School Year Resolutions

Sam is only two, with school a concept he’s never had to consider. School starts next week for children in our city, while our days will continue on as they are.

I don’t like curriculum, or feel that it’s appropriate for a child Sam’s age. I know he can learn everything he needs to know simply from being in the world. I find myself asking, though, what I can do to make sure that all the world has to offer him is available when he needs it.

How can I expose him to people and places outside of his family life?

How can I show him new ideas and concepts?

How do I respect his comfort level while challenging him?

And how the heck do I motivate myself in all this?

I’ve got a few ideas.

We can visit the museum and the children’s gallery more frequently. There he can see art and also create it, and there are plenty of toys if he just wants to play. His membership is free and we can take the bus there and back for $2.50 total.

We can go to the zoo. We have a membership so it only costs us the gasoline to drive there.

We can read more. Lately I’ve been suggesting a book whenever Sam is not busy playing. He says no about half the time, but I think it’s good that he make his own decisions. And he says yes the other half!

We can start going to story hour at the library, as soon as I find out which libraries have story hours where he is welcome (they all seem to have age limits). I’m hoping there will be one in walking distance, but if not the Metro goes to the main branch or we can park there for $1.

We can go to the park more frequently. He loves the playground SO MUCH and it is only 1.3 miles away. I have no excuse for not walking there with him more often.

We can cook together. He loves to use his Cutting Food when I prepare dinner, and we should do it more frequently.

As for me, I will have to spend less time knitting and on my computer, and more time getting myself moving. It sounds so easy when I put it like that, but just showering can be a real challenge for me some days. I wake up slowly and most days the morning is gone before I know it. I resolve to really use the mornings more frequently, even if it hurts.

But not until I recover from the cold. It is really and truly kicking my butt. Maybe while I recover you could tell me about your favorite things to do with your children (if you’re a parent) or your favorite memories of things you did with your parents. Need not be “educational” as long as you enjoy(ed) it!

Thanks to Stefani whose lovely post inspired this one.

18 thoughts on “School Year Resolutions

  1. CassyLee

    August 26, 2008 at 8:42am

    Awww, you already mentioned one of my most misty water-colored memories – Mom taking us to story hour at the library (Mom occasionally would also be the volunteer reader.) Other things I vaguely recall loving as a youth which had variable amounts of educational opportunities – I loved aquariums, planetariums & science museums (particularly ones with lots of interactive displays). Of course those might be more entertaining when Sam is a little older. For outdoor activities – I loved kite flying as a kid – I sucked at it, but I loved it anyhow.

  2. Katherine

    August 26, 2008 at 8:47am

    Yay! This is going to be so GOOD for you!

    And probably good for Sam, too, now that I think about it.

  3. Kjrstn

    August 26, 2008 at 9:22am

    Baking Bread. Acting out our favorite stories and ballets, aka playing make-believe. Playing Dress-Up. Visiting the festivals of, and Sailing on the Clearwater. Going to the Natural History Museum. Playing in the fountains and on the playgrounds at city parks. Pumpkin, apple, blueberry, strawberry, etc, picking. Making Origami.

    Et cetera.

  4. Kjrstn

    August 26, 2008 at 9:23am

    O, yes! Kite flying too!! We made our own kite, remember?

  5. Cindy Lou

    August 26, 2008 at 9:23am

    We were lucky enough to live in Chicago when my children were Sam’s age. Huge hits were the Shedd Aquarium and the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. In fact, Emylie still wants to do Aquarium things and she’s 17.

    The Adler Planetarium was fun as was the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry.

    We also spent a lot of time at the beach and at the pool.

    The most fun I remember the two of them having was one day they systematically took all the sand from the sandbox in our back yard and dumped it into the wading pool. The water got sort of brown and foamy and Emylie said they were making root beer. It was a huge mess to clean up, but they had a ball.

    In the winter time we built a lot of snow forts and drank a lot of hot chocolate. But I’m not sure you have that option in LA. We also read a lot of books, played Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry OH until I almost puked. In fact, I’d be happy if I never see the Molasses Swamp or Gumdrop Forest ever again.

    Cindy Lou’s last blog post..“M” Stands For Mono

  6. Cazzle

    August 26, 2008 at 9:43am

    Being chaperoned (with all the other kids on my street!) to and around the reservoir, bikes and all; playing huge games of rounders in the park; baking cakes and icing them; walking to the video shop to borrow the same My Little Pony videos again and again; going to the park and playing on all the fab equipment; learning how to ride my bike without stabilisers; blackberry picking in September and windberry picking up Holcombe Hill in the short weeks they were ripe. (And making pies with them afterwards!)

    I also used to adore going to the library, but one of the things I remember more than the books (Miffy; Mr. Bear books by Chizuro Kuratomi; Josie Smith series; countless pony books) was the black velvet board they kept wooden badges on – if I’d been really, really good I was allowed to choose one for my collection. The only one I still have now is a wooden, pink flamingo.

  7. DropEdge

    August 26, 2008 at 10:34am

    I think the simplest things, like taking walks, can be so beneficial for a child Sam’s age. He seems like an inquisitive kid, and toddlers learn so much from interacting with and observing their environment.

