M is for Marshmallow

Two weeks ago we had M as our letter of the week. :) I was supposed to blog about this last week but I was so caught up preparing for my little boy’s birthday! :) Now we’re back to our normal weekly schedule and I’m back to blogging. Yay! We missed an entire week without any letter because we had to attend a family wedding, which coincided with Timmy’s birthday, and prepare for our son’s big day (post-birthday celebration). This is when I appreciate homeschooling the most because we can truly enjoy our get-togethers without worrying about school work the next day. We even had a week of no formal school activity simply because we wanted our son to enjoy his birthday! It’s such a blessing to have the freedom and flexibility that homeschool provides. :)

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Bible Character

We learned about Moses and how God used him to deliver his people. :) We also watched a video about Moses. Timmy memorized his verse for the week, too. :)

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Books and Reading

We read books with words that start with M. :) He really loves “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” because of the many sounds you can make and “Mole in the Hole” because of its pictures-over-text format. Like instead of seeing the word frog, there’s a picture of a frog instead. :)

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Writing

M is a pretty challenging letter to write. There are basically four strokes you need to make. Two straight vertical lines and two slanted lines. I first gave Timmy a sticker activity to give him visuals of M then asked him to connect the M stickers.

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I also gave him some M words and let him practice writing M in the beginning of the word. He really likes doing this “missing letter” activity because he wants to read the words after. :)

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We also designed a big M using marshmallows. :) Timmy couldn’t resist eating them while doing the activity! Hahaha! Too cute! :) At least he finished designing the M; it took a while, though. :D

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Math

Since we’re already at it, I used the marshmallows to have some basic counting and addition exercises. :) I asked him to add the marshmallows by transferring them to one container then counting it. :)

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Science

We created the basic phases of the moon (i.e. full moon, half moon, and crescent moon). I didn’t go into the waning crescent and the other complex phases. Since these three are the ones he often sees at night that’s what we explored first. :) When he’s old enough to understand, I’ll use the Oreo method. :)

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Art

We made a mouse artwork from a big M outline using construction paper and some leather swatches that I use for scrapbooking. :)

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We also made some MARBLE ART! I’m actually more excited about this one! We used daddy’s shaving cream, poster paint and a white cardboard. Since Christmas is almost near, I decided to put the marble paint on a star. Simply mix the shaving cream and poster color then put the paper on top for 10-15 minutes. Once it’s dry, remove the shaving cream and you’ll see the marble effect absorbed by the paper! :) We’ll most likely do this again! :)

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Filipino

We learned some opposite words in Filipino that start with M and basically used them in our conversations at home. :) I made an attractive visual to encourage him to read and practice the words repeatedly. :)

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M IS FOR MILESTONE! :)

Timmy wrote his name for the first time! He’s been practicing TIM ever since we started our letter of the week. :) It’s far from perfect but it’s the product of his hard work. :) I’m so proud of you, sweetheart! He’s already good at writing Tim but Timmy needs more practice and Timothy Josef is an entirely new level. :) We’ll get there for sure. In the meantime, I want him to enjoy writing his name, doodling, and drawing. :)  As his teacher, I try to keep in mind that learning should be enjoyable and not stressful. I can see in his body language if he’s just forced to do things. It reflects in his output and he’s not happy with it, too. This helps me in pacing our activities and the things he needs to learn daily and repeatedly. :)

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We’re doing O this week and I’m so glad that we have a normal week before the Christmas and New Year festivities kick in. :) Till next week, mommies! :)

An Open Letter to My Favorite Four-Year-Old

Dear Timmy,

When you wake up today, you’ll be officially four years old. :) Over the next few days, we’ll be practicing your new answer to the perennial how-old-are-you question. I can already picture you goofing around, laughing, and saying different numbers because you’re playful like that. :) Just this week you jokingly said you’re turning five when we keep telling you you’re turning four! Haha!

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Oh, Timmy, your journey to being four has been such a wild ride. :) How about we talk about some of your milestones? Did you know that as soon as you hit three years old you started reading? Yes, you did, sweetheart! You mastered your phonics at two then by January of 2014 we’re officially reading together! :) It was one of the most exciting moments of my parenting life—watching you read and progress from one-syllable to two-syllable words and so on. I can only attribute that milestone to God’s grace. :) You may not yet fully understand what God’s grace is and I’m sure you’ll encounter that phrase A LOT in my letters; but I want to explain it to you, nonetheless.

