Monday, December 20, 2010

Why consistancy is KING and why it is at times one of the hardest thing to maintain!

We have all heard the saying Repitition is the mother of all skill and this is very true for early learning, particulalrly when you are teaching your child to read. Getting it to happen when there is so many other things that need to get done and maybe a child who is refusing to do anything but reading or maths or any other activity even if you have set it up to be fun.

Consisitancy has always been on of the hardest things for me to maintain, because I am not a stay-at-home mum as much as I would love to be. I had to return to work (for only financial reasons).  This is where I started to lose my consistancy with DD1 as I would come home from work tired and not wanting to do anything let alone be joyous about teaching her. My attitude towards early learning had changed because as much as I wanted to do all of it (reading, maths, encyclopedia knowledge, music, so on and so on) I could not teach joyously because it had almost become another chore I had to do for the day. I don't know if many of you had felt this way but I certainly did after a loooong day at work and still a million things to do when you got home.

I had to find a way to not only change my attitude but find a way that I could teach both joyously and still bond with my dd1. So I made a number of power point presentations and downloaded a whole heap from the brillkids website and I also started using their software more consistantly and I made time to do it when I was not so tired and I could enjoy it with her. I also had to change how often I was showing the presentations. Doman states 3x a day for best results. I could not do 3 times a day and felt under a lot of pressure to do so. I had to change how often I showed the presentations to 2 times a day which were at breakfast and in the bathtub. This was where we were both at our most relaxed states and I could enjoy the learning time with her. This was one of the ways I was able to gain some consistancy back. It was not at the optimal level that I wanted but it was better than nothing at all. DD1's reading flourished and bit by bit is improving everyday.

Now DD2 is here the consistancy has gone out the window. These early days have proven to be chaotic with new routines and back up through the night, I have lost alot of consistancy with DD1 and she also does not seem as interested in doing lessons and would much rather play with tea sets and blankets all day, draw and stamp. I feel guilty also that alot of time is taken up with the care of DD2 and my time is divided between both the girls and I can't give DD1 the same time I would like.

How do I plan on remeding this problem:
1. I would like to buy another 2 sets of little table and chairs and set different activities up on them and allow dd1 to select what she would like to play with than I play with her and teach her at the same time.
2. Return to using software to teach her again and use it to a) When she is on the potty to distract her from being on the potty b) when she is most relaxed at breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon snacks and in the bathtub.
3. Use more hands on materials that she enjoys using. 

It has been one of the hardest things to maintain because not all the time my DD1 has wanted to do learning. which is frustrating but golden rule no 1 must always be followed never force it on your child so at times it has been weeks before she has wanted to resume something or gone back to something we have started weeks prior.  Or she has been unwell and unable to teach.

I truly believe as long as you can find a way that suits you and your child's learning style and it is something that you can be joyous doing and your child is having fun and it is something you can do consistantly then keep doing it. I put myself under so much pressure to do everything the Doman way that I almost ended up hating it. So I decided to change things to suit me and that helped my DD1 to because I am sure she picked up my stress levels and new that I was not enjoying it so she began to not enjoy either.

I hope my own story helps you to change things around to suit you. I always think honesty is the best policy rand I hope my journey helps you on yours.

Thanks for reading


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frustrations with Early learning the ups and the downs.

I have rarely discussed with my friends what I do with Sophia as when I have there has been a large amount of backlash or just plain ignoring. I thought I would start by airing my own frustration with this and my frustrations I have had with teaching my children and the battles I have had with in myself as to whether I am doing the right thing or not.

With teaching my own daughter I have had many ups and downs. There are days where she just does not want to do anything other than play and I have not been able to show her any flash cards or presentations on the computer or even play with the letter fridge magnets. I sometimes pull my own hair out as I have my own schedule and curriculum in mind with what I want to teach and where I think I should be, but I always follow Glenn Doman's rule keep the lessons short and fun and Right brain Kids rule Follow the child. It is sometimes hard when the child just wants to play with playdoh and knows when you try to turn that into a lesson.
One day I clearly remember I was cleaning up the flashcards I had made her and her loudly pronouncing NO FLASH CARDS MUMMY, I said im not Im cleaning them up trying to make them neat for the next baby. "NO FLASHCARDS MUMMY" Okay okay I said and haven't shown her any since. It does frustrate me because I want to teach her so much and I feel I get further and further behind.

