I know I haven’t given any updates in a while. Part of that is because I don’t have any pictures I can download. My phone has started thinking that five pictures means the storage is full. Ok, maybe not just five, but basically my phone can’t handle many pictures these days. So, for my birthday Matt gave me “real” camera. It’s just a Nikon Coolpix–nothing fancy, but it does LOOK fancy. So when I have it swinging from my neck, it hopefully looks less awkward–like I’m a knowledgable photographer, being the only person in public with an actual camera and not a phone.
Taking pictures with a point and shoot is odd in that even though the camera is supposed to be for amateurs, compared to the phone cameras, I have to go backwards a little in time and slow down–I’m told it’s an actual shutter whereas iPhones work differently (I’m now realizing what kind of magic juju is going on with those iPhones), but I’m really getting used to it (you were right, Matt). I’m enjoying taking fewer photos, but really thinking about the ones I do take. Besides, if I were to compare the number of photos I’m able to take digitally on my camera with our parents, it would still be excessive comparatively.
SO, you might be thinking I’m going to post a bunch of pictures. But, no. This camera for some reason won’t bring the pictures up on my computer anywhere, and there’s no SD card insert on my computer–I’ve even had Matt look at it, so he is buying some kind of SD card plug in thingy that will let me do what I’m supposed to do with it.
Well, that was fun. Let’s at least get some written memories down anyway, shall we?
We go over some “letter work” about twice a week, sometimes just a quick practice of writing letters and sometimes we’ll do a game or hands on activity like lace up cards–something simple. We got through the 3 letter word Bob books, so I need to start him on some 4 letter words so we can keep moving. Or maybe we’ll try that 100 reading lessons book. Or maybe we’ll just keep writing for a while, we’ll see. He really can’t write much, so I think it’s been a good break to work on that anyway. Although the past week, I’ve seen him–on his own–just start trying to write from memory. He generally writes the letters in backwards order, and some of the letters are backwards, too, when he does it from memory, but you can tell what they are. Some of them are clear, just a little wobbly. I’ll try to take some pictures and post them when my SD card thingy comes in.
We started some addition last week, and I’ll keep working on that. I basically have taken some fruit out of our play food stash and we count 2 fruits plus 3 fruits or 5 plus 8 fruits. Basic, no planning or extra materials required.
I am becoming my grandmother (Cutrer) in a lot of ways with him lately. It’s either a stage or personality, but when he attempts something physical and can’t do it right away, he wants to quit. So, Matt and I have had to whip out some Mawmaw tactics. I remember sitting in her house one year, probably between 7 and 10, figuring out how to play “Jacks”: bouncing that ball and trying to swoop up the little metal pieces over and over in order to choose some doll or other prize she promised if my sisters and I would learn a new game she had presented us. So, when Jack really wanted one of those kid’s cameras, Matt and I told him when he learned to ride his scooter all the way down the driveway without putting his foot on the ground, we’d order him one. I’ll admit, we had to keep him focused, and some days I had to make him practice, but he finally did it!
We also tried using this tactic recently just to help him get some physical energy out. When on vacation at an indoor kids’ arcade/playground (last week with Kiki and Grampy!), we required him to do one of the bouncy castles or bungee jump rides before he could play any of the video arcade games. In this experience he was not so much afraid, I found out, but when given the choice, he’s always going to be interested in buttons over anything else (at least at this stage). Even though he doesn’t know it, I really believe he’s figuring out that sometimes the better fun has to be learned. He even requested the more intense bungee jump ride when he could have just given the bare minimum run around the bouncy castle to amuse us. (By the way, I’ll see if Matt can send the video of him jumping this thing.)
For friends who haven’t met Jack, this may sound like this kid is a big ol’ couch potato, but he really does love to run and jump like a normal 4 year old. He is just learning to keep trying when he doesn’t feel success immediately with things that require . . .you know . . . PRACTICE. Plus, there are ALL THE BUTTONS EVERYWHERE calling his name.
As you know Jack has been in Sunday School this year, and they’re starting on the catechism. It’s kind of like Bible Drills for Presbyterians–you learn questions and answers about God and learn memory verses for them (except you don’t look them up and there’s not an 8 seconds timer. I do miss those competitions!). At this age, they memorize so quickly, and it’s amazing how often we are able refer back to those questions and answers when he has a question about God. And he has a LOT of questions. When you need to explain something abstract like, “What does God look like?” Well, his catechism says, “God is a spirit and has not a body like man.” (I think that’s how it goes. He probably would correct me if I’m wrong!) That makes it easier for me to springboard into a hopefully helpful response for him. He’s doing great with the memory work, and he will have a formal recitation in May sometime. I’ll get the date and send it out. He’s also in a choir in which they sing their memory verses. Although he was hesitant at first, he’s singing the songs right along with the rest of them now.
Thursdays we’ve consistently been going to the library for four-year-old story time. It has really been a wonderful half hour added to our week and a growing time for Jack, too. Just like choir practice, it took him a while to understand that the director/teacher directs/teaches him as well as all the other pupils in the class. In other words, the group directive is for him, too. To his credit, the library we use is a private one connected to a Christian preschool, so the kids at story time are an already established class plus Jack. But now he’s always able to tell me the stories, he’s really involved, and to my teacher-self delight, he always tells Ms. Carol “Thank you for reading,” when story time is over. And by the way, it’s a delightful story time. It’s not loud and crazy like I’ve experienced at some. She keeps it really basic: read stories, sing some songs. And because it’s a small library, Ms. Carol, the librarian, knows Jack and Lucie by name. She has definitely saved some sanity for me. I can come in, tell her what types of things I’m looking for, and she whips around the bookshelves pulling out just what I need while I manage the little people pulling on my legs!
I know a lot of this was educational growth, but it’s what interests me. Formally, it is only happening about 15 minutes twice a week, but their little brains at this age soak it in so quickly, that’s all that seems required! I think it may be the teacher that has grown in me for why these stepping stones are strong on my radar, but I really do love it!
As this is long enough, I plan to do another post on sweet Lucie pie and anything else I think of in the next week!