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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:48 pm 
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Best cheapo building activity (but requires fine motor control an early elementary boy might not have yet, so maybe this is for 3+ years in the future) - toothpick and elmer's glue bridges. Go out and study the bridges you can find in your community, come home, design lots of different kinds of bridges (think about how you would add stability to the road using different shapes - triangles and rectangles in particular), and build them out of toothpicks and glue. After they're dry, you put them between two chairs or tables and can hang weights off them (bags of marbles or stones work) and add weight till they break. Then see which ones held the most weight and if you can improve on the design and do it all again. Appeals to both building and destructive impulses and is all kinds of sciencey and also helps them work on the idea of a draft process which is so important in all areas of life.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:11 pm 
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Kelly wrote:
That's great they the workbooks keep B occupied and out of trouble! What a good thing for him to be into!

Do you do hands on projects with him? He seems like he'd be really into detailed projects (based on what you've mentioned about him). Silas is never as quiet and calm as when he has a lego set to build. That's an expensive activity though, so we do all kinds of crazy things with him. Popsicle sticks and glue are kind of magic.

He's too distractable for most hands-on projects. I try to do some crafty stuff with him every now and then, but he isn't into it. And anything with lots of parts (like his blocks and puzzles) will eventually turn into projectiles and get strewn around the house if I'm not careful. He doesn't even like to help cook. ;p
I can sometimes give him a task, like putting the dirty laundry in the washer or getting him to draw a picture of something specific or getting the mail (although he sometimes doesn't want to come back upstairs), but if he is being really wild, it won't work.
Workbooks, though, as long as I keep an eye on him (because sometimes he gets crazy and just starts doing fake cursive scribbles), are usually really good at keeping him occupied!

(I think in the future, though, he will chill out and be a lot less wild -- and be a decent help around the house.)

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:29 pm 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
(I think in the future, though, he will chill out and be a lot less wild -- and be a decent help around the house.)



They usually do! Silas is a whole different kid now than he was the first 3 years of his life. He was a wild guy too and some days it felt like he didn't hold still for a second.

So cool that B is so into the workbooks and math and all though, so interesting to see what captures each kids attention.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:57 pm 
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To get back to the original topic...

I went to a "non-coercive, parent-participation" school that was similar (though not identical) to Sudbury. Basically the way it worked was that no one was forced to take any classes and if kids wanted to learn about something specific they (with the help of staff) would find someone in the community (so existing teachers, parents, etc) to teach them. For example, I took an improv class with a school-mate's step-dad who was an actor, Tai Chi with a friend's mom, etc.

It's certainly not for everyone, but neither is the mainstream method, which I think is essentially make-work babysitting for the majority of the time. Being in charge of my own learning fostered a love of knowledge that was dampened only by the three years I spent in a mainstream high school. I didn't start learning math until I was 9, when I decided I wanted to do it and I ended up transferring to high school a grade ahead of my age group. And I graduated high school on the honour roll and university with an Honours degree.

I certainly saw kids who were struggling, but I imagine they would have struggled as much or more in regular school (in fact, many of them came because they *were* struggling in mainstream schools). At my school you had the freedom to figure out what was interesting to you, how you learn best, and how to advocate for yourself. I think those are all really positive, powerful things.

I think, ultimately, parents need to be working together with their kids and educators to figure out what works best for their kids within the parameters the parents have set. Sending your kid to an unstructured school for political reasons doesn't do your kid much good if they need structure to thrive. Sending your kid who needs freedom and the ability to direct their own activities to a mainstream school is also less than ideal.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:52 am 
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Generally, homeschooling has been pretty straightforward and our biggest challenge is getting Beetroot to focus and work on the days he doesn't want to. Today was pretty amusing and challenging for another reason, though.

Beet finished his addition 1 through 9 workbook yesterday, so we started the measurement workbook. It turns out, the concept of weight is kind of baffling to him, even after Mr. Crabby and I busted out the scales and gave lots of demonstrations. It was kind of hilarious.