I am also continually changing my methods of teaching one week she will respond to one form of learning the next week it will change again. I always have to be ready to adapt and change my style very quickly. Even at two she already has preferences for one style of the other and she now responds very well to teaching through art and craft. If she is able to create something of her own she seems to learn so much better than strickly flash cards or from a computer program. She still likes these methods but not as much as creating something of her own

I recently cut out a whole heap of polygons from shiny colourful paper and let her creat a collage of shapes and then I wrote underneath each shape what it was. Soon Sophia was holding up the shapes going "that's a rhombus, that's a right angle triangle. So on and so on. I watched her thouroughly enjoy creating something special as well as actually learning something and I was pretty proud of myself for 'discovering' a way that she liked to learn.

This taught me a very valuable lesson in 'follow your child' not all children will respond in a way that a book will tell you that they will so it is important to adapt your style to theirs and be willing to try things that may not be convential but get the job done.

The other battle I have had is the battle with myself. I have often asked my self if  I am doing the 'right thing' will i make her too advanced? will this hinder her socially? will she be bored in school if she goes to school already reading and grasping mathematics? will she regret me teaching her at such a young age? Is there any real benefit to teaching at such a young age?
I have asked myself and my husand these questions so many times I have lost count. I never have really come up with an answer other than I want her to love learning more than anything in the world. I also love the bond that I have built with her, (even though at this point of time Im currently rebuilding that bond as I had a five day stay in hosp when I had daughter no 2 and Sophia has broken away from me slightly). As for socially Sophia does enjoy the company of older children and sometimes does engage in more advanced play for her age but she goes to day-care 2 days a week and has made little friends which she talks about all the time. So I have gladly let go of that fallacy of  early childhood learning socially hinders them.

As for any real benefit of early learning well I think a love of learning that lasts a life time and love of discovering things for themselves will help foster a highly motivated adult in the future and one I hope does not think that the world owes them.

As for other people: Well what does it matter what they say let the results speak for themselves and most people don't really understand the whole early learning thing and some people might be really threatened by it especially if it something they do not want to do with their own children. It takes a lot of time and preperation to teach a young child even when the lesson is no longer than 5 minutes. I have given up on telling people, its the best way to continue teaching my little one's I let the results speak for themselves and I don't want sophia being 'tested' all the time like she is a trained seal. The early learning process has become a special thing between us and I don't want that broken.

Thanks for reading my post


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why high contrast images and tummy time is essential to early learning!!

I thought I would start today's post with the absolute basics to early learning DEVELOPING GREAT VISION!

VISION = Making sense of what is seen

A baby must be able to track you with their eyes before you can begin to start any reading, maths or signing programmes, and what does black and white images and tummy time have to do with developing vision?

First I will address the importance of tummy time. A baby its on its back is like an upside down turtle. Tummy time is to encourage movement so that brain pathway are stimulated. Lying a baby on its back prevents movement and inhibits the use of both sides of the body. Near point vision (close vision) is also developed. Development and learning occur when the nerve endings in the muscle and ligamnets of the body are stimulated. So put your baby on their tummy as soon as they are awake and well fed of course : )
Why Black and White? High Contrast Colors are STILL the best. Newborns can see from birth, just not as clearly as an older child or adult. Until your child is about six months of age, he/she will respond best to bold, contrasting colors and graphics. That’s why it’s important to provide your baby with images that feature the visual extremes of black, white and red.

