Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's February

We have the February Blahs. Compounded by the fact that our winter has been colder and wetter than normal, everyone is starting to get a little stir crazy. My tolerance for noise has fallen to near record levels...and I am just ready for a string of warm days with nothing falling from the sky.

I've already gone through the hissy fit stage of cabin fever and moved on into the process of trying new things to distract the children for awhile. There were two areas I really, really needed to control so that (finger's crossed) our days would go a little easier. First was Robbie, and the fact he is a curious & loud 3-year-old boy. And the second was Mary and Katie 'entertaining" each other at the table while we were working.

I pulled back out Robbie's box and reloaded it with some new activities. Activity boxes are hit or miss with Robbie - some days he is all into them, and others he could care less. I'm thinking I need to get two or three activity boxes into a rotation for him, and that it would be worth spending a little money on. My biggest concern is keeping it all contained since he is a world champion scatterer and if I am using it to entertain him while working with his sisters I don't have time to stand guard over it. Mary has already offered her smaller box of legos to add to the activity box.

It is a work in progress, but Robbie was happily occupied with his box most of Tuesday.

He got to play with the color tiles and separate them by color into a muffin tin. I also resurrected the old Leap Frog fridge letter sounds magnet, so he could wander around the house playing the Alphabet song and the sounds each letter makes.

As for the older girls, I asked for their suggestions. A friend of theirs had made her own 'homework' cubby. Basically, a tri-fold presentation board with pockets and helper items - blocks out distractions and keeps items close by. I figured it was worth a try.

Monday, we picked up two presentation boards and I cut them down a little. Then the girls used scrap fabric to make their own pockets.

They were quite excited to use them Tuesday and did very well staying on task. Each girl also stores a book to read if they have to wait for me between lessons.

This the best close-up I have of Mary's board. She has her multiplication facts for reference, her weekly to-do list, the current poem she is working on. Pockets for a calculator (used to check her math after she is done with the assignment), a ruler, pencils, pens and marker, and a spot for her current reading book.

The cats were very interested in these new items.
The end of the table works perfectly as a spot for Emily when she takes 10-15 minutes here and there to do tablework.

I am also continuing to shop for those really nice clipboards with the built-in storage so that the girls can move around the house more and find their own quiet spots to work on independent activities. Something I would like to see more.

Tuesday was better and more productive than it has been for a few weeks. We'll see if it holds.



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A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.