...............and I'll brag if I want to! Warning: If you hate listening to parents gush about how smart they think their kids are SKIP THIS POST!
I guess before I start bragging, I should admit that I do not have a degree in child development, education or any related field so I actually do not know when certain skills should be learned. Plus I have learned enough from parenting books, blogs, other parents and my own experience to know that children learn different things in very different ways and at very different times. For example, when Isabel turned 2 she already knew most of her letters but was definitely not the most coordinated kid in the world. There was a lot she could not do physically. Will, on the other hand, knew about 3 letters and had no desire to even try to learn any more. However, the kid could climb, jump and hit a ball thrown at him from across the room.
I have tried (although not always successfully) to NOT be that mom that is constantly comparing her kids with each other or others. I never want to force my kids to learn as much as possible simply to say they know it. I just want to celebrate (and brag a little) my kids successes....which brings us back to the point of this blog.
Recently Isabel has become obsessed with learning to read. She has known her letters and sounds for a while now and can write pretty much every letter pretty well. I didn't force or really even encourage most of it. She has just always been that child that loved learning. I have never done flashcards or sat her down and said it was time to learn. I just explained things as we went about our day. I had no idea what to do next though. I didn't want to teach her something wrong and make her kindergarten teacher hate me.
About a week ago we were riding in the car and Isabel and Will were both playing with their mini-magna-doodles. Isabel was writing letters and was proud that she could write Will on her own. Without really thinking about it, I started telling her to write letters and then see if she could sound it out. First I told her to write I-T and she very quickly figured out it was the word it. I went through some 2 letter words and then moved to 3 letter words. Again, I have no idea what is "normal" but I was proud of how quickly she picked it up and sounded out each word. Plus I LOVED how much she loved it! During our game, we had to stop by the house and I ran in to get something. When I came back to the car 2 minutes later Isabel showed me her magna-doodle. She wrote A-S-C and said, "look mommy, I wrote the word ask!" I was so impressed that she figured out how to spell something phonetically without even needing instructions. I told her she did a great job but then also reminded her that there are 2 letters that make the "ck" sound and ASK is actually spelled with a "K." I was worried that my perfectionist daughter would not appreciate the help but she was fine with it and wanted to continue the game (and still wants to every second we are in the car!!)
I'll brag on Will a little too since it is the post for that. Have I mentioned lately that Will is all boy? Seriously, the kid would like to be running, jumping, throwing, hitting a ball or wrestling every second of the day if he could. This means that he is not the kid to bring me letter workbooks and ask me to teach him his letters, sounds, etc. I'll admit that even though I try not to compare them, I was worried because Will was not learning certain things at the same time as Isabel did. Luckily I have people around me to remind me that I am being ridiculous and shouldn't worry. Anyway, apparently I just needed to figure out how Will did like to learn. The only time he is really still is when I let them watch a movie on long car trips. On the advice of other mommys to boys, I showed him the Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD. After watching it 2 or 3 times he knew almost all his letters and now even knows a lot of the sounds. He can also count pretty much as high as he wants (as long as I help him after 29, 39, etc) just from hearing Isabel do it over and over.
Again, I have no idea what is normal but I'm proud of my kids, like that they enjoying learning and want to to keep track of when they learn certain skills. Plus it's my blog and I'll brag if I want to! :)