Thumper weighs more than Bugs. Loppy and Bugs weigh the same. This was all illustrated, and Beetroot just had to check the illustrations and fill in the blanks. He was fine with all this, but then the last question stumped him.

"Loppy is lighter than...."
"Loppy!"
"No..."
"Bugs?"
"No..."
"...Loppy!"
"No, Loppy weighs the same as Bugs, so Loppy weighs the same as Loppy. Who is heavier than Loppy?"
"Bugs?"
"...Okay, who is heavier than Bugs?"
"Thumper!"
"Good. Now if Bugs and Loppy weigh the same, and Thumper is heavier than Bugs, who is heavier than Loppy?"
"Bugs!"

This went on for about 20 minutes. Eventually, he answered Thumper and kind of understood it, but still seemed kind of baffled. (I'll cut him some slack since he's 4.)

Maybe you had to be there, but I was cracking up. Mr. Crabby was doing a really good job of not losing his mind, although it looked like he might at one point.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 11:36 am 
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I gave Beetroot a pop quiz today. I had 2 goals for homeschooling this year. The first was for Beet to master single-digit addition (he surprised me by learning subtraction, too) and the second goal was for him to be able to write down a sentence if I dictated it to him. He could write his name when we started school, but not much else. His writing and spelling have really improved. I'm so proud of him. He's still 4 and we've done all this and more on only an hour a day!

Image

I dictated the first sentence, he did fill in the blank for the next ones (he didn't want to write 'my mother's name is' and wanted to write 'my Motherwell station is' because he is train-obsessed (only real trains, he doesn't care about the toys or Thomas at all, although he thinks Chuggington is okay), and then wrote the last few himself.
Here's the translation (I ppk-ified our names, not that I care if you see our real names, but there are serial googlers in my family....):
Beet
Monkey does not like to eat poop.
I have a little brother named Raygold.
I want to eat pineapple.
tti
I think my daddy is working.
My Motherwell station is Crabby.
The train I would most like to ride is Motherwell to Milngavie.
I like to go on another train from Glasgow Central to East Kilbride; get off at East Kilbride.


And the maths...I didn't do as much because he knows his single-digit arithmetic pretty well and gets a bit wound up if we do too much. Plus, he wanted to finish lesson 13 of Explode the Code (almost finished with book 3!), so I was happy to get him to do maths at all:
Image

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 8:09 am 
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Yay Beetroot! So awesome! Did he spell the words himself or ask you to spell?? I'm impressed either way, but super impressed if he is spelling that well!

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 2:18 pm 
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Oddly enough, he only asked how to spell mother. I told him it was like the first part of Motherwell and he got so excited, he insisted he write out Motherwell station. He misspelled like once and Milngavie (pronounced kind of like mull-guy), but I'll cut him some slack. ;D

He spends a lot of time on the computer and often asks me how to spell words when he wants to google something, so that might be partly why he is such a good speller. "What's the first letter in...?" "next letter! ... next letter! ..." etc.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 2:58 pm 
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Just wow. That's amazing for a 4 year old! You have a bright kid on your hands!

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:59 am 
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Well, we started homeschooling again. I've tried to start out easy to get Beet back into the swing of things and I'm glad I did because he does not want to get back into the swing of things.

Me: Great, now write down the answer.
Beet: I can't. My pencil wants to write it in the other box. The wrong box!
Me: Haha, that's funny, now write it in the correct box.
Beet: Oh, no! I can't!!
Me: Haha, that's funny. Let's write down the answer now.
Beet: Oh, no! I can't!! Whoa! Look at the pencil, it is being silly!
*5 minutes later*
Me: Please write the answer in the correct box now, Bert.
Beet: I can't, my pencil won't let me!
Me: *losing patience* Tell your pencil I said it's a crasshole.
Beet: Pencil, Crabby says you are a crasshole.
Pencil: *in tiny voice* I am not a crasshole!
Me: aesk;hpoah4hrrnirhfio;ho;irfhaoihofha ~£%$&*!!