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God’s grace is something you don’t deserve but He gives it to you anyway. It’s receiving more than what you ask for. So when I say that your reading accomplishment is because of God’s grace, it means that as a parent I only asked for a child who will one day learn how to read and love books (pretty much like your folks) but God gave me MORE. He built in you the natural inclination and interest in letters and words. As a result, He made it easy for you to read. I only fueled that interest by giving you the materials and resources to further increase your love for reading. Your dad and I couldn’t be happier that we have an early reader in the family! :) As of this writing, I think you can read roughly 70% of this letter but understand 30% of it. So yeah, we still need to work on the comprehension. :)

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You know what? Right now, you’re COMPETING with me during story time. Uh huh. You’re hogging mommy’s spotlight and I love it. :) Usually, I would say “It’s story time! Everybody get ready to listen to mommy!” Before, you would cuddle close along with your stuffed toys. Now, you would say, “Timmy will read!” then get the book from me and say, “Everybody listen to Timmy!” Haha! I mean you go on reading five to six books at a time. I sometimes feel bad stopping you but if I don’t you’ll end up sleeping late or missing your nap. Anyway, I always promise that we’ll read more when you wake up and that’s exactly what we do as soon as you’re up. Your favorite authors so far are Mo Willems, Dr. Seuss, and Sandra Boynton. :) You’re also obsessed with your Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom books!

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This year, we moved from the playroom to actual Sunday School. :) You were so thrilled to get your first star stamp! After a couple of weeks of staying with you, I left you with your classmates when you said you’d be okay. Ten minutes later, I was called back because they said you were crying and looking for me. It’s okay, sweetheart. I’m sure you tried your best and meant what you said that you’d be fine but I guess you got overwhelmed. :) By the way, we’re back to attending Sunday School together. :)

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It was also your first time to join the annual Vacation Bible School held by our church. :) I think you’re one of the youngest kids in the toddler class. I accompanied you the entire week and we had a blast! Sure there were times when you were scared but that’s fine. I know you’re shy and over the years I’ve learned how to manage that shyness. :) I get tips from your dad because he would share to me the things that terrified him when he was a child in terms of socialization. I’ve learned to give you enough time to warm up, to never leave your side until you’re ready to play on your own, and to give you the space you need when you’ve already gotten your groove. :)

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You got three awards during the culmination day! You bagged Best in Memory Verse, Best in Crafts, and Highest VBS points in Nursery! Yay! :) During that week, I noticed how quick you are in memorizing things. I mean I already know that you have a pretty good memory but the speed and retention was something I witnessed in full action during VBS and throughout the entire year (more on that later)! God knew I needed someone who will remind things to me and complement by forgetfulness. :) You did some awesome crafts and learned lots of good stuff about God and the Bible! You also had a terrible fall on the last day of the VBS. It was more traumatic for me than it was for you. :( I had sleepless nights after, blaming myself because you fell under my watch. I’ll take this time to say sorry for not being fast enough to grab you when you took a step back. :( I’m so grateful that God protected you from further harm. I’m glad that it’s over and you’re all well. :)

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I mentioned something about memory earlier. Well, this year you memorized our National Anthem, Bahay Kubo, Leron Leron Sinta, and other Filipino songs (aside from the English nursery rhymes)! A few weeks ago, your dad taught you Buchikik and you loved it! Haha! I also tried giving you long memory verses and you remembered them easily. :) We breezed through months of the year and days of the week both in English and Filipino. I don’t know if God wants you to be a lawyer someday but whatever the reason is for having that very sharp memory, I pray that you’ll use it to honor and glorify God. :)

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We also joined a group of homeschoolers for their music, arts, and P.E. classes! Our group is now known as Team L4 (Lifelong Learners Who Love the Lord). We’re composed of 9 families with roughly 10 kids in attendance. :) You’re the youngest in the group and one of the three kids who are not yet enrolled in any homeschool provider. We meet every Tuesday and the moms take turns in teaching. I usually teach art and you’re very active when I’m the one teaching (i.e. you go in front, read my powerpoint/visuals, etc). Haha! When it’s not me, you’re back to being quiet. Perhaps it’s the level of familiarity you have with me that makes you come out of your shell. :) Oh, by the way, I use the hashtag #tuesdayswithtimmy for all the homeschool activities you did with Team L4. :) You know, I’m not even sure if you’ll be still using hashtags by the time you read this. Technology is moving so fast that sometimes keeping up is such a chore. :) Anyway, if you want to look back at those photos just search for that hashtag. ;)