    I understand where you’re coming from with not wanting to do things that are very rigid or structured or “school like,” but just having items around that are associated with that are still fun to play with even if your intention isn’t to get him to actively “learn” or “memorize” stuff. I loved flash cards of all types when I was little. And I loved playing with games like Memory, even though I had no idea how the game was REALLY played. Then again, my younger sister spent all her time running around like a banshee and my youngest sister was always totally absorbed in her “family” — the dozens of spice bottles my mother kept in a cardboard box for her to play with.

    Also, would it help for you to make a To Do List? Maybe you can make one the previous night that has, say, two things on it that you want you and Sam to do the following day. That way you already have a bit of a game plan and you can be more intentional about accomplishing it.

    DropEdge’s last blog post..Random Bits

  8. the slackmistress

    August 26, 2008 at 10:47am

    I don’t have a kid (as far as I know, but I think it would be obvious, yes?) but I SO understand you on the “getting moving” thing. (And I have no suggestions, all I seem to do is wait til the last minute and do everything in a 48 hour time period. I don’t think that works for child development!)

    the slackmistress’s last blog post..The Nerdiest Thing I’ve Ever Done.

  9. Lucretia

    August 26, 2008 at 12:39pm

    I loved loved LOVED going to the park, reading books together (especially at bedtime, when you’re all snuggly and warm), going to the local “zoo” (which was really like a little farm but so exciting, until I got chased by a turkey – and my dad thought it was hilarious …)

    I even liked watching, and still do enjoy watching TV with my parents. As long as we don’t gawp vacantly all the time – I like to react and talk about the programme.

    Mostly – kids just love being with their parents. And I’m sure he will enjoy new and familiar experiences with you.

    Do you plan on perhaps sending him to some sort of pre-school group at some point? Or even, when he joins school, some sort of group/organisations? Just out of curiosity. I loved some and hated others.

  10. Katherine

    August 26, 2008 at 1:25pm

    Oh, Cindy! “Hi Ho Cherry-Oh” was my sister’s favorite game when she was little! Good memories!

    Katherine’s last blog post..Do you have hot water?

  11. Grandmere

    August 26, 2008 at 2:57pm

    You are so right! Kids Sam’s age do not need a curriculum. They need to experience and explore! Clay or homemade playdoh ( B has the recipe). Building structures with Legos or Duplos. I loved collecting leaves with my kids when they were little altho I doubt LA has much in that area. Collections of Sam’s choice where he can identify things as being the same or different and why. And reading, reading, reading. Books on tape if your library stocks them or have them on his “wish list” for birthdays and holidays. Lots of crayons and finger painting. We are pushing children so hard into curricula in this country at way too young an age, when they need to be having kid time to develop their curiosity and their imaginations.

    Grandmere’s last blog post..QotD: Manic Monday

  12. Ellen Bloom

    August 26, 2008 at 3:53pm

    Among other things, my Dad was an artist. From the time I was about 4 or 5 years old, he would take me to the Museum or to art galleries and point out things to me about the paintings that weren’t apparent to my young eyes. Sometimes, after these artsy visits, we would come home and try to reproduce what we saw….Dad with oil paints and me with crayons.

    Ellen Bloom’s last blog post..Artist, Synthia St. James

  13. Jaime

    August 26, 2008 at 4:44pm

    mine love going to the library! Both enjoy helping me cook or bake (moreso bake!), although my dd seems to enjoy it more. she is also very crafty & loves especially loves anything that involves markers or scissors. yes, she’s 5, but she’s been using scissors for a couple years now. I don’t let her run with them though.

    Jaime’s last blog post..Grocery Shop

  14. chez shoes

    August 26, 2008 at 5:25pm

    You already hit on my fave childhood activities: library, park/playground, and museums, all with my dad, who preferred to teach me himself rather than send me to school. We also went to the zoo and aquarium a lot.

    Get well soon!

  15. Amanda

    August 26, 2008 at 6:11pm

    I loved crafts. I liked figuring out how to get my thing to look like the thing in the picture. I loved reading, and being read to, even after I learned how to read for myself. I liked helping Dad build things, or riding with him on the tractor. I jumped on hay bales and built forts in hay mow. I loved playing in the creek, building bridges across the creek, moving rocks around.

    I also really liked the things that I learned in 4-H. I learned to sew and embroider, I learned how to refinish wood and bake, and how to take photographs.

  16. Amanda

    August 26, 2008 at 6:47pm

    Oh, and one of the best times we ever had was after Dad read the Little House books for the first time and got interested in the food. We bought the cookbook and tried a lot of the recipes. And learned how to make maple syrup. We spent a couple weeks gathering sap, and Dad figured out how to boil it down to syrup.

  17. Jupiter

    August 26, 2008 at 7:01pm

    I think you covered most of our faves. This year my older kids are all going to public school for the first time and I’ll have my little 3 year old home alone w/ me all day, so I’m trying to figure out what the two of us are going to spend our days doing.In addition to the library story hour and homemade playdough and fingerpainting and playground….I was considering finding a small playgroup.But I’m not sure non-cliquey playgroups without weird politics exist,so we’ll see.

    Jupiter’s last blog post..Jupiter’s favorite color is purple

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