Today was one of those days that if I had to hear ONE more “But I don’t wannaaaa!” when it came time to start the dreaded language arts practice, I was gonna start my own whining session. And when mommy whines, it somehow manages to be even less cute than a 6-year-old’s whine.
So, I remembered this post I came across the other day, and the whole “tricking” your math-loving child into practicing reading and writing…well, it truly just spoke to my heart. And if you have a sec to browse around the site hosting this genius post, you definitely should…it’s pretty great.
Anyway, I could sense a sly smile starting to develop on my face, and immediately, I realized that some of the ideas from that creative post would not only be a great solution to the whining epidemic soaring through our home, but also a great workout for that easel that’s just been gathering dust in the corner for the last few weeks. Yes, that glorious $15 Ikea easel that I just LOVE…but sometimes forget exists.
Ok so you can totally do this too! Whether homeschooling or doing evening homework, what child couldn’t use a little boost of motivation to practice reading and writing?! (I’ll give you a hint. The answer is none.)
First up, the white crayon and watercolor trick. Finally, white crayons aren’t the most useless thing in your home! They have finally found their sole purpose in life, and no, it’s not to drive your 3 year old crazy because he just cannot understand why they don’t work! Check out what happens when you write a “mystery message” in white crayon, and have your child paint with watercolors over it:
Pretty cool huh? He just thought he was going to have fun painting! But when he saw the letters begin to appear, he just couldn’t help but read them! Muahaha! Plus, he was practicing a memory verse, so that’s double the learning.
Next, my most devious gimmick, because it combined writing and reading. Another “mystery message”, but this one took a little more prep. I wrote up a code on the large paper, and left room on the chalkboard for the message to “de-code”.
When he got done writing the message, he had to read it. Oh. My. Word. He was so excited that it was actually a message for him, telling him that it was lunch break! I was actually quite surprised with how much he enjoyed that one! I like the idea of using the easel for this one especially, because you can erase the message and make new ones without wasting paper, while keeping the “code” on the paper to save for later mysterious uses!
Lastly, I went ahead and gave him some math problems, because I am just the coolest mom ever. No, seriously, I am. Ask anyone. Ok, just ask my 6-year-old. He’ll be sure to give you the answer I want you to hear. Today, he must have told me about 5 times that I am the BEST mommy. (Could have something to do with the fact that I let him have a second lollipop, but whatever…)
We took several counters in two different colors, dropped them on a piece of paper, wrote down how many of each color ended up on the paper, and added them up, using these written equations.
Then, I found THE most adorable thing ever. I left the room for a few minutes, but was lured back in when I heard the sound of my oldest saying the letters of the alphabet. I walked in to find him teaching his little brother letters on the easel! What a precious sight! And just like that, his idea for easel-use surpassed any of mine!
And now, you are about to be let in on one of my deepest, darkest secrets. My kids wear their PJ’s until we have to go out for some reason, or until we go out to play, whichever comes first. So pretty much everyday during “school time”, they’re in their PJ’s. I thought about doing something about this, simply for the purpose of the photos on this blog. Simply to save myself from the embarrassment and from having to explain it. But then I realized that if I was going to expect them to get dressed first thing in the morning, that would mean I’d have to do the same. And frankly, I am just not ready for that kind of commitment. So, for now, I will remain perfectly happy with our bumming, PJ-wearing selves…until our afternoon activities, or on Wednesdays a little earlier, since we have co-op in the mornings. Sorry, UPS guy.