December Week Three

This week has been a count down. 4 days until Daddy is on winter break. 3 days…2 days…last day! And today, Friday, Audrey woke up and guess who was still home? And I must say, I am very proud of us for doing school on a day when Andrew is home. The temptation to sleep in with him, to laze around and binge-watch Bones, and blow off all cleaning efforts is intense. However, it is also fun to show him what we do on a “normal” day of school. My husband takes an active interest in Audrey’s budding intellect. He himself is rather bright (and I’m not just saying that. The man can do ridiculous math in his head and carry on deep, insightful conversations that well surpass myself and many others. Okay, AND I’m saying it because he’s my husband and I’m proud of him. Full disclosure here.)

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Isn’t he cute?

CREATIVITY

I want to incorporate some shape and color recognition into our crafts, just to see where she is now versus two months ago, which is the last time we really did anything on colors. So! One project we tried I saw here. You simply cut out three candy canes and adhere them to a sheet of paper. Then you cut out your three different shapes (we did triangles, circles, and squares) in different sizes. I chose to glue an example of what shape I wanted on each candy cane. It was up to Audrey to sort out the different shapes from a pile and place them on the appropriate candy cane.

 

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Yes, I thoughtlessly glued the wrong side of the last candy cane. Great job, Mom.

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She loved it! Unfortunately, I don’t think it challenged her enough. She whipped through it! Andrew suggested we try pentagons, octagons, and squares. Shapes she has to distinguish upon closer inspection.

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Tada! All in less than two minutes..

 

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Another project we did was make a little hand wreath for our Christmas card door. We made a smaller one, similar to this idea. At Audrey’s age, she did very little, and I did a lot. But in the end, she was very proud that we made a wreath out of her hands.

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I think it turned out very festive!

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ORTHODOXY

Every morning, as soon as we are ready for the day, Audrey and I say morning prayers. They are short, and Audrey usually sings her own version (with the aid of a church book of her choice) of “Lord have meeeeercy” through them. I want her to get into the habit of starting and ending her day with prayer.

The feast of Saint Nicholas was Thursday. We love Saint Nicholas – not to be confused with Santa Claus. The Orthodox celebrate Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker as a bishop who was known for his love for others, which he practiced especially through alms-giving. An excerpt from his life many people know is the story of the three poor girls, whose father, out of desperation, planned to sell them into the life of prostitution. Saint Nicholas tossed a bag of money through their window at night, three different times (one bag for each girl.) It was enough for the father to use as a dowry and he married off each one of his girls, not knowing who this secret benefactor was. In the end, the father discovered it was the bishop, and Saint Nicholas made him promise not to tell anyone. Even after his repose, the blessed saint has appeared to and helped many people. The Orthodox love him very much.

So you can see why we make a big deal on his feast day! This year, Audrey and I made Saint Nicholas cookies to give away to friends at the school and church. I found a great dairy-free recipe for sugar cookies here. I mean, they are AMAZING. It’s hard to find a good recipe for cookies during the fast. We personally dislike the taste of soy-made dairy substitutes. I frosted them with Pillsbury icing we bought from the store, which, should you care to know, is also dairy-free and amazing. I tried to make them look like the icon…but..there is only so much you can do before things start to look confusing.

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Isn’t it cute? You can buy the cookie cutter here. I bought the Austrian one and bent the Catholic bishop’s hat into a circular Orthodox bishop’s hat. The copper is super bendable! 

We went to a beautiful vespers on Wednesday evening, to kick off the celebration. Thursday, after Andrew came home from his half day of work, we sat down as a family and read the life of Saint Nicholas. Then we ate cookies and opened a few very small gifts (again, this isn’t Christmas. By giving little gifts we carry on the spirit of giving of Saint Nicholas.)

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The cat, of course, had to be a part of everything.

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For the life of me, I couldn’t find Audrey’s Saint Nicholas book from our little collection of the Paterikon for Kids. Maybe next year! It’s nice to have the pictures for little ones. And next year we will be reading the life to Audrey and baby B. If you have young children, you ought to purchase this set! It’s a little spendy for laminated paper books…but they cover so many important feasts/saints!

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NUMBERS

Not a whole lot new going on here. Audrey is a flash cards kid, and she picked out her numbers flash cards, most days. We practiced counting dots, recognizing numerals, and spelling the number names. We have started practicing numbers in the 20’s.

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After reading the Well Trained Mind, my husband has been very excited about giving Audrey lots of math things to memorize even far in advance before she will be able to use them. This is the age of mass memorization, why not lay out a few foundations? So we ask Audrey every day, or whenever we think of it, “what is the inverse of addition?” and she answers, “subtraction!” “What’s the inverse of subtraction?” “Addition!” She has it down, and she is VERY excited. Now we ask her the inverse of multiplication/division. It doesn’t mean anything to her now. In a few years, it will make my job of explaining mathematical concepts to her a little easier!

I knew a 4 year old who could recite the Greek alphabet completely. It was his little party trick. He loved impressing people for his parents. Feed your kids information, folks. They can handle lots of it!

LETTERS

Since Audrey seems to be getting her letters down, I thought, “Why not introduce a few sight words?” Why not. From this idea, I formed my own toddler-friendly version. Who doesn’t like ice cream? I cut out four ice cream cones and glued them to white paper. Then I laminated it to help it hold up under heavy use (one use, really, is heavy use.)

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Next, I cut out different colored ice cream scoops – three to each cone. Each cone gets a word, each scoop gets a word, and you have the kid match the three ice cream scoops to the matching cone, for a delicious, non-edible treat.

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Different fonts are nice, but in retrospect, I would have used lower case AND upper case letters.

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This exercise was pretty challenging. She wasn’t looking at the letters in the words, really..

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So it turns out this was pretty challenging for her. She understood “I” because it was simply a letter out of the alphabet to her, and eventually she started to see “is.” The words “and” and “see” she often confused. Whenever she picked up an ice cream scoop, we spelled out the word, sounded out the word, said the word, then looked for the cone with the matching word. I’m going to pull out this exercise every day because although she is young to be doing sight words, really, I think continuing to practice letters will get old to her because she knows them so well already. Onward and upward!

I caught Audrey doing her alphabet train all by herself the other day. It was heartwarming. Kids really do have amazing powers of learning and they love to exercise them.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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