Later:
Beet: I don't remember how to spell trains so I can't write it down.
Me: YOU don't remember how to spell trains?! I don't believe you.
Beet: I don't remember!
Me: Look, this is from when you were four, and you wrote all sorts of things.
Beet: I don't remember anymore!
Me: Okay, I guess you can't look trains up on youtube anymore. I'll turn off my computer.
Beet: T-R-A-I-N-S!!!

And, no, I shouldn't have called Beet's pencil a crasshole!

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:41 am 
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I think it's hilarious youu called the pencil a crasshole. And I love the effect the youtube threat had:D


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:51 am 
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Crabby that crasshole thing is hilarious. That whole exchange is one reason why I could NEVER homeschool Reno. At least at this age. Her listening to me skills are no where to be found. All she would learn is how to swear when frustrated. :)

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:51 am 
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That. is. hilarious.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:41 pm 
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JENNA wrote:
Crabby that crasshole thing is hilarious. That whole exchange is one reason why I could NEVER homeschool Reno. At least at this age. Her listening to me skills are no where to be found. All she would learn is how to swear when frustrated. :)

YES me too. I was just talking to someone yesterday about schooling/different types of schools, wishing I were able to home/unschool, but. No. Not for me!

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:29 pm 
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So funny, Crabby! Amazing how kids first impulse is to pretend they don't remember everything!

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:45 am 
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Kiddo wrote:
JENNA wrote:
Crabby that crasshole thing is hilarious. That whole exchange is one reason why I could NEVER homeschool Reno. At least at this age. Her listening to me skills are no where to be found. All she would learn is how to swear when frustrated. :)

YES me too. I was just talking to someone yesterday about schooling/different types of schools, wishing I were able to home/unschool, but. No. Not for me!

We have some friends that say they spend as much time on homework as we do doing homeschooling! One of the friends swears the teachers just do the fun stuff and then send the kids home with the work for the parents to do!!
But in any case, I totally understand why homeschooling wouldn't be for everyone!! It is a ton of work and can be kind of trying at times.

Yesterday (my husband works weekends, so we do school on weekends and save two days off for during the week) was a lot better than earlier this week. Beet did 4 pages from his spelling workbook and then I cut out a bunch of letters from a newspaper and he made a sign that said 'Crabby Cook' (like Thomas Cook, only about me -- he doesn't realise Thomas Cook is a travel agency and Beet says I am "the best cook ever" !! -- He'd been asking to make a Crabby Cook sign all day) and another sign that said "Beet and Raygold's Room" -- we stuck them to the doors of the kitchen and green bedroom. Tried to teach him to use scissors, but Beet had no idea how to use them and I almost lost a finger, so I showed him and did the cutting myself.
Then we did some maths -- I had Vax "teach" him (there's this thing I do where I pretend Vax is talking to the kids and Vax has this crabby, New York cab-driver voice, kind of like Oscar the Grouch, and Vax is all cantankerous and they forking LOVE it) and Beet liked it so much, he did 5 (!!) pages of his maths workbook. Every time I said anything, he would say, "Excuse me, Crabby Crafter,* I am talking to baby Vax." Then we did a little singalong and it was time for bed (we got a late start with school and had to hve dinner in the middle of it) and Beet told me, "Guess what, Crabby Crafter?* Today was the best day of school ever!" <3

I think I am going to have Vax be the teacher whenever Vax is awake and not being fussy!

* Lately, Beet has been calling me by my first and last name. No idea why, but it's hilarious. Raygold has started doing that, too.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 7:48 am 
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we're not planning on putting BP into any sort of pre-k type thing til after she is 4 because of her social issues and dependency on me so i was thinking of starting some sort of homeschooling just to give us something to do during the week.
she's only 3 so im not looking for anything crazy. i was thinking of picking 1 letter a week and focusing on that since she seems to have no interest in letters or numbers.

i googled various "what should a 3 year old know" and "homeschooling 3 year old" and they seem to be split between sites that want me to pay for an actual curriculum and sites that have a religious bent to them.