I have done this with both my children. While Anneliese's vision is still developing, I remember clearly watching Sophia track me from the other side of the room at around 8 weeks and really started focusing on other things like the mural in her bedroom and anything that was hanging on the wall. Even though I did do the black and white images I was highly skeptical. I didn't think it would work, but I also thought no harm in trying. As soon as I put down the first black and white board book around Sophia's cot her little head turned straight away and just stared at the images. From then on in I was a convert. Tummy time took me a little longer to get used to. Sophia used to cry when I put her on her tummy and I felt really, really bad for her because it seemed like such a struggle, but as time went on she rolled early tummy to back at three months and commando crawled at six months creeping at 8 months and walking by 11 1/2 months. Now I know that the crying is just a small price to pay for the benefits of tummy time.

I only do tummy time when Anneliese is awake. I NEVER put her on her tummy to sleep. I always follow the safe sleeping rules. As you can see tummy time when they are awake still benefits the child greatly.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Intellikids! Early Learning Down Under: Sign Language: A great way to start your baby on a...

Intellikids! Early Learning Down Under: Sign Language: A great way to start your baby on a...: "First of all I must apologise for my 5 day hiatus as i was in hospital giving birth to my new daughter Anneliese. Which is why I have not be..."

Sign Language: A great way to start your baby on a fantastic path

First of all I must apologise for my 5 day hiatus as i was in hospital giving birth to my new daughter Anneliese. Which is why I have not been posting as frequently as I would like. I could not log into the Wi-Fi network.

But on to today's topic of Sign Language and why it such a great tool for early learning and one (in my humble opinion) is the most rewarding.

I started signing with my darling Daughter no 1 when she was approximately 4months old (they say to start at 6 months when you introduce solids but I introduced solids at 4 months) She was approximately 9 months when she signed 'milk' back. Why did I decided to do this? Mainly because I had seen an article on the benefits of early communication with your baby and I decided to do further research into the benfits and of course I was concerned that it would cause speech delay as the child would have no need to speak to you as they would only 'sign' what they would need.

As I looked into the research I realised the benefits far outwieghed any of the negatives. Most children who are taught 'sign language' as babies go on to have very large vocabularies. (I know my daughter does). I also loved the fact that I could identify what she needed as she could communicate with me.

 Once Sophia had realised that I had responded to her first sign at nine months her signing just exploded as well as her vocabulary. By the time she was one she was already saying 10 words on a regular basis hi, bye, mum, dad, cat, dog, cow, milk, cheese and eat.

By the time she was 18 months her vocabulary was well over 50 words (even my Doctor noticed) and her signing was well past 100 words. In that time I had decided to change form teaching my daughter AUSLAN which is Australia's official sign language to ASL (American Sign Langauge) as the resources to teach sign language were better. I was very disappointed not to teach AUSLAN but the DVD programme I use from the states 'signing time' which is very well put together and is fun for me to watch as well. The other thing about ASL is that it is a one handed sign language. Which means most if the signs can be signed by one hand which is great when you  have a baby on your hip and only one hand free. AUSLAN is a two handed sign language based on the British system of sign language. and can be hard at times to use when you are using it with a baby as for above reasons.

My little girl loves signing and uses sign on a regular basis even though she is now two. It has also helped her develop her fine motor skills and is now (to my surprise) starting to write some letters and is very excited when this happens.

I will continue to post more about signing as my daughter no 1 develops more and daughter no 2 starts to use it.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post please find below a link to a study that was conducted on children who were taught sign language vs. children who didn't learn sign language for you to read.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Early Learning is like Potty training if you force it it wont work!

Hi Everyone,

I thought I would start today's post dispelling some of the myths about Early learning. For a lot of people in can conjure up images of their own childhood learning experiences particularly in school being forced to sit down and learn stuff that we had no interest in  or was just a plain waste of time. Or it conjures up images of little children being drilled all day with flash cards and no time to play and discover for themselves.

All of these could not be further from the truth. Teaching babies to read and do maths or anything like that the golden rule is lessons are not to last longer than 5minutes and are not to take up your day allowing you and your baby to play together and discover together, and lets face it between feeds/sleep/nappy changes and getting everything else done 5min is probably about all most parents have (I know I do.)