PhotoGrid_1411260796856 PhotoGrid_1403656755509 For the most part of the year, we stayed with your Lolo Hector and Lola Tess. :) You truly filled their house with laughter. Same goes with Wowo Dante and Wowa Tina whenever you visited them. :) Last October, we moved to a new apartment and you’ve been calling our place “our new home” for almost 3 months now. :) Haha! We’re not yet done fixing your homeschool room but I promise we’ll get it ready soon. In the meantime, you’re using almost every part of our house to play and learn—and that’s TOTALLY FINE. :) That’s one of the best things about homeschooling! You literally learn everywhere. May it be the dining area or bedroom, grocery or parking lot, parties or outdoor activities—learning never stops for you. :)

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We had some discipline issues along the way and there were times when we had to be more quick and determined to discipline you. It was so hard and painful for me to watch you cry but when we see you change, become more obedient and respectful, and get rid of certain bad behaviors—we know that it’s worth it. For the record, you can go for months without spanking. However, certain misbehaviors come back and we need to address it right away. Now, you’re in the stage when you clearly remember which actions are good and bad. You consciously avoid them now and we’re so proud of you, Timmy. :) God also disciplines mommy and daddy when we don’t follow Him and it’s pretty embarrassing to think we’re adults already. But we need those moments, too, to keep us in the right direction. :)

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I couldn’t be any prouder of the toddler you’ve become. :) You’re my little helper at home, doing chores those little hands can do like cleaning up one batch of toys before using a new batch and throwing things in the trash can. :) You don’t throw tantrums in the mall or point to stuff and demand that we take them home. You’re content playing with them then leaving them. :) There was just one time when you really loved this wooden numbers toy that you didn’t want to change your diaper (with poop!) because you really couldn’t leave it. Up to now, your favorite items are letters and numbers. It was the first and only time that we saw you get so fixated with an item. That’s one out of the hundreds of times we’re at the mall that’s why I distinctly remembered it. :) You kept saying, “We need to pay for it.” Haha! We ended up getting the numbers set for you and when you got it you kept asking that we go home right away because you know that we only open newly-bought toys at home. :)

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We did a lot of fine motor skill activities to get you ready for writing. :) I’m learning a lot from mommy bloggers and getting ideas from them! You’re not really the writing kind of guy, you’re more of the painting type. You love designing and doodling. :) You don’t like pencils but you love colored pens and paint. Some kids write at the age of 3, especially girls. One thing I’ve learned is that kids learn at different paces. I know you’ll write when you’re ready. Guess what? Last week, just before your birthday, you wrote your name for the first time! YAY! :) You’re not the tracing type, you’re the show-me-i-will-copy type. You would watch me write and imitate my strokes. :) I’m sure you’ll get there, Timmy. We’ll not rush into it because I wouldn’t want you to associate writing with getting frustrated. :)

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We’ve also been doing the letter of the week activities and it’s been so much fun! We kicked it off with an alphabet week and then spelled your name each week (T-I-M). Just like that, a month went by. Four weeks of learning through play! We’ll be doing O this week. :) I’m not even sure how I’ll do that because I’ll be preparing for your post-birthday celebration! By the way, you spent your 4th birthday (December 7) at Ninang Cathy and Tito Jonathan’s wedding! :) So yeah, this will be a busy week and I’m not yet sure how I’ll go about your O activities. Maybe we can incorporate that in your birthday preps. :)

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You’re such a funny kid, Timmy. :) You have a knack for changing up lyrics and rebuking your dad innocently by saying “wrong way, wrong way again.” Haha! You negotiate so well and your “how about” statements are usually the very things we want you to do but you want to do it at the wrong time. For example, “How about we read the Bible?” when it’s time for bed and we’re already done reading it earlier. Truth is, you don’t want to sleep. “How about I use my Bible App for Kids?” You say that statement to get some extra gadget time when you’ve already consumed your 1 hour for the day. Oh, the excuses you make, Timmy!

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Happy birthday, my little trooper! I call you that because there are days when you are in perpetual motion. You run around, jump on the bed, play basketball—any and every possible way you can expend your energy. :) I love it! I guess that’s what little boys are made of. :) I pray that you’ll continue to know God and love Him more. May you enjoy every stage of being a child because it only comes once in your life and for a very short period of time, too. You’ll spend more time being an adult and I don’t mean to burst your bubble. Haha! Thank you so much being who you are. :) You truly inspire us to be better parents.

