Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Practical Academic Teaching for Moms: Part 2

As promised, here is a list of the videos that we have primarily used to teach Addie. Some are better than others, and each serves a different purpose.

Leap Frog The Letter Factory- This was the first video that we used for teaching Addie in the area of academics. We began having her watch it when she was just under one year old.

Every letter's primary sound is taught and the same song is repeated to help the children remember the sounds. Addie surprised us while watching it before she was a year and a half by saying the "S" sound before the cartoon characters did. Within a few months, Addie knew most of her alphabet sounds. Because only one sound is given per alphabet and capital letters are given more viewing time, it took Addie a little while longer to recognize the lower case letters and I had to follow up with the alternate sounds of some of the alphabet.

Leap Frog The Word Factory- Although we have this video, it does not keep Addie's attention as well as The Letter Factory does. This one shows children how to take the letter sounds from The Letter Factory and put them together to make words. In all honesty, I don't find it entertaining either (Don't forget, Moms, you are participating also. If you are not enjoying it, your child probably isn't either.).

Baby Einstein Baby's First Signs- I love this video! The main words that signs are taught for are everyday words that your child will use. I will never forget the night when Addie was about a year or just under a year old and she woke up crying. I picked her up, changed her diaper, and cuddled with her, but she was still crying. She kept squeezing her hand open and closed. It suddenly dawned on me that she was making the sign for milk. I gave her a bottle of milk, and she went right back to sleep (growth spurt!).

Teaching your child sign language is very helpful in their ability to communicate with you. Although they are not able to verbalize their needs, they are capable of using their hands to tell you what they need. By teaching them sign, you eliminate the frustration of them not being able to communicate and you not knowing what they need.

When I used this video, I had to sit with Addie initially. I held her hands and made the motions with her hands to get her used to the movements she would need to make. This video took about 30 minutes to get through, but the music is beautiful and the pictures are simple and calming. The words and phrases that are taught are Mommy, Daddy. baby, kiss, I love you, eat, drink, cereal, milk, more, all done, play, ball, friend, help, go, stop, sleep, story, blanket, bath, please, and thank you. There is also another part in the bonus section that teaches additional words, but they are not vital to the child's ability to communicate with the parent.

There are some words that Addie has continued to sign rather than say. "Thank you" was one of them until Saturday morning. I gave her some "more" strawberries, and she turned around and said, "Da-doo, Mama!" Yeah, I melted. Teaching sign to your baby is definitely something that I would recommend.

Praise Baby My Father's World and Born to Worship- These are both wonderful DVDs (they also come as CDs) that we were given by my cousin Lisa. We still use them around here. These are beautiful pictures that have been set to beautifully arranged praise and worship music which are designed to calm a baby. They can be used in many ways such as 1) calming your child, 2) teaching them worship songs and building their spirits, and 3) teaching them item recognition by pointing out and naming what is on the screen. For example, when there are pictures of flowers, you can simply say, "Flower. God made the flower." When they show shapes, you can name the color of the shape and the shape itself.

We love putting these on especially on Sunday mornings as we are preparing to go to church. It gets us (as in Brian and me) in a spirit of worship and keeps Addie calm before we head out.

Down By the Station- My friend Sherri gave us this video. There are several in the series each dealing with a different character trait. This particular video's focus is obedience. All of the songs and story songs deal with following directions and Bible characters who displayed obedience (a big focus word around here). There are children who sing and dance along with the "teacher", so that really gets Addie's attention and the cute puppets and figures make it a light and playful video. The tunes are easy to remember which is nice when trying to think of an on-the-spur-of-the-moment tune to sing with your child.

Fisher Price Baby Moves and Nature Baby- When Addie was still a crawler, these were great to use when I was cooking in the afternoon. This is in a similar class of video as the Praise Baby DVDs except the pictures are set to classical music. There are three puppets which Addie used to squeal and giggle at. At this point, these videos do nothing for her. I picked them up at Big Lots for about $2 a piece.

I hope these videos give you a place to start from. If you do not want too many options, I would say my top three would be Praise Baby, The Letter Factory, and The First Signs. These will help you get on the path of learning with your child.

Tomorrow's topic, Lord willing, will be the Your Baby Can Read program.

I am really excited! Tonight I am going to my first home school book sale. We plan on starting Addie in a more formal K3 curiculum in the fall. Even though she will only be two at the time, I can't see waiting until the following year to start her on K3 work. Don't forget, the age number of your child means nothing when dealing with what they are capable of learning. As a parent, you will know best what your child is capable of and what areas they need to wait on.

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