Lewis said...

Yes, Olivia is a crayon eater. We haven't tried the chunky ones though. Maybe we'll give it a try. Thanks!

Lisa Lou said...

I have never in all my life thought about this topic. But now I will.

Kiana N said...

I have a toddler and here are a few I love!
Check out the Tot School section in the one above!

There are tons of links from those! Hope you find some great ideas!


Kiana N said...

Oh! I just thought of another good one!

check out her "A Story plus Art" section!

Jessica Argyle said...

I've used for a while with Miriam and it's been great. I modified some of the books and instead of doing a bible verse, I do a little scripture story. I write up on her little white board each week the new curriculum and then we do it once a day for a week. The link is

Anonymous said...

I love the activity mom site. She has activities for her toddler/preschool aged child. And for younger kids. Here is her site page on when to get started.

Andrea said...

Hi there,
Thanks for linking back to me (Jada Roo Can Do)
Sand to pearl is right you just have to jump in. Come on over and take a peek:)