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It’s amazing what a year makes! I read my previous letter to you and saw how far you’ve come! I mean we’re having real conversations now, Timmy! :) Full sentences about what happened about your day, stories you invent off the bat, jokes you crack intentionally and unintentionally, clear distinctions of the things you like or don’t like, actually reading books on your own and not memorizing what you hear from me—everything is at a whole new level now. It’s like seeing a growth spurt in your development! :)

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I won’t ask you to slow down this year, Timmy. I’ll ask you to embrace growing up because I enjoy growing up with you. :) I’m sure you’ll show a different level of cuteness and you’ll amaze us with more milestones. :) Remember that I’ll always be the voice to your dinosaurs, robots, animal friends, and every character in your book. :) I’m also the voice that prays for you all the days of your life. :) WE LOVE YOU, sweetheart! Have a blast being four!!! :)

Love,

Mommy

I is for Island

Now I understand why moms do the letter of the week activity for their toddlers. It not only teaches their kids multiple concepts but it also gives direction to moms like me on what we should do for the day! :) We’re now at letter I, the second letter of Timmy’s name. I was actually a bit nervous when I was preparing for his lessons because I know that I is a pretty challenging letter. There are a few I words that toddlers could actually understand. I really praise and thank God because He has been giving on-the-spot ideas to make our letter I activities fun and exciting! Here’s how our week went:

Bible Character

Our Bible character is IMMANUEL and our memory verse is Isaiah 7:17 (starts with I, too!) So basically we read the Christmas story through out the week and watched some videos about Jesus and Christmas! :) I’m sticking with my pyramid-style visuals because Timmy really digs it! He still uses his Timothy makeshift pyramid verse. :)

Reading

I got some books that begin with I but the blockbuster in the pile is “Should I Share My Ice Cream?” by Mo Willems! That book is heaven sent! My good friend Diane of The Hippomum (you should check out her blog!) sent a birthday box full of surprises for Timmy last month. She had no clue that Timmy LOVES ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE BOOKS. We read that book almost every day. He makes sure that “Should I Share My Ice Cream?” is included in our reading pile. :) This week, I also encouraged him to read other I books like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and he enjoyed it, too!

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Math

This one is fun! We counted ice cubes! Timmy used tongs to pick up the ice. So aside from his counting practice, he also had fine motor exercise! :) I also drew pictures that start with I and gave Timmy “less” and “more” stickers. All he needed to do was count the objects and place the correct sticker. :) He was careful not to mess up because that meant he needed to remove the sticker and ruin the paper. Haha! Thankfully, he got everything correct! :)

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Writing

I gave him some writing sheets to practice writing I step by step. He didn’t get it at first. I then saw that he liked to write without following a pattern. He wanted to discover it on his own. So I gave him words that start with I and left the first letter blank. I then saw how quickly he was able to write I because he needed to complete the word and read it! Seeing that he was on a roll, I took the opportunity to give him more words including his name! I suddenly discovered a way to teach him to write his name. It’s like doing fill in the blanks but this time he needed to fill it with letters. :) Perfect!

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Art

Of course we had to make ICE CREAM! :) I cut some foam as ice cream scoops and asked Timmy to create his own ice cream. :) He also designed his sweet creation after. Timmy’s always beaming with pride when he’s showing his artwork to his dad. I think he was extra proud of this one because he really exerted a lot of effort doing his ice cream. :)

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Science

We learned about INSECTS! I found an insect poster at National Book Store (P8.75 only!). I cut it and placed each one on cardboard to make insect cards. :) I explained to Timmy what insects eat, why we need to be careful with certain insects, and more. We also read about insects in his book about bugs. :) We played a guessing game later on when he became familiar with the insects’ names. We also played a multiple choice type of game. I showed him two insects and asked him, “Which one is the mosquito?” then he picked the card and gave it to me. :) Later on, I saw him playing with the cards and making them fall like rain. He liked that it was light and the fan was blowing it everywhere. Haha! That was literally a learning-through-play moment. :)

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English, Crafts, and Science combined (Haha!)

