Sunday, November 2, 2014

Learning Cycle Update

As he usually does, after a couple of really focused weeks working on reading,  Eli lost interest in learning to read and focused on his current life goal: becoming a "ninja turtle." He did dress as one for Halloween, and shocked me by winning a costume contest. Truthfully, his costume itself was a little half-hearted...I don't really get into Halloween, so I didn't put much effort into it. I bought him a TMNT shirt from the store... a shirt with the shell printed on it. Then, I gave let him use one of our old Kung Fu belts and, on impulse, bought him plastic ninja turtle weapons (sai and nun chuks). I made him a mask (of sorts) out of green felt with a red felt strip. That's it. So, when he won, I asked why...and was told it was because he BELIEVED he was a ninja turtle....and put on quite a performance pretending to be one!

He is still, by the way, talking constantly...and I mean CONSTANTLY. It's definitely a problem...but a good one to have, since he is just curious about anything (and everything).

Reading has become Eli's focus again. The moment I noticed that he was slowing down on his last learning streak, I put his reading materials away without saying anything. For a couple weeks, we encouraged him to play and color and do other activities. But, in the last couple of days, he has been begging me to get the reading stuff back out. So today, when we had a few minutes, I did. I have been shocked at how much he has remembered....and even how much he learned during our time off. He currently has at least 60 to 65 sight words, and knows all of his Montessori "pink" words (3 letter words that are phonetic). He can absolutely sound out words with short vowel sounds, and is learning about vowel combinations and long vowel sounds (with silent e). Most of what we do is a combination of activities on www.starfall.com and Montessori activities, with Dolch sight words thrown in when Eli feels like it. He did specifically ask me to only work on reading at home....he does not want to ask his teacher at school to do his words with him. Tonight, he kinda rehashed how much he misses Ms. J (he misses the way she taught reading and let him progress at his own pace).  Obviously, I will respect what he has asked and  keep any reading lessons at home.

It is still unnerving to see my three year old, out of the blue, notice the word "book" and say, "this is 'book' because it looks like the word 'look' but it has a 'b' not an 'l'."

I think it is time to print the Momtessori "blue" word series for him to look at.  He is also asking about addition and subtraction again...so we'll see. When we left off in math (again, because Eli lost interest temporarily), he was confidently counting by ones, twos, and tens, (though he can only count by twos to ten). It was quite hysterical the first time we heard him count by twos....because he taught himself to do it, and was very proud. We were surprised and asked him who taught him to count by twos, and his response was, "I taught it to myself. But it took me a LONG TIME!"

He is definitely at the point where people will stop and ask questions (such as Eli's age) because of what he's doing. While in doctor's office last week (Eli begged to go with me to a routine appointment, because he loves to watch people get blood drawn), he was sitting and doing a simple word search. He would read the word, spell it aloud, then find it in the puzzle. Pretty uncommon for a tiny guy...most people who ask questions are friendly, but there are occasional jerks (similar to when we get adoption comments, too).

It's not all unicorns and rainbows...Eli's also extremely active and emotionally intense for his age.  He is what I have heard described as a "sensory seeker." He loves to push his physical limits. Patrick and I were watching a commercial recently where a little boy climbed a doorway, then somersaulted down to his feet. We simultaneously said, "Hey! That looks like Eli!". He doesn't literally climb doorways....at home, anyway. At least, he hasn't tried...yet...! We're just grateful that he seems to have quit jumping off of his bicycle backwards and is now using his brakes to stop : ).

In other news, we were able to participate in a multi-church volunteer day.  We all took time to cut tags off of cloth bags to hand out to families who needed to visit the canned food pantry. Eli and I also helped stock rice and beans on the shelves for families who needed them. Other than hurling one bag of rice at someone, (at which point, I did remind him to put away the rice gently), Eli did an amazing job. He was very proud to be big enough to help, and really participate in a meaningful way. I think he must have cut the tags off of at least 50 bags before helping with the rice! When I complimented him on his effort, he said, "Working feels good. I like it." That's enough to humble me for a while.

It also explains some of his Halloween confusion. When we explained trick or treating (in our case, trunk or treating), Eli assumed we were getting candy "for people who don't have any." We explained that the candy would be for him, but his only response was to look at us quizzically and say, "But WHY?". He was confused, but after about 30 seconds at trunk or treat, he was beside himself with
glee.

Then, at church today, someone mentioned Advent....I can't believe it's coming SO SOON!

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