We all know what it feels like to have things forced upon us NONE OF US LIKE IT and that includes babies and toddlers. I used to flash my DD word cards 3 times a day and she would just look away and find a spot on the wall to look at, so I stopped. If she was not enjoying it then I didn't want her learning experience to become a time she hated with me rather a time she loved with me. I found other ways to teach her that she enjoyed and I enjoyed to. If you are going to embark on this journey....

Then RULE 1: The learning that occurs between you and your child must be fun and joyous for the both of you and never forced. (THIS IS THE GOLDEN RULE)

RULE 2: Lessons must be kept short and can be made longer as the child gets older and attention span increases. Little children's brains are incredible things and they don't need to be drilled over and over again because they learn at 10times the rate that we adults do.

RULE 3. If your child does not respond to flash cards try other methods like pinning up words around the house (the word kitchen in the kitchen) and when bubba is on your hip point to the word from left to right (So they learn how to read the word)  There is no wrong or right way  to teach as long as you follow rule no 1 you can't really go wrong.

RULE 4. Don't continually test your child. They will show you what they know when they are ready and it will come as a great surprise to you to. I made this mistake and learnt the hard way. They hate being tested all the time a question like what does that sign say? every now and then is okay, but if it everyday they will grow to hate lessons with you and will purposely get the question wrong. Give them the information and trust the fact that they do understand far more than you think.

There has been a lot of controversy about teaching young children to read and do math and so on and so on. Alot of people believe that children can't learn to read or are unable to math. I have seen it first hand not only with my own child but with many many parents posting videos of their young children reading and doing maths on You Tube. Many 'experts' have condemmed flash cards and DVD programmes for the under 2's. All I can say is that as a parent I have seen this work first hand and I know my daughter is not any more different than any other two year old except she can read. And yes she can comprehend what she is reading. While she is not reading books yet she certainly is enjoying reading signs and pointing to things and reading them out. There is always a big hug and a kiss when she achieves something in reading and her effort is always praised.

I could write all day about Early Learning as I am so passionate about it but I am also aware that as a parent we don't have all day to read. Please feel free to post any questions or comments below. Would love to have your opinion.

Tomorrow I will start with Sign Language, and why it is such a fabulous teaching tool.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

Intellikids! Early Learning Down Under: Welcome to Intellikids

Intellikids! Early Learning Down Under: Welcome to Intellikids: "Hi Everyone, Thank you for taking the time to come and read my blog about teaching my two children. I hope to inspire others to embark on t..."

Welcome to Intellikids

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for taking the time to come and read my blog about teaching my two children. I hope to inspire others to embark on this fabulous journey with your own children. I hope to give you an insight into what it is like teaching babies and toddlers and while it can have its up's and down's and at times throw your hands up in the air nd ask why am I doing this?. I can certainly tell you it is worth every penny and extremely rewarding.

I am a late starter to the blogging world as I have been on this Journey with my Daughter who is now two for at least two years. ( I started reading to her in the womb)and it has been an exciting journey. I have decided to start this blog at the encouragement of my husband who thinks it is now time to share with the world what I have been doing in the last two years.

I have done a number of early learning enrichment programs with my daughter and I will go into each one in more detail as I start to blog even more and give my honest opinion on each one. I have done reading programs, sign language, maths, physical exercise programs for babies, music programs and right brain education as well.

I started doing this because I have a long history in my family of learning difficulties and I wanted to 'gain a head start' so to speak to possibly stop any future problems but I gained sooo much more. I gained a wonderful bond with my daughter and have developed a fantastic relationship with her. I thought she would be gaining alot from me but I didn't realise the gift that I was giving myself a fantastic relationship with her. I hope this relationship will carry us through the years to come.

I hope as time goes on and I go into detail with each of the programes you will be inspired to take up an early learning program with your own child/children.I hope to inspire other parents that you are wonderful teachers and you do not need to wait until your child goes to school to begin this fantastic journey with your own children.

Thank you for taking the time to read this first blog.