I thought it would be pretty cool to create an ISLAND for Timmy! So I got the case of our digital blood pressure apparatus, wrapped it in brown paper, placed it on top of blue paper to make an island. I then cut foam trees so that Timmy can design his island. I also surprised Timmy by creating a book for him! It has words that start with I to help familiarize him with more I words. :) Aside from that, I also wanted to teach Timmy about IGUANA. So I decided to draw one and put some quick facts on the side. I gave it to him as a “pet” and he loved it! He started talking and reading to the iguana drawing the moment he got it. Haha! Although we were done with science the previous day, we still had the iguana lesson before we did the island crafts and story. :) The great thing about toddlers is that they still have no idea that they’re going through certain subjects. So even if it appeared from my perspective that we weren’t organized that day, what’s important was he had fun learning different concepts from different subjects without him knowing it! :)

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Filipino

To make learning Filipino fun for him I made small placards using popsicle sticks and colored papers. One side contains the English word and the other has the Filipino translation. We also spoke in Filipino and used the words in a sentence to help him practice our native tongue. :) My husband and I are making sure that we speak to him in Filipino more especially now that he’s able to understand and grasp the meaning of words faster. :) Upon learning that “ito” means “this” he said, “Ito si Mishka.” Mishka is the name of his dog stuffed toy. :)

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Timmy also had his pop culture fix with daddy by watching some IRON MAN videos and learning about the cool suits of the billionaire superhero. :) I wasn’t able to take any photos because I was too sleepy when they were having their Iron Man stories. :)

Next week we’re doing M! Let’s see if Timmy gets to write his short nickname (TIM) after next week. :) Hope these activities give you some ideas to keep your toddler busy and learning. Ciao! :)

T is for Timothy!

T is for Timothy!

We really had a blast doing our first letter of the week. :) I was so giddy and excited that I woke up 4:30am Monday morning to prepare our activities! Haha! I already outlined what we’ll be doing and all my ideas came to life in that ungodly hour. I can only attribute it to God, the giver of awesome ideas even in the most uncanny time. :) I think it paid off because Timmy and I enjoyed our T Week!

I mentioned in my previous blog that we’re spelling his name first before doing the alphabet chronologically. Got that idea from Mommy Bares All and Timmy got excited with the idea, too! Since T is a pretty easy letter, we had lots of things that start with T. So I decided to make a sensory bin full of things and books that start with T. :)

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Bible Character:

Of course, it had to be Timothy, my son’s namesake. :) I made a 3D-ish card that has the meaning of Timothy along with our memory verse for the week. I also found two cool videos that fit our lesson. :) One is about the story of Timothy and the other is a song for 1 Timothy 4:12! Praise God for people who create these videos! Timmy memorized the verse easily along with the basic outline of Timothy’s story, too!

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Reading:

For this week, I set aside books that start with T for our story time. :) We have multiple reading sessions a day so it’s great to have a lot of resources. :)

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English:

We did an activity on sight words. I asked Timmy to get the corresponding toy that’s written on the paper. :) It’s a simple word association game that’s fun and easy to do! I think it’s the searching for the toy or object that makes it exciting. :)

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Writing:

Timmy designed a big T and small t using a Tape. My little boy is not fond of writing and he’s not interested in tracing no matter how colorful the workbook is. He doesn’t like pencils. He prefers colored pens. :) So I decided to combine his love for words and pens! I wrote words that start T but didn’t write the said letter. I told him that he won’t be able to read the word because it’s not complete. He needs to write the T’s so he can read the words. It worked! :) I only did one set and since he was on a roll, we ended up finishing three papers practicing T under the guise of completing the words! That idea came out of nowhere but I knew it was God who reminded me about what Timmy loves and took advantage of it to get him to write!

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Math:

I made 3D-ish cards again that contain the words LESS and MORE. I placed two sets of Trees, one with more quantity and the other with less, then asked Timmy to put the LESS and MORE where it should be. :) When I first tried to teach this concept to Timmy, he didn’t seem to get it. But when he saw and touched the Trees, he immediately got the idea! We also did the TWO, THREE, TEN counting game. I asked him to place the corresponding number of toys under the TWO, THREE, TEN squares. It’s great because it helped Timmy to be patient especially in counting up to 10! He seems to be in a hurry when counting (always) but the GAME concept and the goal to win helped him to slow down and count properly. :)

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Art:

I made a basic outline of a Turtle and asked Timmy to design it with Triangles! He really had fun with this one! He even suggested that we put shoes and hat on his turtle! :) The googly eyes made the Turtle cuter, too! :)

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Science:

We made a Telephone (a cellphone actually) and I explained to Timmy how it works and why people use it. :) Up to now he still uses his phone and calls us everyday. He’s very proud that he has his own smartphone now! :)

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Filipino and P.E.

