Learning to be Flexible

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

This week I learnt an important lesson...to be flexible. Mondays are our main preschool/Montessori activity days as it's the only day that we're home all day, so we do the bulk of our activities then. On Monday, I was a bit behind in the whole preparation bit, so I put out the new activities while the children were watching the morning cartoons. Of course, that made them interested in doing the new activities :) Due to me being sick last week, I thought we could do a repetition of last week's letter (a) and Bible story (Creation). We had a great circle time and letter time with new, exciting "a" objects to look at, then a cutting and gluing "a apple tree" activity (from Confessions of a Homeschooler). All was going well, and Alexander concentrated for a long time on his cutting and gluing activity (Isabel lost interest pretty quickly and started drawing instead). When he had finished that, he was done. As in, for the day. I encouraged him to try and find an activity on the shelf (seeing as I had put out about 6 new ones!), and he picked up this math puzzle (found at Tiger, in case anyone in Denmark is interested!), which was really easy for him.He was quickly done with it and ready to stop. I tried to convince him to do some more activities, but he simply was.not.interested. At this point, I stopped being a reasonable adult and got irritated with him. After all, I had spent considerable time (errr, sort of) putting together these activities, and he stops after just one? How unthoughtful! And we hadn't even gotten around to our Bible story and activity! Then I threw out a really mean comment about maybe he wasn't old enough for preschool (biting words for a big 4 year old boy!) and walked into the lounge room. I sat down with my guitar and started playing the tune of the memory verse we were going to learn (anyone else see the irony?), and my sad faced boy hid behind the coffee table, his shoulders slumped in sadness. Finally I stopped being foolish long enough to notice, and we had a talk about how he felt and why, and I apologised for being so mean. And he sweetly forgave me, and gave me a hug (talk about a lesson in grace!). Now that our relationship was restored, I asked if he wanted to sing the song with me. To my surprise, he said yes. So we sang the song through a few times while Isabel drove her doll around in her little pram, and then I asked if he'd like to hear the Creation story again. He said yes (he was VERY impressed by God creating light...Christian asked later if what I did was just a little bit dangerous....umm, why yes it was, but it was very impressive. However, I don't suppose I should recommend lighting a candle when you're sitting under a blanket! Flashlight perhaps?). We read the story through and then I mentioned that I had made an activity to go with it. Was he perhaps interested in that? Why yes he was!
So we did the activity together. He needed some help remembering the order, but matched the days no problem on his own. After that, he suddenly wanted to do some activities! (Cards from Christian Preschool Printables)
I've seen this idea on several different blogs, including Counting Coconuts (love that blog!), so I thought we'd try it. Alexander really enjoyed this, and it was great to see him concentrating so long and using those fine motor skills! It was actually quite tricky for him, and he nearly gave up at one point, but there's nothing better than having your own cheer squad!
(Isabel, clapping for her hero, Alexander! "Yay Alexander!")
By now, he was unstoppable. He was onto patterning work (again from Confessions of a Homeschooler), which was way too easy...
...then onto tonging stones, which he really enjoyed.
He had a great time matching colour "tablets" (I made these out of felt. Do they have to be wooden? I'm not so sure...), and we talked about the names (he still mixes black and white, and calls grey "brown"). He was having a super time by now!
Finally, as he started to show less interest in the shelves, I introduced him to the sand tray! I knew this would be a hit, as this boy has been "writing" on everything (including the condensation on the side of the water bottle at dinner time and in the ketchup on his plate!). I was right...he loved it! Isabel sat patiently (uncharacteristic for her!) waiting for her turn, and then had a blast "writing" just like her big brother.

Alexander learnt a lot that morning, but honestly I think I learnt even more. About being flexible, being patient, and not trying to reach a perfect ideal. About the power of forgiveness and a little "yay Alexander" from time to time. About how even my children can focus and concentrate for an hour and a half on different activities, and how much fun learning can be when it's a partnership instead of a dictatorship. Above all, I was reminded of just how precious this little boy is to me, and what a privilege it is to be his mum and to be a huge part of his learning journey. I'm very blessed indeed! The best part of it? Hearing him ask if we can do preschool again tomorrow!

1 comment :

  1. Dearest Noni,

    Again I am blown away by your amazing activities and organisation with three little children. How wonderful and humble was this blog! I love you so much and am so proud of you!! You are an awesome Mum!! I can't wait to catch up with you so you can give me some hints and tips before my little ones arrive.

    Love you muchly,

    Katie.

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