Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TV at our house

I was asked to write a blog post about favorite kid TV shows and I had to laugh.   I'm not going to be much help when it comes to kid shows -- we pretty much keep the TV off at our house when the girls are awake. I know that there are a lot of great educational shows available, but my husband and I simply decided that we didn't want the TV to be a focus at our house. Karis is three years old and has learned all the basics easily from books and puzzles.

Every now and then Karis will wake up from a nap on the weekends and find her Daddy watching a tennis match or basketball game, but after snuggling for a minute, she is usually asking him to read to her instead. I have, however, let her watch a Praise Baby or Cedarmont Kids music DVD on 2 different occasions when she was utterly sick and miserable and needed distraction. She absolutely LOVED both of them and I would gladly recommend them both. However, please keep in mind that we have only watched them once so I can't promise that they would not get annoying if watched in repetition :) 

We have also on occasion let her watch a short, funny YouTube video about silly puppies or kittens or a familiar musical clip (like the Sound of Music train station clip). But once again, it is usually only when she is hurt and would benefit from a quick distraction or for short educational purposes. (For instance, when Karis first started soccer, the coach asked her to walk like a penguin and keep the ball between her feet. She had no concept of a penguin, so when we got home, I pulled up a quick You Tube video to show her.)

I don't want you to think that we are ridiculous about our no-TV policy because we really don't treat it as a big deal. If there is an historical event or a major sports game on, we will turn the TV on for a while. But it doesn't happen regularly and we usually don't just sit in front of the TV to watch it; we go about our normal routines and just catch what we can. And we definitely do not make a big deal about TV elsewhere. My girls see the TV on all the time at relatives' and friends' houses, restaurants, etc., and do fine with it.

I have to be honest and admit that because my girls have early bedtimes (Karlie, 6:00 and Karis, 7:00), my husband and I do enjoy watching TV in the evenings after they are asleep. We do not pay for cable but get a surprising number of channels through the free digital box. Once the girls are older and staying up later, however, I'm hoping that we will kick the habit and do family activities instead :)

So how long will we keep the TV off? To be honest, we haven't really set an age or a time. It is just one of those things that we will figure out as we go. I really doubt that we will ever get into the habit of watching regular shows with them. But as they get older, I think it will be beneficial to watch different things with them to discuss what they see and help them learn to evaluate media with a Biblical perspective. And I'm sure that in the future I will greatly utilize the educational aspects of DVD's and the internet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Educating my almost 3 year old

One of my friends recently asked me what I was doing educationally with Karis since we aren't planning to send her to preschool at all. So I thought I might as well blog about it :)

Honestly, I'm not all that worried about formal teaching at this age. My main goal every day is to read a ton of books, have a lot of time to play outside, and have her help me do everything around the house. She has managed to easily learn all the basics (colors, numbers, shapes, alphabet, etc) without having to sit down and "do school-work." However, we do have a specific time each day while Karlie is napping that is "Mama-Karis time" that she really looks forward to and I try to plan something to do with her during that time. Here are some of things we are doing (I usually just pick one to do after reading Bible Stories before starting our library books.)

I think reading as much as possible is the key at this age, so I love the Before Five in a Row book by Lambert because it helps me think of activities and discussions to have about the books we are reading. It is kinda pricey, so I would recommend just borrowing it from the library and jotting down some ideas or making copies. All of the books it uses are at our library. I might actually buy the Five in a Row book next year when she is ready for it because it has recipes and maps and other stuff that I will probably do with each of our kids and want to have on hand. 

I've also started making a little "preschool binder" for Karis with sections on Character Training and Manners, Bible Verses (to memorize), All About Me and My Family (she loved picking out pictures to tape in!), Letters, and Numbers, etc for coloring and reading. I'm just printing out sheets I find online. She has really enjoyed doing that with me. 

Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by Oberlander is a book that I got when Karis was born and it has weekly developmental activities from birth to age 5. I haven't done a ton with it since Karlie was born, but I looked at it again recently and think I will start doing one activity a week from it with Karis

When she is closer to 4, I plan to teach her to start sounding out words using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Wise. Her book, The Well-Trained Mind was really intriguing to me and I am currently thinking I will try to give my girls a classical education. We'll probably home-school unless Mark ends up teaching at a good private school where we could get a discount :)

I've heard really good things about ABC Jesus Loves Me, so I'm thinking about using some of their curriculum some in the fall.