I made a Filipino mat for Timmy with Tagalog words that start with T. They are mainly verbs so that’s what we used for our P.E. like “Takbo, Timmy!” then “Talon, Timmy!” then “Tago, Timmy!” It was fun! He even remembered the word “Tulog” and told me “Tulog na si Timmy!” Haha! Another part of our P.E. is his favorite T activity, TICKLE TIME! He got extra doses of Tickle Time last week because of our theme. :)

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Pop Culture:

I asked my husband Omar to tell Timmy a superhero story. So my boys visited Asgard and learned about the story of THOR! :) It’s very timely that Timmy has Thor’s hammer, too! I really love when my boys read together! :)

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That wraps up our letter of the week! This week, we’re doing letter I. I admit, this letter is pretty challenging so we’ll see how our week turns out. Heehee! I’ll share with you again our activities next week! :) Ciao!

True Love Disciplines

A couple of weeks ago we had to go through a week of intense discipline with our three-year-old toddler. Timmy is a very sweet and funny boy but that doesn’t exempt him from having tantrums and rebellious moments. One thing that kept recurring with him is his tendency to show his rebellion by stomping his feet, raising his voice, and hitting objects (like the table and the couch). IMG_20140908_181718 We knew we had to deal with it more drastically even if it meant having to spank him every day (and on certain days more than once a day). For some reason, it doesn’t stick to him that this behavior is wrong. He had been already been spanked before for doing these things but after which we went back to simply telling him to stop. 20141029_212807 My husband Omar became quick to discipline the moment he did any of those things. Timmy would cry his lungs out and even shout while crying. He would call my name and beg for my rescue. As painful as it was for me not to even come close, I had to do it. I had to let him sort things out with his dad and once they’re all good that’s only time I could come in. He also did the same thing to me when I spanked him and he was calling for his dad. Sorry son, dad’s not home so you have no choice but to deal with me. IMG_20141010_081437 After that intense week, we saw those antics lessen a lot. Even now, he’s very mindful of how he reacts to situations. I can see in him that he gauges his own response before actually doing or saying it. There was a time when he whispered, “I want to sit down on the floor.” Before, that was his way of expressing his rebellion and he says it loudly. When I asked him again in a stern voice, he looked at me and said, “I just only want to play.” He then continued to play and didn’t say that statement again. 20141025_092845 It’s true what they say that it’s easy to love your children but it’s so difficult to discipline them. When I see Timmy, I see a lovable child who gives butterfly kisses on my cheeks and always demands my attention in the cutest possible way. But I also see that he’s growing up and his human nature (that we all share) is kicking in fast. The desire to do things his way, the urge to push boundaries—the very things we adults struggle with are manifesting already. 20141025_101102 God made me realize that it’s the very reason we are given parents to correct us and direct us to the right direction. I grew up being disciplined, too. I developed a healthy fear and respect for my mom because of that. We want our son to have the same healthy fear with us, too. We want him to grow up listening to our guidance and counsel because we only want what’s best for him. I learned a lot of things during that week and I want to share them with you. We need to be consistent. As parents we need to be consistent on what is allowed and not allowed in our home. If raising voice is not allowed then we should not to do it to each other, too. When we discipline Timmy we tell him that he doesn’t see mommy and daddy do that to each other. It’s hard but we have to model it consistently in our household so that he gets the idea clearly.

Proverbs 13:24

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

 We need to be forgiving. I have to admit that it’s hard to deal with a stubborn child. It’s hard to forgive if your child keeps testing you. I’ve learned to be more forgiving through Timmy. You see, after we spank him, said our sorry’s and I-forgive-you’s Timmy is back to his normal self. He would play with us. Show sweet gestures as if he wasn’t bawling a few minutes ago. He, too, was forgiving of mommy and daddy. Sometimes after I discipline him I still feel irritated but his natural response of wanting to be with me again taught me that this is what forgiveness is all about. You forget and move on.