this is the best site i found that isnt either of those (i didnt notice a religious bent to it anyways)
http://www.mudhutmama.com/preschool-homeschool-weekly-lesson-plans-age-3/

im just looking for examples of things i can do with her surrounding whatever topic it is we choose. im definitely going to do letters but need ideas on what to do about each letter. and then its spring here and she loves to be outside/nature so anything to do with the natural world is great.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 12:25 pm 
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Check in at your public library! Children's librarians are really used to fielding questions from homeschooling parents. Some libraries even have separate sections for homeschooling materials.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 3:11 pm 
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If I were considering this for a 3-y-o I probably would just cobble together an assortment of free or reasonably priced activities to do on a weekly basis. Mondays are story time at the library, Tuesdays we go to the science center (buy an annual pass), Wednesdays we do music together, etc. I wouldn't do the letter a week thing just because that isn't really connected to success in school later on - just hearing reading and being around books is much more powerful for future literacy. Much more powerful predictors of school success are her ability to focus on a task and be in a group, which is why I'd just go with finding groups to join and a handful of tasks to engage in over the course of the week. If I were going to do the letter a week thing I'd probably make a whole week activity out of it. This week we're doing the letter A and we're illustrating and reading a book (that you wrote) about a character named Anna the Ant and we're going to do a science project cutting up apples and counting their seeds, etc.

PS Malka (who, in my humble opinion, is super smart, which is relevant here) went to a "letter a week" preschool at 3 and at the end of the year she knew the 6 letters or so that she already knew at the beginning of the year, maybe she had gained one more letter over the whole year. Now she's about to graduate from Pre-K to kindergarten and literally within the last two months has learned all the rest of the letters, uppercase and lowercase. It comes when they are interested in it because it has meaning (she wanted to write letters/stories/other people's names, thus it now has meaning). It took her like six months at the beginning of this year to learn to write her name with the letters going in the right direction and in the right order and it has only been legible in the past few months. Just don't freak out if you start trying to teach letters and she totally is not into it/doesn't get it.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 3:49 pm 
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Yes, if you join a local homeschooling group, it's a great way to be reminded that kids move at their own speed and that there isn't anything that is so pressing that if they don't know it at three they will never ever learn it.

And I agree that kids are interested in things when they're interested. Thanks for sharing your experience Ariann!

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 3:51 pm 
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I guess we take a very unschooling approach. I don't think there's much you need to be teaching at this age; it's more about developing skills. For instance, right now tiny wu is working on using scissors and skipping.
(She doesn't go to preschool and will not start before 4 and a bit, if then).

I know it's not perfect, but we do like a lot- not all- of the Steiner /Waldorf philosophy. So we focus a lot on being outdoors in an imaginative or natural sciences way, on stories, and art, movement, and cooking together. I got some good ideas from this blog, Adventure in a Box, for more structured outdoor activities, for instance,
http://www.adventure-in-a-box.com/name- ... ture-hunt/

I think Ariann is right about teaching letters, etc. tiny wu just recently got interested in more than a few, and now knows about 20. She has a set of letter fridge magnets and loves Crescent Dragonwagon's book "All the Awake Animals." Other than that, we just read stories and send letters (dictated by tw). I honestly hate the idea that one day my beautiful running through the woods picking flowers, leaping off stumps and searching for snails kid is going to have to sit at a desk and do worksheets, so we are putting that kind of thing off as long as possible.

It's probably most useful to find out-via Google or contacting your local school district- what she should know for starting kindergarten, and then keep in mind you still have two YEARS to get there. My best guess/some recon from my public school teacher dad is: know the letters, not necessarily the alphabet, count to 20, know colors, shapes, and days of the week, tie shoes, independent bathroom skills, know how to hold a pencil, crayon, and scissors, able to stand in line.


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:46 pm 
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When my kids are 3, I usually stick them on starfall.com for letters and phonics, but most parents are probably more anti-screen time than I am.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 7:56 am 
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Giles loves his letters and numbers but isn't so interested in fine motor crafty stuff...so to get him practicing with crayons and glue and scissors I look on pinterest and find letter crafts. Most are cut up paper plates with construction paper and googly eyes glued on. They are super adorable, don't require a lot of work, and are teaching the letter Phonics sound plus fine motor skills. I can't link anything here since I am at work but if you search "Alphabet Crafts" on pinterest there are tons and tons!

