Last week, as thousands of kids were going back to school, Bean and I, once again, embarked on structured learning.
I’ve always been a bit sporadic with actually making him sit at the table and work on an activity sheet or whatever but I’m really trying to hold myself accountable so that this year will really prepare him for preschool.
The toughest part of working with Bean is making sure Belle doesn’t need me. So, instead of making a rigid schedule, I’ve decided to make a daily checklist of stuff I want to accomplish with Bean and and try to do as many things as possible, without frustrating Bean or myself or neglecting Belle’s needs.
With the first week under our belt, this is what our typical day looks like…
Belle wakes me and Bean up around the same time that J.D. gets home from the gym. The grownups take turns getting ready for the day and then Bean gets up to brush his teeth, wash his face and then he goes to pick out his outfit for the day.
While J.D. gets set up for work, I make breakfast for Bean and Belle. Bean usually helps by handing Belle her baby puffs, one at a time, while I cook. Once everything is ready, Bean helps by bringing me his plate and cup so I can serve him. Once everyone is done eating, Bean plays a little downstairs while I clean up.
When I’m done with morning tidying, we usually go back upstairs to play until Belle is ready for her first nap. The moment Belle is asleep, Bean and I sneak out for a walk, while J.D. keeps an ear out for Belle on the monitor.
On our walk, we get the mail and look at stuff around the neighborhood. Currently, Bean is really interested in the mushrooms growing in the neighbor’s yard and has to stop to greet each one.
One of my earliest memories of my formal education is sitting on the rug in my kindergarten class on a super rainy day logging the date, season and weather on our daily pocket chart. It’s ones of my favorite school memories.
So, when we are on our walk, we make sure to observe the weather.
After our walk, we work on Bean’s daily journal. So far, he practices a little writing and he logs the weather he saw. I’m still deciding what else to add in his daily journal entries but I like how things are going so far.
Last week, we worked on writing his name. On Monday, we started with his first name and then throughout the week, we focused on letters that were giving him problems. By Friday, he was able to do his entire name — not by memory but by tracing the letters I wrote out for him.
He is slowly improving his letter recognition, which is good, but my main goal was to just have him hold a pen correctly and have it sit comfortably in his hand. At first, I noticed how awkward it was for him to grip a pen, but as the week went on, I could see his hand loosening up and his muscles learning how to adjust his hand so the pen would do what he wanted it to do.
Sometimes, Bean and I can get our walk and journaling completed before Belle wakes up. Sometimes we can’t. On the days that we don’t beat the clock, we have to pause whatever we are doing and go back to it later.
Once Belle is awake from her nap, we do lunch and then our day becomes super fluid. We have a good morning and early afternoon routine but haven’t quite structured the time between 2:00 to 5:00 pm.
Sometimes Bean wants to play with Belle, sometimes he wants to play downstairs, where Belle can’t really play because he has so many tiny toys that she can swallow and she messes up the toys he’s setting up, and sometimes he wants to play on our phones.
I always feel super bad when he’s by himself because I’m not giving him the attention he deserves. But, if I make him play with me and Belle, I feel like I’m dictating his fun. The worst part of my day is when I’m blogging from my phone while Belle is nursing and Bean is downstairs playing by himself. That’s what’s happening right now… I just feel like I’m failing every afternoon.
I definitely need to have a couple late night sessions after everyone goes to sleep so I can make some adjustments and try and figure out our afternoons. Things were definitely easier when Belle was a super tiny, napping lump and when Bean actually took a nap that synced up with Belle’s schedule and I had a bit more time to get stuff done.