Proverbs 22:15

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

We need to be patient. Our children are not robots programmed to do anything we ask them to do. They have free will just like the rest of us. We need to patiently mentor them. Guide them, explain things to them, and pray for them. Even if it means having to teach the same things over and over again, we need to just press on and do it until they fully understand. I realized that I can’t give up and just let him go on showing these behaviors just because I’m tired of it.

Proverbs 29:15

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

We need to show tough love. Not everyone believes in disciplining or spanking their children. But tough love is the only way kids learn. Even us adults, we learn the most from our most painful experiences. You don’t learn by cruising through life. You learn from its ups and downs. Tough love makes our children realize that there are consequences to their actions. It makes them realize that their decision to disobey mommy and daddy is wrong. Tough love may hurt but it only hurts for a while. The lesson sticks for a long time.

Hebrews 12:11

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. I can’t say that it’s over and we’re all done disciplining Timmy. He really improved a lot after that week and we can only praise and thank God for that. We know that in the future he will have other behaviors that we have to deal with but we’re taking it one day at a time. God is the same with us. He always keeps an eye on us, disciplining us (even as adults) when we stray far from Him. Not because He’s a possessive God but because He’s a loving God. He knows when we’re headed for destruction and discipline prevents that from happening.

Deuteronomy 8:5

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.

What a week it has been but it was full of lessons for all three of us. We show our love to our son through so many things like spending time with him, buying him the stuff that he wants, taking care of him, teaching him, and playing with him. But I guess disciplining him is the form of love that truly helps in molding his character. It’s the most difficult expression of love yet the most fruitful in the long run. :)

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Alphabet Week!

This week I decided to kick off our Letter of the Week activity by doing an Alphabet Week. :) I’ve been seeing my fellow homeschooling moms do this activity with their kids. I decided to research more about it and found the site letteroftheweek.com. It’s the ultimate resource for letter of the week ideas! One of the mommy blogger’s suggestions was to start off with an introduction by doing an alphabet review. :) That’s just what we did!

Timmy loves letters and he’s a born reader if there’s such a thing. :) I really thank God that He gave him that natural inclination to read. It made my job a whole lot easier when I was teaching him phonics and reading. :) Since he’s crazy about letters (and numbers) we bought him different kinds of letters over the years. I decided to sort them and put them in containers and place them in a huge bin as my BIG SURPRISE when he woke up last Monday. :)

Sorting done! :)

Sorting done! :)

I also picked the books that we will read for the week. :)

Alphabet books! :)

Alphabet books! :)

We played the alphabet spin game from his book. :)

We played the alphabet spin game from his book. :)

My little boy busy reading :)

My little boy enjoying his alphabet books. :)

For Arts and Crafts I asked Timmy to make an alphabet artwork using my scrapbook stickers. :) He arranged the letters in chronological order and doodled some random design. He enjoyed doing this one!

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We also formed letters using pipe cleaners and clay! :)

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We did our usual spelling practice, too. I also asked him to sort the upper case and lower case letters. :)

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For math, we did some counting exercise using his letters. I asked him to put the corresponding number of letters in the boxes. :) We also sorted the letters by color. :)

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Timmy already knows that we’ll start with letter T tomorrow. :) We’re both excited about it! We plan to spell his name first and probably his dad’s name then mine before we go chronological with our letter of the week. :) I’m grateful to moms who generously share their ideas online. They inspire me to be creative and make learning more fun for my toddler. :) I also praise and thank God, the giver of all wonderful ideas! Will share with you how our first letter of the week went in my next blog! :)

Order in the World of a Toddler

Any mom can attest that order is a luxury when you have a toddler. I have been in constant search of the perfect schedule or some sense of steady continuity from the time I gave birth up to now. I didn’t realize that what I was looking for was contradictory to the nature of this season of life which is UNPREDICTABILITY. From repeatedly waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby to constantly keeping an eye on an exploring infant to the running around and wrestling with a very active toddler, all of these have spur of the moment activities, accidents, and everything in between. It’s crazy but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) it’s fun!