I had no plans to teach my child any academic type stuff before kindergarten. I think kids learn through exploration and physical movement. Waldorf philosophy gets a little out there, but I overall like the theme of letting kids be the wild little being they are! Giles favorite thing in the world at this time is letters and letters sounds and words so we foster his interest. Sebastian likes letters because brother likes them so he is probably going to learn them early too, but if it weren't for his own lead we wouldn't be doing anything beyond reading books like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I like Ariann's idea of just exposing her to the world around her and then you can follow her lead in her interests!


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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:05 am 
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I bow down to people like you, annasrobbie, for having the patience to do crafts with your kids. Mine can colour at home (supervised, or else crayons get hidden around the house and used on the walls later) and they have paper to draw comic books and once a month, we do the craft at the Science Centre and I am usually going crazy by the end of it.

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 Post subject: Re: homeschooling/unschooling
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:50 am 
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to be honest im not really concerned about kindergarten readiness. mainly im just looking for things to do and i thought maybe something semi structured would be nice (more for me, hahaha).
she's a tough kid and with her issues it's hard to do a lot of things that other toddlers just naturally want to do.
it's a huge pain to just get her out of the house sometimes.

she's really smart and seems interested in learning so i thought i could capitalize on that but i didnt realize the letter thing was kind of worthless if she didnt have any interest. that's good to know so thank you!
she literally has zero interest in letters and numbers. she can identify all manner of dinosaur and can pronounce their really long complicated names and will correct people if they get them wrong but can only identify consistantly two letters. and they are ones she is interested in. she knows "C for Charlotte" and "snakey S" and there are some other ones she gets most of the time like O.
i have this big alphabet coloring pad where each letter is a dinosaur and i ripped the first one off the other day and we were coloring it (which in itself was a major coup for me because she almost never wants to color or paint) and I showed her the letter A and said it was "A for apatosaurus" and she already knew what dino it was and repeated "that's an A" then about 5 minutes later i asked her what letter that was and she didnt remember. so we went over it again and then another 5 minutes goes by and i asked again and she said it was an F. I just peed a little! so yeah she could really care less. so i guess ill just drop it. im not remotely worried about it i just thought maybe it was a good time to start doing that.

if i knew i could take her outside or to the park everyday and she would be running and jumping and climbing and basically just busy doing toddler stuff then i wouldnt care about any of this but she really is a different child.
i have to drag her out of the house to go to the playground and then she mainly wants to swing the entire time and when she's not swinging she mainly walks around in circles around the playground.

she typically doesnt like crafts though sometimes i hit on the right mood and she's super into it (for some reason glue sticks were a big hit, not even necessarily sticking stuff on after but just smearing the glue stick around).

i have a phone interview today with the occupational therapy place near us to get her started in OT again. i think i got habituated to a lot of her quirks and reading through the forms i have to fill out i realized a lot of stuff she does (or wont do) isnt really "typical" so hopefully they can help me.

we have two great libraries near us but for some reason they dont do story time in the summer. they do summer reading but at BPs age its mainly me keeping track and i dont think she quite understands enough to get into it yet. i also couldnt take her to story time for quite awhile because she would just scream.
we have several great museums semi near us and my parents got us a membership to her favorite that we have been to a bunch of times so we do do those sometimes. it's always a lot of mental energy for me to expend though because i never know what the vibe of the museum will be that day or how she will be. they're far enough away from our house that it always involved kind of a whole trip there.
thursday i am taking her to the science museum in boston which will be interesting because i have to drive like 45+ minutes into Boston to get there.
they have fossil dino statues so i think that will make her excited.
it's getting easier to take her places as she gets older but it's still always a shiitake ton of mental energy for me to expend.
our preschool playgroup ends next week so that is a major bummer but our friends from Early Intervention found a free local playgroup that starts this friday so we will have that for 5 weeks which is nice because i can get her around other kids her age.

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