Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Well, it's a new year, and I'm back. For those who don't know, I've had heart valve replacement surgery 4 weeks ago, so education has had to take rather a back seat, both now and in the weeks leading up to it. However, I did use the chance to teach Iona something about the heart and about jobs of people in hospitals. I'd planned to do it as a lapbook, but that never quite happened. She was very keen on the hospitals books, though, and also the book which I used to introduce the idea of Mummy as a little girl (as I was explaining to her that I had my first heart surgery then) - "Before I Was Your Mother" ( I was disappointed, though, that it was almost impossible to find any books about a parent going into hospital for an operation, as I could have done with that to help prepare her. The only one I could find was from America, "Let's Talk About When Someone You Love is in Hospital" (, which wasn't specific to a parent, and didn't talk at all about after-effects, but which was some help.

Unfortunately, due to my operation, I wasn't able to do much work with Iona on the meaning or customs of Christmas, as even when I got home the breathing tube had bruised my voice box so I couldn't talk much. However, I did find this printable nativity set to make - We made the characters on half toilet roll tubes, and managed to make a stable from a cereal box. The original idea had been to assemble it in the window and leave it there, but that was reckoning without Iona! She adored playing with the characters, and did so for days. One day she placed both the angel and shepherd in the stable and I heard her saying "Hello, angel, what are you doing today?" "I'm in the stable"! We don't now have a usable stable scene, but I feel it's worth it, as she knows all the characters and their role in the nativity story well.

Now we have entered a new year, and I have made some new goals for me to achieve with Iona during the year. Firstly, I plan to have her toilet trained, which I will be able to begin working towards as soon as I am able to lift again, after the wound has completely healed. Second, I intend for her to start attending the youngest group of Sunday School on her own some time around her 3rd birthday. I started taking her into it a few months ago, but as the minimum age is supposed to be 3 I have been staying with her to ensure that she doesn't cause problems for the teachers. She enjoys the craft in it, and has been learning some of the names from the lessons, although she still misses being able to play with the toys in creche.

When I can drive again (probably February) I will be able to re-start attending home education groups with her, but I also intend to start going to some new groups. Our local home education group runs a weekly gym session for children from the age of about 3, so I will try her out at that around then. She is also very keen on ballet, so I plan to try a local class that takes children at a similar age and allows you to pay by the week.

At church we have several native speakers of other languages which I don't speak myself. I want Iona to become proficient in a variety of languages, so I'm planning to ask them to help her learn at least basic greetings in them and see what happens from there, to complement my teaching her Spanish and French. If she can just chat to them in their own languages whenever they meet, I think she'll be part-way to becoming fluent, in a way that I never have been in anything other than English.

When I was 4 my Mum started teaching me to read using Glen Doman's "Teach Your Baby to Read" Kit (the nearest I can find now is I tried this with Iona when she was still a baby, but it didn't really work out, as she wasn't really interested. I thought maybe now would be a better time, so I asked her today if she would like to learn to read this year. She said yes, so I wrote the word "Mummy" in red on an A4 piece of paper and told her what it said, as per the programme. However, she became more interested in the fact of the writing, and wanted to write on it, too, so I'll just try again tomorrow. My hope is that by the end of the year she will have completed the programme and be a competent basic reader. However, she may have other ideas, so I'll just have to accept it if this doesn't happen!

Iona really enjoys craft these days, but still can be obstinate about doing it her way, so I wasn't able to let her help make any Christmas cards this year. I also ran out of time due to my operation. Next Christmas I hope to be able to make all our own cards, and involve Iona, so I plan to start this with her in October to give us enough time.

Lastly, to ensure that I get into good habits with Iona's education before the local authority wants to get involved, I plan to do at least one educational activity (or something that can be considered educational somehow) with her per day. I also intend to contribute to this blog at least once a week, to keep a permanent record of her progress.

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