The joy of being a mom is unexplainable. It’s like a combination of having an adrenaline rush and sugar overload with all your senses heightened every single day. You’re always on third gear, full throttle ready to go from the time you wake up. You need to match the energy of your child otherwise you’ll miss out on a lot of things. I love seeing Timmy explore and discover stuff on his own. I love hearing him appreciate the basic colors and shapes he sees in nature. He’s always fascinated by the moon and stars, things that I don’t get to appreciate as often as I should. He sees grandeur in the little things. His sense of awe and wonder is contagious! :)

Now, that is not to say that everything is easy breezy in our home. It’s not. This is why I’ve decided that we need to have a schedule to follow daily. We have already established the basic routines like prayer time, meal and snack time, toothbrush time, afternoon naps, and all that. However, it’s those dead periods in between that can completely drive you nuts especially when you have other things to do. The most challenging part is Timmy’s attention span. You really can’t keep a toddler still for hours unless you give him a gadget, which has become a go-to toddler pacifier. We do let Timmy use our phone or tablet but in intermittent periods of time. He’s allowed maximum of one hour a day and that’s it.

His bustling energy and short attention demands one activity after another. He needs to be constantly engaged and entertained. I know that Timmy loves personalized stuff so I decided to create a schedule that will make him more aware of our routine. God reminded me one time that parenting should be intentional. We should make an effort to nurture, discipline, and train our child. I’m awful at scheduling and this is something I don’t want to pass on to Timmy. I’m blessed to have a husband who needs to plan because it complements my always-on-the-go mindset. :) Yesterday, I finally finished my DIY project. Thank You, Lord! :) It was officially launched and used on August 22, 2014. Haha!

 The materials I used are:

  • red cartolina (because Timmy loves red)
  • magnetic Cars characters
  • craft foam for embellishment
  • silver metallic pen
  • Sharpie colored pens
  • wooden letters
  • black cartolina
  • illustration board (to mount the cartolina)
  • star puncher
  • felt paper
  • scissors
  • double-sided tape
  • glue
  • velcro

It’s so heartwarming to see Timmy appreciate his personal schedule! He kept reading the things he needs to do, he counts the remaining squares with velcro that still needs stars, and he likes getting his star medal! :) Last night I told Omar that the schedule helped me, too. I was able to keep Timmy busy, I got to finish my work, and enjoyed my time with them. Sure there were still gaps because you can’t really ask your toddler to settle down and let him finish tons of activities. Plus, I wouldn’t want to bore him. Everything in his schedule should spell FUN. Our day was more manageable, less crazy, and it went by with ease. Unbelievable. Haha!

Let me explain our schedule a little bit. We have storytelling three times a day because we really want him to grow up loving books. The best part is, Timmy is not content with one story. He would request a minimum of three for each session. If he thinks you’ll still indulge him, he’ll get more! :) If you’ll notice, we do it twice—when he wakes up in the morning and after his nap—and once before going to bed. This is because we don’t want him to associate books with sleeping. I want him to see books as something that energizes him once he’s awake! It’s funny because his favorite book now is “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed.” Heehee! :)

We do homeschooling twice. This involves fine motor activities, reading sessions (we’re at long vowels now), and pre-writing exercises. This is 30 minutes tops. I don’t want him to feel that homeschool is boring or burdensome. We even use his stuff toys to show them how it’s done and he enjoys it! Free play is his I-can-do-whatever-I-want time. This could mean blocks, cars, dinosaurs, letters (he loves all sorts of letter toys and he sometimes thinks that spelling time is play time!), numbers, and basketball. Of course, clean up means keeping all his toys and getting praised for doing so. :)

At first, I wrote down his schedule on a sheet of paper and tried following it. Then I realized that it’s not as effective as getting him involved in the process. Kids love looking forward to things and a schedule gives them that. It also gave me a semblance of order in our day. I’m so grateful to have a supportive husband who even got his wrist a bit injured when he was trying to get the illustration underneath a heavy pile of boards. He also helped me mount the poster and cut the board. Praise God for awesome husbands! Most of all, I thank the Lord for His convictions and gentle reminders about intentional parenting. It’s hard but He shows and affirms to me that it’s rewarding. :)

Just when I was about to give up on my search for the ideal schedule, God reminded me that He is a God of order. From the time He created the world to His plans for mankind, everything was set ahead of time and accomplished according to His plan. He made me realize that there is no such thing as a perfect, foolproof toddler schedule but I can do something to make our day and our household more manageable and less chaotic. :) This DIY project imposes that I follow it, too, and be consistent in keeping order in our home. After all, that’s one of my main roles as a homemaker. I hope this encourages every overwhelmed mom to take a step back, breathe, pray, and see how you can make your day more predictable and organized. The craziness will always be there but at least you have a fallback routine to follow after a potty accident or a temper tantrum. :) There’s order in a toddler’s world when there’s someone drawing the line for them. :)